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I Can't Drive 5.5.
Yeti Cycle's finger on the pulse of mountain biking is pressing down harder than ever and they have been in the game just about as long as anybody else. Trends come and go and designs advance to ultimately allow riders to push their limits and go faster on more difficult terrain. The 2018 SB5.5 Turq is the culmination of everything Yeti has learned in over 3 decades of building frames. The suspension design on the SB5.5 gives it the ability to happily pedal and climb with XC bikes but the geometry pushes its capabilities in gnarly terrain that Yeti's Enduro team will occasionally call into action for EWS races. This 5.5 frame carries the Turq appointment, which is plenty burly enough to handle tail-gate shuttles and rugged trails, yet light and agile enough that you'll forget how durable the frame is. The SB5.5 Turq construction contains the highest quality carbon fiber that Yeti uses allowing it to precisely layup the carbon where extra strength is needed, reinforce highly stressed areas, and reduce the weight by 240g versus the standard carbon version.
Key to Yeti's get-up-and-go response is a firm pedaling platform and we can't get over just how great this 140mm 29er climbs. We don't perceive any turbo lag or inefficiency on this one. Maybe it is the Boost spacing or the Switch Infinity platform or something Yeti adds that is as mythical as an abominable snowman, whatever it is, we like it. The big wheels roll along picking up speed and momentum and always encourages us to push the pace to the next ridge knowing the shit-eating grin we will have on the way back down.
Egging on the go-anywhere, crush-everything attitude is the bikes 66.5-degree head tube. Picking a line through a creek bed that mostly resembles a minefield becomes an afterthought. Switch Infinity is Yeti's propriety suspension design and it really shines on the SB5.5 since it has a knackering for conquering long ascents and steep descents. Keys to its success are its ability to stay completely active absorbing trail imperfections while maintaining enough anti-squat so you don't lose efficiency or pedaling response. Working in close collaboration with Yeti, Switch Infinity naturally works well with the custom tuned Factory DPX2 that comes stock on this frame.
Making this frame unique is its ability to more than satisfy the hard-chargers without leaving the endurance rider feeling like they are riding a pig. If you live for big mountain adventures or find yourself strapping a super-d or enduro number plate on the front of your bike, you can be certain that the SB5.5 can handle the task at hand and be ride along unperturbed. The SB5.5's Switch Infinity suspension doesn’t quite have the sport's car tune of the SB4.5 nor the bottomless feel of the SB6 but what it does have is a great balance and synthesis of the two. The 29in wheel's rollover ability gains back a little on the 1-degree slacker head tube angle on the SB6 so it will absolutely maul over rough terrain with great aplomb. If you find yourself finessing the bike through steep terrain or a looking for a slightly peppier pedaler, the SB4.5 might be more your speed.
- Conquer big mountains or enduro stages with the SB5.5
- Send-it confidently with 5.5in of Switch Infinity travel
- Slack head tube angle leads the charge through hairy descents
- Shortened chainstays stay agile in twisty terrain
- Turq frame carbon construction is airy and enduring
- Item #YTI00BH
- Q & A
Solid AM bike
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I've had a few bikes over the past year: Hightower LT, Pivot 5.5, Norco Sight 29 and like this bike the best. I ride in mountainous terrain that is rocky/loose with lots of climbing and descending. Without a question, this bike climbs so well and you don't feel that loss of energy when you stand up or really give it gas. On the downhills it feels very controlled and plush. I did put an X2 shock on mine because I find the adjustability is worth the price. I opted for this bike over the sb130 as a) I wanted more than 130mm travel but less than 160 and b) like the geometry better than the super long fit of the newer models. I've rarely hit my pedal on technical sections. My only criticism of this bike is the internal routing is dated. I can deal with the PIA of getting cables through it, but wish the cable securing ports were more secure (something with a tightening screw that really sealed off the port except for the cable...like what Pivot does on their bikes). As such it is easy to get water in the ports when washing your bike (so I tape them when cleaning). The second thing is this bike does run on the short side. If you're even close to between sizes you should definitely size up (shorter legged folks may need to use a shorter dropper, I have over 2 inches of extra room on my 150mm dropper...so could easily do 170mm). I'm 5'11 with long legs so the shorter reach of the Large suits me fine with a 50mm stem, but when descending I do get that 'too far forward' feeling sometimes and have to really squat back (update 1/7/19: don't get that feeling anymore with 28% sag). I'm also lowering my sag as Yeti recommends the full 30%, which will probably help with that issue as well. I debated even going XL and using a 35 stem...which probably would have worked great as well. But everything is a trade off. What I notice about this bike as compared to my other 29ers is that the front wheel turns like a 27.5 bike. That is, it doesn't give you the feeling that the front wheel is going to fold over in a 180 degree turn. I also like that the chainstays on this bike aren't super short because when riding loose rocks that stability helps. A little harder to lift the front wheel, but with all bikes you adjust your technique to the geometry. This bike is ridiculously fast and you'll find yourself touching the brakes because it wants to scream downhill when you're not quite ready! If you're over 5'11 I'd definitely consider the XL size! Update 1/7/19: I bought a second frame (XL) to build in to a more downhill oriented bike. That's how much I love this frame....I'll have 2 complete sb5.5s in different sizes!
You'll Be Faster Than Ricky Bobby
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I'm 5'11" and have an 32" inseam. I'm often in between a large and a medium size, but usually opt for a large. I went with a large SB5.5 frame (though I did pair mine with a 35mm length Raceface Atlas stem with 10mm of a spacer under the stem) and it fits spot on. I built my SB5.5
Turq from the frame up and would be happy to help with your dream build as well!
What I like about the bike:
- Fast is the name of the game. Not sure if its overall geometry of the bike, the 29" wheels, or just stoke level, this goes fast.
- Pedaling efficiency is top notch. I did throw an Fox X2 on my bike, but would like to try out the DPX2 shock, but I'll climb with it wide open and it does great.
- The bike is a monster truck. Eats up descents and floats over rock gardens.
- Though I did build my bike up from the frame, its not far from what this build is - the specs on my bike are an Eagle X01 drivetrain, a Fox Float 36, Guide RS brakes, a Raceface cockpit, Turbine dropper post, and Raceface Aeffect-R Wheelset with a Minion DHF 2.5 / Minion SS 2.3 tires mounted on it! I have been thoroughly impressed with the Eagle 12sp drivetrain - I personally have a 34t up front and the 50t rear bailout cog lets me spin up just about anything while still being able to hammer descents. Guide brakes modulate great and have plenty of power behind them.
What I don't like about the bike:
- Not much. For people in areas that don't have as much chunder or don't need as much travel might not enjoy this bike as it can take a technical section, chew it up, and spit it out for breakfast without batting an eye.
- I had to get used to bigger wheels after coming off of 27.5" for my last two bikes, but after riding for a bit on it the 29" wheels don't feel big at all!
Overall, if you're looking for a wagon wheel bike that just smashes and tears it up on the trail and still feels relatively nimble, this would a great candidate. If you have any questions or would like help deciding if this is the bike for you, give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email at email@example.com.
Plowability Factor Is Through The Roof
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Yeti continues to adapt along with the rest of the mountain bike industry to the Boost hub revolution and the SB5.5 is the crown jewel in my opinion. I first had a chance to ride this bike at a Yeti demo last summer and was extremely skeptical going in. The Santa Cruz Hightower had been my favorite bike of 2017/18 but let's just say that was before ripping on the SB5.5. I have now been on this bike a handful of times, both in the mountains of Park City and the desert of Moab, and it continues to impress me for a variety of reasons. The only comparable bike out there is the new Hightower LT.
Quick note: This is the Turq -Series frame that is slightly lighter compared to Carbon series frame from Yeti (only available on complete bikes). I have ridden both frames and can't tell the difference. Also, the key upgrade on the SB5.5 for 2018 is the FOX DPX2 rear shock.
There are a couple key differences between the Hightower and SB5.5. The SB5.5 has a slightly steeper head tube angle (66.5 degrees), slightly higher BB height and longer wheel base. But truth be told the key for me is that a Large Yeti just fits me better than a Large Santa Cruz. I am 6'1" with pretty long arms and for whatever reason I have always felt that Large Santa Cruz bikes are too small (and XL too big). But the Yeti SB5.5 in a Large was built just for me.
I was most impressed with how easily it plowed over everything put in front of it. If there was a plowability rating I would give it 6 stars out of 5. It handled steep, technical terrain with ease and cornered surprisingly well for a 29er considering the added lateral stiffness from the wider Boost hubs. This bike had solid pop off of jumps and was smooth in the air which I did not expect but should not be surprising considering the tech behind the Switch Infinity Link.
If you are looking for a new super bike and are considering the Yeti SB5.5 do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. I would be glad to help you build this bike from the frame up.
Kyle Livingston - Expert Gearhead
firstname.lastname@example.org - 801-736-4337
I'm Lovin' It
Yeti has figured out how to make the perfect bike for everything. The 5.5 is cold hard evidence.
Last year I was on the Santa Cruz Hightower and before demoing this bike I thought it was the best bike out there for me. The Hightower has pushed me to become a better rider across every aspect of riding, but I got on the 5.5 and realized there are more bikes out there....
With 160 mm of travel in the front and 140 in the rear the 5.5 is so well balanced and so methodically built out... Well done, Yeti. There is a reason why pro racers like Cody Kelly and Ritchie Rude choose the 5.5 as their bike of choice, along with both Yeti reps I spoke to (Daker and Hunter - you guys are rad!). The aggressive geometry, higher BB height and overall feel to this bike enables any rider to feel like a pro while you're out there in the saddle.
I tried to find weaknesses or "cons" to the way this bike rode, but I couldn't. Initially I thought it wouldn't climb as well as my Hightower, but I was wrong. it climbed even better. I also thought it wouldn't be as much fun or even overkill on the flat and flowy sections of trail - having that much travel... but I was also wrong there. I have to admit, I was trying to find reasons why I shouldn't fall in love with this bike. After one full season on this bike with a few tweaks made to my suspension setup (MRP is the way of the future) this bike has become the best bike I've ever had the chance to ride.
If you are looking for a hard charging, enduro-style 29er that loves to get some air, rally technical trails and just go FAST - look no further than the 2018 SB5.5
If you are contemplating your next bike, weighing the options and trying to convince your girlfriend or wife why you should spend thousands of dollars on your next bike come talk to me and I'll help soften the blow.
I am right on the fence of their sizing chart, so if you have any questions on this bike, a custom build or whether this will be the perfect bike for you and your riding style just hit me up!