Between lunch rides, the design team in Golden, Colorado, have been busy simplifying the packaging on the SB160, although the looks still make it unmistakably a Yeti. In fact, most of the changes to the bike are hiding in plain sight, like the simplified suspension linkage, second generation Switch Infinity link, universal derailleur hanger, and cable management.
Underneath the paint, there’s concrete reasoning why the shape of the frame hasn’t changed drastically. Yeti sculpted the round top tube differently than the smooth square shape of the downtube to retain certain stiffness characteristics throughout the bike. That downtube now tucks the bottom bracket junction further out of harm's way for clearance over more objects, while still providing room for a full-size water bottle inside the front triangle. As for the weight, a medium size Turq frame comes in at a claimed 3806 grams with a Fox Float X2 attached.
Should you really get off line, there is a replaceable dual-density protector that unbolts without peeling off any paint and allows access to guide the dropper post housing into place, as opposed to revealing a tool storage zone. All of the cable ports clamp down on the housings to keep them securely in place too, including the ones that follow along with the Switch Infinity pivot’s motion.
Those aren’t the only rubberized bits that Yeti stuck on the SB160 either. The ramped fins on the topside of the chainstay run all the way to the chainguide and you'll find additional pieces on the underside of both stays as well.
Longevity was an area that Yeti looked to improve upon with the SB160, and that started with improved seals, hardware and bearings throughout the Switch Infinity link, but only on the fancier Turq series frames. The service interval for those two mini Kashima-coated stanchions is every forty hours of riding and is as straightforward as plugging in a grease gun to the ports on the link. Owners of previous generation Yetis will be pleased to know that the second generation Switch Infinity link is backwards compatible and available shortly after the launch as an aftermarket upgrade through their dealer.
To combat the complications of servicing larger hardware, Yeti has moved the bearing location from the seats in the carbon triangles to the aluminum linkages. Not only do the floating collet pivot axles provide a perfect alignment on the Enduro Max bearings, but that makes the replacement process a smaller chore, physically, too. Like all Yeti frames that are 2019 or newer, the warranty policy covers the original owner against manufacturing defects for the lifetime of the bike, including the Switch Infinity link.
Behind that link, the bottom of the split seat tube protects the link, but that doesn’t leave a lot of room for debris to pass through the chainstay yoke. This wasn’t an initial concern of mine when the dry, summer conditions extended into autumn, but a rock did manage to jam its way in there on a descent. The cacophony and carnage that ensued was enough for me to quickly slam on the brakes and pull over. Luckily, only the ride flow was broken and some paint was lost. The clearance is tight in this area. A fender covering this gap might have been practical here.
To cap off the finish, quite literally, our test bike came with clear vinyl cut outs that cover some of the high friction sections of the frame which will be available as another aftermarket purchase. Personally, I’d prefer all or nothing for coverage. A half-way wrap attempt usually leads to a mis-match in paint brightness down the road.