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First Look: Yeti Big Top 29er Mountain Bike

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SEA OTTER CLASSIC 2010 – Yeti Bicycles is jumping into the big wheeled fray with their first 29er, the Big Top hardtail.

The frame is business in the front, party in the back with an aluminum front triangle and carbon stays.  Maintaining that signature Yeti look is an alloy curved Arc dropout area, but there’s much more to this frame than meets the eye.

Despite being a hardtail, it has a removable ISCG05 mount, so you can throw a strong fork on there and prep for landing.  The rear end has a virtually unlimited number of options for geared and single speed setup using replaceable dropouts and Yeti’s Chip system that debuted on their ASR5 previously.

Get the full scoop and a million fantastic photos right past the break…


The Yeti Big Top was put together with the Fox F29 100mm RLC FIT fork in mind, and it’s available as a frameset that includes it and a Cane Creek headset for $1,800.  The frame only is $1,100, and the complete bike with a mixed SRAM X7 and X9 2×10 drivetrain, DT Swiss wheels, Schwalbe tires, Truvativ aluminum cockpit, WTB saddle and Elixir brakes is $2,750.


Frame weight is right about 4lbs.  I didn’t weigh this one because it’s not spec’d as it’ll be sold, but it didn’t feel too portly with the SLX mix.  They’ll be available in Medium (18″), Large (19.5″) and XL (21″) frames.


The headtube is tapered, and the tubeset is pretty straightforward.  No overly fancy shaping, but the tubes seem slightly larger diameter than other bikes I’ve seen.


Despite the big headtube, the Big Top uses an external headset.


Cable routing is under the top tube and corralled by removable guides.  Not that you’d want to remove them, unless you’re only running a front brake, but the option is there.


The bottom bracket uses standard outboard bearing BB’s, with a little taper on the non-drive side.  The drive-side has the three bolt tabs that connect the removable ISCG05 mount.


The rear end uses alloy curves to maintain the signature Yeti look and to provide a solid mounting point for the various dropout bits and pieces.  The system is comprised of a dropout, brake mount and chips that fit various axle types (better illustrated below).  The bike will ship with standard 9mm QR dropouts, but parts are available to run Shimano’s or DT Swiss’ 12×142 thread-in axles or single speed sliding dropouts.


Shown here is Shimano’s 12mm axle, which threads in just like a 15mm front axle, then clamps tight.


DT’s system simply threads in and uses a tapered chip to fit the tapered head on their axle. (Shimano’s is flat against the dropout)


On the driveside, another chip bolts to the dropout to accommodate the chosen axle format.  The dropout slides around the curved part of the frame, with a bolt threading through both sides for better strength.



Yeti’s single speed dropouts are pretty trick, too.  A small thumb-scrollable adjuster dial moves the slide stop to keep appropriate chain tension and line up the wheel properly.

yeti-big-top-29er-mountain-bike07 yeti-big-top-29er-mountain-bike06


The chainstays bond to a massive platform behind the bottom bracket.


There’s no bridge, just a big fat carbon section to maintain lateral stiffness, though Yeti says it should have a small bit of bump compliance due to the nature of carbon.



The seat tube has Direct Mount front derailleur mount, and here’s the ISCG mount.




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14 years ago

Weird, no small? nothing under 18″

and no water bottle cage mounts on the Seat Tube?

14 years ago

Every frame these days should have ISCG mounts. Mainly for accessories such as Hammerschmidt, MRP XCG, etc. Sure it adds trivial weight and complexity to frame builds, but I love my XCG and on my new bike I can’t use it due to the press fit BB standards and no ISCG tabs to bolt to.

14 years ago

YETI= yawn. Nice – good timing on the 29er concept. Better really, really, late than never, I guess.

R Chilton
R Chilton
14 years ago

WHAT…..no small???? I’ve been waiting for Yeti to make a 29er. The terrain we ride in here is perfect for a 29er, and I really want a Yeti. I have a medium Gary Fisher that is too BIG. How can you tease a girl like this? Make a 29er and not offer in a small!!! I know plenty of guys that ride smalls. Wake up Yeti, come on!!!

12 years ago

I am a guy who rides a small 29er-a Moots MootoX. Cannot get to understand why no small for the Big Top. Do these people at Yeti ever ride 29ers???

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