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As much as I hated boost when it was introduced, I'd sure like to see Transition move that direction. Their alloy bikes can struggle a bit with clearance issues and with how many companies (basically all of them) have gone toward boost, it'd just make things easier when it comes to ordering/swapping wheels and whatnot.
Patrol with Super Deluxe is looking great though was hoping to see the Metric stuff rolled out through their entire line. Soon enough I'm sure...
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Yeah, and its one reason I can feel a bit of uncertainty toward my own review. I don't want to steer somebody wrong despite my personal feelings toward a ride. Obviously, I liked this bike. But I can't say its a 4.5 star bike for EVERYONE. For the right rider, its a 5 star performing product, no doubt. For the wrong rider, its not.
Bikes are starting to go the way of skis, surfboards etc whereby there are so many excellent options its more about getting what fits, as they are all "as good" (or close) from a function/durability/performance perspective.
My job as a reviewer is just as much to describe *why* I liked it and *what* I look for in a bike (eg: who I am) as it is to describe the performance of the bike. Ultimately, removing my own preferences from the equation allows me to arrive at a more objective review, despite the obvious hurdles such an ideal may pose.
Hopefully I've done a good job explaining to the masses that this bike may be the best tool for a number of riders, and that perhaps some should look elsewhere. For the right rider however (someone like me) its certainly a badass ride!
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First, thanks! There is an upside to having 7 monitors staring you in the face all day I suppose! (my day job is in financial services)
Second, this is a "pandora's box" sort of question. Scared to answer it as it may open up all sorts of debate. The idea that most people buy more bike than they need is one I understand and often subscribe to. I think it goes further than just the bike's travel and geometry and even extends into parts such as fork, tires, shock etc. In a way its like the guy driving a lifted pickup truck with 35s for 99% highway driving. Literally, 99% of the time that dude is lugging around stuff that is only hindering him. Same in the ski world seeing the kid who can't turn piloting 195 120mm under foot fully rockered sticks as his only ski. He's really limiting himself in most conditions.
That said, the 5.5c and many bikes like it aren't overly limiting outside their intended (enduro race) environment. I had a blast on many of my local trails on the bike (albeit the local trails I'm referring to are on the burly side of things). Still, I felt very comfortable spending 4+ hours on the 5.5c and as I noted in the video, the bike climbed extremely well.
Where I really found the 5.5c to be a bit, for lack of a better word, boring, was on your generic smooth singletrack type trail. Its a bit like driving a trophy truck to the grocery store. It can be a bit of a snoozefest. A sports car is a far better tool - something like the 4.5c, Smuggler etc.
One way I'd determine what bike to buy is by thinking how much you are really going to race it and how often you really want to go to the bike park. If the answer is never and never go with less travel, you'll be happier in the end and smoke your buddies in most of your riding situations. If the answer is a bit and sometimes, consider going with something longer travel (140-160mm) as it'll still serve you well on the bigger rides but not let you down in the burlier stuff. The final caveat is skill level. I have friends who can pilot 115mm bikes in rough terrain better than I can pilot a 160mm bike in the same environment (Dcamp for instance).
Finally, if you do end up on a bike with more travel than perhaps you need and find yourself struggling on a few climbs, considering gearing it down and working on your core. Both will help you conquer even the burliest climb on a longer travel steed with relative ease...
Hope that helps.
This is one of those questions I find difficult to answer. Much like "how playful is the bike" what is "in the bike" to me may be different to you. To add, body proportions, riding style, etc etc play into this subjective attribute massively.
That said, yes, I did feel "in" the bike. I had sort of an invisibility feeling that so long as I kept my body between the two wheels and lowered my COG, I'd probably come out unscathed.
I sort of felt this feeling was less the bike and more the monster truck wagon wheel effect but after more time on other aggresive 29ers I realize it really had more to do with the blend the Yeti brought forth. To my point, I still haven't smashed sections of trail on my other 29er the way I did on the Yeti. There are a few sections of trail that offer fairly challenging doubles to a monkey like me.. You have to hit a few corners just right then trust the bike's suspension to clear everything. There is only one bike I've nailed them all on despite many attempts on other steeds - the 5.5c.
I know, I sound like the bike is akin to Aladdins magic carpet or something - its not, and I'm sure there are other longer travel bikes that compare - this was just the first one I've been on that brought it all together and the first bike in a long time that really did make me a better rider. And some of these "other" 29ers I am comparing the bike to have less travel and come in at a far lower price point. Apples to oranges a bit...but as a wiser man than myself once pointed out, that's the beauty of the human brain, we can compare apples and oranges... but I digress. ha.
Anyway, there are other bikes I'm pumped to try - they may rival the Yeti but time will tell - Trek's new Slash, Niner's new RIP, Transitions (hopefully) updated Smuggler etc
Albeit cheesy at times, the production value and story telling in these is incredible. Almost seems built for broadcast... (whatever that means these days...) Bruce Brownish...
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Good questions agstief
To start, all the bikes you mention are excellent. I've pedaled a 429 around briefly (429 "Trail" I believe) and though I liked a number of the bike's attributes, it was simply too small for me (even in the longest size). This won't be an issue for you as you aren't as tall. That said, the 5.5c will feel a bit different than the 429 in a number of ways. The 429 feels geared a bit more toward the XC/Trail crowd whereas the 5.5c has DH bike capability in XC clothing. (if that makes any sense)
As far as which wheel size you should go with, well, that's really something I can't answer. At 5'9" I'd say you could go either way. You certainly aren't too short for the bigger wheel but my perception of how the wagon wheel rides will be materially different.
In situations like this I think the best thing you can do is to demo. One caution about demoing: Though many shops are now very attentive to detail when it comes to setting up their demo fleet, some still send them out the door without much care to even suspension setup. Even the best bike will feel like a turd if you don't get the suspension in the ballpark and fit close to reasonable (saddle position, lever position etc). Make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
High five to the real winner! He was fastest down the hill. Simple as that. Nice run dude!
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As much as I love Sam Hill, I can't help but feel flatpedalthunder is stealing a little bit of the glory from what is one of the most incredible wins of the year in all of cycling. 95+ seconds over second place?! This isn't some local event! Its the top level of the sport and he just won by a MASSIVE margin. Sam Hill in second is awesome but yeah, Richie's accomplishment is nothing short of phenomenal
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This one... http://www.cycletorque.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/1446093666_featured.jpeg
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1) Turman is right, Krunk is on a Metric Smuggler - which I would LOOVE to get on as well.
2) The word "playful" means different things for different folks. For me, its the ability to throw the bike around, lift the front end, "actively" ride the bike while easily putting the bike in the air on more natural trail features. I've found all current generation Yeti and Transition bikes to do this well mostly due to well thought out suspension designs and excellent geometry. That said, I'm not sure the 5.5c is more playful than the 6c. Especially if the suspension is setup well. Neither are muted but the 6c, just with smaller wheels, I found easier to toss around. Again, suspension setup plays into this massively.
Also remember, I'm a racer, so my thoughts on playful may differ from others.
3) Some footage from Tuesday of a Smuggler DH rally session...this trail is more frequented by DH bikes than trail bikes. So otherworldly bike handling ability aside, this too should speak to how well the Smuggler rides even in conditions beyond what it was really built for... https://vimeo.com/174432795
I can narrate better! I'll work on the POV stuff to bring forward something a bit more clean the next go. I always loved the Top Gear style car reviews. I'd like to get to that point (on a budget) sooner than later.
Depends when Evil sends me one to check out (ha, I kid, I don't just get bikes sent to me - like most, I buy what i ride this side of a few lucky tests here and there)
In any case, I've ridden one a short while and really did dig it. But I'll reserve any direct comparison until I get more time on the bike.
I've ridden all three pretty extensively. All excellent, but different bikes.
In stock form, the Smuggler is closer to the 4.5c in geometry and travel. (though a tid bit lower and longer) That said, I've got a 160mm fork on mine which brings the numbers almost identical to the 5.5c (same HT, bottom bracket, chainstay). Still, even with the bigger fork, its more "sports car" and less "trophy truck". The Smuggler is obviously heavier by over 1.5 pounds. Its also got poor tire clearance, but still manageable (most 2.35s still fit). One thing I love about the Smuggler (or 4.5c) is how rewarding they can be when you nail a section. You just have less "margin for error" when pushing the bike and I've found myself loosing a fair amount of time to the 5.5c or similar on the bottom of a longer descent, when fatigue kicks in and line choice never as good.
The Patrol Carbon is awesome and depending on your wheel size preference and height, may be one of the best rides out there. My only big gripe is chainstay length. They are tiny at 16.9" which can make for an unbalanced ride in the XL size. If you are riding a smaller size, you will find its more balanced, I just find it hard to get enough weight on the front tire in most "normal" riding conditions in the uber long XL size.
Overall, the 5.5c offers the trophy truck feel of the Patrol with the bigger wheels and balance of the Smuggler.
End of the day, if price is a big concern, you won't be upset with the Smuggler. On the contrary, if you are looking for a 29" brawler, the 5.5c is damn near impossible to beat. If you are looking to go to the smaller wheelsize and enjoy shorter chainstays, then the Patrol may be your ticket.
All three bikes are so capable its silly. For me, I'd make the decision based of how tall I am and what my budget is.
I know on the 4.5c and 5 the piggyback would impact the frame in the small size. This is one reason they choice to go with the standard Float. The other reason they haven't gone with the X2 is cost and complexity. But yeah, I agree, Yeti should offer an "enduro race" build that features a guide, a larger ring, an RC2 fork and an X2. Price might prohibit this from being a big "hit" however...
I know a number of customers have received their SB 5.5c though am guessing those came from the first shipment from the manufacturing facility. No idea when the second batch is due...
Good questions. With respect to dropper posts and seat tutbe size, you'll note I included in my review that Yeti should consider dropping their seat post height to more "modern" standards. EG, we don't need 20.5" seat tube length on large bikes now that we utilize dropper posts. 19-19.5" is more than sufficient.
Still, even with the 20.5" seat tube length I had well over an inch showing which means I easily could have gone to a 150mm without concern.
As far as cornering goes, I wouldn't say I'm overly skilled. Ha! Been working on it for 17 years and still have a (lot of) work to do. That said, any bike with a slacker head tube angle and larger wheels will take a bit more commitment to change direction, but they also offer more traction and in some ways, margin for error (because of this traction). Alternatively, one could always look to the 4.5c which features a steeper head tube angle and shorter wheelbase (which will require less commitment to get to turn)
One thing I should mention is I don't feel the Yeti is an overly demanding bike to ride well. For a multitude of reasons it is just as well suited toward an intermediate rider as it is a skilled EWS level rider. End of the day, the bike often let me get away with mistakes most bikes wouldn't - especially when the going got rough and I found myself off my line.
Food for thought...
Watching this makes me so glad I'm no longer in the 16-20 year old demographic...love the fight though!
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Thanks man! I'm pretty lucky to have these trails out my back door!!
Good question. Sounds like you are a prime candidate to go to a bigger air spring volume spacer. The kit can be ordered through your LBS or I'm sure it can be found online. More info http://www.ridefox.com/help.php?m=bike&id=568
I would suggest swapping to the largest spacer they include in the kit (I believe there is a mid sized one in the shock stock). Run the same pressure to start and see where that gets you.
Hey David, just saw this comment. The 5.5c climbs better than the 6c, for me anyway. The reason is simple - the 5.5c's larger wheels have a bigger footprint and more traction. Paired with similar weight wheelsets, I'll take the SB 5.5c anyday over the 6c when it comes to climbing.