Cross-country race courses have certainly gotten more technical over recent years and while a full-suspension bike isn't necessarily mandatory, having some squish can certainly help you go faster on more technical stretches of trail, keep you feeling fresher for some late-race moves, and provide increased traction for laying down the power on loose, steep climbs. And because many racers have found these benefits, full-suspension bikes are more commonplace on the startlines with most of them having a penchant for being great climbers, generally where races are won and lost, and just ok at descending. If all you're doing is racing, that's fine, but, if you're like us, you want to have fun riding with your buddies when there isn't a number plate on your handlebar, and generally, said fun involves rallying the downhills. We can't always afford multiple bikes so if you value a rig that can get it done with less travel and through the use of intelligent geometry that’s equally adept at reaching the podium as it is tackling deep backwood epics with your crew, we feel there are few bikes that can pull off double-duty quite as well as Yeti's all-new SB100 Turq Mountain Bike Frame. Gear up for a 24-hour solo race or sneak in some hot-laps after work before the sun sets, the SB100 wants you to bring it all on. It's light, stiff, efficient, and capable thanks to its advanced Turq level carbon construction, 4-inches of Switch Infinity suspension, and race and trail-ready geometry with a Goldilocks 67.8-degree head tube angle letting you grab the holeshot while helping you extend the lead.
There's usually a reason why mountain bikes are so specialized and pigeonholed into categories these days. Build up an anorexic race whippet and it'll rocket up the climbs and pedal through the flats with near-hardtail efficiency. But, point it downhill and it's nervous handling and efficiency-centric demeanor requires excessive body English and you'll be wincing through the hairy bits wishing you had a little extra something to keep you off the brakes. Juxtaposed to a trail bike, you'll appreciate the point-and-shoot ability on the steep and rough sections, but take it up a climb at race pace and the gobs of travel and plushness will have you feeling as though you're pedaling through molasses. This is where the SB100 shines. Yeti draws on its XC roots and history and melds it with its current trail and enduro technology to create the proverbial quiver-killer. It shares similarities with the outgoing XC race bike, the ASR, and its current trail assassin, the SB4.5, and EWS winning SB5.5. Beefy pivots join the front and rear triangles improving the lateral stiffness and creating confidence inspiring tracking as you navigate tricky rock gardens, rooty descents, and blown out switchbacks. Switch Infinity, now utilized on every Yeti, gets the call up for suspension duties, the first time we've seen it in this travel format and is optimized for the bike. It’s light and tucks behind the seat tube in its own compartment keeping it safe from the elements and allows the frame to accommodate a water bottle in the front triangle. The sliding shuttles allow for a varying leverage ratio for a very linear and smooth off the top feel before transitioning to some mid-stroke support for efficient pedaling, before finally transitioning to some progressive ramping that prevents blasting through the last bit of stroke, giving the frame and FOX Float Factory DPS shock a bottomless feel as you peg the fun meter. You'll honestly be amazed at the way you can attack the trails with only 100mm of travel.
Yeti's brief hiatus from the XC scene really afforded it the chance to dial in the geometry that is more appropriate for modern XC racing and trail moonlighting. A slacker head tube angle allows for better downhill prowess and on paper, 67.8-degrees might seem a touch slack for XC use, however, the 74 to 74.3-degree seat tube puts some of that weight further forward to keep the front wheel from wandering on steep climbs. The other thing worth mentioning is that Yeti designed the frame around and recommends the use of a 44mm offset fork. The reduced rake brings the front wheel back so more traction is on tap and it brings back the agility that is often lost with slacker head tube angles. Chainstay length sits at 17.2-inches across all sizes, and like the head tube angle, it balances confidence through rough terrain at high speed with the nimbleness needed to make quick moves on tight singletrack. Compared to the ASR, the rear end is updated with Boost spacing allowing the use of hubs with wider flanges that increase the bracing angle, improving wheel strength and stiffness for a more responsive ride.
This SB100 is built using Yeti's top tier Turq carbon fiber construction. Turq frames utilize the finest carbon fiber and resins that Yeti can get its hands on and builds up extremely lightweight frames, with outstanding durability and impact resistance. It also allows for exceptional torsional and lateral stiffness for efficiency, and just the right amount of finely tuned flex so you track through straight rock gardens instead of being deflected off your line. Yeti only builds with carbon fiber these days and its construction is a masterclass. Turq frames are Richie Rude rated so we feel if it can stand up to his strength and the demands of EWS racing, it should stand up to years of our hard riding too.