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Apex is a trail that starts right in Golden and culminates after a few miles at the top of the ridge some 1,500 feet higher, and it's the prime artery into the county open space for the Yeti crew when they take their lunch rides. Considering this, their focus on hard climbs makes logical sense, which in no small part led to the development of the Yeti SB-66 with its 152mm (6") of rear suspension travel. It climbs with the unflinching prowess of a full-on XC race bike. And true to the old adage, "what goes up must come down," the SB-66 is a truly inspired descender.

The key to its multi-faceted ability is the distinctive Switch Technology rear suspension design. Technically, it's a mini dual-link system. While there are a number of iterations currently on the market, Yeti's application offers something a bit different, and from our ride experience this translates into a "best of" ride quality. And quality is one of the words we heard the Yeti crew use to speak about the SB-66, as in "quality of travel".

Switch Technology refers to the rotational movement of an eccentric that houses the lower pivot. So it's a pivot within a pivot, with 12mm separating the centers, and that is the effective length of the lower "link". Yeti SB-66 DetailAs the rear suspension compresses into its travel, the eccentric (and the pivot) rotate counter-clockwise as viewed from the drive-side of the bike. It moves this way through the first 100mm or so of travel, providing plenty of anti-squat that keeps the bike stable and neutral as your weight shifts rearward due to the grade of the trail and with the acceleration of each pedal stroke. You'll feel as if the bike has a built-in pedaling platform, and since it comes as an effect of the linkage placement and movement, the bike does not rely on heavy compression damping to eliminate excess suspension motion caused by your body. At the same time, the SB-66 is highly responsive to bump input from the trail, even when pedaling hard. You'll experience reliable traction and control through challenging sections of trail, in the big ring or small and with zero pedal feedback. The supple midstroke is controlled and predictable through boulders and high speed berms. This is remarkable since you often can't have great performance in both situations because of the different way these high- and low-speed compressive events load the rear suspension.

Near that 100mm point in the travel, the eccentric reaches the inflection point, where it changes direction and rotates clockwise. This is part of Yeti's focus on what they call dCSL, or the rate of change in the chainstay length. They knew that excessive chainstay growth through the stroke can affect the rear suspension performance, even when standing and coasting. By limiting the rate of chainstay growth and at the same time ramping the leverage ratio from what is, for the most part, a flat curve, the SB-66 rear suspension can be pushed all the way through its travel without requiring excessive force. At the end of the stroke the SB-66 has a bottomlessness that you'll find remarkable.

There's another benefit as well. Since the bottom bracket, eccentric, and lower pivot for the swing link are all machined into a single forged aluminum structure, they're in perfect alignment on every bike built. And this translates into a rear swingarm that moves freely throughout its travel range. It also means longer life for the Enduro Max sealed cartridge pivot bearings.

Each of the 6061-T6 frame tubes is gracefully shaped for a purpose. Take the seatstays for example; they flare in the vertical plane towards the dropouts. On the left side, this helps distribute the brake loads,Yeti SB-66 Detail otherwise the larger cross-section better handles compressive loads without flexing. The downtube is ovalized at the bottom bracket to enhance stiffness and bears flattened sides to channel and distribute the stress from the shock mount along a greater portion of the tube's long axis. And Yeti's decision to move to a zero stack tapered headtube from the traditional tapered design they've used was one with structural and rider fit implications. With the bearings housed inside the confines of the frame, the SB-66 can have a longer headtube without raising the handlebar height for a given fork axle-to-crown length. You can have the freedom to dial in your fit, and the greater bearing distance and weld area at this critical tube junction make for a stiffer and better tracking front end.

Since Yeti partners with FOX for their World Cup team, it's no surprise that they spec the latest FOX RP23 rear shock with Kashima Coat and Adaptive Logic Boost Valve. Just like its effect on the front forks, Kashima Coat creates a slicker more durable finish on the shock shaft. This allows the rear suspension to respond to bump input with greater sensitivity. This rear shock has user adjustable rebound damping and a two position lever that now selects from climb mode (more damping than the #3 Propedal setting on last year's RP23) to Propedal with selections from 0 (open for super plush descending) to 2 (medium damping) for the low speed compression side of things.

The Yeti SB-66 is a trail bike without sacrifice. It has a 73mm bottom bracket with splines that accept removable ISCG 03/05 chainguide mounts. The tapered headtube (44mm ID top and 56mm ID bottom) takes a zero stack tapered headset. Out back, it comes equipped with chip-style dropouts that accept a standard quick release. If you're interested in added swingarm stiffness, a 12 x 142mm chip kit is also available. The post-style caliper mount allows a direct fit for 160mm rotor. It takes a direct mount top-pull front derailleur, and the top tube bears cable guides for a dropper seatpost.

US Yeti dealers are prohibited from shipping Yeti bicycles to any country other than Canada, Mexico or the US.

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