Yeti 575 - Guiding Bike
This year the Yeti 575 is the bike of choice. Much like it's smaller brother, it's construction and finish are simply world class. All of the classic cliches are present, neat fishscale welds, mirror polished stays and the shock bolts have Yeti engraved into them. After a season spanking around in the mountains, it is still looking fantastic with the raw finish buffing up well. Of course there is a little more to the bike than just good look... The ride is really involving, I thought that with longer travel, forks etc, it would be a great on the straight line rocky stuff (which it was), but not so great on the twisting trails. I was wrong, it laps up the tight stuff the only issue I had was with that much travel there was a tendency for it to swallow some forward momentum on the slow sections causing the odd trip over senior bars! This was soon rectified once I realised by weighting the back end a bit more she tracked like a good un.
I raced the Cristalp on it as well and yes it is a bit heavier than the ASR but not massively and unless I was going for a top 10 result which my ability has more to do with than the bike, it was spot on. On the small frame size fitting a bottle was a tight squeeze (purely for the Cristalp), but in the real world of camelbaks was not an issue.
This year the 575 will be built up with a different, lighter weight spec and thus far with the Revelation forks, which are shorter than the Pikes they replace, everything feels a little tighter and pushes the handling firmly in the direction of an ASR. I do tend to prefer my bikes to handle a bit more like a race bike but I may have a slightly different point of view when hanging off the back of the saddle dropping down to Trient...
Rockshox Pike Team fork
I thought it would be a bit of a gamble this year going with the new Rockshox, previous dodgy builds were ever present in my mind as I laid down the cash for a new pair. I was however completely wrong. The Pikes were absolutely superb and did not put a foot wrong all season. Compared with other forks they are not as long as the Empire State building and thus do not throw out the head-angle of your bike. Bomb proof construction, no bushing slop, no seal leaks and no bizarre compression or rebound spikes. I serviced the forks twice during the season just because I could rather than they needed it. It honestly took no more than 25 mins and those who have been on holiday with 10fifty know that time is of a premium to us so time spent monkeying around with forks is not an
See the previous season kit test -
Alpine Toy Test 2004.
The plastic top caps are not the best but have now been replaced by nice aluminium ones for 06. John's compression adjuster fell apart but it would appear that this was a one off and John had quite a few odd mechanicals during the season...
This year Len will be on my old Pikes so it will be a true test of their durability. I will be on the New Revelations in 06 and after a few weeks riding around NZ I am impressed. They are not as stiff as the Pikes which I might add are bloody stiff, but still track well. An update will be written at the end of the 06 season.
Shimano XT Disc Brakes
Its been said before on our website but the XT brakes are the hairiest, biggest, most dangly dogs knackers of brakes out there. No pump, no fade a piece of slash to service and bled once because I felt like it. I like these brakes, a lot. If you are building up a new bike, put these babies on!
Fizik Gobi Saddle
I am a victim of marketing hype, I can't help it but with the Gobi all of what they say is pretty spot on. I demoed a saddle care of Leisure Lakes and bought one straight away. On a hardtail it does feel like you have a massive back tyre on as it gives you a little suspension flex and on any bike I find it really comfortable. There is ample room for your climbing disco dancing saddle shifting and it's narrow enough at the back to get off the back for some of those ruder moments. I will say that the build quality was not the best on the one I had as I had to superglue some of the leather back down, not a major hassle but the saddle is £80.
I will be using a Spec BG saddle on the road bike this year. Fear of the years of gonad bashing I have subjected myself to has meant I am going to see if the science behind BG is hocus pocus or nad savingly true! An update will follow.
Kenda Blue Groove and Nevegal tyres
Well, Jonny T claims that with these babies on board, dragging your elbow on the dirt as you rail corners is a definite possibility, Jonny I don't need no fancy rubber for that thank you very much I can fall of my bike without any help! However the man may be onto something. The sticky compound of these tyres really does work, gripping really well on wet rocks and roots. They do initially wear pretty quickly but after that they still have plenty of meat left on them and last for a good amount of time. I would say that a set would last most people a whole summer so are a good investment. They would not be tyres that you can keep on dragging out of the cupboard year in year out and keep using them, Tim.
This year I will be on Spec Adrenaline Pros, good pricing and so far long lasting but I am aware of thin sidewalls in the past so we shall see.
Quechua Diosaz 17 Camelbak
I had looked around for a really light good sized camelbak for a while without much success. After a trip to Quechua (the mountain equipment version of Decathlon), I came away with the Diosaz. It was cheap, approx £30 with bladder, and was really light with a good figure hugging design. The bladder got binned as Camelbak DO make the best out there and then the pack got filled up with all of my guide stuff. I really noticed how comfortable it was even when fully loaded and on fast rocky descents where most bags slap the back of your helmet, it stayed rock solid on my back. The waist strap has zipped pockets, great for keys and coffee money and when it rains you can cover the pack with the included fully waterproof rain cover that poppers onto the outside which in my book is fantastic. I also reasoned that at £30 if the lightweight ripstop fabric falls apart its not big deal. Well it did most of last summer, all of this winter and will be with me next season as well.
Calling Companies - Your Kit Tested?
If you have some kit that you think is up to the job and you want to send us some through to test then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the previous season kit test - Alpine Toy Test 2004.