Nimble 9 vs. Yelli Screamy

Which Hardtail is Right for You?

OK, we know hardtails aren't for everyone. But we think they're a heck of a lot of fun. So whether it's an N+1 for your quiver that only gets pulled out for certain rides or it's your one and only faithful steed, we've got two great options if you're like us and appreciate the simplicity and connected feeling of a modern hardtail mountain bike.

Both our Nimble 9 and Yelli Screamy are extremely popular bikes, but we often get asked about the differences. So, we figured we'd break down the main things that set these two apart.

The key differences are as follows:

1. Frame material
2. Fork travel
3. Dropouts
4. Geometry

Read on for more. 

Nimble 9 steel hardtail

Nimble 9


1. Frame Material: The Nimble 9 is crafted from 4130 chromoly steel while the Yelli Screamy is built from 6000 series aluminum. Both have some pros and cons, so it will come down what you prioritize when it comes to performance and ride quality. 

Due to the material's naturally compliant properties, steel bike frames are known for having a more supple ride quality compared to their aluminum counterparts. Steel tubing coupled with radial-bent seat-stays give the Nimble 9 an exceptionally smooth ride for a hardtail. The trade-off is that it's slightly heaver; the N9 weighs approximately a pound more than the Yelli Screamy. But you'll probably be having too much fun to notice.

If you do prioritize shaving grams in your build, the aluminum Yelli might be worth a look. While not overly harsh, it doesn't ride quite as smoothly as the Nimble 9.

2. Fork Travel:
 The Nimble 9 is designed around a 150-millimeter fork, while the Yelli Screamy is built for a 130-millimeter fork.

Like most of our bikes, both have an acceptable range of plus or minus 10 millimeters. That means you can run from 140 to 160 millimeters on the N9 and 120 to 140 millimeters on the Yelli. Every 10-millimeter change in fork travel will change head angle by about half a degree as well (more travel = slacker, less travel = steeper). And of course bottom-bracket height will get a few millimeters higher or lower with more or less travel.


3. Geometry: Sizing between the two is very similar with identical reach numbers. Geo differences include head angle, which is 66 degrees on the Nimble 9 and 65.5 on the Yelli Screamy. It's a subtle difference, but we're often asked why the bike designed for a shorter travel fork is slacker: it's simply for some added stability descending to offset having less travel to tackle the rough stuff.

The Nimble 9 has a slightly higher bottom-bracket at 325 millimeters compared to the Yelli's 316.5 millimeters. Coupled with the longer fork, this taller BB height provides the necessary ground clearance at full compression and gives the N9 an edge in more chunky, technical terrain. On the flip side, the even lower BB on the Yelli gives it even more of that "in the bike" feel for railing corners.

The Nimble 9's chainstays are adjustable from an effective 415 millimeters to 430 (more on that in a minute) while the Yelli's are fixed at 434 millimeters.

You can compare all geo numbers for both bikes here.

4. Dropouts:
The Nimble 9 features sliding dropouts which make it a great candidate if you plan to set it up as a singlespeed since this makes it very easy to adjust the chain without adding a chain tensioner. If you're going full beast mode and running SS, we even have a hangerless drive-side dropout available separately to keep things clean and tidy.

But even if you're not that masochistic, sliding dropouts allow you the flexibility to experiment with effectively shorter or longer chainstays for maximum fun factor and flick-ability or optimizing stability at speed or on steep climbs. 

Pro tip: we prefer them slammed in the shortest setting and think every N9 owner should try it that way at least once!

The Yelli has traditional fixed dropouts. 



According to Canfield Bikes founder and designer Lance Canfield, the Nimble 9 is meant to be well rounded and versatile on all terrain, but the steel ride quality and longer travel fork make it a more forgiving all-mountain/trail bike. 

He says the Yelli is a bit like "an adult BMX bike mixed with a rally-car." It's snappy, stiff and responsive and just wants to pop and play making it great for flow and jump trails, but not as forgiving as the N9 once things get more technical.

Ultimately both the Nimble 9 and Yelli Screamy are incredibly fun hardtail mountain bikes with some subtle differences. There's no wrong answer, but it will come down to personal preference, riding style, terrain and your own priorities.

Still have questions? Hit us up!

Limited Nimble 9 inventory is available for pre-order with a late April ETA.

Limited Yelli Screamy inventory is available for pre-order with a late February ETA.


1 comment

  • I really apprecaited the run down between the two HT’s!

    John Risdon

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