I caught up with Chris Conroy at Yeti to ask him some important 2013 bike questions........
1)Yetis range is looking pretty solid right now, I think the new ARC C has taken a lot of people by surprise, and got some serious lusting going on, what were the primary goals when designing it?
>>The ARCc is a product we are really proud of. We knew it was critical to nail the design because the ARC has been such a storied bike in our line. Our goals were simple -- pay homage to our past, but push the design forward. The proliferation of 29" wheels on hard tails made the wheel size decision pretty easy. When we started to design the smaller sizes, we realized the 29'r wheel size was too much... it adversely affected stand over height and compromised the design in other ways. Fortunately, the industry has been going full-bore on 27.5" wheels, so we were able to build around that platform for the small and extra small. We're really excited with how it turned out.
2) The arrival of the ARC C had signalled the retirement of the Alloy 26" ARC, the longest serving Yeti (22 years!) were you sad to have to axe it?
has the market moved so much a 26" xc bike is no longer desired?
>>Yeah, getting rid of the ARC 26" was tough -- the end of an era. That said, we knew we needed to redesign the bike so it lived up to its name and heritage. We have plenty of 26" ARC's in our collection, so it will always be around...
3) The SB95 C was an easy one to spot , especially having gone from an Alloy to Carbon SB66. You are saying it's probably the best bike you have ever made, has the transformation of this bike in Carbon exceeded expectations?
>>In many ways, it has exceeded expectations. I'll never forget when the first carbon frame came in and Dave Ziegman, our test rider and pro downhill racer, came back from the first ride. He said: "this is the best bike we make." And Dave didn't traditionally like 29r's, so we knew we were on to something. It's a bike you really need to ride to appreciate.
4) the ARC X was a bit of a hit for Yeti, I understand that it missed the cross season when it was launched?? and still sold very well,I hear more than ever people wishing yeti would make a new one, would you ever rule it out?
>>Never say never. Truth is, we have so many projects going right now that we simply don't have time to design another cross bike.
5) The SB66 is a massively capable bike, and fitted with air or coil can really maximise the range of options when it comes to a build. Do you think there is room in the market for a 'bigger than big trail, smaller than DH' type bike? A bit like the Swiss Army knife ASX when it was launched?
>>There is a market for that type of bike, but it's not huge. Last year, I went to ride in the French Alps for a couple of weeks and converted my SB66 to a burlier bike (coil rear, Fox 36 Van fork, DH wheels / tires) and was really impressed with how it rode. We offered it that way in the US for a while and it was popular among core riders, but not enough to keep it in the line. As longer travel bikes get bigger wheels, the travel might come down a bit and "smaller than DH" bikes might emerge and even be raced in WC events. South Africa is a prime example of the type of course that kind of bike would excel on.
6) Yeti is famed for its Aluminium frames, do you think that the current developments in Carbon and increase in metal costs (not sure if its world wide, but Europe is) will eventually bring Carbon frames in at under alloy priced frames? Making alloy virtually redundant for high end bike frames?
>>I don't see that happening in the near future. The cost of carbon is still very expensive and the world wide demand is increasing, so the raw product demand will keep the prices up for a while. That said, Giant built a huge carbon factory in China for lower priced carbon frames. How low? Not sure... Either way, we're not chasing "cheap carbon" -- we're just working hard to make the best bikes.