Yeti SB 75
Yeti recently unveiled their all new 27.5″ bikes, the SB 75 and the 575. I got a chance to ride the switch link SB at the Dirt Demo which is designed to fill the 27.5 marketing niche that every bike manufacturer (except Specialized) has rushed to fill. With five inches of rear travel, low bottom bracket, and slack-ish head angle and long-ish top tube, I expected this to be a trail ripper. I promptly took it up the shuttle, strapped on a number plate and timing chip from Precision Timing tore off down a very techy Skyline trail. It wasn’t long before the bike was feeling out gunned. The tires were a bit skinny for this application, the suspension was a bit stiff and the HA a bit steep. It just felt out of sorts. As I pounded down through the rough sharp edges strung up high on a very steep, cliffy side hill, I kept thinking to myself that I should slow down before I went off the edge or pinch flatted.
Thankfully the latter happened before the former and after one more pinch flat and three total tube changes I had to give up and roll down the road on a flat (hanging head in shame as I always mentally berated the morons who came to interbike unprepared enough that they had to walk or limp back to the paddock on their rims).
Still wanting to give the SB 75 a fair shake I went to my car and found another new tube, replaced it and pumped it up to 35 lbs. (that’s a lot for me) and grabbed the next shuttle back up to the top. This time I took the more tame but still frolicking fun Boy Scout trail down which I assumed would be a better match for the bike’s capabilities and intended purpose. It did better on this one but there was still something that just didn’t feel right for me. The rear suspension was a bit dead feeling and the fork got overwhelmed easily in the chunk. Climbing up smoother sections while seated it pedaled without bobbing but almost felt like there was too much anti-squat and the bike was plowing or stink-bugging into the hill. The frame is over 7.5 lbs which is porky compared to its carbon competition so this may have added to this not so lively feeling.
On my first ride up the hill the bar and stack height felt too low and head angle seemed steep. Maybe it was because I’d just stepped off the two Niners which had quite tall stack heights but it just felt odd. The second time up I switched some spacers from above the stem to below, raising the bars another half inch or so and that improved some of the stink bug feeling and gave me a better, more balanced attitude. On the plus side, lateral stiffness was very good and overall, on more flowy, rocky terrain the suspension was reasonably plush though I’d still call it a firm plush and not as well controlled as some. I suspect that additional suspension set up and bigger tires would’ve helped this feeling although overall I liked the grip of this HR II front/Ardent rear combo. I just liked them better in the bigger size. Overall impression was a disappointing for me. I know it’s outgunned in travel by a couple of the contenders, but given the numbers, I expected it to be right up there with the Bronson, Solo, and Mach Six for best 5-6″ 27.5 do everything, fun, fast, enduro, trail slayer title but it landed at the bottom of that very impressive heap.
The seat tube was quite long on this size large and it made me wonder if I should’ve been on a medium. Even with the excellent Thomson adjustable seat post all the way down in the seat tube, the seat was too high with the post fully extended. I had to adjust it down with the remote to get the right pedaling height.
Beefy boxed rear triangle and short stout links added to lateral stiffness.
And a word about CTD. There’s been much talk about this and some people like it and some hate it, but I’m sort of ambivalent. To be honest I only rode the bikes in the Descend mode. None of them bobbed unacceptably while pedaling in that setting and none were too plush while descending (if there is such a thing) so I never bothered changing them. I like active suspension.
This Fox shock felt less good then some of the others I tested but it may just have needed some further tuning.
The heart of the Switch. Fully sealed eccentric “link” system with oversized pivot pins and Enduro Max bearings. A splined BB shell accepts a removable ISCG tabs.
This is part 1 of Krob’s bike tests from Interbike’s Outdoor Demo. Be sure to read Krob’s All Mountain Bike Tests at Interbike – Part 2.