Charging down brawny, enduro-grade terrain at high speeds is the Yeti SB5.5's happy place. Descent focused geometry, 29er wheels, a burly 160mm fork, and a supple 140mm rear end keep the bike grounded through the chaos. This bike lives for high speeds. We never found a straightaway long enough to top out the SB5.5's RPMs. Walking the line between an efficient enduro rig and hard-hitting trail bike, the Yeti sacrifices some climbing speed and comfort for downhill domination. The Yeti does have its limits. Bigger impacts can feel harsh and rattle it's cage. That said, the SB5.5 doesn't sacrifice too much in the way of efficiency and is perfectly capable of carrying you up a multi-hour climb.
The Yeti is a great bike for shredding rough terrain, be it park laps or a big, burly climbs to the top of a bigger, burlier descent. While it's still fun on the soft, eroded folds of the foothills, it's not the best bike for those trails. Its true talents won't be tapped. It's a great choice for anyone hitting technical, challenging trails with any frequency. The Santa Cruz Hightower LT is more maneuverable, better on the big hits, and harsher on the small ones. The original 135mm Santa Cruz Hightower offers improved climbing and a marginally more playful attitude. The Hightower is still plenty capable but can get in over its head.