The Yeti Big Top debuted at Sea Otter just over a week ago. Yeti, who I'm 99% sure had previously publicly shunned the big wheeled movement joined the fray with this very trick and well thought out entry into the 29er world. It looks like through the name of the model Yeti are still poking a bit of fun at the circus/clown-like aspect of owning a big wheeled bike. But Marcus Roy certainly wasn't laughing when he piloted the only Big Top in New Zealand to 5th place at the Singlespeed Champs in Queenstown this weekend. Full Press release below. Marcus Roy's bike caused quite a stir on the startline of the 2010 NZ Singlespeed Championships at Seven Mile on Saturday – it was the only singlespeed Yeti Big Top 29er in existence.
Roy, of Invercargill, only received the 29-inch wheel hardtail mountain bike a few days before the event.
"It turned up at work in a box on Thursday and I managed to get it set up as a singlespeed and ran 36-21 gearing. I had a quick ride, but the race on Saturday was my first real ride," Roy said.
The NZ Singlespeed Championships are an unusual test of character, spirit and cycling prowess. With only one gear the riders must grind up the climbs and then manage a high cadence on the descents. Wearing skirts and fishnet stockings, or dressing up like Susan Devoy, Spiderman or Skeletor just adds to the colour of the event for the riders.
The race started with a 500m run and riders had to carry their front wheel with them.
"The start was hard – a guy fell over in front of me and I had to jump over him, then it was all on. It was quite a long run, but I got back to my bike and had the wheel in quickly and settled into the race," Roy said.
He was holding a good position at the front of the pack when he noticed the cleat in his shoe had come loose.
"On lap 2 I had to stop and borrow a 4mm Allen key to tighten it up and I lost a place or two there and a few minutes. I've never had that happen in a race before," Roy said.
"If it had pulled right out or I had lost a bolt that would have been the end of my race."
Once back in the hunt Roy said he made a common mistake: "I tried to catch back up on the time I had wasted – I went a wee bit hard on lap three and didn't quite recover as well as I should have and couldn't get my rhythm again," he admitted.
On lap 4 Roy had a beer stop – in the New Zealand Singlespeed Championships riders can choose to take a shortcut on any two laps, but first they have to down a bottle of beer.
"I had a beer stop on lap 5 as well – you don't have to take it, but I liked the look of the shortcut at that stage," Roy laughed.
"It's a good fun event and very relaxed."
Having the only singlespeed Yeti Big Top in the world added a bit of pressure for Roy.
"I did feel a bit of extra pressure, but I knew what I was in for – I got my wheel in quick at the start and was up with the top boys quickly, so felt good and the bike was bloody good. It jumps nicely through the doubles and was easy to ride."
"The geometry felt good around corners and switchbacks – which most 29ers usually struggle with, so it was certainly fun to ride."
Roy finished fifth at the event, which was won by Garth Weinberg, of Rotorua in 2hr18min. Anja McDonald, of Dunedin, won the women's title in 2hr49min.
The next major New Zealand event for the Yeti Big Top will be the World Singlespeed Championships to be held in Rotorua on October 23 (www.sswc10nz.com) with three-time Olympian Kashi Leuchs, of Dunedin, at its helm.
Scheduled to be released in New Zealand in September 2010, the Yeti Big Top is a versatile 29er, with singlespeed and geared options made possible via its unique drop-out system. The frame features an aluminum front triangle and a bonded-on carbon fibre rear-end. It has a tapered head tube and ISCG tabs to accommodate the fitment of a chain guide for more aggressive riders. Its revolutionary interchangeable "chip" system rear drop-out, offers riders the freedom to switch between a standard 9mm QR axle, 12mm thru-axle and singlespeed. Singlespeeders will also love the removable housing guides that ensure a purist look.