Yeti SB130 Review, First Ride
Oh. Man. Not every new bike really stops me, but seeing the Yeti SB130 in the stand did. Deciding I would need to quickly get a Yeti SB130 Review posted I commandeered the first ride.
The first thing I noted about the SB130 was how long it looks. The low, extended lines of the frame have the bike visually seem much longer than it measures out. Especially if you see it without a seatpost in it. The new Yeti shapes just plain look mean!
At 6’1″ the large felt great. Even with a 34″ inseam I wasn’t going to come close to the XL.
The steeper seat tube angle (76.9) provides an extremely comfortable and competent position.
The SB130 X01 build features carbon Yeti bars at 780mm – very close to what I run on my personal bike – which added to it’s comfort.
Seriously, this bike might not be available for demo very long. It may need to live in my garage!
Today’s class leading 29’s are stiff, confident, predictable and the SB130 hits all of these marks.
As a larger rider (250lbs) I appreciate the stiffness as it translates directly to better trail tracking. 1x drivetrains have allowed designers to increase dimensions of rear triangles as well as linkages. Even small gains in these areas dramatically improve stiffness. (The Ripley LS version 3 is a good example of this.)
The SB130 has a confident, balanced feel. Body English is effective on the bike without destabilizing wheel contact. I was surprised with how far I could move my upper body around while keeping control of both front and rear wheels.
Predictable – no not like the negative term your significant other calls you – but the Switch Infinity suspension rides with a predictable personality. Unpredictable bikes have knife edge performance demanding riders laser focus or suffer the consequences. Not my thing. Frankly I need a bike that isn’t going to spit me off at speed if my brain turns off for a second… The SB130 has enough travel and the right geometry to engage unseen rocks, holes, etc at speed.
I am not known as a climber. What does that mean? Well a bike that hinders my already suspect climbing is going to piss me off pretty quick. I was very happy with the SB130.
One way I look at a bike’s efficiency is to feel how the bike performs with a few power pedals. Think of it like looking for it’s “burst” personality. The SB130 had a great feeling of burst under power.
The modern seating position made climbing technical chunk a less daunting task. I didn’t feel like I was risking flipping backwards…
The only negative I could note was I had some wheel spin when standing trying to power up a loose climb. I don’t think it was a bike so much as fast rear tire (Aggressor), loose dirt and rocks, as well as my first day on the rig. I was also trying to smash up in a hero gear – so a lot going on. Which is one of the reasons demo-ing can be hard to learn a bike’s personality, but that’s a story for another day.
The SB130 felt slightly bigger than my 27.5″ HD4 changing direction, which is to be expected. With the larger 29″ wheel a slightly earlier turn in, a bit more lean angle and a touch more counter steer in go a long way. After a couple turns my brain adjusted and I didn’t notice the 29″ wheels very much. Well, sort of, but more on that in a minute.
I tend to late apex corners (mainly for the improved line of sight and ability to change exit lines if needed – in case you know someone’s coming uphill or whatever) by riding opposite of the corner then counter steering in. For me this allows a confident corner with higher entry speed, which then translates to higher exit speed all with the best vision and most time / space to deal with the unexpected. It may give up a bit of speed but I don’t race so I don’t really care. The SB130 and I had a great understanding right off the bat on this. I had no issues getting around turns at my typical pace.
I also tried to early apex a few corners to see how the SB130 behaved. Early apex turns are more likely to force you wide out of a corner and require more dramatic input to stay on trail. Sometimes you can identify early apex riders as they have a more distinct body “throw”, like a shoulder roll driving the bars around the turn. This isn’t my usual as it can feel like the wheels break free, feel like you’re going to flip off the bike, etc (it seems I’m not much better at describing this than doing it!) but the SB130 tolerated my hack inputs and stayed planted keeping me on trail.
Got a lot of questions on Late Apex vs. Early Apex – check out expanded definition here.
The SB130 felt super confident changing directions. I got no where near it’s speed limit and I’m sure it would only get better as I familiarized myself to the bike and back to 29″ wheels.
Odds & Ends
I didn’t run the bike into super steep or burly terrain on it’s shake down run so can’t attest to vertical performance (it’s a Yeti – I’ll bet it rides steep!). This is my standard practice to ensure a cleaner break in period. Modern bikes like the SB130 benefit from BikeCo’s frame prep services as well as a go through after break in. You don’t want to ride these bikes loose – it’s extremely hard on linkage, hardware and bearings.
The SB130 is notably well balanced going into the air. I don’t jump well, especially having recently gone to flats, but the SB130 floated on anything I sent it off.
Like my HD4 I think a larger volume spacer in the DPX2 shock would be in order to give the bike a touch more bottom out resistance.
BikeCo Pro Tune forks are so, so, so much easier on your hands…
I said I didn’t notice the 29″ wheels much – and I didn’t really. But what I was reminded of is how well the 29ers hold speed climbing and descending. I felt like corner entry speeds were up and I was actually sending the bike much further than usual when I put it in the air, again I think from increased take of speed with the larger wheels. So good. Next bike is back to 29s for me…
Want to take this bike out? Contact our sales team about the demo programs available and schedule your ride.
Update 10/26/18 – Ok – I kept this bike to myself for a bit – check out the SB130 Extended Ride Review here!
Update 12/6/18 – If you’re in the market for a super capable trail to all mountain bike – SB130 is 100% on your short list. Chat with our expert sales staff to compare the Yeti SB130 with other class leaders like the Ibis Ripmo. BikeCo will help define the personality differences to get you on the ultimate bike at the best pricing.
Update 12/15/18 – Ok, had to let other’s ride the SB130 Demo. So pulled the trigger on my own.
Check out my build and it’s story here SB130 CUSTOM BUILD BY BIKECO.COM
4/10/19 Update – Yeti released their Lunch Ride SB130, well it turns out I’ve been running this suspension setup for a few months. Check out a Lunch Ride Suspension Review.