PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
We see a lot of bikes come and go but the SB130 has become the "go-to" for aggressive trail riding. Its all around prowess in both ascending and descending technical terrain keep it as a top choice for a variety of riding.
Words by Daniel Sapp, photography by Trevor Lyden
The SB130 is Yeti's latest all-rounder, with 29" wheels, 130mm of rear travel, and a 150mm fork up front.
The angles of the bike are some of the more progressive out there, with 460mm of reach on a size medium, a 65.5-degrees head angle and a 77-degree seat angle. There's also room for a water bottle on the correct side of the down tube, something that was missing on Yeti's prior SB models. The SB130 is a highly capable ride, but if the bike park or enduro races are more your speed, the longer travel SB150 may be a better choice.
Intended use: trail / all-mountain
Wheel size: 29''
Frame construction: carbon fiber
Head angle: 65.5
Chainstay length: 433mm
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Weight: 28.6 lb / 12.9kg
Price: $8,199 USD
More info: www.yeticycles.com
The SB130 uses Yeti's Switch Infinity system, those two small and short Kashima-coated rails located just above the bottom bracket, to manipulate the bike's axle path. As the bike goes through its travel, the carrier moves up on the rails to give the bike a slightly rearward axle path and improved pedaling performance. As the rear wheel continues through its travel, the mechanism moves downwards and reduces the amount of chain tension for better absorption of big hits.
The unique two-piece shock extension design bridging the gap between the link and shock allowed Yeti's engineering team the ability to manipulate the leverage rate of the bike within a huge range, independently of other kinematic variables such as anti-squat. The SB130's suspension design is more progressive than the 5.5 that preceded it, which means it's coil shock compatible for riders interested in going that route.
The SB130 was designed along side the longer travel SB150 and shares a lot of traits with that bike but, besides the obvious differences in rear-wheel and fork travel, the head-tube angle and leverage rate progressivity (12% for the SB130 and 15% for the SB150) are different. The SB130 is tested to Yeti's trail standards, while the SB150 is tested to their DH standards as the bikes are suited for two different purposes. The greatest change to the layup between these two standards can be seen near the head tube, top tube, and down tube with the SB130 saving weight in areas that don't need as much reinforcement as its longer travel sibling does.Climbing
Most modern bikes in the 130-150mm travel range pedal impressively well compared to the bikes we were on even a few years ago, especially given their increased capabilities on the descents. The SB130 holds its own while heading uphill against the best bikes currently out there in its category, and although it has a burly mix of parts, a long reach, and a slack head-tube angle, the steep seat tube puts you in a good position to manage chunky terrain. It's a very impressive climber, and the only place I even consider cranking on the pedaling platform switch was on a paved road climb.
The long reach number may look intimidating on paper, but the steep seat angle makes for a very comfortable climbing position. I never felt too stretched out, and I was able to comfortably move the bike around in tight and techy terrain.
There's consistently plenty of traction on the SB130. Sections of trail that require a punch of power to bump over roots or rocks on certain bikes are noticeably easier to sit down and power on over without spinning out. The suspension feels supple and conforming to the terrain, and doesn't fight or force you to choose the path of least resistance while climbing. It encourages you to give it a little more hell knowing there's traction and a lower likelihood of breaking free and smashing your kneecap into the clamp of your shifter.Descending
The SB130 hits out of its league on descents, so much so that I've consistently found myself questioning the safety of the speeds I feel comfortable riding this bike. The suspension stays active and keeps the bike glued to the ground, all while maintaining a lively feel that encourages getting airborne whenever the opportunity presents itself.
The SB130's long reach makes it easy to stay balanced and centered in the steeps, which came in handy on Whistler's countless rock rolls. While it is a blast to hang on and plow down the trail, straight-lining over off-camber roots and rocks, it seamlessly transitions to holding a line into and out of turns.
The SB130 is as close to an enduro bike as any 130mm travel bike I've ever ridden, but it's light and lively enough to make it an apt choice for big days of pedaling. Trying to decide between the SB130 and the SB150? It's all about deciding where your priorities lie. If you've got a calendar that's full of enduro races, trips to the bike park, and a bunch of rides with extra-burly descents, the SB150 is the way to to. But if you're looking for something that's a little less gravity oriented, with enough travel to take almost anywhere, the SB130 is the way to go.
All in all, the SB130 is a delight to ride and strikes a solid balance as a bike that can efficiently get uphill and rarely hold you back while heading down.