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Product Review: Yeti SB-95 Carbon

Photos: Re Wikstrom

Yeti’s SuperBike lineup is legendary for a reason — the bikes rip. But while the 66 has a pedigree of being one of the most aggressive trail bikes out there, the 95 tempers the formula with a more conservative ride. Granted, it still has the suspension and geometry to get you in and out of scary situations, but I found it to be most at home on long, incredibly fast rides.

Suspension

Yeti’s Switch Technology eccentric pivots create what’s effectively a miniature parallel linkage. This lets Yeti control the wheel-path through the stroke, while a rate-modifying link drives the shock. Ultimately, this allows for setup compromises to be kept to an absolute minimum. In fact, it’s such a finely tuned system that it’s easy to wonder if the suspension is actually working, albeit in a good way.

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But whether you’re climbing out of the saddle, or charging through rock gardens, the bike remains extremely level. It never feels like it’s settling too deep in the stroke, or for that matter, like the back end is packing up. It just does its job without complaint, which I found let me focus on the trail ahead without having to consider how the bike will react.

Geometry & Handling

Let’s get this out of the way early — the SB-95 is at its best when ridden at speed. The roomy cockpit and lengthy chainstays contribute to the stability, and the relaxed head tube angle seals the deal. As a result, the 95 rides long. It may not be the ideal choice for someone whose rides are based around slow technical trails, but if your local trail network allows you to let the bike run, you’ll be glad that you’re aboard the biggest superbike.

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When you start to carry speed, the bike becomes instinctively responsive, requiring very little thought to pilot through corners and rough sections. Just keep it rolling, and I guarantee that it’ll do precisely what you ask of it without putting up a fuss.

Construction

The finishing leaves little to be desired. Sure, pretty much everyone hates bottom-of-the-down-tube bottle mounts, and with good reason, but it’s easy to forgive when you consider the graceful lines.

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The integrated down tube and chainstay guards mesh seamlessly, and the machined bits are cleanly executed. It’s also nice that the eccentric pivots, while potentially intimidating, are simple to service, not to mention that they house huge bearings that promise a worry-free service life.

Drawbacks

As previously mentioned, the down tube water bottle mounts are pretty much worthless. Other than that, I could nitpick at the unresponsive low-speed handling, but that really misses the point. If you want to ride fast, you’ll be happy with the SB-95. But if you’re inclined to pick apart lines at walking pace, you’ll be better served by something else.

The Takeaway

The Yeti SB-95 Carbon is a perfect West Coast trail bike. It thrives on high speed, and it’s both roomy and stable enough to be a pleasure on long rides.

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If you want a machine that’s flickable above all else, you may not like it, but if you ride long hours and hard routes, and you need something that’s built to save you from those bonk-induced mistakes, the SuperBike will be a wise decision.

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- Yeti SB-95 Carbon Frame

- Yeti SB-95 Carbon Featured Mountain Bike

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