First Ride: 2024 Yeti SB165 - Now With Mixed Wheels

Apr 3, 2024 at 14:55
by Mike Kazimer  

Nearly 5 years after taking its place in Yeti's lineup as a 27.5” freeride bike, the SB165 is back for another round of sending, this time with mixed wheels, a 170mm fork, and slightly different geometry. It's still aimed at the descent-focused riders, and Yeti's freeride athletes – Robin Goomes, Reed Boggs, and Adolf Silva – will be racking up the air miles on it, but it also wouldn't be out of the question to use it for an enduro race, assuming the tracks were steep and rough enough.

There are four different complete models, with prices starting at $6,300 for the C2, and going up to $9,200 USD for the T3 version shown here.

SB165 Details

• 165 mm travel rear, 170 mm fork
• Mixed wheels
• Carbon frame
• 63.5° degree head tube angle
• Size specific chainstays
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 34.6 lb (size L)
• Price: $6,300 - $9,200 USD
If that's not expensive enough, there's also the option to upgrade to a set of DT Swiss EXC 1501 carbon wheels for an additional $1,000. The frame and shock alone are priced at $4,800 USD – those two little Kashima rods used for the Switch Infinity suspension design must not come cheap.


Frame Details

If the SB165's frame looks familiar, there's a good reason – it shares a front triangle with the SB160, Yeti's enduro race bike. The rear triangle is all new, and there's a different upper link, in order to bump up the travel and adapt the geometry to the smaller rear wheel. Unfortunately for the mixed-wheel curious SB160 riders out there, there aren't any plans to offer any sort of aftermarket conversion kit.

Frame highlights include tube-in-tube cable routing, a threaded bottom bracket, plenty of room for a water bottle, and a universal derailleur hanger. In other words, the typical list for a modern mountain bike. All that's missing on the bike feature bingo list is in-frame storage, and some form of geometry adjustment, although those fall more into the nice-to-have rather than necessary category.




Even with the switch to a larger front wheel, many of the SB165's geometry numbers remain the same as the previous version. I've mentioned it before, but when Yeti launched their refreshed SB lineup back in 2018 they did a very good job of anticipating where mountain bike geometry was headed, especially when it came to reach numbers and seat tube angles. The bikes launched back then have since been updated, but the changes haven't been drastic, a testament to how well those numbers worked.

As for the new SB165, it still has a 63.5-degree head tube angle, but this time around that's with a 170mm fork, rather than the 180mm fork found on the previous version. The reach numbers remain the same, starting at 430mm for a size small and going up to 505mm for a size extra-large. One change that's been implemented is the switch to size-specific chainstay lengths. The difference between each size isn't drastic, measuring just two millimeters, but it's still better than having the same length for all riders, if only to slightly improve the balance of the bike.

The seat tube lengths are also shorter than on the previous SB165, providing more room to run longer travel dropper posts.


Suspension Layout

Like the rest of Yeti's SB bikes, the SB165 uses the Switch Infinity suspension layout, which uses a translating pivot that moves upwards in the beginning of the travel, and then downwards deeper in the travel. The SB165 has a 22% leverage rate change, with a linearly progressive change for the first two-thirds of the travel, and then a more pronounced ramp up for the last third, which should come in handy on bigger hits.

A grease fitting is in place to help keep things moving smoothly, and Yeti recommends a lubrication interval of every 40 hours.



Builds & Pricing



Spec Check

The $9,200 Turq T3 X0 Transmission build certainly isn't lacking when it comes to high end, high performance parts, but there are a few items the don't quite fit in with what I'd expect to see on a bike like this. They're small gripes, but for the price it'd be ideal if everything was dialed right out of the box.

Tires: For a long travel park / enduro / freeride bike, EXO+ tires aren't going to cut it for most riders, especially in rockier terrain. At the very least, a DoubleDown casing tire in the rear would have been good to see, and ideally the front tire would use Maxxis' stickier MaxxGrip compound, instead of the MaxxTerra compound that comes stock.

50mm stem: Stem lengths are obviously personal preference, but 40mm seems to have become the de-facto standard on longer travel bikes, so many riders will likely swap out the 50mm Burgtec for something a little shorter.

WTB Silverado saddle: The original Silverado's dimensions are starting to look dated – it's much longer than some of the shorter, less intrusive options that are available. It's no Azonic Loveseat, but the length does look a little out of place. Even the new short-nosed WTB Solano that showed up on the ASR XC bike would have been a good option.

SRAM Centerline rotors: I have a feeling this spec choice is the result of some post-pandemic supply chain issues, but SRAM's thicker HS2 rotors would have been preferrable for improved consistency. The 220mm front rotor does provide plenty of power, so there's no need to swap things right away, just know that there are better rotor options in existence.


Ride Impressions

I've been testing all sorts of bikes this year, everything from value priced options to uber-expensive XC race machines, but bikes like the SB165 still get me a little extra fired up. It's hard to beat the feeling of hopping on a long travel rig, pedaling to the top of something steep, and then knocking out a bunch of great runs, ideally when the dirt is perfect and the weather is cooperating.

I should also mention that my first rides on the SB165 took place after a week of hardtail testing, so my glasses probably had a slight rose-colored tint to them due to the fact that my bones weren't being rattled by every little rock. All that aside, my first impressions of the SB165 are largely positive. Back in 2020 we called it the 'pedalable park bike,' and I'd say that moniker still rings true, although the shorter fork and 29” wheel does bring it closer to the enduro category; there's a little more speed available than the previous version, and the larger front wheel also helps improve its climbing abilities.

It's not overly heavy, something that's not always the case with the latest crop of bikes in the 160 – 170mm travel bracket. Granted, that's with EXO+ casing tires, but even with DoubleDown or DH casing tires the number on the scale wouldn't be too crazy, and gram counters could always install an SLS spring, carbon wheels, or an air shock to knock that number down.

I was glad to see that the SB165 showed up with higher rise bars – that's something I would have likely done on my own, in order to get a more upright climbing (and descending) position. The head tube length is a little shorter than some bikes in this category (but not as stubby as the Ibis HD6), so those bars were a smart spec. On smoother approaches I typically flipped the climb switch on the DHX2, in order to keep it from cycling too deep into its travel. It's a fairly active bike, but the climb switch is easy to reach.

SB is technically supposed to mean 'Super Bike', but I think Smooth Bike is also an appropriate description for the SB165. It feels extremely consistent throughout its travel – there aren't any odd hiccups or hangups. For as sensitive as it is off the top, there's enough support to keep if from sinking unnecessarily deep, which leaves enough in reserve for those bigger impacts. The smaller back wheel and shorter chainstays bump up the level of maneuverability when things are extra tight, while the overall wheelbase is long enough to maintain stability for straight-ahead plowing.

The new SB165 feels like a more mature version of the old one – it has some of the serious race smarts the SB160 possesses, but it also hasn't lost its ability to be a long travel goof-off bike, one that doesn't require a ton of effort to manual out of a corner, slap through a berm, or get through a big jump line.

Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,742 articles

  • 80 1
 Not as crazy expensive. Yeti, what's going on? Are you okay?
  • 31 2
 6300 isn't cheap but for a boutique carbon bike with pretty much no weak points in the spec it's not bad. Only thing I don't like is the code Rs, but that's vastly preferable to getting something like guides on an enduro bike.
  • 27 0
 I noticed the same. Picked up a SB140 C series as I realized pricing is somewhat similar to many other brands these days. Or maybe I'm completely delusional
  • 19 0
 @gbonen3215: Tbh, l think its been the new normal and we've been desensitized. $10,000 is almost a bargain smh
  • 27 6
 $4800 for a frame isn't crazy expensive?! Share some of your crazy wealth then Mr Dentist!
  • 21 0
 yeti becomes the bike of the blue collar mountain biker ;-)
  • 5 2
 I feel like the spec sheet is in a bit of a weird place. The centreline rotors are weird, as noted, and the specs feel pretty 'traditional', while other brands have moved on to more bougie offerings like Dominion A4s and Bikeyokes.

It's still not cheap for sure, and to your regular Yeti clientele (dentists hurr durr) the forks are already 'last gen'. I wonder if all these factors make it much harder to push the premium pricing of this release. This new color absolutely kills it, though.
  • 30 1
 I maintain that, though yetis have sometimes been pricy, half of their $$$ reputation is simply because they only do higher-end frames and builds. Specialized and Trek actually charge pretty similar prices for the equivalent bikes/builds, but have lower-priced options as well as a full catalogue of more affordable bike models that makes them seem more accessible.
  • 3 1
 @big-red: yeah, I think you’re right, but I would still like to see a more budget friendly option, it would help cut away their dentist reputation. And when you look at the frame price it is still steep. An s-works enduro frame can be had for like 4500CAD.
Also having options like a specialized comp give riders without 9k to spend on a bike the option to get riding and pick away at some upgrades.
  • 12 7
 It's not crazy for Yeti, but when you can by a VERY similar YT Capra uncaged for $2800 new these newer bikes are hard to justify
  • 2 12
flag jray152 (Apr 11, 2024 at 10:36) (Below Threshold)
 Back in 2017 i got a hightower XO1 for $4800 from competitive cyclist.
  • 2 2
 Expensive, but not crazy expensive and it keeps the price pretty well. On the end of the day it´s not that bad.
  • 3 0
 @intensemack10: That is expensive for a frame, but I think if you looked at some of the C-series builds and compared them to say, Norco, Rocky Mountain, Devinci, Santa Cruz, Ibis, etc, the prices are somewhat similar
  • 4 0
 @gbonen3215: The other brands have just caught up. I’m ride a Yeti and think it’s an amazing bike that I see value in. That said, I miss the days (10+ years ago) when pricing wasn’t as out of control as what it has been lately.
  • 1 5
flag chize (Apr 11, 2024 at 19:14) (Below Threshold)
 @intensemack10: $4800 for a frame that they didn't even need new moulds for is wild to me! Yeti's profit margins must be the highest in the bike industry
  • 1 3
 front triangle is recycled that's why
  • 1 0
 I get the joke @mikekazimer, but you do realize the Altitude has the same top end price as this bike, right?
  • 1 0
 6.3k or even 7.3k for e1900 wheels? wtf? Nope.
  • 1 0
 @intensemack10: it's not that bad... I'm a diesel mechanic..It's more or less about priorities in life..
  • 22 0
 The perfect most beautiful looking bike. Wait this is pinkbike… exo+ rear tyre hahaha good one!
  • 4 0
 It would appear that the new trend is to spec lighter tyres so that the spec sheet will show sub 35lbs and we don’t get upset. It’s working.
Kinda like 2mm changes ticking the size specific chainstay length box.
  • 21 0
 This is exactly the sb165 I wanted to build up last year. Mullet with 170 fork. Perfect
  • 1 1
 Looking for the 160 mullet version
  • 19 0
 Holding my breath for the DH rig already...
  • 10 0
 it's gotta be coming. i think yeti is gearing up for a full wc tour next year with the DH bike (and maybe an XC team on the ARC?)
  • 12 1
 Impending comments about price, switch infinity, and alleged reliability issues aside, that is one nice-looking bike.
  • 9 2

F O R E V E R.

yeti sb165 frame only price in my Australian dollars $7500.
  • 17 1
 I'm gonna need up to date information on the kangaroo to freedom eagle conversion rate to properly assess this rant.
  • 6 3
 @toast2266: freedom? hahahahahahahaha cheers man I needed a good chuckle.
  • 5 1
 @toast2266: I think its currently 1 "Freedom" Eagle to 16 Kangaroos at the moment
  • 1 0
 Here Here my good chap
  • 1 0
 And where are all these crazy discount bike prices we keep hearing about because of overstocked shops and warehouses ? Seems like that doesn’t apply to us down here. Just like the World Cup broadcast
  • 9 4
 I wonder how much cheaper this bike could be if they didn't use four different molds to change the chainstay length by a whopping 2 mm in each size. That is some princess and the pea nonsense.
  • 9 0
 Are you sure they made different rear triangle molds? The cheaper way to do it is move the pivot a couple of mm in the front triangle which you're already making a new mold for every size. I think that's why we see these minor differences in rear center in a lot of brands' carbon bikes. You can only move the pivot so much. They're saying size specific because it's the hot new trend but it's mostly for show.
  • 1 1
 @jdejace: That's possible, maybe the pivot adjustment happens in the main triangle, hidden from customer interference. They could also just build a 433 and 439 mold and put a 2mm tolerance disclaimer to cover the middle sizes. I barely feel a 5mm difference unless I'm looking for it.
  • 2 0
 I think the reason why the numbers are so small is, because they have only 8mm room in the switch infinity slider. That would be the absolute cheapest way to give every size its own chainstaylength - so that box can be checked but without having to make extra molds.
  • 6 0
 Seems very nice but it doesn't seem like enough of an upgrade to warrant upgrading my 2021 SB165 yet.
  • 4 2
 Solid, sensible update. Shortening the seat tube is a small but beneficial improvement. I have zero clue why all brands don't automatically make this as short as possible on long travel bikes.
  • 6 0
 Agreed but eventually you get tire buzz on saddle.
  • 9 0
 at some point folks who are the right size for the bike start running into minimum insertion depth issues
  • 4 3
 Pretty much love the bike but that saddle - can't stand it! I had that briefly on my Yeti but I hated it and couldn't believe what the price is on those! I sold it, got a $40 saddle that I love. Expensive doesn't always mean "good".
  • 2 2
 It's gotta one of the least comfortable saddles out there. It's like it's specifically designed to support your weight by your perineum instead of your sit bones. Boggles the mind that so many brands continue to spec it.
  • 3 0
 It's got a decent pressure relief channel and great sit bone support. With the right angle it's a comfy saddle but it's hard to ride one without a chamois. Not sure the intent of this bike will draw the chamois wearing crowd, so yeah, it's a weird spec for this bike.
  • 9 0
 Man that’s crazy I love the Silverado
  • 1 0
 You should sit on it, no need to stand it!
  • 1 0
 I am curious: If you are going through the trouble of producing 4 different rear triangles in carbon and thus need a new mold for each of them why not do a bit more pronounced changes then 2mm per size? Or are the triangles the same and they change the rear centre lenghts via the linkages or something?
  • 7 4
 Threaded bb is a welcome addition. Mullet defeats the point of the 275 freeride bike.
  • 12 2
 My barspins are so much harder now that it’s a mullet, said about 4 people ever
  • 5 0
 The extra rotational spinning of the 29er is super noticeable in the air.
  • 6 0
 @Grady-Harris: barspins aren't the point, some of us still want smaller wheels and this update doesn't make much sense. Same as the 5010.
  • 1 0
 @thatguy404: There's absolutely no equivalency to be drawn between this bike and the 5010, lol.
  • 1 0
 @bigfittynon-sense: how is there not?
Both have gone for 275 to mullet.
Both are 'play' bikes.
Just different travel.
  • 5 1
 Nice bike, but a bit disrespectful fitted with EXO+ tires.
  • 2 1
 Sick bike but the price tag is a bit steep for the non-sponsored freeriders among us. On top of that there will be no money left for the medical bills!
  • 1 0
 We might be at the intersection of a good time to bike and suspension releases coupled with oversupply and slight plateau of bike design!
  • 1 0
 Where is this oversupply you speak of my friend ?? Not in Oz
  • 5 6
 Stack is too low on the XL and getting rid of the signature baby blue is madness.

Also 439 chainstay with 505 reach just doesn't work. 445 minimum. preferable 455 with +-5mm adjustability.

When will companies learn. The mullet already gives the bike an agile feel, sacrificing balance makes 0 sense.
  • 4 1
 Hate they are going to sram brakes now.
  • 2 0
 This and the SB120 are some of the coolest bikes Yeti had had in a while. Love the lines, would love to ride one even more.
  • 1 0
 Interesting comment about the Silverado. Any other shorter seat suggestions for fans of the Silverado?
  • 4 0
 The new one is shorter, and does away with the weird fabric edge panels.
  • 2 1
 ....Scrolled 3x pages and couldn't find it - so here goes: - " Dentists Rejoice " - \m/
  • 2 0
 Oh man that green is awesome
  • 2 2
 Kinda disappointing! Too close to the 160 enduro rig - should have been released as sb170 or better yet a sb180 to differentiate it further!
  • 1 0
 yet another new bike released...
  • 4 6
 My bank account has never been a Yeti fan, but I think this is really nice!! 6 mil difference between small and the xl chainstay length seems like an opportunity for correction though.
  • 1 0
 Been riding the sb165 as a mullet since 2020. That thing rip!
  • 2 0
 I’ll take it
  • 2 1
 can you run an air shock? or only coil?
  • 1 0
 This bike is a bit too progressive for an air. It will still be a great all round machine with air, but you do lose some of its characteristics.
  • 1 0
 A week of hardtail testing you say...???
  • 1 1
 This bike is still around?

Nice to see they made it MX.
  • 4 5
 Crackin price lol...
My Yeti had more crack(s) than your typical shady inner city neighborhood
  • 2 3
 It’s 2024 a 470mm seat tube on an XL is a bit long
  • 1 3
 $6300 minimum entry fee is ridiculous.
  • 1 0
 Right? Only $500 more than a carbon Slash. That's barely even boutique bike pricing. Come on Yeti, do your price thing!
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