Yeti says the bike came about when its crew in Colorado were riding the SB100, released in 2018, but wanted to give it the ‘lunch-ride’ treatment by taking its XC platform and adding a little bit of attitude to handle those fast rides with a bit of gnar chucked in.
The rear triangle of the Yeti SB115, which arcs around a moving main pivot, provides 115mm of travel.Max Wilman / Immediate Media
By playing around with the shocks in the SB100, Yeti realised that, with a longer stroke shock and a few other tweaks here and there, it could squeeze another 15mm travel out of the frame, with no gain in weight.
With the rise in popularity of the ‘downcountry’ bike, it seemed obvious to add this new type of bike to the Yeti line-up.
What is ‘downcountry’?
With the continued niche-ification of the bike world, it wasn’t going to be long before a new term emerged for the burgeoning world of ‘rad’ cross-country bikes – and we have our colleagues over at PinkBike to thank for popularising the ‘downcountry’ term.
It basically means a bike that’s got roots in XC, but has been tuned for more capability on increasingly technical terrain.
This means longer travel forks, burlier tyres and bigger brakes plugged in to a frame that’s either the same as a brand’s XC bike or one that’s a had a few tweaks here and there (such as a longer stroke shock to give extra travel).
They’re ideal for long rides where pedalling efficiency is a benefit but where riders might still encounter steep descents and rowdy trails.
It’s clear that the SB100 plays an integral part in the design of the SB115, with near identical geometry.
Yeti says this was done to keep the snappy accelerating and capable climbing characteristics of the SB100 while adding that extra bit of capability for the descents – as demonstrated by the use of four-pot brakes, chunky tyres and bigger rotors.
Sticking a chunky Maxxis Minion on the front of a short-travel bike is a clear signal that this bike has big intentions.Max Wilman / Immediate Media
Yeti’s Switch Infinity suspension
Yeti’s Switch Infinity system was first seen in 2014. Its goal is to separate the suspension’s shock leverage curve from the bike’s anti-squat, leading to a stable pedalling bike that also performs well across a wide range of impacts.
It works by placing the rear triangle’s pivot on a shuttle that moves up and down on a pair of stanchions within the frame, as the bike cycles through its travel.
The pivot moves up and then down as the suspension is compressed, giving the bike plenty of anti-squat around the sag point. This then drops off as the bike gets deeper in to its travel, reducing the impact of chain tension on the suspension.
The Switch Infinity shuttle is hidden behind its own shield.Max Wilman / Immediate Media
The suspension is then tuned to give plenty of mid-stroke support as well as ramp-up towards the end of its travel, to help it cope with compressions, berms, lips of jumps and heavy landings.
The shock’s leverage curve is more linear than it might otherwise have been were it not for this separation between leverage and anti-squat, and allows Yeti to tune the suspension more via the kinematic than the shock’s compression circuit.
The shuttle moves on Kashima coated stanchions, developed with Fox suspension, which have a 40-hour service interval, as well as a pair of grease ports to help keep them running smooth. It’s all protected by a bolt-on cover too.
Fox’s DPS shock features across the range.Max Wilman / Immediate Media
When we first saw the SB100 in 2018, the Switch Infinity link had been shrunk and rotated by 90 degrees. This shaved weight, allowed full-length dropper insertions and a bottle cage in the frame, and these are all present here on the SB115.
Frame materials and finishing touches
Like many manufacturers, Yeti offers two grades of frame: the higher-end Turq series and the Carbon series.
The main difference is the type of carbon used. The Turq frames gain a higher-quality carbon fibre, which gets a more-involved lay-up for what is said to be the perfect balance of stiffness, durability and compliance.
Yeti’s classic logo won’t let you forget what you’re riding.Max Wilman / Immediate Media
The Carbon series frames get a slightly cheaper carbon fibre as well as a modified lay-up to help keep costs down. However Yeti says that this series still maintains the strength and stiffness of the frame and with just around a 200g weight gain.
The frames themselves come with all the usual finishing flourishes; the down tube has rock-strike protection, there’s internal cable routing throughout and a PF92 bottom bracket shell is fitted.
As is common on carbon frames, the belly of the down tube has rubberised protection.Max Wilman / Immediate Media
The bike will take up to 2.4in tyres and 180mm rotors, but coil shocks won’t quite squeeze in.
There are ISCG05 chainguide mounts and it’ll take down to a 26t round chainring (if you live next to a cliff!) or 28t oval ring. If you’ve super-strong legs you can fit up to a 36t round chainring or 34t oval ring.
Small bikes will come with 125mm droppers, Mediums with a 150mm dropper and the Large and XL with 175mm.
The frames also come with a lifetime warranty.
Yeti SB115 geometry
As already mentioned, the SB115 seems to share many aspects with the SB100, including large parts of its geometry.
The shape certainly isn’t radical, but Yeti appears to want to keep the bike as snappy as possible.
Riding since the age of 13, Technical Editor Tom has ridden hundreds of bikes over the past few years, from aero race bikes to EWS-ready enduro rigs, with a fair few others in between. Most likely found in the woods practicing his scandi-flicks.