Yeti came through the other day to let us test the fleet and i was lucky enough to find myself sitting on the do it all trail machine they deemed the Yeti SB5. This bike is one curvy, good looking bike. I was surprised to find out they upgraded the color pallet to offer other options from Yeti blue to include a few more options for those who wish to be different. The big difference with these bikes from Yeti is that switch infinity you see in the SB line. Developed in collaboration with Fox , Yeti's Switch Infinity suspension design is unlike anything currently on the market. One thing you need to realize with this bike is its not a second shock located above the bottom bracket. It's actually two short rails, the heart of Yeti's ÂÂtranslating pivotÂÂ suspension configuration. Initially, as the bike goes through its travel the carrier moves upwards on the rails, giving the bike a rearward axle path for improved pedaling and small bump absorption. As the rear wheel goes deeper into its travel the mechanism moves downwards, reducing the amount of chain tension for better big hit performance. The unit itself doesn't actually move that much about 4mm in either direction but when you attach a 17.4 inch lever to that (the length of the SB5's chainstays), it does make a difference in the bike's wheel path.
So now the real meat, how does it ride?
Climbing: This bike was excellent on the time i spent climbing. Yeti did a great job of making the bike feel plush in bottomless but when climbing i felt no bob with the rear shock wide open. Its also extremely light around 26 pounds, and short so getting this bike uphill is a breeze.
Descending: This is where the fun starts. This 127mm rear travel bike ate everything i threw in its path. I felt the switch infinity pushing me down, and through rock gardens/turns. Its crazy how it gains speed through sections that would usually slow you down. With the switch infinity i found it was great platform while also feeling bottomless on drops and rock gardens. Its a little weird to get used to jumping the bike at first as it does sink deep into travel sometimes when hitting multiple jumps in a row because i am so used to pre loading hard into jumps. I found just letting the bike do its thing and try less helped eliminate this issue.
Overall: This bike is a great quiver bike that can really do it all. I think the geometry combined with the switch infinity developed a stable progressive platform to give you the best range of usability. I would love to have this bike for long rides as i know i would not only feel comfortable on it all day but i could literally throw anything at this bike with confidence. Finally the fun factor on this bike is all time. You cant help but grin accelerating out of a berm on this bike. Its like nothing i have experienced on a bike and i recommend it to anyone.
If you are looking to chat about this bike feel free to contact me anytime!