News: Yeti releases new SB5C trail bike with updated Switch Infinity suspension linkage

New 27.5-inch model a tag-team effort with FOX

27.5 All Mountain Trail News


In matte carbon, the new Yeti SB5C looks like something out of the Dark Knight–low, sleek and black. But don’t worry Yeti traditionalists–it also comes in their signature desert turquoise colorway(see page 2).

Just weeks before trade show season opens, Yeti has released the SB5C, an all-new 27.5-inch trail bike featuring an updated suspension system dubbed Switch Infinity. Made of carbon, the 5-inch-travel bike’s linkage was created in partnership with FOX and features a mechanism coated with that company’s low-friction Kashima coating.

Switch Infinity

No they’re not a pair of Duracells…this low-friction, Kashima coated mechanism is at the heart of Yeti’s FOX-made Switch Infinity linkage. Click on the video below to see it in action.

Yeti has long enjoyed a cult-like following, and garnered high praise for its 26- and 29-inch SB-series bikes the past couple seasons. But the company seemed to take an uncharacteristically low-key approach with 2014’s SB-75 mid-wheeler. Its enduro race team competed primarily on the 26-inch version, while the company itself soft-peddled the 75 for media reviews. Even more telling, the SB-75 was only offered in aluminum, perhaps telegraphing that something newer—and more worthy of pricey carbon molds—was in the works.

With the SB5C, that indeed appears to be the case, and Yeti looks to be locked-and-loaded with enthusiasm and confident in the evolution of the bike’s technology. Company brass also hinted at a wider implementation of the system.

“The Switch Infinity technology has been in development and testing for nearly three years.” said Yeti President and Co-Owner Chris Conroy. “We worked closely with FOX to apply what we’ve learned from our linear rail and Switch Technologies to produce a suspension platform that will work across a wide spectrum of terrain, disciplines, and riding styles.”

2015 Yeti SB5 Frame

Despite giving us this frame-only photo, Yeti has no current plans to sell the SB5C this way. For now, it’s sold with build kit-only.

Yeti claims the system allowed engineers to dial in the bike’s kinematics for “unprecedented pedaling efficiency and small-bump sensitivity when climbing paired with plush, controlled travel when descending.” They also claim the system is simple, lightweight and low-maintenance.

The SB5C is available immediately and complete bikes retail for between $6599 and $10,599. Claimed weigh for the top-spec model is 24.2 pounds. Complete specs, geometry and build kits appear on the next page.

Continue to Page 2 for more photos, geometry and build kit details »

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry that landed him at his current gig with Santa Cruz bicycles. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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  • Stc says:

    Interesting technology. I wonder what Graves will be on next year, clearly not this trail bike, perhaps a 6″ version of it?

  • RP says:

    Looks like a dry out west bike. No way I’d want that open mud catcher on a bike I ride here on the east coast.

    Sometimes I think engineers are trying too hard to be different and not thinking about reality and practicality.

    • Mike A. says:

      Yeeeaaahhh…….I bet those silly guys never even considered the possibility that MUD could get in that space….something that guys like you and me noticed in about 10 seconds of looking at the frame! Hahhaahhaaa!!!

  • pegleg says:

    Is the listed weight for the XO1 version with the ENVE wheels or without? Seems like a pretty big difference.

  • Joe Millionare says:

    Wow! I guess Yeti just admitted that the rest of their lineup has a mediocre suspension design. Instead of scrapping it and creating a good one, they decided to make the old one even more convoluted. Way to go.

    I’ll stick with DW.

  • John says:

    What I’ve read states the so called “Kashima Coated Mechanism” is easily serviced. I wonder what the cost of a new mechanism is? All the hand wringing and anxiety about how it will perform in wet muddy conditions might be irrelevant if it is even fairly durable, and inexpensive to replace. My bike has VPP, which I like a lot, but this bike is on the short list of bikes I’d want to demo before I buy again.

  • Cheese says:

    My teeth are kashima coated.

  • Helmach says:

    Being an industrial designer I appreciate and embrace innovation, but this design has marketing written all over it. Between the Kashima branding the visual bling of it all lies a convoluted and pointless design IMO.

    “unprecedented pedaling efficiency and small-bump sensitivity when climbing paired with plush, controlled travel when descending” is an abstract claim made by virtually every new suspension design the is released. Let’s see some quantifiable reasons why this design is an improvement.

  • Tyrebyter says:

    Can’t see how it is more vulnerable to mud than a stanchion. Maybe more protected by the frame actually. Why this and not a DW link? Well, there already was the DW link; this is new and different. Why so down on innovation? Not a Yeti fan and wouldn’t have the price of admission anyway, but let’s get behind new ideas if someone wants to explore. Who wants to build or ride the same bike year after year?

  • Vanguard says:

    Can we please stop using “company brass”? Sounds you’re a brokerage firm commenting on a carmaker’s senior executives.

  • craigsj says:

    Maybe it’s more vulnerable to mud because it’s close to it and is the spray zone of the front and rear tires.

    Why down on innovation? Maybe because it’s not intended to ride better but to avoid patent infringement. Why get behind new ideas when they are bad ones?

    • tyrebyter says:

      Really. You know Yeti’s intent is not what they stated? Clearly you have inside information. To an outsider, it seems innovative to come up with a system that emulates a lower link with an infinite length. Who else is doing this under another patent?

  • Steve says:

    Damn I get so tired of all the hate on these forums. Get out and ride!! My bikes today kill the bikes I was riding 10 years ago let alone 20 (yes getting older but not slower). Yeti is a sick crew of guys that make amazing bikes, been on an sb66c? I’m guessing the design will clean up or migrate a bit in future years but it seems like a new answer to the same question that will never go away for FS bikes with some real travel. I’d toss a leg over it!! If you want to hate look at specialized making a but in tool kit. For some reason everyone on the Internet is an expert on everything.

  • MJ says:

    Looks like a lot of complex monkey motion… so it better have the volume and quality of travel to warrant it.

  • Sazz says:

    So Ritchie topped the stages 1 & 2 with this SB5C, 10 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Jared who’s on a prototype SB6C. Those results could’ve been rigged you think? Let’s see what happens in Day 2. The thoughts of selling away my SB66 is held back thanks to that prototype.

  • tyrebyter says:

    Oh look! Yeti’s SI beat the craps out of some DW links and some Horsts, and everything else. Must be marketing.

  • ray says:

    I bought an SB5C after a demo last month. My previous bike was a 2014 Santa Cruz 5010. While I could list a bunch of technical reasons why the Yeti is the better bike it wouldn’t really matter. My advice is to stop postulating suspension theories online and go ride one. Switch infinity is simply the finest bicycle suspension system I have ever experienced. I’d been sold on Santa Cruz VPP for many years but there is simply no comparison. The SB5C kicks ass!

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