I’ve been asked by quite a few people about my new fast-ripping rig, the Yeti SB130. How it is working, what are the differences I felt / noticed / saw / etc…
I, therefore, decided to write a couple of things down about it. Still, I am not a professional in the test industry and I’m going to give my personal opinion and view about it.
So, here we go:
Before my SB130
Prior to my SB130 I’ve ridden the following:
Specialized Stumpjumper Alu frame (26-inch first and 29-inch after that) for a few years
Trek Slash (27.5-inch)
Yeti Sb6 (27.5-inch) between 2016 and 2017
Yeti Sb5.5 (29-inch) between 2017 and 2018
All together very different bikes from one another.
The SB130 is supposed to be the proper substitute for the Sb5.5 in the 2019 Yeti Cycles lineup. The appearance does change and the geometry too!
Let’s get into it!
I got the bike at the end of August, just a few days before it’s public debut (release date: 10th of September 2018).
Given the weather conditions and the embargo before the release date, I didn’t get the chance to ride it for the first few days. Therefore, I put myself into building it and getting it ready for the upcoming adventure.
The first time my butt actually touched the saddle was just hours before embarking on an outstanding 5-days, hut-to-hut, adventure around Mont Blanc from Chamonix...couldn’t be more pumped!
(Check some footage of it on Nate Hill’s blog or YouTube channel and, mainly, stay tuned on the Yeti website and socials to check some banging stories at the beginning of 2019!)
It was great to start testing it with long, techy, sometimes hike-a-bike climbs and massive descents on natural trails, and then, after about one week, getting back to Finale and riding the better known, home trails!
I got the bike straight from Yeti Cycles HQ.
Build kit: Turq. frame “Sram X01 Eagle Race”, as shown below:
As soon as I got it, I changed a couple of parts, such as:
- handlebar: Yeti Carbon 35x780mm ➜ Yeti Carbon 35x800mm
- brakes: Sram Guide RSC (180mm rotors) ➜ Shimano XT (203mm rotors)
- chainring: Sram 30T X-Sync Eagle ➜ Sram 34T X-Sync Eagle
(Don’t really need 203mm rotors myself, just been used to those for a few years now and I just love the bite that big rotors and organic pads together provide at the beginning of the lever stroke)
At the moment I am testing a pair of Magura MT7 Pro with 203mm rotors and sintered pads...my brake choice would stay on the Shimano XT to be honest...still too soon to say though! HA!
As last contact point I fitted my Time Atac MX4 pedals
I dialed the bike starting from a very similar setup as my previous Sb5.5, if not the same.
Fork: 78psi, 4 clicks rebound from open, 2 volume spacers, compression adjust fully open
Shock: 192psi, 5 clicks rebound from open, 4 clicks compression adjust from softest
Didn’t change a lot for a while, I recently removed the volume spacer in the fork and put 2 softer, spongy tokens to check what kind of feeling response i would get.
Tire pressure: 21psi in the front tire and 24 in the back...oh, my back tire wore out in about two months, so I substitute it with the same Maxxis Aggressor (love it), but with Double Down casing this time.
All in all:
Frame travel: 130mm
Wheel size: 29”
Weight: 14.2kgs with a full water bottle on it ;)
SB130’s category: don’t know really, haha...depends who’s riding it.
As you can see by yourself, the lines of the frame haven’t been blown up and changed completely from the Sb5.5 (on the left) to the SB130 (on the right), but there are some nice features that make a difference.
First of all the frame is a little bit less round-shaped but a bit more sharp, with an aggressive look to it.
The shock mount to the frame has been moved from the down tube to the top tube and the link has a different location.
Yeti added a shock extender too. This boosts the way the suspension works from a progression point of view.
By doing that there is way more room in the middle of the bike and you can nicely fit a water bottle! Finally!
Other than this, much more has been added and changed, but no need for me to tell you about it, so, for all of us bike geeks out there, worth checking all the proper details on the website.
One thing I want to say: you definitely feel the difference in geometry! Not only when you first sit on it but mainly, when you ride it!
Let’s start by saying that the Switch Infinity is a great system. It takes a bit of riding to get used to the feeling of a stiff and reacting bike and some people don’t even like it.
The more you try to push your limits towards a faster cleaner and more precise style of riding, the sooner you will understand how well this bike can support you. and this is what Yeti bikes are all about.
This suspension platform makes the bike climb incredibly well and, at the same time, descends like a bike with way more travel.
Now take this and combine it with some updated frame geometry such as:
- 1° slacker head tube angle
- 7mm shorter fork offset
- 3.4°steeper seat tube angle
- 4mm shorter chainstays
- 9mm lower bottom bracket
And you come out with a bike that can handle any kind of terrain, both when riding up and down!
So here are the ideas and feedback I gathered from the moment I hopped on it for the first time.
I was lucky enough to intensively use the bike on two very different types of terrain in the first two weeks I got it under my feet and, as i mentioned above, the difference in geometry can’t be underestimate.
The slacker head angle and the shifted-forward position on the bike are a game changer.
The Sb5.5 was a great climber but the SB130 is even better
The way the link works and the properly tuned shock make the bike feel soft and compliant with the small bumps and, at the same time, never squats too much even when pushing hard on the pedals
You can find yourself on a very steep, rocky climb and, even the smallest change in the hips’ position can guarantee the best grip on the rear wheel.
Furthermore, the shorter chainstay really allows you to push your shoulders low and close to the bars in the techiest sections and never feel either the front wheel lifting or the back loose grip.
Another really nice upside is the position on the bike itself: the compact frame and the saddle position, allowed me to balance saddle height (79cm from BB to saddle), a straight-up back, and good pressure on my hands when seated.
This paid off on long steady climbs and I suffered no back pain even on the longest stretches.
At the same time, you can be pushing the bike as hard as you can down a trail and suddenly get on the pedals because of a short climb in the middle of it and there is where you feel the power of the pedals pushing the bike ahead quickly and rather efficiently.
The almost 4cm-longer wheelbase could sound like a problem when facing tight turns or switchback on a trail up... but, I have to say, this longer bike hasn’t given me any bad feeling from this point of view.
The body is right in the middle on the two axles and it is well planted there.
Quick, responsive, stiff, grippy, poppy and lively...not enough?
This bike flies down the trail!
To be honest it took me a bit to get used to the feeling.
If the geometry felt perfect straight away when seated on the saddle, I needed a few minutes and some small balancing mistakes to get a hold of the bike.
First of all, having my body memorized the position I had on the Sb5.5 for the past 5 months, as soon as I hopped on the SB130, it felt like my weight was mostly on the back of the bike.
I blamed it on the shorter chainstay and I started thinking that might have been a problem in the close future...It wasn’t though. It didn’t take long before I figured out how to make the most out of it and rely even more on the front of the bike.
The slacker headtube angle-shorter fork offset combo just works great! I never felt my front wheel understeering or my weight getting thrown over the bars, and the front wheel always felt planted on the ground and extremely stable.
Another good point is the lower bottom bracket... amazing stability and lower centre of gravity.
In general, this bike has some small geometry changes that, all combined create a bike that rules!
Shorter travel, slacker headtube angle, shorter seatstays and lower bottom bracket are features that change the way the bike handles.
Really poppy and lively, really quick on tight and fast corners, never lacks in stability and balance on straights or rough sections.
I personally never felt the lack of travel once and rarely bottomed out.
The lower bottom bracket guarantees such a great amount of grip and stability in the turns that I did not expect. You just set your body for the turn and the bike won’t move! Just amazing!
All in all I do believe in the great versatility of this bike: from long-ass days on the most remote alpine ridges climbing and hiking your bike for hours to that amazing never-lasting descent with flowy, techy, fast features in it.
That bike that rules and you can use no matter what the conditions of the trail, no matter the group you’re riding with, no matter the length, no matter the ranking of the trail.
I wouldn’t personally pound this bike in a bike park for multiple days, but I think that is just me HA!
See you on the trails Francesco, 21/11/2018