Yeti has had a great suspension system and frame feel for a while but now it’s added seriously progressive geometry to its latest bikes. That’s obvious on the SB150, its new longer-travel 29er, but the similarly racer-focused suspension feel won’t suit everyone.
The 12-speed transmission is mostly SRAM X01 EagleMick Kirkman / Immediate Media
A much longer reach (480mm, large), slacker 64-degree head angle and radically steep 77-degree seat angle are the most obvious dots joining the SB150 together, but the whole centre section of the bike has been remodelled, leaving the frame locked down noticeably more stiffly than on any other Yeti we’ve ridden.
Although it uses the brand’s premium ‘TURQ Series’ carbon, the frame is still hefty (3.4kg, claimed), but comes with a lifetime warranty.
Practical details include space for a bottle, tube guides for the internal cable routing and extensive armouring. There’s room to squeeze in a 29×2.6in rear tyre, although 2.5in is the practical limit in dirtier conditions.
Yeti SB150 TURQ Series X01 Eagle kit
The 12-speed transmission is mostly SRAM X01 Eagle. While Shimano’s four-pot XT brakes deliver consistent control, but pad rattle irritated some testers.
The 800mm carbon bar and 40mm stem work well with the geometry. Fox’s 36 Factory GRIP2 fork is a racer’s favourite, here with 170mm of travel and a short 44mm offset.
There’s no matching Kashima coating on the Transfer dropper post though. The tyre spec is ‘mismatched’ front to rear, like the travel, with a 2.5in ‘Wide Trail’ Maxxis Minion up front, but only 2.3in rear rubber.
While the 30mm DT Swiss wheels deliver an excellent ride, the overall package is expensive for a bike with mid-range alloy wheels.
There’s no loss of poise or accuracy even when devouring big rocks and drops, and the faster you ride, the better the whole bike feelsMick Kirkman / Immediate Media
Yeti SB150 TURQ Series X01 Eagle ride impressions
That massive reach and short-offset fork give outrageous amounts of confidence when you’re riding flat out or pushing hard into normally harrowing corners or tech sections.
The stiff frame and fork and super-surefooted 2.5in front tyre amplify the sense of authority even more, and the front end is as close to invincible as you’ll feel this side of a DH bike.
While the kinematics have been remodelled slightly, Yeti’s ‘Switch Infinity’ system still has a unique feel. Starting around the sag point, the ‘carriage’ holding the main pivot slides upwards on two Kashima-coated shafts. This stiffens the suspension slightly, for a more positive feel under power, but not so much that it disturbs pedalling rhythm or traction in rough sections.
Push deeper into the travel and you go past the inflection point and the pivot drops again, reducing pedal feedback for better absorption of big hits. This means pedalling efficiency is excellent.
Yeti has added seriously progressive geometry to its latest bikesMick Kirkman / Immediate Media
Add the forward position created by the steep seat tube, and the SB150 is a tech climb demon. Despite the hefty frame, it rarely feels heavy, even on extended climbs.
It’s on descents where the SB150’s DH DNA is most obvious, but don’t expect a plush, flaccid flow down the hill. The Switch Infinity retune is primarily about masses of mid-stroke support. That lets you fully exploit the super-stable wheelbase, steering geometry and frame stiffness through flat-out turns.
It also pushes off rollers and landings really well, to generate maximum speed. There’s no loss of poise or accuracy even when devouring big rocks and drops, and the faster you ride, the better the whole bike feels.
This is a best case scenario though. While the suspension can sync brilliantly with the chassis, the sweet spot is relatively small and it took run after run of fettling and direct help from Yeti to get rid of a choky feeling on high-speed impacts.
Similarly, while the geometry works brilliantly at warp speed, it can make the bike a handful on tighter trails until you’ve recalibrated how hard you can turn. Yeti admit it’s not a bike for everyone though, and if you’re prepared to spend a lot of money and some time tuning it to be its best, then the SB150 is possibly the best enduro race bike you can buy.