Yeti 575 £3699

Aggressive trail ride

BikeRadar score 4/5

Yeti’s agile but confidently authoritative ‘nearly 6in-travel' bike has been a favourite all-rounder for ages. This year’s revamp ticks all the right boxes for ripping up any sort of trail. It's confident enough to use the whole trail and work the most radical angles, but agile enough to avoid what it can't cope with. It also adds infectious enthusiasm, making it a near-perfect build-your-own aggro trail bike template.

Ride & handling: Light enough to climb and charge well

Skinny, loose, zero-tolerance singletrack trails are enough to put any bike and rider on edge, so it’s a big tribute to the new 575 that several of our test riders rolled out the “it just feels right” cliché straight away. Early 575s climbed well but were definitely flexy and flighty on anything technical. The last generation improved on that but this latest version has it nailed.

Even with a 15mm screw-through axle, the long-legged 150mm-travel (5.9in) Fox 32 isn’t the stiffest trail fork around, but the new gold Kashima stanchions give a much more supple, traction-sniffing ride. Add the tapered head tube and a steeper seat angle putting more weight forward and we never felt worried about using the full width of rocky ledge trails, even if wandering a couple of millimetres the wrong way would have had serious consequences.

The new lower bottom bracket, increased stiffness across the rear wheel axle and deep chainstays, plus a firm end to the shock stroke make it a great bike to swing, sweep and slide through fast and loose corners. This is all the more impressive because it’s exactly these situations that make most long-travel trail bikes feel nervous and noodly. This is only going to be improved by a 160mm-travel fork and broader, burlier wheels, and you’ll still have a bike under 30lb.

While it’s underlined with useful muscle, the overall feel of the bike is still lively and agile. Those massive chainstays and the screw-through rear axle mean no torque-related twist. The pivotless carbon chainstays and a firm compression tune on the Fox RP23 shock mean there’s no wallow when you stamp on the pedals either.

There’s enough plush in the mid-stroke to suck up any momentum-stopping steps or rocks. Properly big stuff is handled okay – if not outstandingly smoothly – by the ‘dogbone’ controlled shock ramp-up too. The lack of small-bump compliance needs compensating for with careful power application or low tyre pressures on loose climbs though, and limited pedal clearance can cause issues on technical climbs.

Frame & equipment: New lower and stiffer chassis is a real confidence builder

In silhouette, not much has changed for 2011, but the detailing tells a different story. The 575 now gets a short but fat step-reinforced, tapered head tube, backed up with a big shared main tube weld. The slightly humped hydroformed top tube shape isn’t new, but increases centre-section stiffness massively compared to the original 575. The midway kink increases standover room and also carries the small front shock mount.

This year, you also get cable routing for a remote control dropper post. An ‘armpit’ piece then carries the extremely backswept ‘dogbone’ shock link, while the large-diameter seat tube is topped with a stylish Salsa seat collar. A whole new hydroformed bottom bracket and main pivot section at the base of the seat tube adds ISCG mounts and makes room for the DMD front mech on the front of the chainstays.

The alloy chainstays are now a super-deep, 55mm rectangular section, widened to take a 2.35in tyre with ease. New Yeti Chip inserts in the dropouts allow standard 135mm quick-release axles or the 142mm x 12mm screw-through axle on our test bike. The pivotless carbon seatstays with tapered bottom end and the big under-slung cross brace are unchanged but still look smart.

There’s a choice of black anodised, white, pewter and team colours as standard. Plus there’s a limited edition run of 250 25th anniversary turquoise and yellow bikes, which come with a custom colour Fox fork, Chris King bits and a WTB saddle. Complete bike kits (Enduro, Race and Race XX) are available, but most Yeti bikes are built up with custom specs from the £1,699 frame. The beauty of this bike is that you could build it up in loads of different ways and still get a cracking machine.

With a lightweight fork and wheels like those specced on the 'Race' build tested here, the 575 is a great all-round trail bike without sacrificing too much of the control that the extra travel brings. The stiffer, lower frame could certainly take a bigger 160mm (6.3in) fork for rowdier riding. The new ISCG and dropper post fixtures would also be a bonus in this kind of build, while a HammerSchmidt crankset could offset any potential chainring clearance issues.

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