PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
Nothing but stability.
Words by Mike Kazimer, photography by Trevor Lyden
Whistler is the location where Yeti's SB150 made its first public appearance, so it made sense to get one in for the Pinkbike Field Test
to see how it held up to the countless EWS-worthy trails scattered throughout the valley.
The SB150 was designed with speed and stability in mind, and the result is the longest and slackest bike in Yeti's lineup. It's a full carbon affair, with 150mm of rear travel delivered by Yeti's Switch Infinity system, and a 170mm fork up front.
This race-bred 29er has geometry numbers that would have been considered extreme not too long ago, but are quickly gaining traction. The 64.5-degree head angle, 460mm reach on a size medium, and 77-degree seat angle all put the SB150 up in the lead pack when it comes to modern geometry.
Yeti SB150 Details
• Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
• Wheel size: 29"
• Rear wheel travel: 150mm
• 64.5° head angle
• 433mm chainstays
• Weight: 29.9 lb / 13.6 kg
• Lifetime frame warranty
• Price: $8,599 USD / Frame only: $3,800 USD
Our test bike received the X01 Race build kit, which includes a SRAM X01 12-speed drivetrain, Code RSC brakes, a Fox 36 GRIP 2 fork, and DT Swiss' XM1501 alloy wheelset. All of those niceties brings the price up to $8,599 USD, while a frame only goes for $3,800 USD.
You'll notice that we put the SB150 in the Trail / Enduro category of the Field Test, rather than in the 'Super Enduro' segment. There's no hard and fast rule on how to categorize bikes, but in this instance the SB150 ended up grouped with the Santa Cruz Bronson, Trek Remedy, Specialized Stumpjumper, and Kona Process 153 due to the fact that it has 150mm of rear wheel travel, while the bikes in the Super Enduro segment all have 160mm or more. Yes, it has the slackest head angle in this category by half a degree, but it also has a 170mm fork, while the other contenders have 160 or 150mm of travel up front. Climbing
The SB150 isn't the absolute quickest handling climber, but the back end stays remarkably calm, even if you're putting the power down while pedaling out of the saddle. The lack of excessive suspension movement while heading uphill was impressive, especially considering the fact that there was still plenty of compliance to take the edge of small bumps, and to keep the rear wheel stuck to the ground on trickier ascents.
Some testers noted that the Kona Process 153 felt more lively on the climbs, likely due to that bike's steeper head angle, and the fact that it has 160 rather than a 170mm fork. The SB150 has a more gravity-oriented nature, but the reasonable weight and steep seat angle helped keep it very manageable on long climbs. Descending
The SB150 truly is a superbike on the descents, and testers had nothing but praise for its handling in rough terrain. There's plenty of high speed stability on tap, but it's also a bike that's easy to play around on, whether that's by manualing out of a corner, or airing into a minefield of roots and rocks just to see what will happen. This is a bike that's much friendlier than its numbers suggest – you don't need to have the skills of an EWS pro in order to have a good time on the trail.
Mother Nature delivered several wet, slippery days during the Field Test, and the SB150 continued to shine in those more challenging conditions. On sections of trail where other bikes felt like they were getting bounced around and knocked off line it just keep trucking along, with a smooth, forgiving ride. Part of the reason for that forgiving feel lies with the frame design itself. The SB150 doesn't have the absolute stiffest swingarm out there, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. An overly rigid frame can lead to a harsh, jarring ride, and that was never the case here.
I've been putting additional miles in on the SB150 in preparation for a longer term review, and have had a number of riders ask about tire clearance. More and more 2.6" tires are hitting the market, but the SB150's max tire size is 2.5", and even that might be pushing things a bit depending on which tire and rim combo you use. I've been running a 2.4" Maxxis Minion DHR II WT for the last two months, a time period that's included multiple extra-muddy rides, and haven't run into any frame clearance issues at all - the paint on the chainstays is untouched.