Compare-O Bottom Line: Yeti SB95C is a gorgeous high-speed weapon

29er Enduro Enduro Compare-O 2014

Photo by Tyler Frasca.


Point the Yeti SB95C straight downhill and get ready for a magic carpet ride. Simply put, the Yeti rails downhill, especially when speeds get dangerously high and the trail gets equally choppy and bumpy. The eccentric pivot design is extremely efficient, and the suspension feels like it has far more than five-inches of rear travel thanks to its ability to soak-up log drops effortlessly.

While the eccentric pivot moves counterclockwise when climbing, on descents, Switch Technology does exactly that, switching to a clockwise rotation, relieving chain force and absorbing brake bumps with balance and control. Switch Technology is one of the simplest and most impressive suspension designs featured in the Enduro Compare-O. It simply works, and works well.

Photo by Tyler Frasca.

Great components—A few minor issues

The Yeti was very well outfitted with a reliable Shimano XT 2×10 shifting system—a smart move as a 1x system may have been a bit too ambitious on the steep climbs for this bigger, burlier bike. The Yeti was also the only bike in the test with a Thomson dropper post. Beautifully machined, it worked flawlessly aside from the externally routed cable hitting the rear tire under compression. Not a big deal, but an annoyance nonetheless.

Another annoyance was usually reliable Shimano XT front brake on our Yeti test bike was not providing consistent or reliable power during the test period, somewhat hampering the confidence of test riders in pushing the Yeti harder downhill. The Maxxis Ardent tires provided generous amounts of grip, and the DT Swiss 350/XM LTD wheels were stiff enough to keep the Yeti tracking true when thrown hard into corners.

Photo by Tyler Frasca.

Who is this bike for?

The Yeti SB95C sports quite a range of versatility. It can climb reasonably well—especially for its weight—and it can descend with the speed, stability and the confidence of bikes with much more suspension travel, making it a bike that will appeal to quite a wide range of riders.

“This bike is perfect for the enduro racer, shuttle monkey and someone who likes to earn his downhills by climbing to the top,” said one rider. “You might not be first to the top on the Yeti SB95C, but you might just be the only one who cleans all the tech sections. And so long as your talents can keep up with the bike’s suspension, you’ll definitely be first to the bottom.”

The final word

Although our time with the Yeti was shorter than we would have liked, the SB95C really impressed upon us the importance of having a well-balanced suspension design that can climb with outstanding traction and descend with stability and confidence. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it “only” has five inches of rear suspension travel—the Yeti SB95C performs like a bike with significantly more.

The Highs
  • Climbs better than its 30-pound weight would indicate
  • Confidence-inspiring high-speed stability
  • Feels extremely well-balanced
  • Quite versatile
  • Beautiful frame design and classic color
The Lows
  • External dropper post cable routing hits tire
  • Heels clearance issues for some riders
  • Longer chainstays not ideal for tight, technical trails
Other SB95C Models

SB95 Carbon Enduro – $4,700
SB95 Carbon XO1 – $5,800
SB95 Carbon Pro – $7,800
SB95 Carbon Frame Only – $3,000

Yeti SB95C Race Key Specs
  • MRSP: $5,800 US
  • Frame MSRP: $3,000 US
  • Weight: 29.23-pounds (size large)
  • Wheel size: 29 inches
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Color: Turquoise, Carbon
  • Frame Material: Carbon Fiber Front and Rear Triangle
  • Fork: Fox Float 34 CTD 140mm
  • Rear Travel: 127mm (5 inches)
  • Rear Shock: Fox CTD Adjust K+
  • Headset: 1-1/8” to 1-1/2” threadless
  • Handlebar: Easton Haven Carbon
  • Stem: Thomson X4
  • Seatpost: Thomson Elite Dropper Post
  • Brakes: Shimano XT
  • Shifters: Shimano XT 10-speed
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano XT
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT
  • Cassette: Shimano XT 11-36
  • Crankset: Shimano XT 24t/28t
  • Wheels: DT Swiss 350/XM LTD
  • Tires: Maxxis Ardent 2.4-inch
  • Bottom bracket type: 73mm Shell
  • ISCG Tabs: Yes
  • Chainguide: No
  • Head tube angle: 67.6 degrees
  • Seat tube angle: 71.1 degrees
  • Chainstay length: 17.5 inches
  • Bottom bracket height: 13.5 inches

For more information visit

This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • Sean says:

    Can you clarify the issue with the shimano xt brakes? What is it about the bike or the brakes themselves that was an issue? Rotor too small?

    • corey says:

      the pictures show it doesn’t have the ice tech rotors. which is what make shimano brakes run cooler and by extension reliable.

  • Matt B says:

    ‘“I got the Yeti loose in a few high-speed turns, but it pulled through with impressive composure giving me added confidence,” said one rider. “Other bikes with 27.5-inch tires would have been sent skittering off into the weeds.”’
    These Compare-O reviews are so trashy, so over-the-top with marketing speak, that it comes across like an artsy in-joke at the expense of credulous mountain bikers and MTBR users. Don’t think about the wheel sizes themselves, or the Internet bickering over them that has become a meme in its own right. Just re-read that little passage above, and ask yourself WTF this kind of pointless, speculative nonsense is doing in a review written by average-ish amateur reviewers for average-ish mountain bike consumers. This bike will bone your mother but always leaves you the last piece of pie. Earn your turns. Enduro. !!11!

  • Francis says:

    When did 17.5″ chain stays become “long” for a 29er?

  • VII says:

    I’m curious about the chain stays. Here, you write in the negatives: “Longer chainstays not ideal for tight, technical trails.”

    But in the SJ EVO review, you state: “The low BB height and shorter, 17.9-inch chain stays helped the bike track nicely, even through the few tight turns on our test track.”

    My question is, are these discrepancies in your reviewing? Or does the overall geometry of a bike influence the feel and turning ability, regardless of chain stay length?

    • Gregg Kato says:

      Hey VII,

      Chainstay length by itself will only tell you so much. Typically, a longer chainstay would mean less nimble, but more stable at high speed. However, chainstay is just one measurement and overall geometry and suspension design differ a lot between the SB-95 and the Stumpy and these will play a bigger part into how the bike handles overall then just how long the chainstays are.

  • Jason says:

    For those seriously looking at buying this bike, just an FYI: I purchased this exact same build (Large, Race), swapped out the DT Swiss wheels for a set of Mavic Crossmax ST, tubeless, lighter weight saddle, reverb dropper, and xtr pedals. These changes dropped the weight down to 28.4 lbs. Run a 1×11 and you could probably get into the upper 27 lb range. Not bad for 5″ 29er all mountain ripper and you don’t have to go crazy spending $10K on top-end components and carbon wheels. Also, with the exception of the Specialized Enduro 29er, the 17.5″ chainstay length is pretty much right in the ballpark with other tested long-ish travel 29ers. When shopping, I considered 17.5″ fairly short for this type of bike, and a selling point. The bike handles really tight, technical trails like a champ. Do swap out for a longer bar and shorter stem….makes a HUGE difference.

    • grumpy says:

      i built up an alloy front/carbon rear, large. 27lb12oz. spinergy wheels ,9speed, carbon bars, XO gripshift. I am guessing the wheels and components are where the weight lies with their test bike.

  • jamesc says:

    Have a 95c built with xx1, xo trails (a must), 150mm pikes, ks lev, raceface carbon bars on Thompson stem, roval carbon wheels and it is under 28lbs, so god knows what they used to get this 30lbs+. The pike was recomended from a friend at yeti and is perfect, i don’t even have to lock it on 99% of climbs. I also have a carbon camber running xx group and the yeti is almost as close on the ups but so much better on the down, handles all but the most extreme dh tracks amazingly. Camber for race day, yeti for the rest.

    If you only want 1 bike this is definitely worth considering. Mines yellow and gets comments everywhere, rare, beautiful and amazingly capable.

  • AaronH says:

    It is not true that the eccentric rotates counter clockwise during climbing and clockwise during descents. The eccentric basically stays put in one location until you get to the last third of the travel on the rear shock, at which point it rotates counter clockwise. Don’t believe the hype.

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