This review was written up by a good customer of ours, Pat Smith. Pat was nice enough to write up this article to share his thoughts from his recent transition to a more modern mountain bike. Let's take a look into what he thought of the switch.
Moving Up From a Twelve Year Old Yeti
I started mountain biking about 12 years ago, after many years of riding road bikes. I’ve been riding the same Yeti 575 Enduro all these years, and loving it. I was vaguely aware that during that time the industry had not been standing still, but I didn’t realize how much had changed until buying a Yeti SB 5.5 a few months ago. Wow! I felt a little like Rip Van Winkle waking up to a new world after a long nap.
So how was this change to 29” wheels, modern geometry, and Switch Infinity suspension different for me? First of all, there certainly has been a learning curve to get used to the riding position, big wheels, and overall feel of the 5.5. But having put a few hundred trail miles on the bike, I couldn’t go back.
I’m 6’5” tall, and the 5.5 just seems to fit so much better. (Having said that, I have seen riders of much more average height riding 29ers on our trails, and loving them). I kept my old 575, and it now feels a little like riding a BMX bike in comparison! The new 5.5 is just so balanced, and the riding position gives a real sense of control. It’s a cliché now to say that 29” wheels roll over things better, but it’s really true. I wouldn’t have thought that 3” on the wheel diameter would make so much difference, but the wheels just don’t get hung up on obstacles the way the smaller wheels do.
The improvement in suspension has been another big factor in how the 5.5 rides too. I live in northern Colorado, and many of the Front Range trails offer steep climbs, and the resulting steep downhills. Climbing on the 5.5 is a dream, even with the shock wide open. I thought the 575 was a good climber- and for its time, it was. But the 5.5 is just so stable and “connected” to the trail. And the larger volume tires just have gobs of traction. It may be a slight exaggeration to say it climbs like a hardtail, but I don’t think it’s too far off.
But when you get past that initial firmness and start working all that travel, the descending is so great! (I won’t even get into how nice dropper posts are- how did we ever ride without one?).
All in all, I would say that if you are considering the move up to a bike like the 5.5, take a test ride (or several). Yes, it’s initially going to feel very different, but when you adjust I think you will find that different is better!
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