Staff Rides: Daniel Sapp's Yeti SB130

May 20, 2019 at 9:45
by Daniel Sapp  


STAFF RIDES

Daniel Sapp's Yeti SB130



One of the things I really appreciate the most in life is consistency. Whether it's two cups of coffee in the morning, a scroll through the morning news to start the day, or eating at the same restaurant at the Atlanta airport often enough that the staff and I know each other by name, consistency helps me keep things in check and provides a mental baseline when everything else is a bit off kilter.

I'm the same way with bikes. Don't get me wrong, I love riding just about anything that comes my way, but having one bike, a baseline to measure from when you put a different part on it, is crucial. When you're perfectly in tune with a bike the slightest changes are noticeable, which makes easier to determine if a component is performing better or worse than the part it replaced.


Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride


Yeti's SB130

The SB130 is pretty dialed right out of the box. With 130mm of travel paired to a 150mm fork and a robust parts spec, Yeti have a bike that is capable of a wide range of riding, all while being plenty nimble to get to the top of the hill. The bike fits right in the middle of their line of 'Switch-Infinity' bikes with a little less travel than the EWS ready SB150 and more than the aggressive XC themed SB100.

We first spent some time on the SB130 at our field test in Whistler this past fall. If you haven't checked that out yet, give it a look for a full run down our impressions there. After the Field Test concluded, I brought the SB130 back to North Carolina with me for longer term testing, where it's ended up being my 'go-to' for everyday riding, and has served as my rolling test rig for the components that have shown up for review.
Daniel Sapp's Yeti SB130

• Intended use: product testing, trail riding
• Wheel size: 29"
• Rear wheel travel: 130mm
• Fork: 160mm Fox Factory 36 Grip 2, 44mm offset
• TRW Active/SRAM Drivetrain
• Maxxis DHF 2.5'' / WTB Judge 2.4"
• Weight: 32.0 pounds

Western North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest is where I do nearly all of my riding. Aside from the mind-melting heat and humidity, hornets, rattlesnakes, ticks, and overgrown trails in the dead of summer, the riding is as good as it gets, at least in my opinion. With grueling climbs coupled with fairly sustained and turbulent descents, there's none of that curated bike park flow trail stuff (not my thing), just good and proper mountain biking that sneakily wins your heart, steals your soul, and if you're not smart about it, wrecks your bike.

Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride


Frame

I was a fan of Yeti's SB 5.5, but it was lacking a water bottle mount inside the triangle. Sure, there are ways around it, but if I want to go out for an hour ride, and especially in the 100% humidity and summer heat that blesses Western NC, having a bottle with me that's not mounted to the bottom of the bike and catching horse manure infested trail spray is a huge upgrade in comfort - short and long term. The SB130 fixes that, and is further updated throughout. The bike has a fairly long reach - 460mm on my medium-sized frame. At stock and with a 150mm fork, it has a 65.6-degree head angle and 77-degree seat tube angle. The chainstays are 433mm long.

I've added a 160mm fork on, which slackens things out an additional half-degree or so for both the head tube angle as well as the seat tube. This works fine since the seat tube is pretty steep to start with.


Drivetrain

One of the more interesting parts of the bike is the drivetrain. I swapped the perfectly capable SRAM X01 Eagle for Microshift's 9-speed Advent, a reliable and budget friendly set up I tested several months ago. Since then, I have replaced it with TRW Active's budget friendly 11-speed derailleur, cassette, and shifter.

TRW Active's entire drivetrain, cranks included can be had for around $400, and the 11-speed set-up I have bolted on currently has a 52-tooth ring on the cassette. If you've lost count, that's one tooth more than Shimano's new XTR and two more than SRAM's Eagle. In order to function, the SRX derailleur mounts to an extender which then bolts to the derailleur hanger.

How does it perform? It could be better. It is nowhere as smooth and reliable as Microshift's 9-speed and the fact that it does have a wider gearing range doesn't really matter if you're consistently dropping chains and don't have confidence in the set-up you're running. The key fault of the derailleur is the extender, which adds a bolt, pivot, and leverage to help it rattle loose no matter how much Loctite is slathered on, or how many newton-meters you crank things down with. The clutch on the derailleur is also finicky, and doesn't really work as a clutch should. There are some big gaps in the tension depending on where it's indexed, which leads to chain slap and dropped chains consistently throughout a ride.

It goes to show that there's a reason the S brands claim to have put a lot of engineering into derailleurs and larger tooth cassettes, and why we haven't seen them sooner than the last few years. There are few things more frustrating on a ride than repeatedly dropping chains, slipping gears, and having to stop and tighten a derailleur that wants to fall off after being properly installed. I have since taken the drivetrain off for now and am awaiting a solution before passing final judgement.

I reached out to TRW Active and they claim they are aware of the issues I've had and are working on a new derailleur that should solve some of these issues. When it arrives, I'll give it a go, as budget drivetrains are practical and a good choice for many riders who would rather put money into suspension and tires.



Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
More fork is more fun.


Suspension

The SB130's stock setup is 130mm of travel out back via Fox's DPX2 shock, and I ran that for several months and was pleased with the performance. As with most things on any bike, I started wondering..."What if?" I wanted to give a coil shock a whirl and was able to have a DHX2 made to fit the SB130.

Now, it's worth noting that the folks at Yeti told me this wasn't the best idea, and that the bike was designed to work with an air shock. I'll also be one of the first to say that air shocks are really good now and can give close to the same feel as a coil. I'm running a 400 lb spring and am running the compression fairly open. The DHX2 feels good after after several months of riding, but the air shock feels better and manages the travel of the bike better - the DHX2 bottoms out more easily compared to the air shock. Even after tuning the X2 coil with the team from Fox, I'd still say that the stock DPX2 does indeed ride better.

With the fork, I stepped away from the stock 150mm FIT4 in favor of a 160mm-travel GRIP2 36. I prefer the GRIP2 Damper over the FIT4, and the additional travel slackens out the angles by half a degree, and also makes the bike a hair longer. Even with the slacker front end and coil shock, the bike still climbs very well, and I almost never find myself reaching for the pedaling platform on the shock. The stock 150mm fork is getting a RUNT damper set-up installed in it now and will be going back on the front for testing in the near future.


Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
Crankbrothers' Synthesis carbon wheel on the front.


Wheels and Tires

For wheels, I'm using the Crankbrothers Synthesis E wheel on the front. The Crankbrothers rims are front and rear specific, with the front being wider than the rear - the idea is that the more compliant front wheel will find its way through chunder while the rear wheel is stiffer for more precise tracking. I had the rear wheel on as well, but needed a different driver for the drivetrain I have on so I swapped over to an Industry Nine Trail 270 wheel in the back. I'll attest that the Crankbrothers wheels do ride really well.

The rear Industry Nine wheel has their new Hydra hub. The hub has 690 points of engagement which is a ridiculously high amount, and it is noticeable when ratcheting across technical sections of trail. The rear wheel uses Industry Nine's aluminum straight pull system spokes and their 27mm internal width aluminum hoop.

On the front, I'm running one of the more standard and reliable tires there is, the Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 WT. I use an EXO casing on the front typically. Many riders don't like the EXO casing on rougher terrain, but I am pretty picky with my lines, ride light on the bike, and have had fairly good luck with them myself. I have WTB's Judge 2.4 in the back with a thicker casing. It has plenty of bite and manages root and rock laden terrain well.

Our trails are pretty saucy and soupy with sections of blown out who-knows-what at most times of the year. I like to run about 19-21 psi in the front tire and 22-23 psi on the back. It varies if the trails are wetter, of course, but that's about the most I'll run, even in the dry as the rocks and roots tend to sweat in the humidity.


Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
A Groundkeeper fender up front keeps the muck off.
Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
Industry nine's A35 stem is short, classy, and color coordinates with my pedals.

Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
LC Fabrication's Hole Shot top cap keeps a tire plug always at hand and out of the way.

Other Bits and Pieces

Fender: These are mandatory most of the year where I live. I'm a big fan of basic black, but the designs that Groundkeeper fenders are making rock and the plastic they use isn't garbage. That means that it holds up to me pulling the fenders off the bike often without tearing or cracking in the cold.

Bar and Stem: I'm using the stock 35mm clamp, 780mm wide carbon handlebar from Yeti and it's held on by Industry Nine's A35 stem.


Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
Magura's MT7 Pro brakes have four pistons and plenty of power.
Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
180mm rotors front and back.


Magura MT7 Pro Brakes: Long descents are more fun with consistent braking the entire way down, aren't they? I've found the MT7's to be a strong contender in this category. The 180mm rotors and Magura's performance-level pads coupled with the Danny MacAskill HC-3 levers are what's on the bike right now. I reviewed these brakes a few months back and have been running them ever since.

Specialized Zee II Cage with tool: I don't like riding with a pack and I would rather not weigh down my pockets, either. Specialized's Zee cages are one of the best side entry cages available. The cage has a small multi-tool mounted underneath it so you always have something available without having to dig through a pack when you need to make an adjustment. I run this cage on almost every bike and haven't found a solution I like more.


Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
Specialized Z-Cage.
Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
Time Speciale Pedals.


Time Speciale Pedals: Time's Speciale pedals have become my go-to over SPD's in the last year. I've been running this set for 9 months now and don't have any complaints. They're still holding up like new despite seeing plenty of use and abuse.


Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride



Video: ManglerMixer / @damangler


132 Comments

  • + 60
 Of all the staff frankenbikes, this one is the most franken...
  • + 62
 It's a competition.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: DUDE, sick set-up... I am drooling on my desk right now.
  • + 11
 You must be fast. I wouldn't even think about riding a bike that mismatched. I have priorities.
  • + 5
 At the very least, you win for the most exotic drivetrain, which is no small feat.
  • + 2
 @danielsapp: You have all the cool kid stuff
  • + 4
 I would say levy’s trance with the trust fork but close call
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: true story!
  • + 1
 Even has an upside down chainstay protector...
  • + 18
 Hole shot seems perfect at putting a hole in your sternum.
  • + 2
 I know right! Sweet bike apart from the stack of spacers on top of the stem, that shits fugly.
  • + 4
 It's a steerer nipple...
  • + 10
 Sick bike! As far as the drive train goes I run the trw active on 2 diffrent bikes. One being the SB150 with sram eagle cranks and chainring. I will say I run the 11-50 without the extender and was still dropping the chain. It was baffling because I didn't have this issue on my other bike where I run the trw cranks. After talking with taber at trw active, We came to the conclusion of trying to change the chain ring. Not sure why but for some reason the eagle chainring does not play nicely with the trw active detailer, I haven't dropped the chain once since making the switch. Hope this helps.
  • + 14
 32lbs? Good lord.
  • + 6
 Yet almost all components are carbon. ....I suspect that the cassette weighs more than the frame.
  • + 6
 I was going to say the same. At the price you'd have to pay for this setup, wow. Yes, it does have a 36, a coil, and big rubber but come on. It's supposed to be "Light, cheap, reliable, pick two," not "Pick one." Agreed, making a light bike is not the point of this staff ride but it's impressive to see that bikes can still be heavy when they would cost a fortune and have small rear travel.
  • + 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: how much of that 32 lbs is the budget 11spd?
  • + 3
 haha, my new bike is nearly 35 pounds. FTW....but I am looking back into an air shock to shave some weight back off,
  • + 6
 You should see my 34lb 5010 with carbon everything. I'd call it "studdly."
  • + 0
 @IluvRIDING: I am on SB6c and its somewhere around 26 pounds maybe less.. maybe the tires and bigger wheels I guess but still a lot
  • + 3
 Not really sure why that's a surprise, Fox 36 & a big coil shock.

More realistic than some of the make believe weights we see floating around Smile
  • + 2
 @kmg0: i'm at 37.6 pounds with an air shock!!! It rides a lot lighter tho but boy does it monstertruck.
  • + 1
 My MUSA alum XL REEB with SB150 ish numbers is 34lb with pedals, with a set of cheap carbon 30id wheels (aka not light) and some pretty beefcake GX / Guide R Atlas components. Doesn't feel the part, but i also spent almost nothing on the bike except the frame and suspension.
  • + 2
 the wtb judge is atleast 1 lb heavier than any maxxis double down tire
  • + 3
 @RADVANBIKES: but does your bike match your van
  • + 2
 It does have a nearly full water bottle Wink
  • + 12
 This bike was so much cooler back when it had ADVENT on it Wink
  • + 9
 Looks like just about any given bike on the front range. Minus that pleb drivetrain, I guess.
  • + 6
 This has to be one of the better reviews I've read. It feels honest. He critiques parts and tries different bits while providing reason for trying them. I want to see more of these reviews!
  • + 2
 @danielsapp Would you mind sharing your fork setup with the GRIP2? I just upgraded to the grip2 and am running a 160mm fork at about the same weight as you. I am curious as to where you have ended up in comparison to Fox recommendations. Thanks!
  • + 2
 66psi, 8hsc, 6hsr, 4lsc, 10lsr is the baseline I use on that fork. Hope that helps a bit. I've dropped a few psi at times when it's wet out.
  • + 5
 Looking forward to hearing about that RUNT air canister
  • + 1
 Definitely Pisgah-worthy. Despite the teasing you endure from yr PB cohorts, it has only been over the last half dozen years that everytime I ride up there (6X+/year since '99...ATL metro local) someone or their bike didn't get broken. In fact, I spent a bunch of rides up there to prepare myself for when I made the pilgrimage to BC in the early aughts to ride. Regarding the coil, I wonder how the Yeti's and other "air-shock designed" bikes would fare with one of MRP's progressive springs? Hope y'all test one.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp : i suspect the coil shock doesnt work so well, because of lack of progressivity in the overall setup. Have you ever considered using an old DHX RC4 with progression booster?

I know it´s not the shiny, newest bling bling, but am using it on my enduro and must say the progression adjust really works wonders there. And it more than holds a candle to the dhx2, which i ride on my DH.
  • + 2
 Agreed, That’s a lot of it there. That shock would probably work better but with all of the other parts that need real attention I’ll likely just toss an air spring back on and roll with it for now since I don’t have an RC4 sitting around.
  • + 3
 @danielsapp:
Should ask MRP to send a progressive wound spring to test.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: I have had the complete TRW drive train for at least two seasons now and have had zero issues with dropping chains. I am using the 11-50 cassette and have been pleased with the shifting and range. I use every bit of that 50 tooth out here with our nasty steep climbs and no oxygen.
  • + 1
 Would you mind sharing your fork setup with the GRIP2? I just upgraded to the grip2 and am running a 160mm fork at about the same weight as you. I am curious as to where you have ended up in comparison to Fox recommendations. Thanks!
  • + 1
 I had the coil on my SB150 and hated it compared to the Float X2. I now have the SB130 and absolutely love it! Awesome review and specs. I am also wondering "what if" and am thinking about a PUSH Ind. shock to see if that would do anything magical. I doubt the bike could get much better though. Additionally, contrary to what many people say, the SB130 climbs WAY better than the SB150
  • + 1
 Dude tell me about it...can't tell you how many people tried to convince me climbed as well as 130. BS! I tried both and to me it's not even close
  • + 1
 @mtbdch: i demo'd a sb150 and hated that thing climbing. it was pretty fun down the hill once i finally let it open up but a v3 nomad was better climbing IMO
  • + 1
 @danielsapp can you explain the difference in feeling between the fit4 and grip2 as far as damping feel goes. My bike came with the fit4 and i want to go the grip2 route but its hard to justify the $300 to upgrade the damper. Is it that drastic? Or do you think I should look at options from vorsprung to add a HSC function to the “lockout” switch for $150ish?
  • + 4
 @mikelevy goes into a lot of detail Here - More than I can go into in one comment. It's a difference but if you're choosing whether to spend $300 on that or feel tight in your budget, just roll with what you have and you'll be fine!
  • + 5
 Daniel, you're bike's looking great. Weighing in at 67 big macs too.
  • + 3
 Already beating this one to death. Sorry Bobby, never going to be the next looks like a session, randy, or wakis a corn hole
  • + 4
 If you want a budget drivetrain go SLX
  • + 2
 I think the stock build (probably NX) will be my next bike. It's gonna take a lot of bottle returns to save up the coin for it... maybe riding one by 2035
  • + 2
 Great Rig!
What kind of grips are you using?
After reading good reviews i got the DMR deathgrips and they suck!
  • + 2
 Just try grips and use which you like. It’s impossible to pick one based on reviews...
  • + 1
 Something from Spank I found in my garage.
  • + 1
 Rad bike, definately up my alley but i have a question, Daniel, your accent, i hear hints of a few different locations, what's your story mate?
  • + 4
 North Carolina but I do communicate with the Canadians every day and spend a lot of time elsewhere with work so it’s a little blended, or so I’ve been told. - Cheers
  • + 2
 I forgot about the microshift drivetrain! I will try that for sure when i completely kill my XT
  • + 2
 I like the holeshot tire plug, just the price is a bad joke, will make a ghetto hack with cork plug for sure
  • + 1
 having spent the last 20 plus years riding east coast hiking trails this looks like a very good trail steed
  • + 1
 Kind of unfair to bash any 11 speed drivetrain for chain drops when you're running a worn 12 speed chainring. Just sayin'
  • - 1
 How to make an expensive, lightweight, super capable bike into a even more expensive, 32 POUND, less capable bike by pink bike editorial staff. I know I've got something else to do around here, fucking pb, gah.
  • + 1
 More B-grade content
  • + 0
 Where can one get that home shoot deal? And to the comment someone made about it putting a hole in your sternum... What are you doing to your bike?
  • + 3
 Link below the photo - LC Fabrications, and yeah...there are bigger issues if you are hitting your sternum like that.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp are you running any type of frame protection? The carbon chain stays on my SB130 seem to take a beating.
  • + 1
 Nope, I wouldn't say I ever recommend not running frame protection on any bike but I'm not.
  • + 2
 Why not run the 11-50t cassette and drop the range extender adapter?
  • + 4
 I was sent the 11-52 to test, not an 11-50 so I couldn't get rid of it.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: That makes sense. They should have sent you both cassettes, or waited till they fixed the rear mech to work with the 52t.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp what's your restaurant of choice in ATL airport?
  • + 1
 One Flew South, E Terminal.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: YES that's the one! Best airport food out there.
  • + 1
 did you try a heavier spring?
  • + 1
 Indeed, air all day.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: run a coil on my mk1 patrol. unlikely to ever go back to air.
  • + 1
 Eerily similar to the NSMB Yeti build story that was just published.
  • + 1
 I believe that's the Sycamore Cove/Grassy Road intersection
  • + 1
 Good eye!
  • + 0
 So dope! Nice whip Daniel!
  • + 1
 He needs an edc
  • + 1
 ON HOW TO RUIN A BIKE
  • - 1
 I really lked the sb130 when I demoed it. Shame the back end was as loose as a prostitutes.
  • + 1
 Bb height?
  • + 0
 Is the rear hub the new Hydra from I9? If so, what are your thoughts?
  • + 0
 Too many IPAs for you Sir @danielsapp
  • - 1
 I've always hated the switch infinity for whatever reason, but does it really have a rearward axle path?
  • + 0
 If I could have any bike, it would be this
  • - 1
 that switch infinity link system rocker device apparatus looks pretty crusty. prettty grody.
  • - 1
 I have this bike. I like this bike.
  • - 2
 Very sick looking ride. I would have one right now if not for the "rear end issues." I imagine it climbs like a demon.
  • + 4
 I saw two SB130 break at an enduro race. Camp Eagle, TX. Yeti sent the owners new frames though. World class customer support!
  • + 2
 What are the rear issues?
  • + 8
 @Ozzx3: I haven't had any issues with the bike to speak of and I have put a lot of miles on it.
  • - 2
 32 lb demon
  • + 1
 Rear end issues? What are you on about??
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: local NC rider here.... how does that bike do at Bailey’s ? I’m going On my first trip to Baileys on memorial weekend and plan to use my Santa Cruz 5010 that I built up to be a Brolo. Fox 36 150mm and long stroked 57mm Cane Creek coil in-line. The locals in the triangle say it be fine.
  • + 1
 @Solo1625: I'm sure you'll be fine with it there!
  • + 1
 thanks ! I am stoked. The bike is sick around here doing jump lines, XC etc. the boys and I have done Wilson creek, Pilot, upper/lower black etc and it was fabulous. Thanks for representing NC on pink bike, keep up the awesome work.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: what size rear tire are you running?
  • + 2
 @Svinyard: 2.4 WTB Judge at the moment but I’ve had 2.5’s on there just fine.
  • - 5
flag mtb-sf (May 22, 2019 at 19:20) (Below Threshold)
 @dburpasaurus I test rode one when I was shopping for a bike and absolutely hated how it climbed. It felt like I was pedaling through pudding. I really liked how it carried speed in fast, smooth, flow sections, but not as much when it got technical. I've since ridden a Ripmo and Sentinel and both feel better on the climbs despite having more travel.


Your experience may very so be sure to try them yourself if you can!
  • + 1
 @Ozzx3: overblown! That's what they are ..
  • + 3
 @mtb-sf: crazy...This is one of the best climbing bikes I've ever ridden..If not the best in this category, hands down.
  • + 1
 @Ozzx3: I know nothing about it but check the Yeti forum on MTBR for discussions.
  • + 1
 @mtb-sf:

WTH are you on about?! I’ve ridden those 3 and the Yeti wins. Only if you were running 50% sag. I’ve had way too many demo bikes set up poorly so always carry a shock pump so I can dial in further if needed. Odd.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: Same here. No issues with the rear end on my SB130. Loving the bike so far. Running a 2.4 DHR in the back.
  • + 2
 @WasatchEnduro: no shit ..I've ridden the sentinel and there's no comparison in the the climbing category
  • + 2
 @mtb-sf: Switch Infinity is the best pedalling suspension platform on the market. No comparisson.
  • + 3
 @Golden-G: Agreed ,and I've tried them all...
  • + 2
 @Golden-G: Ibis DWlink is pretty dang good for pedaling. The SI I've ridden seem to be a bit more active than Ibis DW. Not as efficient on general climbs...tho VERY good when it gets a bit technical etc. Downhill the SI seems better.
  • + 2
 @Svinyard: I've heard good things about the Ripmo and other DW Link bikes.
  • - 2
 "Shimano pedal person"

You lose 10 points for not being a "Shimano pedal dude"
  • - 1
 Dream bike status right there.
  • - 3
 Can I add that the frame is asking for rocks with that curved carbon down tube. Hurts the eyes!
  • - 1
 Right?! Exposure much?
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.126117
Mobile Version of Website