Yeti have launched their brand-spanking new SB5.5C 29er.
Let’s pause for a second to take a look at a photo:
So what is it? Well, it’s one of the new breed of hard-core, mid-travel 29er. Yeti place it ‘where the all-mountain and gravity bike intersect’, which sounds very exciting. So what do we get? Well, on the bike we saw, we get 140mm travel at the back (that’s the 5.5 inches in the name), high modulus carbon fibre, Yeti’s lovely Switch Infinity floating pivot in the middle (hence loads of ∞ logos on the bike), and our first-ride bike came with a monster – and very pretty – 160mm Fox 36 29er fork on the front, which had plenty of people in the office drooling, along with a Fox Float X Factory DPS shock on the back.
Ritchie Rude has been testing the bike as well as Yeti’s own in-house testing team, and everyone seems pretty happy. It’s light – with this spec (and an ENORMOUS 1300g Minion DHF 2.5 up front which Barney and Rich both desperately want) it comes in around the 28.5lb mark, and it bears all the usual hallmarks of the Thoroughly Modern Filly (sorry) – it is, of course, Boost, it’s long, low and slack with short chainstays:
There’s no room for a front mech, although there are ISCG mounts, which is a good plan given the punishment we suspect this bike could take. Going 1x lets Yeti take the chainstays down to 437mm, which isn’t too shabby at all. It’s got a long top-tube, but it’s not super-long – a medium bike has 421mm reach on a 601mm top tube. And at either end of that is a 73.6 degree seat angle, and a 66.5 degree head angle respectively. A 29er with a 66.5 degree head angle and a 160mm fork. Sounds like fun, yes? For now, Silverfish are only bringing it in as a complete bike with an RRP of £6,899.
Our Rich got to take one out to play for a couple of hours when the good folk at Silverfish came to visit, and here are this thoughts:
We had the pleasure and privilege of taking the fresh out of the box Yeti 5.5C out for its first ride. It’s very, very pretty. It is a bike that makes a statement – from the 160mm Fox 36’s upfront to the 140mm float X shock driven by the ace Infinity Switch suspension system.
I’m not a XC racer, and I found the majority of 29ers of old just didn’t suit my riding style – or the trails I like to seek out. This was a feeling many trail riders had, so the big wheels got a bad rep and manufacturers slowly cut the big hoops out of their trail range; opting to only use them on their XC race bikes, where they worked a treat. But times, they are a changin’…
When Kona launched the 29er Process 111, they set the world alight with a big wheeler that rocked the trails; it is a hugely capable bike. Other manufacturers too were looking at the big wheels and geometry with different glasses on. The emergence of 1x systems and the introduction of Boost hub spacing has helped this along too – they provide engineers with more space to fit everything in, and burlier wheels to come with the terrain.
I’ve spent a lot of time on Transitions Smuggler this winter, and I’ve become quite a fan of what the shorter travel, aggressive 29er trail bikes offer. The SB5.5c feels like the next step in to the 140mm mid travel sector, without hurling into ‘long travel’ range. Although what’s 10mm between friends anyway?
After a quick setup and cockpit tweaking was done and it was time to see what the 5.5c was made of. We headed off to some of our favourite tracks in Hebden Bridge. With only a small window of time to ride the new 5.5C we got a lift to the top of a trail that has a bit of everything. Packhorse slabs, greasy cobbles, a muddy climb, steep rock garden, some tight turns and don’t forget a abundance of roots. We haven’t managed to test the SB6 but I’ve found the 5 a monster in this environment.
We all know it’s a bad idea to roll into a trail at speed on a new bike, with tyres and geo you’re not familiar with. But within a matter of metres the SRAM Guide brakes where released and the 5.5C swiftly worked up to speed.
Instantly you can feel the bike’s pedigree shining. It has had some series influence from the current EWS champion Richie Rude. The Switch Infinity link felt bottomless with a nice smooth ramp up. The Float X shock provides a great sensitivity over repetitive impacts and it recovered well on the hard pack horse trail.
The SB5.5C seems to fit perfectly between the 5c and 6c; very very capable on the roughest toughest courses and tracks out there, but I suspect it’d be a comfy all-day bike too. EWS style race bikes are often found in areas where in my opinion they are way too much bike, but something like the 5.5C? It straddles both camps. It climbs and descends with life, and a poppy spring in its step. You forget that the bike is rolling on big wheels.
I for one can’t wait to see how it handles the steepest, cloggy tracks. From the short time we spent on the 5.5c we were very very impressed with how it rides and feels. I like.
Can’t see the video? Click here
You can get more information from Silverfish here.
And if that wasn’t enough, here’s a load of lovely photos for you to drool through…
Watch our 1st ride teaser trailer here.
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Can’t see the video? Click here
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