Proust knew how to get to the heart of the matter way back in 1885, when he started his iconic questionnaire. In the spirit of his concise exploration of character, we offer our Proust Bike Reviews.
Yeti SB5-C Beti
Reviewed by: Nicole Strong
This bike’s chief characteristic: Finally, a women’s bike I am excited about! Not your typical pink (though it is coral) and shrink women’s bike. High performance 5” trail mountain bike, thoughtfully designed and assembled with great components. The only changes from the “men’s version” includes exactly the changes I make to bikes I buy including slightly more narrow handlebars, the great WTB Deva women’s saddle, shorter cranks, and suspension tuned for a little person.
This bike’s favorite virtue: This was my first time on a Yeti of any ilk, and I was really impressed with the bike’s versatility. It climbs much better than my current 5” bike, and descends like a dream. I don’t know if it’s the new fork, or that Yeti magic everyone talks about, but I felt like I was flying downhill, even though this bike is 3lbs lighter than my current bike. I used to have a dedicated XC bike and a Trail bike, but I think this one steed will meet all my needs, save me from spending extra money on swapping out saddles, cranks, etc., and most importantly, save space in the garage.
Also to note: If you are scared of 1x11 gearing like I have always been, I suggest you give it a try. I am definitely a spinner and made it up everything around Central Oregon just fine. In fact, I think this will make me stronger, just in time for ski season!
This bike’s main fault: I don’t know if this is really a fault, but it is expensive. It would be nice if they made a model 1 step down, but if you are a committed mountain biker, it will be worth it. Most women specific bikes err on the other end and are made with low-end components (which is why I personally have steered away from them in the past), so this fills a much-needed niche.
If not for yourself, for whom would this bike be? This bike is for me! I think it is for any intermediate to advanced mountain bike rider looking for a high performing light-weight shred machine. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and demo one at Sunnyside Sports, I promise you will come back as smitten as I am.
This bike’s motto: Yeti says it pretty well: “The SB5c Beti is built for hard-charging women who are looking for the ideal trail bike.”
2015 Trek EX-9 27.5
Reviewed by: Marty Brown
Bike tested: Trek Fuel EX9 27.5’’ wheels
This bike’s chief characteristic: Trek/Penske racing RE:aktiv rear shock allows efficient pedaling while absorbing big hits, all with the familiar CTD design of a Fox shock.
This bike’s favorite virtue: My favorite virtue of the EX9 would be the snappy handling. With the 27.5” wheels, it handles quick changes in your line much more readily than bikes with 29” wheels. Comparing the bike to others with the same wheel size, I like the quicker handling than bikes with slacker geometry.
This Bike’s main fault: While this bike is capable of dealing with any trail I am willing to ride, I could see how some may want more travel in the suspension. Larger drops or rockier terrain may leave a more aggressive rider wanting more.
If not for yourself, for whom would this bike be? I believe this is a bike for riders who want to push themselves physically. It is as efficient a climber as many cross country focused bikes, with the capability of having a blast coming back downhill.
This bike’s motto: Go out and have fun. This bike will not be what limits what you can ride.
2015 Ibis Ripley
Reviewed by: Cory Tanler
What is (this bike's) chief characteristic: The Ripley is the most efficient-climbing full suspension bike I've ridden to date. Its playfulness and nimble handling are a close complement to its climbing prowess.
What is its favorite virtue: A balance of opposites.
It's main fault: The Ripley is known to make its rider believe he or she is more skilled than they actually are. And the pivots squeak if you spray too much water on them.
If not for yourself, for whom would this bike be? The rider who wants one bike for all things, from all-day epics to shuttle rides in Oakridge.
This bike's motto: "Four out of five doctors recommend the Ripley. The fifth one didn't understand the question."
2015 Yeti SB5 Carbon
Reviewed by: Jody Jacobson
What is (this bike's) chief characteristic: It climbs like a billy goat.
What is its favorite virtue: I have yet to ride a bike that corners as well. I found myself braking less and carrying more speed overall. It sling-shots out of corners and pops off lips--I couldn't ask for more. Oh yeah, and it has a 5.2 lb frame.
It's main fault: That's hard to find. I wish it came with stem length options.
If not for yourself, for whom would this bike be? A rider who finds all-mountain bikes a little sluggish under hard pedaling, but who feels a little under-gunned when descending a rowdy trail. This bike is capable of all-day epics on variable terrain.
This bike's motto: "The harder you push me, the smoother I get."