During their lunch breaks, Yeti’s engineers took their cross-country-focused SB100 out for regular rides and decided to play around with what they felt was a super-capable chassis. By dropping in longer stroke shocks and forks, as well as meaty tyres, the concept of the SB115 was born.
With a few tweaks to the SB100’s suspension, the SB115 is Yeti’s ‘downcountry’ bike – XC-bike efficiency mated with trail-bike components to create a bike that’s aimed at fast trail riders and those looking to head out for long singletrack adventures.
This is Yeti’s latest bike, the ‘downcountry’-ready SB115. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
The 29in-wheeled bike features 130mm forks as well as wide, grippy tyres.
This T1 build uses Yeti’s higher-grade Turq carbon, but cheaper models are available with its ‘C-Series’ carbon.
Yeti SB115 T1 frame and suspension details
The 115mm of suspension is controlled by Yeti’s Switch Infinity link, which aims to separate the suspension’s leverage curve from the bike’s anti-squat.
This, in theory, means that while anti-squat controls the suspension bobbing around the sag point, it quickly drops away later into the bike’s travel, so there’s no kickback or interference from the chain tension on bigger impacts.
The Switch Infinity shuttle is hidden behind a protective mud flap. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
It’s achieved by having the main pivot located on a shuttle that moves up and then down as the bike cycles through its travel. The SB115 has the same slimmed-down and 90-degree rotated Switch Infinity link that was first seen on the SB100 in 2018.
The Turq level carbon used here is said to save 200g over the more ‘basic’ C-Series carbon on the two cheaper models. It’s protected by a down tube protector, while the Switch Infinity system is also protected by a bolt-on mud flap.
Yeti SB115 T1 geometry
Yeti says it wanted to keep the SB115 similar in feel to the SB100, so the geometry doesn’t change a huge amount.
With the longer fork in the front, though, the head angle is 67.7 degrees, which would be slack for a true XC bike and certainly ball-park on a more speed-focused trail bike.
The seat angle sits at 74 degrees and the seat tube in a large is fairly short at 470mm – it should be able to hold fairly long dropper posts, though, because it’s uninterrupted.
The reach, however, is short, even by XC standards, at 450.6mm.
The classic metal head badge. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
Sizes (* tested): S, M, L*, XL
- Seat tube length: 470mm
- Seat angle: 74 degrees
- Head angle: 67.7 degrees
- Top tube (effective): 630.9mm
- Reach: 450.6mm
- Chainstay: 436.7mm
- Wheelbase: 1,180.6mm
- Bottom bracket height: 339.3mm
- Standover: 731.3mm
- Stack: 628.2mm
- Head tube length: 123.2mm
Yeti SB115 T1 specifications
Fox’s Factory level suspension graces this T1 build and it has plenty of adjustment front and rear.
The fork has the Fit4 damper with a three-position compression circuit switch on the top, offering Open, Trail and Closed modes as well as adjustment to the damping in Open mode.
Fox’s 34s complement the bike well. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
The shock also has these three positions and gets the three-position Open Mode Adjust switch to better tune the compression level while in Open.
Shimano provides the 12-speed drivetrain with its XT gears, as well as XT four-pot brakes. Fox’s Transfer dropper post holds a custom Yeti WTB Silverado saddle.
The bike rolls on DT Swiss XM1700 alloy wheels with a pair of Maxxis tyres: a 2.5in wide Minion DHF at the front and a 2.3in wide Aggressor at the back.
Maxxis’ Minion DHF provides a bucket-load of front-end grip. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
Yeti SB115 T1 first ride impressions
This initial report is based on a couple of relatively brief rides, but I’ll bring you a full review in the coming weeks when I’ve had time to ride the bike some more.
I had no real setup issues and ran the shock’s Open Mode in its fully-open setting for the most part.
The Open Mode Adjust on the shock allows you to tweak the bike’s feel. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
Yeti SB115 T1 climbing performance
Yeti’s decision to keep the anti-squat figure high around the sag point, where most of the pedalling takes place, has clearly worked because the bike feels rock-solid underneath the pedals.
While sat and spinning, the shock is virtually static, only starting to bob when stood up on the pedals and pushing hard. Even then, it barely falls deep into its travel, keeping the bike feeling stable when making progress.
Shimano’s XT drivetrain is super dependable. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
With the Aggressor at the back not providing too much in the way of drag, the SB115 accelerates forcefully and has plenty of attitude when pedalling.
Both up and down hill the bike feels super-solid. The chassis gives enough not to ping off every root and provides grip on off-camber trails, but it doesn’t feel noodley at all.
Grip levels are high with the rear wheel tracking the ground nicely thanks to the early stroke still being fairly supple despite that stability from the suspension and the tyre digging in well.
There’s a little bit of lurch over stepped rocks and roots, a sign that the chain tension is keeping the rear suspension nice and stable.
I like the ergonomics of Shimano’s brakes and shifters. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
Though I rarely felt the need, the fork and shock’s compression circuits can be flipped in to their Trail or Closed positions for even more stability – perhaps I might be tempted on longer fireroad drags.
Yeti SB115 T1 descending performance
There’s plenty of boost potential when you hit the lip of a jump! Max Wilman / Immediate Media
Yet again, Yeti’s rear suspension seems to have come up trumps, on first impressions at least.
It’s soft enough to keep the rear wheel stuck to the ground when needed, yet has that mid-stroke support that means there’s plenty to push against when in a berm or lip of a jump. As bikes go, it’s got a lot of pop when you want to get airborne.
On bigger hits, the suspension does ramp up nicely. There’s no heavy bottom-out and your ankles don’t feel like they get too much punishment.
However, while the suspension almost has that ‘bottomless’ quality, it definitely isn’t bottomless. I’ve found myself bottoming-out the suspension a reasonable amount on the stock setup, so intend to add volume spacers to give that little extra ramp-up late in the stroke.
A burly front-end for a short travel bike. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
If you’re expecting a sofa-like ride then you won’t quite get that from the 115mm rear-end. Bang it down steep and rough tracks and you’ll know this is still a short-travel bike.
However, for a bike with such little travel at the back, it seems remarkably composed.
The 130mm travel fork certainly helps too. Longer travel Fox 34s easily feel twangy, but at 130mm (and with less travel at the back also reining things in a bit) the fork feels just about sturdy enough, until you take the bike somewhere it’s not really designed to go.
At that point, there is noticeable fore/aft and twisting twang. The Fit4 damper doesn’t quite feel as smooth as the Fox 36’s Grip2 damper either, but you do get the compression switch to stiffen it for climbs.
The SB115 is unbelievably quick to change direction. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
One thing I did find with the rear suspension was that I kept inadvertently flipping the compression switch on the shock to the Trail mode when replacing my 750mm bottle. It’s fairly tight in there and I was occasionally left wondering why the rear-end didn’t feel quite as plush as it had done on the previous run.
So, the SB115’s suspension feels good and so does the kit bolted on. The wheels track nicely and the tyres are some of my go-to rubber, especially up front.
Shimano’s XT drivetrain is one of the best out there and if the brakes’ bite-point doesn’t wander, so are the stoppers.
Four-pot brakes are more commonly seen on much bigger bikes. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
However, the bike could be that little bit more confident and faster if it was longer. The 450mm reach on my large test bike is short these days, even Yeti’s SB100 XC race bike would be considered short with a similar reach.
A longer front-end would aid the bike when things get faster, looser and steeper, adding to the bike’s confidence with little in the way of compromises.
It’d still be very quick from corner to corner and would still climb very well. Yes, it would mean you’re more likely to push the fork to its limits, and you may well end up pointing it down yet steeper terrain, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing!
Yeti SB115 T1 bottom line
The SB115 is a solid little bike, both in terms of how the suspension feels as you mash on the pedals and when pushing it through chunky terrain.
There’s not a huge amount of mud clearance back there. Max Wilman / Immediate Media
It feels relatively planted through the chunder, very poppy off jumps, snappy between the corners and efficient on the climbs.
But, even though the SB115 is based off an XC bike, its geometry is short for a trail bike and it could be a little more confident when skittering through loose rocks or pointing down a steep chute.