The Yeti SB130 is aimed squarely at the trail bike market. This new 29er is longer and slacker than many competing models and, like the longer-travel SB150, it can even hold a water bottle.
Rounding out the line
With the introduction of the SB130, Yeti has rounded out its 29er line with three models that span cross-country, trail and enduro racing. The SB130 is the most versatile of the bunch, with suspension and geometry that make it equally adept at climbing and descending.
This new trail bike shares the same design language as the SB100 and SB150, with strong, angular lines, room in the mainframe for a water bottle, and sizing in small through XL.
The SB130 bears a strong resemblance to the longer-travel SB150 and, yes, it holds a water bottle Brent Jacoby / Yeti Cycles
Frame features also follow suit. The SB130 has tube-in-tube routing through the full carbon frame, low standover clearance and a 31.6mm seat tube to allow for improved performance with longer-stroke dropper seatposts.
Yeti adjusted the kinematics of its Switch Infinity suspension system to make it more progressive toward the end of the stroke. The SB130 is more progressive than the SB5.5, but not as quite as progressive as the SB150, since riders are less likely to run a coil shock on this 130mm travel trail bike. The SB130 also uses the same hinged shock extender as the SB150 to drive the Fox DPX2 shock.
Given the generalist nature of the SB130, its frame geometry is slightly more conservative than the SB150, though it’s still longer and slacker than most bikes in the category.
The hinged shock extender makes it easy to service the shock Brent Jacoby / Yeti Cycles
The SB130 has a 65.5-degree head angle with the stock 150mm Fox 36 fork, which uses the shorter, 44mm offset that’s quickly becoming the norm. The cockpit is impressively roomy, with 460mm of reach on the size medium tested here.
Reach numbers are approximately 40mm longer than corresponding sizing in the SB5.5. Accompanying the stretched and slackened front end is a steep, 77-degree seat tube angle to keep the rider’s weight centered while climbing.
Hitting the sweet spot
“Divide and conquer,” describes Yeti’s approach replacing the SB5.5. The company split the SB5.5’s DNA into two very different machines.
The SB150 is intended to excel on the steepest Enduro World Series tracks. It favors high-speed handling and an aggressive, over the front riding style. The SB130 is the daily driver for riders searching for a bike that will hold its own on rough terrain, but also want something that won’t feel unwieldy on less demanding singletrack.
This 130mm trail bike is slacker than many longer travel machines Brent Jacoby / Yeti Cycles
On my rocky test tracks, I found the SB130 to feel like it has more suspension than its numbers might suggest. The progressive leverage ratio makes the most of its 130mm of rear suspension and the long front center instills confidence at speed.
It’s quite playful and more than willing to boost off rocks and roots and able to change line with ease. If you’re not the type of rider who relies on suspension travel to plow through obstacles, but rather, use fighter pilot-like finesse to find your line, there’s little that can hold the SB130 back.
In several weeks of testing both of Yeti’s new models back to back, I came to appreciate the lighter handling of the SB130 and, while the SB150 is no slouch on uphills, there’s less sag to move through when attempting power moves on technical climbs aboard the SB130.
The SB130 is hard to pigeonhole – it’s as at home on all day epics as it is in the bike park Brent Jacoby / Yeti Cycles
When it comes to navigating steep, rocky pitches, the SB130 is one of the finest climbing bikes of any travel range I’ve ridden. The rear suspension is supple enough off the top to maintain traction and the centered riding position means you’re not wasting energy attempting to keep the front tire contact with the ground and pointed in the right direction. There’s no wandering, no steering vagueness, just precise handling, provided your quads can keep up.
As you’d expect from a top-end build, the parts kit leaves little room for complaint. Still, there are items that I would prefer to see swapped.
As I mentioned in my SB150 review, shorter, 170mm cranks would be nice for reducing pedal strikes. A higher volume 2.5in Aggressor in place of the 2.3in version would be worth the slight weight penalty as well — it just bites better.
The rear suspension is supple early in the travel before ramping up toward the end Brent Jacoby / Yeti Cycles
Fox doesn’t offer its four-way adjustable GRIP2 damper in stock forks under 160mm of travel, though the added adjustability and improved small bump compliance over the FIT4 damper would be a great addition to this already stellar machine.
Price as tested: $10,099 / XX1 Eagle Build (not currently available in the UK, approx £7,800.)
Yeti SB130 overall
Uphill or downhill, the SB130 delivers Brent Jacoby / Yeti Cycles
The price of admission to Yeti’s line of ‘Super Bikes’ is steep, yet compared to the SB100 and the SB150, the versatility of the SB130 makes it more palatable for riders searching for one bike to cover the widest range of riding conditions.