Yeti Cycles has been creating bombproof race bikes since the legendary hoop-tailed steel ARC of the '80s. The SB100 still uses a unique rear end to redefine what you can expect from a race bike when things get rad.
Yeti has had progressive geometry, short-travel bikes before but the SB100 gets a refined version of its control-multiplying twin-shaft Switch Infinity suspension system in a lifetime warrantied chassis. That inevitably adds weight over a pure racer, but the gravity and grin-gains far outweigh a few grams on the climbs.
Design and geometry
The SB100 translates Yeti’s current chassis outline into a slimmer tube format and turns the twin-shaft Switch Infinity system sideways to completely hide it in the seat-tube base.
At 2.5kg claimed for a medium it’s still relatively heavy for 100mm, but a no-questions-asked lifetime warranty, Enduro Max pivot bearings and fully piped internal control routing are playtime and practical wins. Geometry is borderline XC/Trail too with a 68-degree head angle, 74-degree seat angle and 432mm reach with a 120mm fork. There’s belly armour and a conventional bottle cage mount on all S - XL sizes but the press-fit BB92 will need TLC over time. As well as this flagship Turq model, there are two standard-carbon complete bikes using a 250g heavier frame with either version coming in stealth black or signature turquoise.
Components and build
The T2 is based around the excellent SRAM X01 Eagle but a bike this easy to pedal should have at least a 32 tooth - if not 34 - rather than the stock 30 tooth spin ring.
The Factory-grade Fox suspension gives full damping adjustability and gold Kashima shaft coating but the excellent Fox Transfer dropper is a basic version with a black shaft which is a niggle given the premium cost. Similarly while the DT Swiss M1700 wheelset is dependable with a decent feel, you’d expect carbon wheels for this price even from a boutique brand rather than the DT XRC1200s being listed as a $1400 upgrade. No complaints about the triple compound Maxxis Minion DHF and Aggressor tyres for fast trail riding though and the 2020 bike gets SRAM Level TLM brakes rather than the less predictable Shimano XT.
Ride, handling and performance
While the spec might be glitchy, the get-and-go nuts balance of the Yeti is absolutely outstanding. It’s hard to believe that a few mm of vertical rise and fall of the main pivot through the travel can make much of a difference, but Switch Infinity is undeniably brilliant.
The pedal zone is well supported with plenty of anti squat so power delivery and cornering feedback are crisp, immediate and superbly communicated for managing traction. A slight nudge puts the pivot carrier over the ‘inflection point’ on the twin shafts though reducing anti squat and swallowing pedal-choking lumps or catching big hits better than a lot of 120mm bikes. There’s no lever flicking, or remote trigger toggling to be done either — it just transfers from ferociously responsive to flawlessly controlled whether you’re hammering out of the saddle or sitting down and spinning.
Frame and wheelset feel is similarly balanced between tactile smoothness and stiff enough to transfer torque, and the tyres underline the high control suspension feel. Switching to the lighter XRC1200 option and Maxxis Forekaster and Rekon Race tyres boosts acceleration, agility and rolling speed to rabidly race-ready levels. 760mm bar and 50mm stem add some power-steering leverage without making the keen head angle hyperactive. With a short reach keeping the wheelbase tight it’s definitely still a bike that lives on its nerves rather than treating tech sections with contempt.
That means while it can cruise climbs and devour miles efficiently all day long, we found ourselves riding the SB100 more like a BMX; ‘gate snapping’ out of every corner, railing berms with neck-straining force and sending any hip or drop as far as possible to max out the fun and flow.
If you just look at numbers the SB100 is short and steep for a rowdy lightweight trail bike but heavy for a pure racer. It’s also horribly expensive even by boutique bike standards. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford one though, Yeti’s shortest-travel bike is absolutely addictive, attacking any segment of the trail from the second you clip in and settle onto that carefully curated sag point that makes suspension set up a cinch. It’s also the steepness and shortness that keeps the ride wide-eyed and heart maxed when some heavier, more enduro shaped short travel bikes are still asleep. If you do want something utterly trail crushing in shape, but still punchy through the pedals then just pick the SB130 instead.
- Temperature: 15-20-degrees, sunny, showers
- Trails: Man-made and natural (Yorkshire)
- Terrain: Blue, red and black-grade trails
Tech spec: Yeti SB100 T2
- Price: £6,999 / US$6,999 / AU$11,190
- Head angle: 68 degree
- Frame material: Carbon
- Size: Medium
- Weight: 12.29kg
- Wheel size: 29-inch
- Suspension (front/rear): Fork Fox 34 Factory Step Cast, 120mm travel, Fox DPS Factory, 100mm travel
- Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle 1x12 speed
- Brakes: Shimano XT
- Wheels: DT Swiss M1700 Spline 25 with Maxxis Minion DHF 3C MaxxTerra EXO TR 29x2.3in front and Maxxis Aggressor EXO TR 29x2.3in rear tyres
- Bar/stem: Yeti Carbon 760mm/Race Face Turbine 50mm.
- Seatpost: Fox Transfer Performance, 125mm
- Saddle: WTB Custom Volt