Yeti SB4.5c - Review

Jun 20, 2016
by Mike Kazimer  




If you happened to find yourself on Yeti's website during a bout of aimless internet wandering, you'd have to look under the cross-country category to locate the SB4.5c. With 4.5” (114mm) of rear travel and 29” wheels that designation makes sense, that is until you realize that the bike has Yeti's long-and-low geometry, a 140mm fork, and a 67.4-degree head angle, numbers that suggest there might be more to this turquoise machine than initially meets the eye.

There are two complete builds available, the GX version for $5,599 USD, or the XO1 version we tested that retails for $6,899. Riders who wish to build their own ride from the ground up will need to part ways with $3,400 for the frame and shock.

SB 4.5C Details

• Intended use: XC / trail
• Rear wheel travel: 114mm
• Wheel size: 29"
• Carbon fiber frame
• BB92 bottom bracket
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight (as shown, size L w/o pedals): 25.75 lb (11.68 kg)
• MSRP: $6,899 USD, $3,400 frame / shock only
www.yeticycles.com / @yeticycles

Yeti SB 4.5C review
There's no shortage of clean lines on the SB4.5c.
Yeti SB 4.5C review
The 29 x 2.2" Maxxis Ikon is on the narrower side, but luckily there's room to fit meatier 2.3" tires.


Frame Details

The SB4.5c's full carbon fiber frame shares a similar look to the other models in Yeti's line of Switch Infinity equipped bikes, with the same swoopy styling and generous amount of standover clearance. The cable routing further adds to the clean, modern look, tucking the brake, derailleur, and dropper post routing out of sight inside the frame.

The frame is designed to work solely with 1x drivetrains – there's no front derailleur mount to be seen – but unfortunately, Yeti also decided to forgo ISCG mounts. Clutch derailleurs and narrow-wide chainrings work very well, but it would be nice to at least have the option to run a small upper guide to completely eliminate the chance of a chain falling off.


Yeti SB 4.5C review
A 12 x 148mm thru-axle keeps the rear wheel secured into place.
Yeti SB 4.5C review
A BB92 bottom bracket, downtube protection, but no ISCG tabs to be seen.

Boost spacing is in place at the front and rear of the bike, which provides enough clearance for a 29 x 2.3” tire in the back, and room for something even bigger in the front. There are a number of bikes on the market that can run either 29" or 27.5+ wheels, but the SB4.5 is intended to be a dedicated 29er.

The location of the Switch Infinity suspension system means there's no room for mounting a water bottle cage inside of the frame, but there are mounts on the down tube. That's better than nothing, but be aware of what you've been riding through before blindly taking a swig from your bottle.



Yeti SB 4.5C review

Suspension Design

By now, the Switch Infinity suspension design doesn't look quite as radical as it did when it was first announced, but it's still different enough to raise questions from riders who haven't seen it out in the wild.

For those who aren't unfamiliar with how the system works, it relies on two short Kashima-coated rails (courtesy of Fox Shox, who collaborated with Yeti on the design) located just above the bottom bracket to manipulate the bike's axle path. Initially, as the bike goes through its travel the carrier moves upwards on the rails, giving the bike a rearward axle path for improved pedaling performance. As the rear wheel goes deeper into its travel, the mechanism moves downwards, reducing the amount of chain tension for better big hit absorption. The carrier itself only moves a few millimeters in each direction, but it's enough to have a significant impact on the way the bike's suspension behaves, especially compared to a single pivot suspension design.

As far as maintenance goes, there's a grease port on each of the rails, and Yeti recommends lubing the system every 40 hours to ensure everything stays buttery smooth, a procedure that can be performed in mere minutes.




3 Questions With Yeti


There's quite the travel difference between the 114mm rear end and the 140mm fork, but it works extremely well out on the trail. Were the bike's geometry figures originally developed with that configuration in mind?

Yes, we will often play with various aspects of our suspension spec with our internal testing team and professional athletes. Our intention with this bike was to give it a bit more travel in the front and ensure this was an aggressive XC/trail bike. The result is a bike that climbs extremely well and is just as capable on descents. In fact, we would say that the most common response from first time riders on the SB4.5c is that they knew it would climb well, but they never expected it would descend as well as it does.


What was the reasoning behind not including ISCG 05 tabs?

Again, our intention with this bike was to design a truly aggressive XC/trail bike. As we looked at the advantages vs. disadvantages of adding the ISCG 05 tabs, we felt that the majority of riders on this bike would be inclined to run a 1x setup without a chain guide, so it made sense to keep it clean and simple for the SB4.5c. We were also working on the SB5.5c, our longer-travel 29er, at the same time we were developing the SB4.5c. We knew the SB5.5c would be the most aggressive enduro-focused bike of the two 29ers and spec’d the SB5.5c with the ISCG 05 tabs, among other components, to clearly equip that bike for the toughest enduro tracks in the world.


We're starting to see more bikes that can accept both 27.5+ and 29” wheels. Was that a consideration during the design process of the SB4.5?

No, it was not a consideration. We get this question quite often and, for now, designing bikes with multiple wheel size options just isn’t our direction. We simply haven’t found the ride quality we are looking for with bikes that can accommodate multiple wheel sizes. For us, the compromises outweigh the benefits.





Geometry

Yeti SB 4.5 geometry



Specifications
Specifications
Price $6899
Travel 114mm
Rear Shock Fox Float Factory DPS
Fork Fox 34 Factory 140mm Boost
Headset Cane Creek 40 internal
Cassette SRAM 1180 10-42
Crankarms Race Face Turbine 30t
Bottom Bracket Race Face BB92
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 11-speed
Chain SRAM 1130 11-speed
Shifter Pods SRAM X01 11-speed
Handlebar Easton Haven carbon 740mm
Stem Easton Haven 55mm
Grips Yeti lock-on
Brakes SRAM Guide RSC
Hubs DT Swiss 350
Rim DT XM401
Tires Maxxis Ardent 2.4 f / Ikon 2.2 r
Seat Yeti / WTB Custom
Seatpost RockShox Reverb

Yeti SB 4.5C review








Setup

In its stock configuration, the SB4.5c is aimed squarely at the XC / trail side of the spectrum, but I'd love to see Yet offer a version with a slightly burlier spec. As it is, riders who live in wetter climates, or who frequent steep, loose trails will probably want to swap out the Maxxis Ardent / Ikon tire combo for something more substantial. The same goes for the 740mm Easton Haven carbon bars. If that's your preferred length, you're in luck, but it's about 40mm too narrow for my tastes.


Pinkbike ride test
The SB4.5c's rear suspension design provides plenty of grip while still remaining bob-free during out of the saddle pedaling.

Climbing

Have you ever seen an asphalt milling machine in action? You know, that tank-treaded contraption that chews up pavement and then spits it out into a dump truck? Well, that's the image that regularly popped into my head when I was aboard the SB4.5c – it simply eats up the trail, and if you're not careful, before you know it you'll be three hours away from home on what was supposed to be a quick spin around the block.

The SB4.5's handling on the climbs feels a little calmer than the SB5, a bike that takes off like a jackrabbit at the merest hint of a hill, but that doesn't mean that the bigger wheeled bike is any less capable. It still has the chops to clamber up just about everything short of a vertical wall, and even then there's still a chance it might make it to the top. There's just enough rear suspension movement to keep the rear wheel on the ground without slipping, and plenty of support to keep it from bobbing or wallowing.

The SB4.5's uphill prowess is on par with Trek's Fuel EX, but Yeti's Switch Infinity system has less movement when standing up and putting the power down, a trait that I prefer, and one that allowed me to keep the Fox DPS shock in the Open position in the second compression setting for both climbing and descending.

Pinkbike ride test

Descending

Even with 'only' 114mm of rear travel, the SB4.5 is capable of handling seriously rough trails, thanks to the combination of its big wheels, well managed rear travel, and dialed geometry. Of course, as usual, there's the caveat that you can't go charging headlong into a rock garden the same way you would on a 160mm enduro monster, but I still came away extremely impressed with just how forgiving of a ride the SB4.5c provided.

In fact, if I didn't know better I would have guessed that there was 130mm of rear travel on tap – it was only the occasional 'clunk' of the shock reaching the end of its travel, usually off of a drop into a hard G-out, that would remind me of the rear end's limits. Compared to Kona's Process 111, the bike that deserves credit for kicking off the short travel aggressive 29er movement, the Yeti has a more plush suspension feel, with better small bump sensitivity at the beginning of its travel. That helps provide more grip during cornering, and smooths out the chattery, potentially jarring sections of trail.


Pinkbike ride test
bigquotesEven with 'only' 114mm of rear travel, the SB4.5 is capable of handling seriously rough terrain, thanks to the combination of its big wheels, well managed rear travel, and dialed geometry.


There's a speed demon hidden somewhere under the SB4.5c's carbon skin, and going fast is its forte. Now, making a 29er that goes fast in a straight line isn't an extraordinary feat, but to create one with such a beguiling mix of liveliness and stability is especially impressive. It'll whip in and out of tight turns without missing a beat, and just as easily take on a steep chute pockmarked with awkward holes and chunky rocks.

The SB4.5c's geometry is thoroughly modern, but not overly radical - there are 29ers out there with chainstays shorter than 437mm, and head angles slacker than 67.4-degrees, but all of the SB4.5's numbers add up to create something that's incredibly versatile, no matter how wild or tame the terrain. And anyone who still believes the old myth that '29ers can't jump' should take this bike for a spin – it takes minimal effort to get it airborne, and the sub-26 pound weight only serves to make it that much easier to pop towards the sky.

The only issue I had with the SB4.5's downhill performance was the fact that it can get kind of noisy at higher speeds on rough trails. Even with an integrated chainslap protector, the design of the chainstay means that when the chain hits it at a certain angle it echoes loudly, alerting riders and other forest creatures that you're rocketing down the trail towards them.


Yeti SB 4.5C review
Yeti SB 4.5C review

Component Check

• Fox Float 34 Factory: Fox's 140mm 34 was smooth and silent throughout the test period, and felt well matched to the Float DPS shock. Even though there's more than 20mm difference between the front and rear suspension the bike still felt very balanced.

• SRAM X01 drivetrain / Race Face Turbine cranks: The X01 rear derailleur's clutch didn't seem particularly strong, which may have exacerbated some of the chainslap noise I experienced. Otherwise, with the exception of one dropped chain, the 1x11 drivetrain was trouble free, with crisp, accurate shifts even after being doused in pouring rain and splashed by deep mud puddles.

• DT XM401 rims The XM401 rims remained dent and wobble free even after a few months of abuse. I wouldn't mind if they had a wider internal width, but they still provided enough support for running 2.3” tires without any burping or rolling off the rim.

• DT 350 hubs: As for the hubs, I do have a couple of gripes. The first is related to the Centerlock to 6-bolt adaptor that was used to mount the SRAM rotors. I'd rather have a dedicated 6-bolt hub – there's much less chance of the system coming loose or developing play. I'd also prefer a 36 or 54 tooth star ratchet rather than the 18 tooth version that was spec'd. Once you've become accustomed to quicker engaging hubs, the difference is readily apparent when going back to something with 20-degrees between points of engagement.



Pinkbike ride test


Pinkbike's Take:

bigquotesSpeed freaks will rejoice at the SB4.5c's capabilities, but even riders who prefer to cruise along at a more subdued pace will appreciate the handling and suspension feel that Yeti have baked into this turquoise machine. It's a lively trail bike that doesn't balk when faced with more technical terrain, and I'll admit that I felt more than a twinge of regret when it was time to box up the SB4.5c and return it to its Colorado home. - Mike Kazimer




Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review




About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 33 • Height: 5'11” • Inseam: 33" • Weight: 160lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Twenty years deep into a mountain biking addiction that began as a way to escape the suburban sprawl of Connecticut, Mike Kazimer is most at home deep the woods, carving his way down steep, technical trails. The decade he spent as a bike mechanic helped create a solid technical background to draw from when reviewing products, and his current location in the Pacific Northwest allows for easy access to the wettest, muddiest conditions imaginable.



262 Comments

  • 160 53
 Great bike and interesting trend with those short travel bikes, but I bet that given a great and well setup shock (like CCDB Coil CS) , a 160 bike can climb or ride ridges just as well as a 120 bike. 3 years ago I bought a 120 bike thinking it will suit my trails better and turn me into a better rider by forcing me to move more on the downhills, and it will undoubtedly climb better. All of that turned to bollocks, despite the fact that I Pushed my shock. My current 160 Antidote Carbon Jack easily outclimbs my previous Blur TRc and even pumps better. I can do 20 laps at a local pumptrack on HT and I could barely doi 5 on Blur with locked suspension. Yesterday I easily did 10 laps with open suspension on my CJack.

120 is a nice concept but struggles to work in reality. Such bike is a perfect thing for guys getting into some hormonal phase (like I did) where they think less is more, which usually ends up with having a slower bike and having an excuse to be slow, and then coming out as a hero for tackling some rough bit on a small bike.

Yes such bikes are perfect for enlightened XCers but if you like descending, take some pills, visit life coach and ride a proper bike. Otherwise you are just a guy that is so bored with life that you want to shag a dwarf
  • 7 2
 This is an interesting bike to feed into my "29er geometry spreadsheet" for the day I get my perfect* 29er built. I am thinking its a tad short on travel when 140 will handle all but WC DH tracks (as proved by TMO and J Leov on the Remedy). I think I am with you on that one Waki, why have less when you can have more that works well.

* Yes I realise perfection is an unobtainable myth.
  • 10 1
 @fartymarty: I kind of agree, I really like the look of the Smuggler - Its geometry is arguably the best of its type but travel at 115mm keeps it from being completey 'all-round'.

Maybe I just need to give one a go though.....
  • 5 1
 @Racer951: you totally should, I love mine! '15 bought in August of last year, ~1,400 miles on it now and it's been fantastic.
  • 14 10
 I will stuck my nose up and say put Float X2, Öhlins TTX/STX or DB Coil CS on SB 6 Enduro, spend a fair bit of time adjusting the shock, and it's going to give that 4.5C a good run for it's money on climbs (given same tyres off course) People tend to spec those aggro 120 bikes with 6" bike componentry anyways. Look at The Following and Wreckoning how much difference there is in specs between those. Why would you make aggro geometry and then spec the bike with Nobby Nics or alikes?! You buy a 120 bike with Pike, who on earth is going to run it in shortest travel setting? No, if your bike comes with Pike at 130, you'll wind it up to 150 pretty quickly.
  • 8 5
 @WAKIdesigns: I think you have hit the nail on the head for 29ers. We are only talking an inch of travel which is nothing. There's no significant weight advantage in the smaller travel rig therefore no advantage.
  • 28 1
 I demoed the 4.5 and 5.5 back to back. 5.5 was slightly less sprinty, I think mostly due to heavier tires but was hugely more capable. Both were quick and awesome. Was expecting the 5.5 would be $2k more, came back and found they're the same price?!?! Who the heck would get the 4.5 (I mean assuming you'd pay $5.5k for a bike #hormonalimbalance)
  • 5 2
 Giving props wasn't enough. You nailed it.
  • 4 0
 @fartymarty: J Leov & TMO along with a slew of other Trek riders throw the 140mm forks away and put on Fox 36 160mms. JHK's bike: www.bikeradar.com/us/mtb/gear/article/pro-bike-jeremy-horgan-kobelskis-trek-remedy-9-8-27-5-38730
  • 25 0
 There is only thing that bugs me about adding more travel is: I tend to lose a little bit of hop and spring off of jumps with more travel.

As a guy who has come from a bmx background, the 150+mm of rear travel bikes have a really deep pre-load, that gets a little uncomfortable when trying to elevate the bike in a bunny-hop.
  • 7 1
 Exactly for the same reason I bought tree years ago and sold last week my Fuel Ex. No more compromises and "do it all, one quiver" stuff. I shall take my On-One Inbread with SID when I'm in a climbing mood or for touring, and my Reign with coil suspension if I wish to have fun on descents or going to Alps.
  • 6 1
 @Racer951:

I have a smuggler with a 1 deg Angleset fitted so the HA is 66.5 now. And I love it, you can plow it in to everything and it just laughs it off. I was torn between upping the pikes to 140/150 but didn't want to raise my bb to much so fitted the Angleset and it's awesome. Krunk rides the EWS on his smuggler
  • 11 3
 "Such bike is a perfect thing for guys getting into some hormonal phase (like I did) where they think less is more, which usually ends up with having a slower bike and having an excuse to be slow, and then coming out as a hero for tackling some rough bit on a small bike."

WAKI, I disagree with almost everything you say, but sometimes you truly are a treasure. Laughed my ass off.
  • 6 1
 @rowdycash: That's the advantage with 140mm rear travel is you can put a bigger fork on it for big riding or keep it at 140mm for trail riding.
  • 10 2
 *immediatedly searches Antidote bikes just to see what Waki rides*
  • 4 0
 @milkdrop: That's why I ride a hardtail and a big bike. Saying that the hardtail has been getting all the love of late.
  • 17 11
 My personal issues with recent 120 bikes or rather frames are as follows:
1.They don't really pedal better.
2.They don't really handle better on climbs
3.Their geo allows you to go relatively fast even in a bike park BUT only if you can really nail it. As soon as you lose balance, miss a rock with your vision, there is no safet margin, your arse will fly up. The travel cannot simply keep up with geometry and components.
4.When I am riding a 160 bike I am half way into a DH bike, I am standing on a platform that allows me to look a bit further and plan my moves better, I simply have time to take a look at what is coming at me without being unsettled by the chatter of smaller bumps. Even on my slow local trails (bumpy none the less) If I'm going for some Strava masturbation, my 160 bike allows me to correct sht and be more creative with line choice. Yes 120 bike can do it here almost as fast BUT you have to nail it every single time.
5.I ride hardtail occasionally and 120 bike with whatever shock (like one in the test here, o piggy back no care) just seems to close to it. Once I get into a really bumpy section, let's say brake bumps, I can feel how my speed is dropping where 160 bike doesn't slow down me that much. What is mostimportant though is that 160 bike allows me to be heavy light over stuff, where 120 would just give me a big kick If I tried to load it on bumps.

I totally get that if you ride flow trails, if your terrain is relatively smooth, then 120 bike with lack geo can be great but that isn't even an option in the terrain Mike is riding in this test. Yes it sounds like a great 3rd bike but those things as expensive as hell.
  • 4 2
 @Racer951: Check out the new SB5.5.... I ride the 4.5 and it blows my mind daily.... I cannot wait to get on the new 5.5, pretty certain it'll be the one bike for everything.
  • 6 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Have you tried a 120mm 29er though or is your experience with 27.5 bikes?

Riding a 29er hardtail it is undeniably better over rough terrain than a 26 or 27.5" bike so imagine those benefits would translate well to a 115mm FS 29er in a lot of situations bar the real heavy stuff.

I am itching to try a short travel 29er as our local riding is quite mellow and I have a DH bike for 'proper stuff'
  • 18 1
 I think the issue is your baseline is a Blur TRc. I had a 5010 last year, its lack of climbing prowess was truly impressive. 160mm bikes are a lot of fun but it takes a lot of trail for them to come to life. Even in BC the vast majority of trails are not steep or rough enough for a longer travel bike to work like it is designed to. A bit shorter travel gives you a bike that is playful on the easier trails but still capable when it gets rowdy.
  • 4 2
 @Racer951: buy a 5.5c. I just bought one and you will not regret.
  • 10 0
 I think you're just in a different hormonal phase is all.
  • 6 2
 @WhatAboutBob: "Its lack of climbing prowess was truly impressive"? The 5010 lacked climbing prowess? And this was impressive? I don't understand.
  • 6 1
 @rollchal: I too am intrigued by the 5.5 with it's 160/140 travel setup. I'm on a 140/140 Remedy 29er and am looking to take the 36 to 160mm up front. It's absolutely my one bike.
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: You just nailed the reason I ride a 29 hardtail.

You have to be on the ball all the time. This is fun when your trails aren't that tricky or long like my local trails (Surrey Hills). If I was riding bigger terrain I would want 160x27.5 or a 140x29.
  • 2 2
 @Snowsed341: I'm jealous. They're stunning looking bikes with great geo. Out of interest how tall are you and what size are you riding? I am 6'1" and was thinking an XL would be the ticket.
  • 2 2
 "Such bike is a perfect thing for guys getting into some hormonal phase...and then coming out as a hero for tackling some rough bit on a small bike."

^^haha awesome!!.....so much yes. Smile
  • 9 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I think you're making a lot of really good points, but it all seems to boil down to using a top-tier shock.

My price ceiling for full bike is around this frameset price - firmly cheapskatey mid-level spec category (not saying that's right or wrong, btw. It's just how much I feel OK spending). On bikes of that level I definitely feel like I notice a difference in pedaling/climbing between 120 and 150 - and for a guy who likes climbing and covering lots of miles that matters a lot. You're probably right that you can tune out the difference on a decent frame design with an awesome shock, but I think the fact that most people tend to buy bikes in the regular monarch/float range explains much of the recent popularity of shorter travel bikes.

Or maybe I'm totally wrong and it's an industry conspiracy. Also entirely possible that I just can't tune my low/midrange shock worth a damn.
  • 10 0
 Different strokes for different folks
  • 6 3
 @fartymarty: yes, hardtail is excellent, especially one like Honzo.

@Racer951 - From short travel 29ers I rode Process 111 and Camber. There is no way I'd buy them over Stumpy 29. And I am comenting solely on what is happening to the rear on the downhills and overall experience of climbing.

@WhatAboutBob - I just had Lee Likes Bikes coach coming to Gothenburg and he said that indeed trails are a bit special with combination of lower speed and large obstacles, especially with short yet difficult singletrack climbs. But I must say that great suspension with great shock (I am fortunate to own the level of finesse that Steve Jones had on his super dialled Stumpy 29 Evo) will do what 120 bikes are suppose to give: platform for pumping and poppyness. Yes my 160 Nomad that I sold 3 years ago to buy 120 Blur was blowing through travel too easily and Blur made everything more alive but all in all, even that Nomad was more of an all round machine, considering I have those extremely rare occassions to ride in big mountains 3-4 times a year, and I want to make most of it. I just talked to a guy who tested Float X2 and he says that the level of support in the mid travel for pedalling or slashing berms is just epic. Same for Öhlins TTX.
  • 8 1
 After reading this article I realized I need a short travel 29er with fast engagement hubs and room for water bottle in my life.
  • 6 5
 @bkm303. Probably yes, it boils down to the shock but I know too little on kinematics to have any idea how does frame affect that. I rode too many frames with different shocks (mostly on demo days).

I must say here that if not Peter at BFG Suspension, I'd never set my Cane Creek well. It's a can of worms, and there's still some thing that is a bit off with the rebound(s). Damn, it took me two months of 3 rides a week to set Lyrik so it comes close to amazing 36 Van RC2.
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I've ridden both bikes and I can honestly say the 4.5C pumps a lot better, however, the climbing wasn't noticeably different between the two bikes, with both being f*cking stellar.
  • 14 6
 I will concur with Waki. I have spent a LOT of time testing the theory that a 120/140/150 bike will climb better than a 160 bike and it is complete nonsense. I rode the same trails on bikes of all different configurations and the net result was climbing times within 1 second on every configuration.

The only variable that makes a difference is wheel and tire spec. Put the same tires and wheel on each bike and they will climb at the same speed. Suspension travel does not have any effect even on smooth fire road climbs. The ONLY place a 29 has any advantage is on rolling terrain where momentum from a downhill gets you 75% of the way up the next hill.

I have yet to see any reviewers write anything more than one bike "feels" faster than another. Create a baseline on one bike. That can be used as a fitness gauge for correction. From there create a standard tire setup, whatever are the reviewers favorites for each style of bike. Now you can time specific segments and at least get a feel for how fast bikes really are. Can't correct for everything, but at least you can get a good feel for how bikes perform in comparison.

BTW I owned a Yeti SB5c that was mentioned in the article as a great climbing bike. It was built as my short travel do anything bike, but I always run the same wheels and tires by necessity (anything lighter and I get sidewall cuts within 20 miles). Guess how fast it climbed compared to my coil shock equipped Nomad? Yep, same times going up on every trail/pavement climb I rode. It did FEEL faster though....
  • 27 2
 @salespunk: Do you just ride long steady climbs though and then blast down?

If a 160 climbed like a 120 bike shouldnt we see the whole XC race field on them? - I think you ride quite specific climbs and that is why you see no difference - you are honestly stating you see no efficiency increase with a bike that has 30% less travel?

Mountainbiking is a lot more than smooth fire roads / tarmac ups and a blast downhill and I can guarrantee over a usual 'trail ride' a coil shock nomad will be a LOT slower than a decent 120mm bike with identical build kit - its obsurd to think otherwise.
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: You nailed this WAKI! That's what I always thought about taking these kinds of rides into the Alpine in Switzerland where it's just steep rocks. Yes, you CAN ride it, but at the end you've probably done neither your hands, nor your suspension any favours and god forbid you make one wrong move...
I'll stick with my 160 thanks.
  • 4 1
 @Racer951: XC race is something completely different. The primary factor are TYRES, then WEIGHT, then SUSPENSION LEVERAGE CURVE and TUNE, and then TRAVEL comes last. On XC race 30seconds is a really big gap, but on casual ride it is nothing. Comparing trail riding to XC is like comparing F1 to riding a compact car - different everything.
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: My exact thoughts when reading this review. Unless I were racing and every ounce/gram mattered, I'm going with the longer travel bike. You could ride this bike on gnarly trails as pictured above, but why, when a longer travel bike makes it so much easier? I demoed a Yeti 5.5 a few weeks back, and I liked the way it handled. This 4.5 wouldn't even come into the equation. Personal preference, for sure, but I don't get it.

As for that hormonal phase, is it the same type that makes guys run single speed?
  • 20 2
 @Racer951: no I don't just ride pavement climbs and blast down. Multiple people that have not ridden with me have thought that, but locals will know the style when I mention names like Way Up and Secret at Elfin Forest, Bernardo Mountain at Hodges and Miners at Black Mountain (yes, I have climbed it multiple times instead of taking the fire road). I am a reformed XC guy and like to push going up and down. My original AM build was a Mojo HD that was 24.5 lbs with 580 gram tires. As my riding progressed I had to run stronger setups.

My climbs vary from pavement to super technical and I spend equal amounts of time on both. Travel has no impact on climbing. Shock setup and suspension design can have a massive impact though. If I take a 160 bike and put 350 PSI in the rear shock and a 120 bike and put 50 PSI in which will climb better? I also know that the Enduro 29'r sucks to ride with the shock wide open as did the VPP implementation on the old Intense Tracer. In comparison the DW implementation on both Ibis and Pivot feel great wide open even though the Pivot has a much softer feel in the initial travel. The Santa Cruz implementation of VPP on the new Nomad also feels way different compared with the new Bronson even though they are only separated by 15 mm of travel. I know all of this because I have spent my own hard earned money to buy each of these frames and then build them with nearly identical build kits.

Wheels and tires have a much bigger impact on climbing and general riding than suspension travel. With modern shocks and climb switches it is simple to change the action of the travel.

I doubt that you have spent your own money building multiple bikes to own them simultaneously so that you could test theories on what makes a bike climb and descend faster. I have done this and put hard numbers to the ideas. Even with the bikes built with specific purposes in mind (XTR vs Saint brakes, SixC vs NextSL cranks etc) there was no difference. Change the tire spec and suddenly one bike would pull away. Physics will tell you this is exactly the expected behavior.

BTW is is absurd (not obsurd) to make assertions that you have not tested yourself. I have spent a lot of time and way too much money switching back and forth between bikes and continue to test these theories on a regular basis. If you can prove me wrong by running the same wheels and tires on similar builds over months of riding the same trails I would love to see the data.

I have pitched the idea of spending my own money to buy frames and building them with the same build kits and then testing them to multiple media outlets and have gotten the same response from all of them. "We only test the manufacturers build kits that they provide". Don't believe the hype.
  • 2 1
 120 is perfect xc
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: 6ft with 33 inseam on a large and fits perfect. 50mm stem.
  • 12 1
 Eeeeesh.... back to the "my 160 bike climbs as well as your 120 bike" rants. Good feedback Waki, but lots of trail riders in my area (Utah/Colorado) are more than fine on 120/130 29ers. No they won't descend the gnar like your bike. If I had room in my life for two, I'd have a bike like this and a 150/160 bike. I don't so I split the difference at 135/140 29er. Big days in the rocky mountains on singletrack I'd grab this bike happily.
  • 7 0
 I could use a life coach and some pills but id say that these low slack 29'ers are fun bikes. In general, I have a lot of fricken fun on the smuggler. I just wanted a trail bike, because in reality thats what i ride. I'll always have a downhill bike for the big stuffs. If you think about it, it is silly to have a pike set at its lowest travel setting.. idk. I love mine tho
  • 5 0
 It's allllll just placebo. 'Feeling' compared to true testing are two completely different things. Whatever, I dumped all my money on a SB66, 160 Pike and a DBCoilCS. Feels a bit sluggish, but I'm not trying to win any races, I just want to get to the top so I can holler down
  • 10 3
 @salespunk: Well it sounds to me like you have solved the unsolvable in mtb in that case, just make everything 160mm of travel as they will all climb the same anyway....

You may have wasted your money testing this theory of yours on your specific 4 types of trail but as I say, there is no way an good 160mm bike will be as efficient as a good 120mm bike with identical kit both with modern and well setup shocks, not some bizarre situation that you have thought up with 300psi in one shock and 50psi in the other.

Winching your arse up some long climb is just not the same as technical singletrack / trail riding where the trail is constantly up and down. Some lardy coil shock mini dh bike is just not going to be as fast or fun in that situation, its the whole reason manufactuers dont only make 160mm bikes but feel free to continue your expensive ground breaking experiments there!
  • 1 0
 @sngltrkmnd: Somewhat similar here as I'm on a 135/140 Stumpy 29er and before next season want to throw a 150 fork on it as well as a custom shock tune. If I had the cash that 5.5 would be THE bike.
  • 8 0
 @salespunk: Sounds like PB needs to settle this by testing all 4 Yetis and comparing climbing/descending times (4.5, 5, 5.5, 6).
  • 3 0
 @Racer951: Brahahaha! Finally a voice of reason.
  • 6 0
 Are we totally forgetting that it doesn't have to be about the clock all the time? If you FEEL like you're going faster and riding better - even if you're not - isn't there something to be said for it? Different bikes just make certain trails more fun, making them all the more relevant.
  • 6 3
 @Racer951: Let's put it in layman's terms. The f*cking Nomad will not outclimb the Tallboy and the Jekyll will not outclimb the Habit.
  • 8 2
 @WasatchEnduro: a 120 bike with a great shock will outclimb a 160 bike with the same shock. Change tyres from Ikons to Minions on this 4.5C and you'll be bombing down the hill like a bat out of hell. You can see 120 bikes popping up in my area and it looks like good old days, back in 2003-ish when me and my buddies were poor and trying to build a DH bike at all costs. Finding ANY full suspension frame, 90, 100, 120, 150 travel, hardtail will do, - putting double crown fork on it, Hayes HFX-9 and Maxxis tyres with Orange stripes. The frame was irrelevant. So does it look here today it's just that stuff costs thousands - I've done it myself: Take 160 fork, 2,5 minions, 750 bars and put it on XC-ish frame. If your peer group is mile eaters (abso-fkng-lutely nothing wrong about that), heart rate obsessed dudes not minding to rip a descent occasionally, then I get what you are saying. But if you are into descent bit of Strava, why wouldn't you run Enduro setup leaving your bike as something that just has less travel.

I just took off Butcher Control which is lighter and rolls faster than Minion, and replaced it with 2.5 Minion TR MaxxGrip - I didn't brake at all on my 6 minute ridge ride, virtually flat, you can see a slight decrease on pedalling (which could easily have been being tired) and spikes of gaining time which are surely the corners. Bike does feel slower now when pedalling and rolling but it just keeps the speed up, so there is no point in aiming at that acceleration.

Honestly, "out of subject here", sorry, I rode without Minions for 6 months and now I'm back and whatever fancy shmancy details we are discussing about progression of the trchnology, we cannot thank enough to Colin Bailey to design the Minion DHF. We could do without 29ers, we could do without carbon and dropper posts, but Mountain Biking would not be what it is without Minion DHF.

Mr Colin Bailey and Maxxis - RESPECT
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: great post! i have a "rubbish" by modern standards trance x0 2008, 5 inch (120mm) travel on back, and now fitted a 150mm fork on front, nice to have the travel, even if its on a 26er, and i ride like a wimp
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: You must sh1t yourself if you ever see someone riding a rigid SS if a 120mm 29er seems undergunned for you Smile

More seriously though, I do agree though that 120 on big or proper wheels is an iffy middle ground. It seems like a marketing thing for me rather than something that translates to real world benefits. 100mm is great for fast XC, 140mm is probably about right for the trail crowd and 160 about right for the middle aged mincer looking for ultimate skill compensation/ the rad endurbro dudes..... Wink
  • 2 0
 @milkdrop: reign all the way buddy!!!
  • 1 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Jun 20, 2016 at 13:43) (Below Threshold)
 @BeardlessMarinRider: not really, I tried SS and rode with a dude who used his dirt jumper for XC. Yes you can, but for how long and how does it translate to riding a normal bike? It's a myth. Go do some cornering drills on parking lot once a week for half of a year, hit a pumptrack every now and then and you'll spend your time waay better, with better results than buying yet another bike to feel forced to nail each corner and pump each bump. This ride a crappy bike thing just doesn't work. It's like trying to improve someone at controlling balance on the bike with hip thrust by taping one of his hands to his shoulder. Hell yea, you can cover some machine dug trails riding one handed. It will give him an idea, but you just don't do it over and over again believing the dude will progress.
  • 5 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Take the tongue in cheek stuff for what it is, I was agreeing with you... although rigid SS is a ton of fun especially if you don't have the most challenging terrain or too much time on your hands and certainly adds a different dimension to riding. Choice is good and people are all different. Happy trails!
  • 1 2
 @BeardlessMarinRider: yes! I like pedal assisted E-bikes, you know, so this is like... No! I was indeed mocking the marketing trend trying to steal our hard earned money through reviewo-mercial. Bikes for dentists! #flatpedalsforlife #loicrecover #gastoflat #vanzachs
  • 5 0
 @salespunk: Interesting stuff, especially since I have a Nomad3 and a SB5c. There's no doubt the Yeti is more responsive to pedaling. I haven't done any stopwatch testing like you have and I agree that wheel tire combo makes a huge difference, but it's not everything. The factor you haven't mentioned is the weight - a longer travel bike is usually heavier and that will also climb slower and require more energy. Making a really light long-travel bike will compromise it's durability and capability in the fast and chunky stuff. I got the Yeti because the Nomad3 is overkill on so many trails. My Yeti is the perfect trail bike and only rarely in over it's head.
  • 4 0
 @WasatchEnduro: It's not that the 160 bike climbs as well as a 120, it's that the 160 climbs well enough, unless maybe you're racing. I live in Colorado, ride Rocky Mountain single track, and given the choice between this bike and the Yeti 5.5., I'll take the longer travel any day for what I ride and how I ride.
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I used to be 29er hater until I tried a banshee paradox hard tail. I can tell you that I personally feel a lot faster on 29er aluminum hard tail than I ever was on 6" travel bike. The big wheels carry so much momentum and roll over everything. I have finally found my riding style, monster truck. For everyday trail riding 29er with 120mm of travel is plenty and super fun. For the occasional park and heavy duty north shore riding might as well go for full squish 8" travel dh rig.
  • 8 0
 @mtbiker4Lyf: The Smuggler rocks. So does the Following, and so does the Process 111. That category of bike has a seriously wide range of use. @WAKIdesigns has a point about blowing through your travel - the geometry is aggressive enough to tempt you into situations that you just don't quite have the squish to get through unscathed. I guess for that, there's always something like the Hightower with a bit more travel, but still a nice short rear end, long front end, slack geo and wagon wheels (I like those big wheels...).

@WAKIdesigns - a 160 mm bike has higher BB due accommodate all that travel. Which means you have to give it a fair amount of pressure to get it to settle down low into its travel when railing turns and match the in-the-bike feel of a short travel 29er. So yes, the extra travel buys you more forgiveness on chunky stuff and over brake bumps and whatnot, and it sure makes for smoother landings, but it also requires a lot of skill when you don't have a berm to push into. For mere mortals like me, shorter travel bikes unlock fun and playfulness at lower, more attainable (and saner) speeds.
  • 7 0
 @WAKIdesigns Mid-travel is not really about being "better" on trails. It's about being more fun. Part of that is having a lighter overall bike to suffer a bit less. The other part is not making trails boring.

Think about it the ultimate perfect bike. It climbs as efficiently as a hardtail on pavement and perfectly soaks up technical climbs. On downhills the suspension works so well that you can ignore the bumps and don't even feel them.

In other words the perfect bike makes your trails equivalent to a paved bike path. Is that more fun? If somebody's local trails are relatively tame then the bar for "too much bike" is even lower. But if you're riding WC DH courses after work then the 160mm bike is already hero-worthy.

Another aspect is going too fast. If there's no other challenge what else can you do but turn up the speed. But that will often get you in trouble with other trail users and the law where I live. And it'll hurt more if you do crash.

The other part of this is the 160mm bikes are generally still noticeably heavier feeling on uphills, although to be honest most of this is just the build these days (especially tires). There's a budget factor there too.
  • 4 0
 only rides 2 bikes, stereotypes entire class of bikes
  • 6 0
 It's a 114... not a 160. Most people don't need to be riding around on 160s.
  • 7 1
 Shhh, I love that the bike industry comes up with a hot new trend every other year or so. I bought a brand 2015 Enduro 29 for next to nothing because everyone wanted either 27.5 or 29 mid travel. Eat it suckers the E29 is still the best all around if you actually ride mountains.
  • 2 0
 it all depends on where you put in the majority of your miles. i ride a smuggler in central oregon and works great for what i need it to do..
  • 2 0
 I race and ride both xc and downhill on a 140 bike and honestly does all I ask. A little shorter real travel bike would be nice for ascents but the longer travel just rocks the descents.
  • 1 0
 @g-42: perhaps this is true on a 160mm 29er but my bronson rails flat turns and is much more fun and playful in my opinion than my tallboy or my buddies sb95c (precursor to the sb5.5c).

That said, the sb95c and tallboy definitely climb better than the bronson. There are several techy climbs on my local trails that I can't make on the bronson but can easily do on the tallboy, and numerous other climbs which I can do on the bronson but take noticeably more energy (and I run ardent/ardent race tires on both bikes usually)
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: You're wrong, take a look at the mtbr following thread and you'll see that most people shortened their forks from 140 to 130. I shortened my formula from 160 to 140 and thinking about going to 130 on the following as the head angle is too slack.
  • 1 0
 @throttlemire: I agree with you on the weight, but at my level 2 lbs of non rotating weight is not that noticeable. About the equivalent of 2 small water bottles or the amount that my body weight varies day to day.

If I was more fit and racing XC, yet it would be a big deal.
  • 1 0
 Anyone try an EVIL Following? Cause I F'in love mine!
  • 1 1
 @Satn69: i did a week ago.... in my opinion it didn't compare to my smuggler. it also had enve m70 wheels and those are way too stiff laterally for my liking..and i think the bb was to high.
  • 1 0
 @Satn69: where did you get yours? Do any shops around here carry them?
  • 3 5
 It's just fascinating to see people rave about positives of 120 bikes using identical arguments that I was using after I bought the Blur. We'll talk in 3 years Big Grin You will be on 160 bike and I'll be riding a 140 29er Big Grin
  • 2 0
 WAKI@ think of this like that:
Your small bike wil make your bigger bike fun again.....!
That is my final verdict for this short travel trend and I'm OK with that....
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: My eyes are firmy fixed on a 140 29er hopefully with a gearbox.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm already there and i like it. My stumpy 29 (update to Öhlins STX is comming soon): www.pinkbike.com/photo/13628791

For me two bikes are the way to go. One sporty light 29er bike (approx. 140mm travel) for fast to medium technical trails. The second bike would be more like a 160-180mm travel bike with maybe even a coil in the back for hardcore technical and bike park stuff.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I do understand your point and if I had one bike only it would be a 160, well, probably a compromise: sth like 140+160mm 29er yeti 5.5.
but i am faster on the wreckoning on some rough trails, on some other (more flow, some small climbs) no chance against the following. would also never go on cycle holidays with a 8kg backpack on a 160bike. especially with the fox 36 without any kind of lock-out. if you race against yourself on strava, you will recognize that 120 bikes do pedal better and to handle better on short sprints Wink
  • 2 2
 @tomjanas: if I raced against myself on Strava and decided that I want to nail pedalling sections, then I'd put NNic / RoRo combo on my 160 bike, preferably locking both the fork and the shock. I reckon It's 50% in the tyres/wheels, 30% in the suspenion and 20% in the frame.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you are talking 2 different worlds of bikes. Strava is not real world racing.. it's a fun game but by no means a measure of what bike is faster. There is a reason racing has been the proving ground for bikes for decades. It's pretty simple actually, you may be able to do just as good on a 3,5, even 10 minute long climbing segment with the changes to a long travel bike like you say. But, time yourself in a real race, be fresh each time and try an manage an average speed for 90 minutes solid. I guarantee your lap times will get progressively slower on the longer travel heavier bike.
  • 1 4
 @manchvegas: I am not saying that 120 is useless for everyone, I am saying it is not for everyone and majority should not feel sucked into this. This is a niche trend that is currently hyped up and main selling points are mutually excluding concepts: I am good enough to shred gnar on a smaller bike on one side and I am not good enough to utilize a 160 bike. We've been there, we were talking about being better off with 160 bike for everything and DH bikes being good only for racing, which is not entirely true. It works like my kids: my daughter plays with 5 figures, my son comes into a room with 6th one and she just MUST have that one. The 5 she played with become irrelevant and she comes up with tens of arguments why she must have that one he holds in his hand.

As to racing, well it's just about the terrain. And you are talking about generating speed. Well obviously 160 bike carries speed better in most Enduro races in the world, keeping speed up, thus cutting seconds. It's irrelevant that you can generate speed faster on 120 bike when you have dips in speed graph through rough bits and corners.
  • 2 0
 With all this talk of travel - 160mm vs 120mm, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned geometry. The biggest thing I feel in difference between the 160mm enduro bike vs the 120-140mm trail bike, is the head angle is way slacker on the big travel bike. I personally feel like some bikes are too slack for my riding. It's not the travel, but having that front wheel way out there makes cornering not as fun. I like to rail the turns and with shorter travel you usually have better geometry for that. Plus it does make popping off little things easier and more fun. Basically all the little things are easier when you're on slower trails. It seems like the 160mm bike needs to be up to a certain speed to start coming into it's own.
  • 2 0
 @Endurahbrah: In the case of my Remedy 29, geo is definitely a consideration. Adding 20mm travel will take the HA to just over 66.5 and the BB up a skosh from 35cm. I ride pretty steep stuff here in the NW and welcome the changes.
  • 1 0
 @someguy101: I went direct
  • 1 0
 @NeilsElbek: smuggler is a awesome bike! Did you lower the BB when you demo'd the Following?
  • 2 0
 @t4ngent: You may be going at higher speeds than me, or be better at loading up the bike. Geometry wise, to get the BB to come down, relative to the axles, you'll have to load up your Bronson a bunch more than I have to with my 111.
  • 1 0
 @burnadette: All bike are not created equal, its all about leverage curve mated with the right shock. I actually had someone ask me why I didn't go with a scott genius over my entourage, his reasoning was it that it was more "versatile" and had 10mm more travel F+R. SMH. BTW, that old entourage is poppy as F***.
  • 2 0
 quote; Otherwise you are just a guy that is so bored with life that you want to shag a dwarf.

You say that like it's a bad thing...
  • 2 0
 @keithrad: ya know? A night with Jemma Suicide would be JUST FINE
  • 2 0
 If 160 bikes with a good shock setup climbed as well as 120 bikes then xc guys would all be on 160 bikes. But they don't and can't.
  • 1 0
 @Satn69: no it was set up when my buddy got it and we were hours from any shop and honestly didn't want to tackle it at camp with minimal tools and no stand.. i do believe set up right and different wheels it would have been a different experience. I'm not writing it off completely, I'm sure that thing rips set up right. it also had a mrp fork on it for some stupid reason... defiantly needs a pike or fox 34.
  • 1 0
 @warmerdamj: if 120 xc bikes were up to the task you'd see more Enduro riders with 120 bikes which you don't your argument is more useless than tits on a bull lol
  • 1 0
 @mhoshal: not really... nobody is arguing that a 120 bike descends as well as 160. They're saying that it climbs better.... which is not timed in enduro, so why the hell would enduro pros run them?
  • 1 0
 @Racer951: My buddy likes them quite a lot but definitely try one out. Although the heavier tires they spec them with may make it feel slower than if you put some lighter schwalbes nobby nics or something on.
  • 2 0
 Man, way to much technical jargon yapping and not enough technical trail braaapping.
  • 3 0
 @garrettstories: don't get me started on that... I just had Lee Likes Bikes skills clinics so...
  • 1 0
 @sngltrkmnd: I may have my 4.5 for sale, then I will get the 5.5 and be set for a while.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: It is a pretty large bike. I am 6' 1". I demoed the 5.5 a few weeks ago in a large and would definitely not even consider going to an XL. It was truly a super fun bike to ride. I have very little time on a 29r (currently on a 160mm 27.5 coming off an older Spec stumpy 26") and was blown away by how playful it was. It made me put my very recently purchased 27.5 up for sale so I can get this or one of the other longer travel 29r bikes that have come out.
  • 1 0
 @glakr: Interesting. How long was the stem? I am also 6'1" and my current 29 HT has a 441mm reach and I am running a 35mm stem. The L 5.5 has a 442mm reach. I don't think I would have a problem adding another inch to the top tube to stretch me out a bit.
  • 1 0
 it's a trail bike not a dh bike, that's plenty of travel for a 29er
  • 2 0
 @markar: i would like to see this scientifically based wheelsize-travel converter. In my experience with all sorts of bikes with all wheel sizes, travels and tyre sizes, I can say that "lot of travel for a 29er" is bollocks. Just as it this uneducated thinking that less travel means more efficiency, and complete lunacy that tiny gains in efficiency make a difference in how we ride bikes.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: currently deciding on 4.5c. Did you ever determine size? I'm 6'1" longer in the torso. Only got toride 5.5 in large and was a tad crammed.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: hahaha yeah you're such an expert
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you obviously don't know anything about xc trail bikes
  • 2 0
 @markar: yea you convinced me so much, I can see the light now, wow, just wow
  • 1 0
 @Lab311: I was looking at the XL. 463mm reach. Im 6'1" as well and normal torso. Have you manages to test ride / fit one? Its also worth comparing seated reach (butt to bar) for a given seat height. My current bike is 705mm for a 30" seat height and 50 stem which maybe an inch on the short side if I was being picky.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: ive been following the Geometron thread on mtbr and some if the guys are running 180mm 40s on their 29ers with 170ish in the back. And these are trail bikes.

I agree theres no such thing as too much travel as long as it works efficiently and geometry isn't comoromised.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: the more I think about it the more I'm realizing I need to find one to ride, a L and XL. Butt to bar is a great idea. Thx!
  • 45 0
 Dear DT Swiss, you make wonderful things. Stop putting the damn 18 tooth ratchet in your hubs.
  • 1 0
 OEM spec means a lot of corners get cut. :/ My Trek's Spline wheels are set up this way and cannot be retrofitted.
  • 2 0
 @sngltrkmnd: the higher POE star ratchets take like 5 minutes to install. And I can't imagine the costs are that significant to put the 54 tooth ratchet in.
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: 54t is good, but more than half the cost of a 350 rear hub
  • 4 0
 if you buy the star ratchets seperately there is not a huge cost difference. i am trying to make the point that the 54t should come standard and just charge 10 bucks more or whatever.
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: FWIW my LBS said my hubs cannot be retrofitted. I didn't ask why - I just took their word for it.
  • 28 1
 I have desired a Yeti for a very very long time. I just cannot see myself spending that kind of money. No way. $3k+ for the frameset? F that.
  • 8 0
 $3400 for frame and shock does seem a bit steep.
  • 10 1
 @SteveDekker: Everything with Yeti seems about $500 more than what it should be- must be to Kashima coat those tiny little rails.
  • 14 6
 @LuvAZ: And to cover the cost of all the warrantied frame replacements.
  • 13 11
 @xprswy: I find it funny that you are all harping on the frames breaking. Every single bike co has broken frames. Yes everyone!!! I think that Yeti has fixed the swing arm issues. You will probably hate on Evil for broken frames also when the following review is finally posted although they have fixed the quality issues. The bikes are 500.00 more because Yeti can sell bikes at that price point. If you don't like then don't buy one. SI is second to none and worth the money. I have owned a number of bikes in the last 5 years and can state that the newer carbon bikes are really good and strong. The problem is people are riding Enduro bikes as if they are DH bikes. Hucking huge jumps and doing huge gaps is bound to break even a DH bike eventually.
  • 1 0
 True. Specialized is a much bigger company and has a bigger brand name and they charge "only" 3.5k for the enduro s works, and it comes with the droppper and headset if I'm not mistaken. And that's for one of the biggest bike companies out there and that's what their charging for their most expensive enduro line frame...don't get me wrong though, spending over 3k for a frame is insane considering what kind of sick used bike you can get for 3k
  • 3 1
 @pigit77: specialized takes the cake for ridiculous- their enduro s works only has a carbon front triangle!
  • 2 0
 @LuvAZ: not pointing fingers but which companies bike had a rear triangle crack for a pinkbike review? Lol. In that case I would prefer a non carbon triangle.
  • 5 1
 @pigit77: specialized is doing it because it is cheaper to replace it when it breaks, and regardless a half-carbon frame should not be $3500!
  • 3 1
 @LuvAZ: it's arguable. I would never buy a yeti though. Tipping over and dropping a bike on some rocks should never cause cracks in a frame. its unacceptable for a frame that you pay 3k for.
  • 27 3
 I think I would go for a Transition Smuggler - Same amount of travel but with better angles and sizing, more geared towards harder riding and aluminium. The only place the Yeti trumps it is with weight but the extra money you save going for a Smuggler would get you a top line set of wheels which I am sure would have a much more beneficial effect on the way the bike rides, especially as its a 29er.
  • 26 5
 Having owned a "Giddy Up" bike (Scout) and a SB5c and this SB4.5c, I can vouch for the Switch Infinity design being strides ahead of Giddy Up. Don't get me wrong, it's a fun and lively design, but it can't compete. Call me a Yeti fanboy or whatever, but only do that after getting on a switch bike and grinding out a monster climb and then bomb down.
  • 6 2
 @gooutsidetoday: Even in terms of braking and traction downhill?

I cant see a single pivot with slightly migrating IC feeling as good under braking as a horst setup in terms of stiffening suspension and loss of traction?

Can you quantify how it was strides ahead for you? As a flat pedal user I try to go for multi link bikes as I tend to struggle with a single pivots braking behaviour which at the end of the day is what the Yeti is.
  • 8 6
 @Racer951: The Switch Infinity is definitely superior to the Giddy Up, and pretty much anything else out there.
I had the chance to ride a Scout and SB6 back to back, and while they are different class/travel of bike, the longer, burlier SB6 was clearly a better climber and had more jump...or whatever you call it when you hit the gas and how it responds. It is an impressive design.

That being said, the pricing does seem a little out of line, relative to other high-end bikes.
  • 4 1
 @ReformedRoadie: But the question was about breaking traction. Since I saw a plot for yeti (linkagedesign.blogspot.com/2014/10/yeti-sb6c-275-2015.html) i was wondering if the guy have some error in calculations or this stuff really have 98% of brake squat, meaning it stiffens more then any Kona single pivot for example.
So please respond, I am also very curious.
  • 8 1
 @ReformedRoadie: As you share the same opinion of @gooutsidetoday can you quantify for me why it is so much better? - Genuinely interested as you seem to believe it is the suspensions system that was superior and not the bikes build, wheel weight, tyre type etc when you tested two bikes.

You guys seem mainly concened with climbing ability, and 'jump' or acceleration but dont comment on the systems traction over terrain and stability when pushing hard (coping with heavy compressions etc) which are certainly factors I consider over the ability to stand up and mash on the pedals.

I dont have either a Transition or Yeti so am a fanboy for neither.
  • 4 2
 @Racer951: I have also ridden both the SB6 and the scout, and like the other two prefer the SB6c, i generally ride DH and enduro stuff so can't fairly judge climbing although the weight of the SB6c made it easier for me personally. In terms of stability etc i found the SB6c to be pretty lively and it was a kind of hang on for your life kinda ride at first haha but after getting used to it a bit, it rides very well and the times don't lie as reviewing gopro footage actually showed i was around 2 seconds quicker on average on my local trails (about 1min long) on the Yeti. I'd say traction over terrain was probably similar on both bikes but i found the harder you push the SB6 the better it works and the traction actually gets better when you commit to lines 100% on the SB6 and just let off the brakes (although it's scary to do!) so overall i'd say the scout probably feels more planted but the SB6 is a quicker bike. this is my personal experience though so i'm not saying it's for everyone
  • 4 1
 While not the same combo as the smuggler vs sb 4.5. i do own an sb66 and have ridden a friends scout and both are excellent bikes. The scout is initially plusher and the suspension feels more active. The sb66 really shines the more you push yourself/bike. Both have crazy amounts of grip you just need the correct body English paired with momentum. I think it all depends on how hard you push your bike. The yeti only wants to be pushed hard where as the transition will be ok with being more relaxed when you want to just cruise
  • 4 1
 @lkubica: No brake squat issues.... There is definitely an error. I own an sb4.5 and its amazing in every aspect. Stops better than any trail bike I've ridden, accelerates faster and is all around the most fun I've ever had on 2 wheels.
  • 4 3
 @Racer951: I ride my 4.5 like a dh bike.... I can climb almost anything on any trail and I am not even interested in going up hill. The cornering blows my mind, comparable to being on skis. It feels as though the bike gets longer and snaps you out of berms with an acceleration like a hard ski carve. I run conti x king 2.4 front and mountain king 2.2 rear and feel unstoppable. I can take the ugliest root filled climb and ride it like a paved path in the park compared to my friends (knolly chilcoltin, sc nomad, canfield balance, trans scout, trans smuggler)
  • 7 0
 @gooutsidetoday: Is it damn near twice as good, though? Because it costs almost twice as much. Heck, there's a smuggler complete for cheaper than this the $3500 asking price of this frame.
  • 3 1
 @Racer951: I wouldn't call the SI a straight up single pivot, more of a glorified single pivot :p. If you want to get down to brass tacks, I'm not going to argue horst vs switch infinity as far as which has better braking traction, but i haven't noticed it to be lacking in that department. I've ridden single pivot bikes that as soon you're on the brakes you might as well be on a hardtail. I haven't heard any complaints in this department. I would think the 3 reviews of SI on PB would make mention of it if it were a problem.

The reason I say it's so superior is you get to have your cake and eat it too. I've never rode a bike that is so plush and responsive that doesn't "wallow" in its travel. Somehow it doesn't bob when you're climbing, and yet it's climbing traction is insane.
  • 6 3
 @rollchal: Sorry, that sounds a little too much like a 'I paid crap loads for this so its the best ever' type of review. I can understand that but most people here loving Yeti bikes are owners. We dont ever see Yeti's do that well in magazine reviews and no mention in Dirt100 either - Much like the Santa Cruz trail bike range with their horribly bizarre digressive suspension.

As for the braking, its ability to 'stop' is not what we were asking, as you said its the effects braking has on suspension we were interested in and of course it has some brake related squat, every bike does! Again you are being a fan boy there.

In honesty, they Yeti is so far out of my price range I am not sure why I am commenting on it, I am more of an aluminium kind of guy too, for lots of reasons...
  • 2 1
 @groghunter: Probably not haha. Although I will say that everyone that has rode my bike, now lusts for it.
  • 8 0
 I've ridden the 6C and the Patrol and I can say the Yeti was a better climber for sure. But Transition pays more attention to details like a bottle holder, Threaded BBs, etc, that alone is worth the minor setback in climbing. Not to mention the Patrol was a MUCH poppier and more fun. Both are great designs just depends on what you priotize in your bike.
  • 1 0
 @Racer951: I rode them at Outerbike. That day, I demo'd a Turner Burner and 650b Stumpjumper.
Riding close to the same loop, the SB6 made it feeling it had been paved. Hard to recall exact details, but I don't think there were any negative attributes to the suspension action...though I do remember details like the Spec. Slaughter tire works better than you'd think, and that I had to consciously watch for pedal strikes on the Scout.
I have had conversations.with other experienced riders who have spent time on or own SB bikes and they all have nothing but praise, incl. shop guys and journalists who are not biased by ownership.
  • 1 0
 @Racer951: also, I ride a yeti...a 575 single pivot, aluminum yetu.
  • 3 0
 @Racer951: A linkage driven single pivot still rides much different compared to a regular "simple" single pivot, even though they are both essentially single pivot designs. This is especially true concerning the brake-jack that regular single pivot bikes are known to have. That is exactly the reason why so many of today's single pivot designs are linkage driven.
  • 1 0
 @gooutsidetoday: Yeti must be stoked on the amount of buzz generated on this thread.
  • 2 0
 I have a transition smuggler that I picked up earlier this year and I'm loving it. The bike absolutely eats up the single track here in VT and is a blast to ride. It's also priced very reasonably as I was able to pick up a new lower species one for a little over 2 grand (still has a pike). I would highly recommend it if you ride a lot of single track, and even some more technical trails.
  • 1 1
 @danthepirate: Switch Infinity is NOT a single pivot. Educate yourself!
  • 2 0
 @skierkiddo: I never said that. I made no relation to any brand of bike. I was just stating something about single pivot designs in response to a comment which was further up but for some reason my comment ended up way down here. Sorry for the confusion.
  • 1 0
 @danthepirate: no worries Dan, looks like there was some confusion above your post. I just needed to get that in there. It is just a shame if someone thinks SI is a single pivot.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: haha it's funny you mention the pedal strikes on the Scout. If you live in an area with technical, rock filled climbs, no amount of technique or ratcheting of the pedals will keep you from striking every freaking rock. I feel the scout was tailor made for flow trails. I noticed on the newer scouts they're shipping with shorter crank arms.
  • 1 0
 I totally agree, I am on a smuggler that's 29 lbs with dropper and it's amazing. I would much rather ride a aluminum frame with xx1 and pimp wheels than a carbon frame with x9 and crap wheels...
  • 21 4
 Why oh why do companies persist with the whole drink bottle bosses on the down tube thing? In the way of god knows what and just about impossible to reach while you are actually riding.
If you can't put bosses in the main triangle, just don't bother!
  • 6 0
 I ride a Process 153, and will admit that underside the down tube mounts aren't ideal. HOWEVER, they are better than nothing. I can easily access water bottle on climbs, no tire/clearance issues, and never lost a bottle. I do use bottles with caps to keep mud off, which is a simple adaptation. So in the end it looks weird, but works completely fine.
  • 2 0
 Lower cog too Wink
  • 7 0
 Why wouldn't you want a couple bosses? They're useful and there's no down side to having them.
  • 3 1
 For a downtube protector; though some waterbottle geeks do put a bottle there.
My Ibis has them, holds the armor on.
  • 2 0
 I actually find them perfect to mount the one-off carbon fiber down tube protectors I make for my bikes. I prefer that over having them secured with zip ties.
  • 3 0
 @JDFF: These look particularly low though... looks like it's only about 2 inches from the BB? Don't think you're going to pull a bottle out of that cage on a climb unless you like smashing your hand with a crankarm.
  • 3 0
 when its super hot out I simply cannot bring the amount of water that I would like to drink. A bottle inside the frame, and a bottle under the downtube, AND water in my backpack make the day more fun.
  • 2 4
 @SteveDekker: I love it how using a waterbottle makes you a geek. Maybe it's cooler to be a pack dork who loves to carry everything and the kitchen sink on a short rip?
  • 3 6
 @Eatsdirt: Waterbottle cages are for road and commuter bikes. Try riding here without a pack; someone will find your body in the desert.
  • 4 0
 I actually think they're quite handy to throw a bottle in there and chuck your tools, wallet, energy gels, etc in it.
  • 4 1
 @SteveDekker: I spent 3 months riding everything between grand junction and phoenix, never wore a pack. They suck all the time, but backpacks are AWFUL in the heat.
  • 2 0
 @SteveDekker: I use them for a downtime protector on my Rip9 as well. Works awesome.
  • 3 0
 @SteveDekker: I'm so glad I don't ride in the desertWink
In the PNW, I can go 5-20 miles on one water bottle (normal weather). On longer rides I take a steri-pen (uv water filter about the size of a small multi-tool). However, for steri-pen you need clear flowing streams. So a great example of legitimate different approaches to different riding locations/climates.
  • 2 1
 @SteveDekker: Since the world revolves around you, I must be doing it wrong.
  • 3 1
 @Eatsdirt: Most likely.
  • 17 2
 I live in Golden, CO and would love to own a Yeti, however, they don't give good deals to the bike shops, so every other option is way more affordable. Such as, Santa Cruz, Pivot, Salsa to name a few. Oh yeah and there is the frame cracking issue. Yeti needs to become more reliable mechanically speaking, or lower your prices to reflect your quality level.
  • 6 1
 What makes you think they haven't become more reliable?
  • 31 2
 You know there's a problem when Santa Cruz is listed as an "affordable" option.
  • 4 0
 @rrolly: Bronson's $2999 msrp for CC frame with Float X2 is very competitive compared to other brand's full-carbon with high-end shock prices.
  • 6 1
 And up the warranty to match the lifetime offered by other companies. That is the sole reason I would choose the Django over the Yeti.
  • 2 0
 Wait for Yetis to come up on Steep&Cheap, they have some smokin deals if you're patient.
  • 15 3
 What a beauty, mid life crisis bike right there, i'll start saving in my secret bike bank account so my wife won't kill and/or divorce me!
  • 14 7
 she'll do that if you bought a 29er
  • 2 0
 @poah: Ha.....
  • 15 2
 Wow! Another Yeti that starts at $6K for the cheapest version. Woo.
  • 11 7
 And will creak within 5 rides
  • 5 10
flag artistformlyknowasdan (Jun 20, 2016 at 20:22) (Below Threshold)
 Yeti is to cycling what BMW was for cars in the 90's - great machines but pretty much only owned by a$$holes making it embrassing to be seen in one, let alone own one
  • 13 4
 This is a good review... i own this bike. I tell people all the time it's the love child between a world Cup XC race rocket and EWS trail devourer. Now i have a PB review to back my claims up! As usual, great job Yeti.
  • 10 1
 This is what you get when you design a bike that goes against the current trend of super long front center, super short back. A better handling bike.
  • 50 40
 Has it cracked yet?
  • 48 12
 By the looks of your profile you only ever come on Pinkbike to say negative things about products and in particular Yeti. Very mature of you.
  • 11 11
 @antmtbr: They do crack a lot though from what I gather, though some of it seems to be owner error with bolts backing out of linkages....
  • 21 4
 Seems unfair at this point. I have a friend with an almost 2 year old SB6c and he absolutely flogs it. The guy is very strong and a very fast rider. The bike is on point.
  • 12 26
flag Trinket (Jun 20, 2016 at 6:32) (Below Threshold)
 Bold comment from the guy who only ever comes on Pinkbike to sell his second hand stuff?
  • 15 4
 @Trinket: Sorry but i have to be with Trinket on this one,a friend of mine snapped his SB66 twice in 6 weeks,rear end first,then the front,okay Yeti were very good about it,but when the dealer themselves says "There are bikes out there you never buy 2nd hand,and Yeti are now top of the list" you really start to think about things,yes a dealer actually said that,and yes i love Yeti,but would i have one ? no chance of that!!
  • 5 4
 @Trinket: I'm on here pretty much daily, reading most articles and watching most videos. The Buy/sell part is pretty dam good too. Want to buy anything? Wink
@stigwierd : Glad you mentioned how good Yeti were as they know how to look after everyone. Even as a second hand owner you can purchase replacements easily. The SB66 has been out of the range for over 2 years now, the new models are real good. Yeti are like every single brand out there, always improving and developing.
  • 4 1
 All Bikes break, yes all. Yeti just needs to make sure they take care of there clients.
  • 1 0
 @Racer951: that was an SB66 issue
  • 9 0
 $3400 for a frame/shock?

pass ....
  • 5 0
 I'm loving these aggressive short travel 29ers! Some say the Process 111 is now dated (but scheduled for a re-fresh this year), fitting a Debonair can and a 140 fork on it gets it 67HA and a nice balance. And bonus the frame almost being a 1lb lighter this year. Still not in the ballpark of a carbon bike, but a good option for those that moan about a $4500 CAD frame. :-)
  • 3 0
 My 2016 111 has been working out very nicely. Boosted the Pike to 140. Great do it all bike. I tried bigger (longer travel) bikes, but found this to be a great niche for me. Tried the Smuggler, liked that as well.
  • 8 0
 When will the review for the SB 5.5 come out?
  • 8 0
 No ISCG? Are you kiding?
  • 7 0
 A major oversight IMO. When the majority of World Cup XC riders are now using chainguides and EVERY single EWS rider is, I don't know why you wouldn't any provision to mount one on a bike aimed at the category precisely between the two user groups. The lack of tabs also leaves no option for bash protection either, unless you use a crank-mounted bashguard.

Clutches seem to be getting weaker (as they should if you appreciate your rear suspension performance) and chains are getting longer as cassette get bigger, all more reasons you need a little extra insurance that your chain won't be flung off your chainring when you're doing as 2 Chainz says and "riding around and gettin' it."
  • 5 0
 +1. The manufacturer's reasoning in the article was weak. Just put the damn ISCG tabs there, idiots!
  • 3 0
 The real reason is probably the same as press fit BBs; it's cheaper to make a frame like that -and just like the press fit BB, it's worse for the customer.

Clutch mechs and N/W chain rings are the only reason they can get away with it. Otherwise the bike would be torn apart in reviews. It's interesting that they seem to have forgotten the risk rocks present to chain rings.
  • 2 0
 "The central authorities have decided! There's no demand for ISCG!"
  • 9 2
 Wow, a lot of whiners and cheapskates in this discussion.
  • 3 0
 I am just going to speak my mind here specifically about the decision by Yeti to not include the ISCG tabs for a chain guide. I think the justification for not including these tabs is slightly ridiculous if you weigh the positives versus negatives of such a decision. The only thing I can really see here to justify not including the tabs (from the Yeti perspective) is that it cuts down cost to manufacture the frame. However as we have seen from multiple Pinkbike users, the frame cost still outweighs the attractiveness of the bike itself. The idea that Yeti can "assume" the bike will be used for XC and trail riding only is a little absurd because now they have limited the range of people who will be willing to buy the bike now that the bike cannot accommodate a chain ring or bash guard. My opinion here lies with their notion of not including such guard tabs is absolutely ludicrous.
  • 3 0
 @somismtb So torn between this and the 5.5

When I demo'd the 4.5 I felt like it could be the best all around bike out there. Blew my stumpy away.

Other than Simi I dont need that extra travel.
  • 3 1
 As a devout rider of 26" bikes (as that's what I have), I was very skeptical, until I rode one last week. It wanted to be pedaled hard uphill and aired out downhill! It's a perfect bike depending on your terrain--in this instance it was some flowy, rocky & rooty XC. Bike brand/model/type is often a personal preference; don't hate it until you ride it!
  • 2 0
 My 2014 Intense Carbine 29 is awesome... 160 front... 140 back...
Super light, climbs like a goat and descends like a rocket!

Has actually beaten some of my local trails personal Strava times vs my main bike the Santa Cruz Nomad C 650B...

Love them both equally! Wink
  • 1 0
 I doubt I'd get close to the same times if it were a short travel 29er though...
  • 2 0
 Why do reviews go on about water bottle cages these days?
I'd be more interested to know what the max chainring size is 30t isn't enough, all the new bikes I've seen have been under geared or just use a front mech.
Big rings go on the crank not the back wheel!
  • 5 0
 bikes are starting to look like 90's monocoques
  • 4 5
 Mono-what?!
  • 5 4
 Intended use XC/Trail.... really? Because I could deffinitly see this bike with a 150 or 160 front fork up front and me smashing down just about every trail my local mountains have to offer.... we need to move on from assuming shorter travel bikes just aren't as capable.

As for the bike... well yeah it's a f*cking Yeti of course it is sick.
  • 4 1
 I swear that manufacturers limit tires clearance as a way of indirectly suggesting that users don't equip bikes with 2.5 Minions and longer forks for the local DH track.
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: 2.5 minions rule
  • 4 1
 would really love to see how this one performes against my evil the following - one of the fastest bike i ever had (faster then any 160mm enduro i ever tried or possessed Smile
  • 3 1
 Following out climbs it, out descends it and out prices it. Pretty much destroys it. Smile
  • 3 0
 I wish somebody would compare these newer bikes with newer bikes. Like the new kona hei hei dl Carbon, tallboy 3, 429 trail or norco revolver. Anybody?
  • 2 0
 YETI! Or someone!!

For f**ks sake, please make a high quality standard water bottle with a protective cap! Both the Nalgene and ebay/china ones suck!
  • 1 0
 Two of my coworkers bought this bike and they absolutely love it! I can't wait to go riding with them in Arizona desert and find out how it rides compared to my S-Works Epic XTR.
  • 6 3
 Wish I needed another bike Frown
  • 5 3
 How many bikes you need? N+1 when N is the current number Smile
  • 4 13
flag poah (Jun 20, 2016 at 5:00) (Below Threshold)
 except when you are looking at 29ers lol
  • 3 1
 @szusz: Haha! Correct Smile
  • 5 2
 What a beautiful machine!
  • 6 3
 Boost hub and 2.3" tires and 1x... why?
  • 10 0
 Because it's 2016?
  • 3 1
 @scottzg: dirtspanker is refering the lack of tire clearance in an industry dominated by "plus" bikes. I'd love a short travel XC/TR ripper like this, but its lack of space for 2.5 tires is a bummer.
  • 5 5
 Putting a 140mm fork into the ASRc gets you more or less a similar setup (without the switch infinity) and is proper light. Costs about $500 less, too!
  • 2 0
 Having demo'd the ASR and 4.5C, they ride completely different though. Seems like the Asr is all about just taking the edge off the trail where as the 4.5 really did pedal extremely well with the shock open. I've owned a 575 and 7, both ASR Suspension and they have nothing on Switch Infinity
  • 1 0
 I just bought a 5.5 and it is so damn capable while being plenty efficient . I'm sure the 4.5 rips for xc and trail riding .
  • 5 4
 Yeti evolved into a company that's whole lineup is nearly perfect!
  • 13 0
 I see no DH BIKE!!!!
  • 7 2
 @ibishreddin: that's the reason for "nearly" in my sentence
  • 1 1
 @ibishreddin: They had a prototype with a switchlink at one point but I haven't seen it lately
  • 2 1
 that is one nice looking bike!
  • 9 9
 Overpriced and will creak within 5 rides. No thanks yeti.
  • 2 4
 Why do bike manufacturers keep insisting on making a small size in 29ers? Hey PB, do you have a 5foot rider that can review these bikes?
  • 6 1
 I think they know there are random short freaks like me who digs 29ers. Hope you'll be please with this answer.
  • 4 0
 @AlexS1: I see a surprising number of women here in Bellingham ride 111s - the super low stand over makes that possible, and they say they prefer them over the 134. I thought I as I to 29ers because I'm a big guy, but it appears that with enough standover clearance allowing you to move the bike around under you, smaller riders get something out of them as well.
  • 1 0
 @g-42: Exactly, thanks man.
  • 3 3
 this bike would be great if they made 26"
  • 2 1
 E29...Nice Yeti!
  • 1 1
 Bob-free when standing my ringpiece... #iridewithbob
  • 2 2
 Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Yeti are good and other fun myths
  • 3 4
 Or the wife would let me get another one...
  • 5 6
 Anyone wanna buy a kdney??
  • 21 0
 you mean you want that frame?
  • 1 1
 Nevermind.
  • 1 1
 hawt whip
  • 1 1
 fantastik!!!!
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