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Funded by the sale of a 1928 Indian motorcycle and using a company name swiped from a sleeping bag brand, Yeti Cycles barely made a splash when began selling mountain bikes in 1985. But its founder John Parker always dreamed big, and Yeti's influence quickly outgrew its humble beginnings. The brand gained a diehard following thanks to a combination of a legendary race team and forward-thinking design. Fast-forward roughly three decades—while much has changed, Yeti's crew is still obsessively focused on building bikes they want to ride.
Building amazing bikes takes equal parts creative thinking, flawless execution, and rigorous development. Racing has been a key part of the development formula from the early days, when Juli Furtado, Missy Giove, and John Tomac were besting the competition on turquoise ARCs, to the present, with Jared Graves and Richie Rude are landing the SB6 on Enduro World Series podiums. But there's more to product development than winning races. Without a pioneering spirit, Yeti wouldn't have been chosen as Easton's partner in developing high-end aluminum bicycle tubing in the ‘80s. The same could be said for the C-26, which brought carbon fiber bicycles to professional-level racing in 1990.
This progressive spirit finds its way into every Yeti, regardless of its intended use. At the top of the technological food chain is a new suspension platform dubbed “Switch Infinity.” This technology is the lovechild of the World Cup DH proven 303 rail technology and the critically acclaimed Switch Link. Taking the best of both technologies, it’s not surprising that it has become the platform for Yeti's aptly named Super Bikes, the SB5 trail bike, and SB6 enduro bike. On the simpler end of the spectrum, the race-bred ARC cross country hardtail now boasts a lighter weight carbon construction, paired with legendary handling. If you need a bit of squish in your XC-racer, the ASR adds 100mm of race-tuned suspension travel to the ARC formula. And if you prefer simplicity and reliability, there’s the 575—an aluminum trail bike that's as no-nonsense as they come.
Whichever Yeti best fits your need, you can ride with confidence knowing that your new bike or frame is a perfectly built product of passion, and a descendant of one of mountain biking's most influential brands. But don’t take our word for it--ask a member of the ‘Yeti Tribe,’ members of which you can find at many a trailhead. Yeti's fans are notoriously fanatical, to put it mildly. Some love the iconic turquoise paint, while others respect the list of legendary racers who have flown the Yeti flag. But really, it's the bikes that keep the Tribe loyal to the brand. Next time you see a Yeti at the trailhead, ask the owner about it. Chances are, it's not their first Yeti, and there's more to that brand loyalty than simple nostalgia.