Yeti SB100 first ride review

A fresh take on the race-worthy trail bike

Yeti has spent considerable time developing its trail and enduro models in recent years. The Golden, Colorado, brand has turned its eye to bringing that same inspired handling and lauded Switch Infinity suspension system to a short-travel bike that seeks to be as adept on the race course as it is at tackling lines typically reserved for longer-travel machines. Oh, and it can hold a water bottle, too.

Yeti SB100 highlights

  • 100mm rear / 120mm fork
  • New version of Switch Infinity suspension
  • Water bottle-friendly frame design
  • Full internal routing
  • Claimed frame weight 5.5lb / 2.5kg (including shock and hardware)
  • Complete bike price range: $5,999 - $9,899 (UK and Australian pricing TBC)
  • Frame-only price: $3,400 (UK and Australian pricing TBC)
  • Available now

Switched to XC

The SB100 uses a new, slimmer version of the Switch Infinity system to manage its 100mm of travel
The SB100 uses a new, slimmer version of the Switch Infinity system to manage its 100mm of travel

The SB100 is a 100mm-travel bike equipped with a new version of Yeti’s Switch Infinity suspension system. Unlike the twin-tube, moveable main pivot system used on the rest of the company’s models, this version has been scaled down, rotated 90 degrees and nestled behind the seat tube. It’s protected from dirt and debris by a bolt-on cover. Like the standard Switch Infinity system, it retains the grease ports used to keep the Kashima-coated stanchions sliding smoothly.

This smaller Switch Infinity system still gets a pair of grease ports to keep the stanchions moving smoothly
This smaller Switch Infinity system still gets a pair of grease ports to keep the stanchions moving smoothly

This adaptation of the Switch Infinity system is exclusive to this short-travel model. It was developed in order to add a feature absent from the rest of Yeti’s mountain bikes — space in the main triangle for a water bottle.

“It’s kinematically inconvenient, but it turns out that water is a human need," mused Chris Conroy, president of Yeti Cycles. 

Your eyes do not deceive you: that's a water bottle inside a Yeti frame
Your eyes do not deceive you: that's a water bottle inside a Yeti frame

In addition to freeing up space for a water bottle inside the mainframe, the smaller Switch Infinity System allows for an uninterrupted seat tube, which means the SB100 frame can accommodate longer-stroke droppers. Small and medium frames come with 125mm droppers, while larger and XL frames get 150mm models. It’s very likely that many riders can run longer droppers if they desire. I could have easily run a 150mm dropper on my size medium test bike.

The SB100 has full internal routing with tube-in-tube construction
The SB100 has full internal routing with tube-in-tube construction

The SB100 replaces the ASR as Yeti’s cross-country platform. The single-pivot ASR is lighter, though it doesn’t have the same pedaling performance or confident handling when taking on rough terrain.

More than the sum of its millimeters

The SB100 is fast, fun and versatile
The SB100 is fast, fun and versatile

“100 genre-killing millimeters,” is how Yeti describes the SB100. On the trail, this marketing-speak rings true.

I spent three days testing the SB100 in Baja, California, on the trails above the small coastal town of Los Barilles. The terrain is rolling with loose, decomposing granite and embedded rocks. There were also plenty of sharp and thorny plants to keep riders on their game.

The new 120mm Fox 34 Step-Cast graces the front of all SB100 builds
The new 120mm Fox 34 Step-Cast graces the front of all SB100 builds

The geometry of the SB100 is in-line with other short-travel 29ers that blur the cross-country and trail bike genres.

It has a 67.8-degree head tube angle with the stock 120mm Fox 34 Step-Cast fork.

Long top tubes across the four-bike size range are intended to be matched with short stems. The chainstays are middle of the road at 437mm / 17.2in — Yeti generally prioritizes high-speed handling and has found this length works well for many of its models. Another nod to improved high-speed handling is the use of 44mm offset forks.

Stepped lower and dedicated 120mm internals make the 34SC lighter than a standard 32mm fork
Stepped lower and dedicated 120mm internals make the 34SC lighter than a standard 32mm fork

If the amount of suspension travel weren't in this bike's name, I would have guessed I was riding a replacement for Yeti's 114mm-travel SB4.5 with a 120mm fork bolted to the front. The slimmer Switch Infinity system used on the SB100 has a more progressive curve than Yeti's other models. This, along with a firm shock tune makes the SB100 reluctant to dive deep into its travel. 

The result is a bike that feels like it has more than just 100mm of rear travel. The firm suspension also leads to a harsher ride and more feedback than is found in similar short-travel machines, such as the Santa Cruz Tallboy 3 and Pivot 429 Trail.

A bolt-on cover keeps Switch Infinity system clean
A bolt-on cover keeps Switch Infinity system clean

Even so, this firm suspension feel will likely to appeal to cross-country racers concerned with outright efficiency as well as riders who want to push the limits of the SB100 as their primary trail bike.

The trail-inspired geometry, stiff carbon chassis and firm suspension give the SB100 a poppy, playful quality.

Equipped for fun

Upfront, the SB100 wears a 29x2.3in Maxxis Minion DHF
Upfront, the SB100 wears a 29x2.3in Maxxis Minion DHF

Yeti has a habit of spec’ing its bikes with the same kit used by its staff. In the case of the SB100, that means meaty tires. The 29x2.3in Maxxis Minion DHF and Aggressor aren’t a typical cross-country tire combination, but they're a welcome set of treads for everyday riding. 

The aggressive tire them continues to back of the bike, with a 29x2.3in Maxxis Aggressor
The aggressive tire them continues to back of the bike, with a 29x2.3in Maxxis Aggressor

Other build highlights include a 760mm Yeti carbon handlebar, SRAM Eagle XO1 drivetrain with SRAM Level TLM brakes and DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One wheelset.

Yeti now has its own line of 35mm handlebars. A 760mm bar steers the SB100
Yeti now has its own line of 35mm handlebars. A 760mm bar steers the SB100

Early verdict

Is the SB100 a trail bike you can race, or a cross-country bike you can push further than traditional XC race whippets? However you choose to categorize it, it’s a distinction without a difference.This versatility is a good thing, especially considering the steep price of admission.

Bikes such as this might not be choice of World Cup racers, but they do a better job of meeting the wants those of us who participate in stage races for fun. 

Check back this summer for a long-term review. 

In the meantime, visit https://www.yeticycles.com/bikes/sb100 for more information. 

Josh Patterson

Tech Editor, US
Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Age: 35
  • Height: 170cm / 5'7"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 72cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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