Yeti’s first long travel 29er enduro mountain bike – the SB150 – established itself as the bike to beat both on and off the track as soon as it was launched. That was over four years ago though so while it’s still competitive, we’re not surprised to see a new SB160 heading up a triad of new turquoise chargers.
Yeti are clearly following an ‘if it ain’t broke, just tweak it a bit rather than changing it completely policy’ with the SB160. Front travel stays at 170mm thanks to a Fox 38 fork with an extra 10mm travel at the rear. Reach lengths creep out slightly and the head angle slackens by half a degree to 64 degrees. Seat angles steepen slightly (the SB150 was already a forward seat pioneer). Bigger sizes get a more vertical seat angle and longer back ends (by 2mm a size) to keep things proportionate and Yeti have added an XXL option to the range.
There are a lot of subtle but significant frame changes though. The downtube is reshaped for extra fork clearance, the seat tube has been reprofiled to take long stroke droppers (up to 200mm on L-XXL). It uses a threaded BB, SRAM’s UDH gear hanger and you get a dual density rubber belly protector, wave form upper and under chainstay protection as well as fully plumbed and secured internal cable routing. Thankfully the Colorado company hasn't fed it through the headset either.
There’s still room for a full size bottle under the big Fox Float X2 rear shock and tire clearance is increased as well. There are scientific stress predictions using pretty colors on the launch PDF that illustrate that the frame is not only ‘holistically stiffer’ but delivers ‘consistent torsional stiffness and flex profiles across all frame sizes’. Jaded cynicism aside, the bike I have ridden from the new line up did feel absolutely fantastic, so the SB160 does probably feel pretty delicious. But – insert gasps of horror here – there’s no internal storage compartment so you’ll need to use strap ons or your prison pocket for enduro essentials.
Yeti’s signature ‘Switch Infinity’ inflection suspension engine has been re-engineered. The lower pivot still floats on two short vertical (extra slippery) Kashima coated shafts in the belly of the bike. The collet axle Enduro Max bearings now ‘float’ for perfect alignment and are linked for increased stiffness. That also increases lifespan – a previous issue that made the ‘infinity’ part of Switch Infinity slightly ironic – and the bushings, while black oxide coated bearings with new alloy dust caps apparently add durability too. You only get these updates on the premium Turq models of frame/bike which are also slightly lighter for the same DH certified stiffness, but you can buy the system as an upgrade for older inline SI bikes.
Yeti have also changed the suspension geometry slightly too with a new patented compact wishbone and ultra compact two piece extender giving an overall leverage rate of 17 percent. The Switch Infinity setup should still balance pedaling forces and impact input well enough to win EWS races or reset your local trail times too, though we only got a chance to gawp at the SB160 in all its glory not actually ride it.
As well as the extra XXL size you now get a choice of three colors. Signature Yeti Chrysler auto paint turquoise, a limey ‘Radium’ and stealthy ‘Cobalt’ all of which get accent offsets to make them look extra special
Yeti SB160 pricing, US / UK release and spec highlights
As usual for Yeti, pricing is pretty special too, starting at $6,700 for the entry level C1 and $7,000 for the C2. They're followed by the fancier Turq series starting at $9,100 for the T1, $10,500 for the T3 and $12,000 for the T4 model. There's also the SB160 Team model, but unfortunately only Yeti's pros get to swing their legs over that bike.
As things stand in the UK, Yeti's distributors (Silverfish) tell us they are bringing over selected SB160 models – the C2 at £7,299 and the T1 at £8,999.
Unless you tick the upgrade box for DT-Swiss EXC 1501 carbon wheels, every model rolls on alloy rims (albeit excellent DT-Swiss EX 1700 ones for the T-Series and E 1900 for the C-Series). Burgtec continue their global growth by getting a stem on all the bikes (and bars on the C-Series) and you get monster 220mm front rotors, Fox 38 forks and Maxxis Assegai 2.5 tires on all bikes to show you mean serious business. After that it’s a case of what stop and go kit you want ranging from Shimano SLX/XT mix to SRAM XX1 AXS. If a DIY build is more your thing, then Turq spec frames come in at $5,000.
The SB160 has a US release scheduled for 'January', but Silverfish tell us they are expecting SB160 models to be available in the UK from January 20th. So expect the US bikes to land in their home-country earlier than the ones destined to journey across the pond.
As for the other new Yeti models coming over the hill (presumably a Himalayan one) very shortly, we can’t tell you about them just yet but stay tuned for more details and a first ride review very soon. For more on the SB160, head to yeticycles.com.