It’s no secret that Jared Graves annihilated (well most of the time) the opposition at this year’s world cup four-cross rounds. He simply out gated and outclassed everyone. Graves has looked like the man to beat for a couple of seasons and YET(i) it has taken until now for him to become world champion. So what made the difference? Was it that lady luck just blew a kiss his way, or did the 2010 DJ prototype YETI that Graves was riding make the difference?, and would this bike make a difference to the ‘grass roots’ type racer?
2010 YETI DJ.
If I’m totally honest I have never been a massive fan of the 09 YETI DJ. After loaning Lionel Akrims (Evolution’s team rider) for the day at the Redhill four-cross track I wasn’t overly impressed. The fact is, along with the likes of Tom Gethin and the rest of the Redhill mob, we preferred the Santa-Cruz Jackal and the titanium Charge that were also hanging around on that hazy summers day. All different in their own way, but when sat on the national pro gate each sharing the same intention, to win……
After Stu King (Evolution Imports) dropped the ‘black beauty’ off the first thing was to place it on the butchers hook. Appearances can be deceiving. The frame looked heavy. This is partly due to the square section seat tube and beautifully sculpted box section rear end. You can’t help initially thinking that this frame, considering it’s a race bike, looks massively overbuilt. The test bike provided was dressed in XT group set, FOX forks, DT SWISS wheels with NOBBY NICKS being the rubber contact patches on the floor. The scales read 27 pounds with dx clip-less pedals. A respectable weight considering the lightest four cross race bike to ever adorn the ‘big red scale’ was a custom built titanium, Charge with full XTR group set, carbon mono mini pros, Reba bolt through forks etc, etc which came in at the 25 pound mark.
A respectable weight then, but how does it ride? The first thing you notice is that when you stomp on the pedals from a standing start the YETI takes off similar to a Porsche 911. It is without doubt the most positive pedalling bicycle I have ever ridden. I’d go as far to say that it would more than likely out sprint my 20” Intense podium which in theory shouldn’t happen. However when putting the 26” Yeti against the 20” Intense the rear triangles look very similar, which explains why the ‘black beauty’ would leave the gate like a greyhound on steroids.
It cannot be underestimated the time that has gone into creating the rear end on this bike in terms of hard-tail frame design and the fact that you can adjust the chain stay length for different tracks is what most racers have been waiting for. The frame oozes the usual Yeti workmanship that people come to expect from the brand and has been well designed and thought out.
The bike passed the half mile manual test on its second attempt and went from grove to cul de sac as quickly as any bike can.
On the tarmac of suburbia the yeti was a flying machine. However it needed to be taken to dirt, wall to wall jumps, bumps and root. It also needed the skills of a World Cup four-cross racer to find the limits of the bike. So off it went with Scott Roberts to the DIRT four cross test track.
Here’s what he thought.
“The Yeti Dirt Jump bike is a replica of Jared Grave’s World Championship bike and it’s a bit a like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The frame weight is 5pounds. It would make an ok jump bike but it’s really designed for flat bollock out four-cross racing and world cup Four-cross race tracks. Picking the bike for the first time you instantly notice the front end, even with its 1 ½ head tube lower cup, seems really light, hence why this thing feels ‘TAIL’ heavy. The big head tube really makes the front end stiff so it tracks really well in the corners, with the seat tube resembling something off the Forth road bridge making the bike feel exceptionally stiff with zero flex. This is one solid bike.”
“Rear drop outs are fully adjustable with over 25mm of adjustment which makes setting it up for a single speed (if you so choose) simple. Tyre clearance is good and wide enough to fit in a 2.35 tyre which is ample space for what most people would ever need.”
“Where this bike, in my opinion really excels is out the gate. It’s just instant drive. It will without doubt out gate any other frame out there. The 2010 YETI needs launch control such is the sheer speed and acceleration of this bike.”
“In the corners its rails the berms with ease, there is adjustment on the rear drop outs should you want to play with the length of the chain stay depending on your personal preference and the nature of the course your thrashing.”
“I did feel that the medium test size we had was a little small, but Yeti offer three sizes this year so there should be one to suit your height or riding style. If you like your bikes small, like a blown up BMX this could be the bike for you. I will say that I personally think this is an out and out race bike. It wouldn’t be my choice of bike for hacking around the woods on unless your riding is super smooth (similar to Jared’s) or you have titanium knee joints, but if you’re a racer and you race to win, then smash the piggy bank and head to your nearest YETI dealer.”
So, would I buy one? No and yes.
The No being the fact that I’m nearly forty and my knees are kind of shot, such is the brutality (a little harsh, but none the less true) of the YETI over rough ground. Don’t let the fact that I’m old and past it put you off because after a day of passing the ‘black beauty’ around the more able bodied (and younger) of the U.K. four cross community at Chicksands, most, if not all were willing to trade comfort for speed. Another no factor may be the cost. This frame ain’t cheap. But saying that I and everyone else who rode it, ranging from world cup racer to Sunday rider thought it was like no other hard-tail they had ever ridden. Most liked it, some loved it and some didn’t.
Now the YES part.
If your gate is poor or you are just looking for that bit of an edge then look no further, this is the bike for you. The 2010 YETI DJ will without doubt help you, me, anyone leave the trap quicker than your current bike. From a racers point of view this is without doubt your weapon of choice as anyone who races four-cross knows how important the gate and the first straight are. If you are ‘in it’ to ‘win it’ ‘Black Beauty’ should be the first and foremost bike you wheel out of the stable. Just make sure you’ve had your cod liver oil capsule with your breakfast before you leave…………….
Contact Evolution Imports- 02082900807