Blaze the downhills without hating the climbs.
No longer reserved for just the cross-country crowd, 29-inch wheels are proving to be fast options for trail, enduro, and even DH bikes. As such, the mountain bike market's landscape has seen an influx of 29ers with evolved frame geometries and burlier wheels and forks, boosting the reliability and adding stiffness to a standpoint where more aggressive riders are able to exploit them. Yeti was one of the first on board with big wheels on trail bikes going way back to the SB95 and since then it's made incremental changes with its 29ers eventually morphing into two models, the 4.5 and 5.5. The 4.5 is a darling of a trail bike that’s lightweight and efficient while the 5.5 is more of an aggressive trail bruiser and enduro weapon with riders on Yeti's EWS team calling on it for duty on high-speed stages with long transitions between them. Now that folks have spent some saddle time on trail 29ers, it's no longer the butt of jokes on internet forums and their preconceived notions about wagon wheels go out the window as the increased speed, traction, and roll over ability simply cannot be denied. So if the trails you like to ride are exceptionally rough, you race enduros, and you like to go fast, Yeti's SB5.5 Turq XT Complete Mountain Bike checks off all of the boxes and it'll have you pushing your limits and going faster. With carefully selected components, this bike can handle anything you can dish out and keep coming back for more.
This particular version from Yeti utilizes the higher grade TURQ series carbon fiber offering the same durability and fatigue life of the Carbon-Series frames while boosting the stiffness and dropping the weight by an impressive 400g (0.8lb). When you're racing, every second and gram count, so its nice know you are aboard the same frame the EWS race team counts on as they campaign technical tracks across the globe. If you're the type of rider that's fanatical enough to keep a quiver of tires for different trail conditions and you keep a log book of suspension settings, you're the ideal candidate for the Turq frameset.
What makes Yeti's ride so well in different terrain and have such universal handling praise, is in part due to its balanced geometry. Yeti has an impressive network of trails close by its Golden, Colorado facility offering diverse riding opportunities and we're sure that all those lunch rides, as well as the EWS training and racing, distill down to the numbers we see here on the 5.5. What's also evident is that Yeti doesn't chase trends and quickly jump on geometry bandwagons when developing numbers and instead value racer's feedback and riding the hell out of some test mules in Golden, before the carbon molds are cut. Take the chainstays for instance, at 17.2-inches they aren't super-short by today's standards, but Yeti claims that's on purpose. Its testers wanted some torsional flex so the bike tracked better on off-camber descents. It was able to achieve this by using appropriate length chainstays and optimizing the carbon layup so the rear wheel was better able to cope with the gnarly terrain. On the bike’s front end, it chose a long travel FOX 36 fork with 51mm offset and a 66.5-degree head tube angle. This combo allows it to precisely tune the bike’s mechanical trail and wheelbase offering a ride that's unmistakably Yeti.
We really can't say enough about the Switch Infinity suspension design. Simply put the patented translating pivot adjusts the leverage ratio and wheel path throughout the shock's travel allowing the suspension to work in your favor when you need it most. Its linear off the top before exhibiting those excellent anti-squat characteristics in the mid-stroke providing exceptional pedaling characteristics and climbing ability while transitioning to a progressive end stroke which is responsible for that bottomless feel. Switch Infinity allows the 5.5 to climb way better than any 140mm 29er should and descend like a mini DH rig. FOX's new for 2018 Float DPX2 revises its oil path for more consistent damping on longer high-speed descents. On the trail, this translates to more mid-stroke support without feeling over-damped while allowing for compression and rebound adjustments to be tuned more independently.
This bike caters to riders looking to ride hard and on demanding trails and we can't think of a better group to build the frame up with than the Shimano XT M8000 we have here. It simply executes shifts with the precision that rivals XTR so closely, it makes us wonder if we really need it, and the 11-46t cassette along with the 30t Race Face Turbine crank provides gearing for any occasion. An aggressive Maxxis Minion DHF up front and a fast rolling Aggressor rear tire add tons of traction and confidence and work well in a variety of geographic locations and terrains. Shimano's XT brakes mirror the shifting performance in the reliability department and pack tons of controllable power at the lever and the 180mm rotors front and rear stay cool and fade-free for the long descent back to the trailhead. Matching the FOX fork and shock is its Transfer dropper post which is quickly becoming a Competitive Cyclist favorite.
- An aggressive trail bike that likes to climb and enduro
- 5.5in of Yeti's excellent Switch Infinity travel
- Slack geometry for fast lines over difficult terrain
- TURQ construction is light, stiff, and durable
- FOX suspension damps the trail and drops the post
- Shimano's XT group shifts with precision and holds up to trail abuse