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In an intriguing shift, Yeti has completely eliminated the World Cup Downhill race series–and downhill racing as a whole–from their pro team racing schedule for 2014. Instead, they are focusing solely on Enduro racing, with their pro racers competing in the Enduro World Series, the Big Mountain Enduro series, and the Oregon Enduro Series.

Photo: Yeti Cycles.

“Racing has been the cornerstone of our product development for over twenty-five years,” said Yeti President and co-owner Chris Conroy. “We are excited about enduro racing and have athletes that are uniquely suited to the discipline. Focusing on enduro racing will allow us to concentrate our marketing and product resources exactly where enthusiasm is growing from our sponsors, supporters, and customers.”

Photo: Yeti Cycles.

Their focus on the Big Mountain Enduro series, since Yeti is a title sponsor, makes sense. Also, much of Yeti’s bike lineup is ideal for Enduro-style riding. However, with a world cup downhill bike in their lineup as well, this transition is a bit surprising. Still, “World Cup DH racing isn’t done for Yeti Cycles, but our focus in the near-term is on enduro racing,” said Conroy.

Will we begin to see more bike brands and factory teams embrace enduro whole-heartedly, or at least feature enduro as a major component of their racing strategy? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: enduro, probably more than any other mountain bike race format, is on the rise.

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# Comments

  • delphinide

    Wow. And on the heels of discontinuing the SB66 and other 26in bikes. The market seems to be moving fast towards ‘Enduro’ and 650b. Will it burn out fast too?

    Sounds like the enduro field will be even more flooded with pros at the BME this summer. Have fun racing there Greg!

    • mtbgreg1

      Haha yeah, I’m not going to be anywhere near the front of the pack, but it should be fun times 🙂

      And wait, when did Yeti discontinue the SB66?! Do you have a link to a news story?

      As for the market “burning out,” it seems like some things, especially race formats, tend to run in a boom/bust cycle. Take cross country, 24 hour racing, short track, and probably a lot of other formats that have experienced a few years of intense popularity and then have faded into the background, or disappeared altogether.

    • delphinide

      I meant, have fun seeing the pros. We all know we can’t keep up. No way.

      That story about he SB66 blew up on mtbr last week, which I actually never read because it is blocked at work, but a friend sent it to me and my loyal Yeti friends had a long email discourse about it. Here is the link apparently (I can’t view it) followed by the ‘letter’. Maybe it’s a hoax? I don’t see it on their site yet. http://forums.mtbr.com/yeti/no-more-66-yeti-892394-3.html#post10921548 Guys-

      Seems like everyone is all fired up here. I’d love to give you insight into all of our future plans and the cool bikes we’re working on, but I’d probably get fired. I’ll do my best to set the record straight, but please understand that I’m bound by a certain degree of confidentiality that allows us to keep our competitive advantage.

      Regarding 26ers in general, our staff as a whole loves them. There are a few 29er and 650B guys in the office, but most of us currently ride 66’s on a day to day basis because we love its performance and versatility.

      Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of the first few 27.5’s I rode, mostly because they were bikes that were originally designed to fit 26″ wheels, but they somehow squeezed some 27.5’s in there (bolt-on dropouts, etc.). These bikes handled poorly due to the high BB and wacky geometry that often occurs from after-thought solutions like that, and they never felt like they took advantage of the larger wheel format. Once I finally started to ride bikes that were designed from scratch for 27.5’s, I was damn impressed. I really like the 75, and I’m even more excited about some other bikes we have in development.

      As some other shop guys have stated in this thread, an interesting thing happened toward the end of 2013 – despite all of you guys (and us here at Yeti!) professing love for 26ers, tangible demand for that wheel size fell off a cliff. In our domestic preseason bookings, in which we literally book hundreds/thousands of bikes for shops, demand for our 26ers was almost zero. Literally, there were less than a dozen 66’s on order nationwide. Yikes. Meanwhile, demand on the 75 and 575 (both 650B bikes) was off the charts.

      At the end of the day, we have to stay in business, and the way to do that is to sell bikes (duh). We’re currently moving through our back stock on 66’s, and if demand for that bike suddenly spikes again, we’d be more than happy to ramp production back up. In the meantime, we are finishing up some incredibly cool models that have been in development for almost 3 years now, and they are going to knock you on your ass when you see them. We’re not going to release details until these suckers are ready to ship, but remember how nuts everyone went when we first released the SB? Expect to get that excited once again.

      In any event, I know this is long winded and vague, but I hope it gives you a little clarity on what we’re doing and where we’re going. It’s funny . . . if nothing else, Yeti should have a pretty strong reputation for innovation and producing high-end, badass bikes (it’s literally all we’ve done for 28+ years now!), but some people out there seem to have little faith in us for some reason (“hypocrites”, sarcastic “thanks” notes, etc.). It’s all good though – we understand that we’re only as good as our last model, and that’s why we’ll continue to bust our butts to make great bikes and give you the best service.

      Peace, guys!

      John P.

    • mtbgreg1

      Based on that post, it doesn’t sound to me like the SB66 has been discontinued, just that they haven’t done an order for new frames recently and that they’re working on selling off their current inventory. Of course, a lot of smaller companies operate that way: they put in an order for a bike, sell off the stock, and if there’s enough demand they put in another order. And since Yeti isn’t a huge company, that makes sense.

      However, did I not say four months ago that the 26er is disappearing? 🙂 http://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-events/the-disappearance-of-the-26er-wheel-size-trends-at-interbike-2013/

  • jkldouglas

    The push towards Enduro Racing by Yeti kinda makes sense. I know that they are a huge sponsor for BME. Kinda makes since that they would focus on something that they are sponsoring. With that said, their downhill rider got 3rd at World’s last year, so it isn’t like they had nothing to show from their downhill sponsorship. Either way, more people buy enduro/trail bikes than downhill bikes. So, competing in a format that shows off their product (SB95, SB75, 575) in that segment of the market isn’t necessarily a bad move on their part.

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