Do you want to have fun? Do you like the circus? Who doesn't? For a long time the folks at Yeti called 29'rs clown bikes. Well that has changed thanks to a few employees in the back rooms of Yeti. In came Yeti BigTop 29R! They were having Shane, their welder, build them custom 29'rs; Trying to keep it under the owners (Steve and Conroy) radar for fear of being labeled clowns. Well Steve and Conroy noticed and saw how fast these bikes were. No longer a clown bike and hidden in the back, Yeti decided to bring into production one of the fastest hardtails ever seen. Keeping in good fun the new bike was dubbed the Big Top. People may try to make fun until they try to keep up. Features: -Sizes: M, L, XL -Colors: Black -Head Tube: Tapered (44mm/56mm) -Front Triangle: 7005 Alloy -Rear End: High Modulus Carbon -Tire Clearance: 26 x 2.5" -Front Travel: 100-120mm (4-5") -Rear Hub Spacing: 135x10 QR or upgrade 142x12(thru axle included) -Dropouts: Replaceable Derailleur Hanger-Optional Single Speed Dropouts (adjust from 17.1"-17.8")
Strengths: Solid frame. Seems really well built. Multiple whippings, and never cried once. Reasonably light. Stable on descents.
Weaknesses: Kinda sluggish on tight single track.
Rode it all last season. It did well on not real technical single track, especially stable on descents. Significant lack of hip steering, but i'll trade it for the speed elsewhere. Seemed to hold its own in races. Sweat spot for maneuverability was with the seat all the way forward, and bars rotated to forward max. Northern Mi trails, 6'1", 200 lbs. 52 years, riding for almost 30 years. Tryin to keep the wheels on the ground! Yes I'd buy it again.
Strengths: - Stiff where it needs to be stiff - steering, rear end laterally
- Flexy where it needs to be flexy - rear end vertically
- Good geo for rough, twisty trails with very tough technical features and small drops
- Future proof with tapered headtube, ISCG tabs, dropout chips for every possible config (SS, Geared, Thru-axle, QR, etc)
- Great cable routing - simple and out of the way
- Yeti quality and pimpness
Weaknesses: - Chainkeeper can be tricky to mount without interfering with rear tire clearance
- Bloody expensive for a hardtail frame these days
- Rear tire clearance isn't great...can't run 2.4 Ardent for example
- Blah color on new model - I am so glad I found a leftover blue/white combo
Exactly the bike I was looking for. It's one bike I can use for virtually any kind of adventure short of downhill/freeride. With 1x10, E-13 chainkeeper, and chunky tires it is set up as a technical trail slayer right now. But swap some stuff and I could turn it into a fun single speed road commuter. Beautifully versatile bike that I'll likely keep until it dies.
The ride is buttery smooth and stable. It has a "just right" feel to me - not to slow or fast to turn. It holds a line extremely well and the very stiff front end means it goes where you point it. The top tube feels really short - I've got long arms and legs for my 5' 8" height but even with the setback seatpost the cockpit feels a tad short.
I struggle to think of negatives...I think the seatpost slips a little. A bit more standover clearance would be appreciated. It costs a hell of a lot but then it is a complicated frame.
Similar Products Used: Niner EMD9, Vassago Jabber, Spec. Stumpjumper 29er, Kona Unit
Bike Setup: Fox 100mm fork, Hope Evo/Arch EX wheels, 1x10 sram X.9, E-13 LG1+ chainkeeper+taco bashguard, carbon bars and Thomson seatpost. SLX hydro brakes with ice-tech which are the biggest no-brainer in the history of the world.
Strengths: Strength, and incredibly stiff laterally.
Weaknesses: Creaks, but I found the sources of mine to the drop out chips. The frame comes with a transformer type drop out thing that can make the bike a single speed, and a helicopter and a blah blah. I won't utilize that feature, and so it was especially irritating that the very irritating creaks were coming from them.
I bought this bike from a great shop in Anchorage, and had it built up with ZTR Flow's on the 350's and an XT build. The bike is 26-27 lbs down from 36 from my fs bike. I have wanted a 29r for a few years to have something lighter and more efficient for a bulk of the rides I do up here. This bike has been that go to bike, plus can handle the stuff I used to think would only be fun on my fs bike. Long days on this bike are made easier by being so light, forgiving so much in the rear end, and set up to handle technical stuff without feeling like I'm on a hard tail. I'd buy the bike again, despite the creaking problems. I was able to get mine to go away by greasing the threads on the drop out chip bolts after my shop greased everything else they could think of. The Big top is a very capable bike and I'm happy to have it in the stable. Yeti designed the perfect frame for a big dude. (6'2' 220) I'm on a large.
a Cross Country Rider
from Bakersfield CA.USA
Date Reviewed: October 31, 2011
Strengths: All of the fast rolling trates of hardil 29" bikes but with a slacker head angle to enjoy the downhill meanwhile being more comortable and controleable on the trail.Highly adjustable rearend.SS,through axle. ISCG tab, Direct mount Front D for 1X setup.
Weaknesses: none yet.
I bought this bike to ride mostly cross country and for winter. After riding alot im seeing how versatile it can be for trail use also. Yeti's attention to detail, strength and Yeti History make it a favorite !
This bike does just about everything well. It has incredible traction climbing probably due to the short chainstays, 29er tire contact patch and added suppleness of the carbon rear triangle. For a 29er I think they may be some of the shortest chainstays out there. By far the best climbing bike I've ridden. I think Yeti spent a lot time getting the Big Top correct. For example the Niner has faster, steeper steering which is nice when going slow uphill. It's easy to change lines and the bike doesn't weave on those slow long climbs. But the Niner never felt comfortable descending at high speed, especially technical steep and rocky ones. The Big top feels very solid on descents and doesn't weave while ascending either. Rather than being extreme with the design, they picked geometry than is somewhat of a compromise and it helps the bike handle like butter. One of the drawbacks of this sweet handling geometry is a shorter cockpit than what I'm used to. I think this is a combination of the 29er (higher head tube in relation to the seat), shorter stem, and shorter top tube to facilitate the short wheelbase. If the wheelbase were much longer I imagine it would be a bear to handle in tight off camber switchbacks. I put on a slightly longer 100mm stem and have since changed my riding style, bending my arms at the elbow instead of locking them stretched out, especially on climbs. This has greatly improved my comfort and is also better on my stiff back. The only other complaint is that the wheels are on heavy side of what I'm accustomed to. Though with all the drawbacks that heavy wheels possess, they have their merits. They are sturdy and I can't detect any flex which leads to a boat load of confidence. The more surprising aspect is the stability that is created when spinning these slightly heavier 29er sized wheels. There are times when flying though singletrack or descending at speed and an obstacle comes up and the bike just plows through like full suspension, not being affected at all. I weigh 190lb and I feel like the DT Swiss 470 rims are bombproof. It may sound weird but because of this stability, I feel slightly more confident on the Big Top than the ASR-5. It may just be 29er sized wheels smoothing out the terrain. It's like the difference between taking a truck with stock tires offroad to one with slightly oversize tires on the dirt. Theres so much more grip, compliance, and confidence from have more rubber contacting the ground. If I were to catorgize this ride I would say it's in between a trail bike and an XC funmobile. If one is doing mostly XC riding, I can't see much of a reason to go 26". There is so much gained by the 29er. Ever since I got this bike I've ridden the ARC once and will probably retire it. The only place the 26" is better is on technical singletrack, but as I ride more I'm getting more proficient on the Big Top. Thank you Yeti for taking the care and time to make one magical, wonderful ride!
Similar Products Used: Niner Air 9 Carbon, Yeti ASR-5, Yeti Arc
Bike Setup: Deore XT and XTR mix drivetrain, Easton EC70 handlebars, Easton EA90 stem, Thompson masterpeice seatpost, all the rest Yeti stock build.
a Cross Country Rider
from Philadelphia, PA
Date Reviewed: October 9, 2011
Strengths: Very solid, stable, and precise ride. Climbs very well and descends very well too. Heavy duty hard tail with a 15mm TA on front and 12x142mm on rear. The "Enduro" kit is a solid get-it-done build.
Weaknesses: Rear tire choice: One needs to be mindful about tire size on the rear. There is potential for the rubber to rub/eat away at the carbon chain stays if too big of a tire is selected. Currently running a Slant Six 2.2 and I would not go any bigger.
This bike is awesome. I am 6'6" 245 lbs and it does not flex under my load. I feel very good on it, the geometry works great for me. The front end comes up very predictably and the rear end always finds traction. It blows my mind. Easily the most heavy duty, rugged, solid riding hard tails on the market.
For clarification on the rear end, stock this bike comes with a 10x135mm thru axle, if you want to go 12x142mm you need to buy the correct drop outs and thru axle, Shimano makes it (Yeti #200020172). It's a real easy conversion. The 10x135mm TA setup is great because you can also use standard QR setup that most bikes use. I went 12x142 because I pulled out all the stops for my size and heft.
Similar Products Used: Motobecane Fantom Pro 29'er
Bike Setup: Enduro kit build, Stan's ZTR Flow wheels, Chris King ISO hubs with 12x142mm TA, Kenda Slant Six 2.2 Tires.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 30, 2011
Strengths: The bike climbs very well, and descends even better. Stable at speed without have a sluggish feel to the steering.The headset and crankset potions of the frame came machined square, so the bike was completely ready to assemble.
Weaknesses: I bought the bike as a frame and built it up. The frame price is high, but worth every penny, build quality is outstanding.
Probably the best mtn bike I have ever owned. The combination of the carbon rear triangle and the 29" wheels make it seldom that I miss the full suspension. I love how stable the bike is at speed in tight descending single track. In this rider's opinion using an 80mm stem keep the steering as quick as a 26" bike. All and all I couldn't be happier with the bike.
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Nomad, Rocky Mountain Slayer, Rocky Mountain ETSX 70, Redline Monocog Flight 29
Bike Setup: 3x9 X.0
Reba RLT dual air
Redmetal 29 SL wheels
Avid Juicy 7
80mm Thompson stem
problem solvers 1.5 to 1.125 reducer
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: April 11, 2011
Strengths: Strong, perfect geometry and dimensions, rear triangle (carbon) really helps your body and make a silent ride. Beautiful looks (with a black fork).
Weaknesses: Not much stand-over clearance. Ambiguity regarding use of HammerSchmidt.
I bought the frame ($1100)then I built it myself with a moderate budget. The frame is exactly what I wanted: a non-race oriented sturdy hardtail 29er to do everything built around a 120mm travel fork/69 degrees with 17 inch chainstays (no more no less, 17 is perfect, even for 26ers). It fits me like no other bike and I ride better. The bike is heavy but that's more the components' fault than the frame's. The carbon rear triangle is there not to make the frame lighter, but to make this hardatil more comfortable and less harsh. That's good not only for your butt, but also for the rear wheel (the spokes and hub don't suffer that much). It also amkes the bike more silent. With the HammerSchmidt in the 1:1 position and the medium cage rear derailleur the ride is 100% silent, uphill or downhill, it's amazing.
Similar Products Used: Full aluminum 26ers, both hardtails and full suspension. Other 29ers only for demo.
Bike Setup: Marzocchi 44 TST2 120 mm Spot-on geometry!, The best performance in its price range.
Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes. 185mmF/160mmR. Much better than many hydraulic, inexpensive and easy to manipulate for beginners. Will never fail also.
WTB LaserDisc wheels. I trust the brand, they are strong, decent price, a little bit heavy of course but again $$$.
Shimano Shadow XT rear derailleur. Awesome so far.
Truvativ HammerSchmidt front derailleur, crancks and BB. Beside the silly noise when in overdrive, this is a wonderful invention.
Stem, seatpost, handlebar: AM categorized items from renown brands. Reliable, strong and inexpensive. Heavy, but I don't care.
Kona Wah Wah pedals. Thin,grippy and strong. Beautiful too.
Kenda nevegals 2.2. Perfect volume and profile. I don't like the tiny knob trend.
a Cross Country Rider
from Silver Spring, MD
Date Reviewed: November 11, 2010
Strengths: Fast, stable, sturdy, handles great, swiss army pocket knife of 29ers.
Weaknesses: None that I am aware...it's a bit heavier than your typical willow 29er racer, but I like the stable feeling of the bike
It's been described to me as an "all mountain 29er hard tail". It's super fast on smooth flowing single track, but also handles rooty, rocky semi technical stuff too. Great compliment to my AS R 5. I'm totally gay for Yeti!
Strengths: Super stiff front end, ability to fly over all obstacles, really rolls very fast. Comfort of 29'er wheels on bumpy terrain
Weaknesses: Frame & fork could be lighter, none otherwise
Rode the bike for 20mins to check set-up and then went straight into a local race. Immediately felt 100% comfortable in the bike. Impressed by how fast the bike allows me to go downhill, even when compared to ASR-C bike, would even say this bike is faster / more stable on downhills. Do not feel any lag on accelerating the big wheels, handling through twisty single track is also as fast as anything else I have ridden. For a single speed bike this bike is very quick, able to ride with other geared bikes without too much additional strain over what I would be doing on a 26'inch geared bike. Against the Big Rig, there is a 1kg weight saving which is noticeable when riding, also the front end on yeti is stiffer than Big Rig. I am so happy with this bike & the feel that i am also adding in a geared build as well.
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher Big Rig 2009 29'er. Also own a Yeti ASR-C & Seven Sola custom, both 26'inch.
Bike Setup: Fox F29 fork with taper headset + thru axle, wheels are Hope Pro II + Stan's Crest rims + DT spokes. Truvative Stylo UNO crank, 32T, running 16T on rear, built the bike SS specific, with the SS specific Hope hub on the back. XX brakes, Richey WCS 10D flat bar (Mary Bar), Ritchey WCS stem, 90mm, Chris King headset, Specialized saddle & Thompson Master seatpost. WTB Nano 2.1 inch tires. Frame size is medium, complete bike build is 10kg.
a Cross Country Rider
from Knoxville, TN
Date Reviewed: September 19, 2010
Strengths: This frame is top notch for a hard tail. The 2X10 Sram drivetrain is near perfect. Include the Fox fork, and you have a real bike value.
Weaknesses: The Avid Elixir brakes brakes are noisey, but it's very early and they may be seating in.
This is my first shot at a 29er. I decided on the bike sight unseen after reading the initial press reviews and based upon Yeti's reputation. I bought the bike in Colorado because I have a business connection there who rides Yeti's and his dealer (Wheatridge) had the bike in stock. Given how new the bike is and the very limited number of actual owner reviews, I've decided to post early.
After spending 4-5 years on a full suspension bike, I was a bit reluctant about going with a hardtail. Between the 29er wheels and this frame, I've hardly noticed any change in ride comfort. The change in what the bike goes over is significant, and it may take some time for my confidence level to match what the bike will do. I was also uncertain about the 2X10 Sram crank and drivetrain. I've only done 2 rides since delivery, but both included some steep sections, and I have not used everything on the rear cassette. I don't think I'll be missing the triple crank at all, and the bonus is the front shifts are faster and smoother. The Fox fork is as advertised. Since I had the bike shipped to TN, I had to do some limited assembly, which confirmed by opinion about Yeti's build quality and attention to detail.
The brake set is the only aspect of the bike that is currently suspect. I don't recall this much noise with the break-in on my previous bikes, but I'm reserving judgement at this point. I have a 3+ day weekend trip planned to FATS in Augusta, GA for the first weekend in October, and that should be the true test for the brakes. I'll post an update after the trip. Initially I'm giving the bike a 5 for value and a 4 overall pending a final review on the brakes.