The Yeti Ultimate was the created in 1989 as a result of a collaboration with Mountain Bike Action magazine to create The Ultimate mountain bike. Though not the first bike to feature elevated chainstays, Yeti managed to incorporate their trademark loop stays and organic curves in the downtube to create a truly remarkable bike. Although only made for a relatively short time, at least when compared to the F.R.O. and A.R.C., the Ultimate is one of the more iconic models in the classic Yeti lineup and is sought by collectors across the world.
Constructed from the same Patco steel tubing as the F.R.O. the Ultimate was neither sophisticated nor lightweight. However, unlike the F.R.O. which could feel a little dead when pushed hard and into technical section, the Ultimate came alive. I have to admit that I have relatively little seat time on an Ultimate, at least compared to other Yetis, but it is a fun bike to ride that’s very tossable and predictable and likes it when you give it the beans.
Paired with the famous Accutrax fork and in this case A-TAC stem the cockpit is stout but with a mild degree of forgiveness. Most people today would opt for a Yeti made steel stem, but a majority of these left the factor with an A-TAC.
Unlike most elevated chainstay bikes which were plagued by flexy ride characteristics the Ultimate was a breath of fresh air with a stout rear end. I also really like the alignment and transition of the seat tube and chainstays, it sets the bike aside from other designs which are more angular and appear sort of unrefined. There is a great story about the section of tube that connects the down tube to the seat tube and stays. Apparently that little section was so complicated that it took the better part of a day to make the first one causing Parker to yell in exasperation at the crew “What the fuck are you doing, writing a love story?”. So that piece of tube ended up being dubbed the “Love Story” tube.
This particular bike is finished with a selection of era specific parts including Bullseye two piece cranks and matching hubs. The remainder of the drivertrain is Shimano’s 7-spd XT M732 grouppo which was a go to platform for racers and privateers during the late 80s.
All in all the Ultimate ranks high among collectable vintage bikes that can actually be aggressively ridden. Because of this and for its style it’s been a favorite among collectors for a long time. If you get a chance to snatch one up at an attractive price I highly recommend it.