SB130 Turq T3 XX1 Eagle AXS Mountain Bike
Dream bikes may come to us in our sleep, but they remain intangible until someone wakes up, and puts their nose to the grindstone to craft bikes with the most meticulous, deliberate geometry, and stunning components available on the planet. Yeti did just that when it crafted the SB130 Turq T3 XX1 Eagle AXS Mountain Bike. This mid-travel 29er spares no expense, with all-mountain capable geometry that's carefully crafted in Yeti's newest iteration of TURQ carbon fiber, which is refined further than before for 2020 for improved strength and stiffness. But dream bikes don't just stop at the carbon fiber layup, so Yeti partners this build with SRAM's out-of-this-world wireless XX1 AXS Eagle drivetrain that wirelessly operates your drivetrain, skipping pesky cables for the tidiest cockpit you've seen outside of a single-speed, plus carbon bells and whistles here and there to keep a good thing going. The bike itself offers you completely versatile geometry that excels at pretty much any terrain you point it down, from backcountry epics to hot laps with your crew on the weekend, it makes quick work of steep, technical terrain, and stays lively for smoother singletrack.
If we said mountain bikes have gotten pretty good these days it would be the understatement of the year. We've reached a point in which our featherweight cross-country whips slam through rough terrain with more power than long-travel steeds of the past, and long-travel enduro sleds offer the pedaling efficiency of old-school hardtails. Different geometries, wheel sizes, and updated suspension designs create options for every kind of rider imaginable, and the SB130 takes the cake for those looking for a do-it-all 29er. The ideal SB130 rider is one that might find the SB100 a little under-gunned compared their riding buddies' rigs or on their typical riding terrain, whereas an SB150 is simply more bike than what's needed and is just extra weight and travel to pedal around. We feel that the geometry, suspension package, and build kit on this SB130 are all responsible for that neutral, well-rounded position adding confidence on every ride with the ability to work so well in a wide variety of trail conditions. It's certainly a bike we'd have no reservations about pulling off our rack at the trailhead and question if we had the right tool for the job. It simply carves buff, flowy singletrack with aplomb while not backing down on drops, rock gardens, and jumps in the park if that's your thing too. The 130mm of rear travel might not seem like a lot, but with a 150mm FOX Factory 36 up front and 29-inch wheels, this bike can save your hide when the going gets rough.
Longer and slacker continues to be the name of the game, and on the SB130 the numbers lean towards the trend of a more capable descending bike that can still pedal when it's time to earn your turn. Its 65.5-degree headtube is a full degree slacker than the brands 5.5, a bike that already pushed the boundaries of a long-travel 29er. Of course this contributes to unflappable stability when descending steep, technical terrain, but usually, a headtube angle so slack would be a bear on climbs and have lazy handling manners on the rest of the trail. This simply isn't the case with the SB130 as it employs a 44mm fork offset to bring the front wheel in closer to the rider so the contact patch is more aft than fore, for improved traction and a front wheel that's less likely to wander when the trail points up.
Further helping in this regard is the 77-degree seat tube angle centering you right over the pedals letting you put the hammer down on the climbs. Further harnessing the watts and contributing to positive handling is the frame's Boost spacing placing the hub's flanges further apart and improving the spoke's bracing angle for a stiffer wheel and combining with the 1x-specific frame to allows space for tire clearances in the neighborhood of 2.5-inches with 433mm chainstays, the shortest we've seen yet on a full suspension 29er from Yeti for quick power transfers and the ability to get the front wheel up and over obstacles easier.
A Yeti wouldn't be a Yeti without its signature Switch Infinity suspension and the new-reconfigured SB130 utilizes some new linkages and a metric shock that frees up some precious real estate allowing for the fitment of a water bottle inside the main triangle. What remains the same are the two silky-smooth Kashima-coated stanchions housed just above the bottom bracket that translates throughout the stroke of the Kashima-coated Fox Factory DPX2 shock to adjust the leverage ratio from supple, bump sucking plushness, to mid-stroke, anti-squat pedaling support, to a mild ramp up near the end responsible for its bottomless feel. You'll find that it bobs way less than other designs on the climbs and because its axle path isn't nearly as rearward as some platforms, it doesn't get hung up over square-edge hits letting you take speed and momentum over the obstacle. Whereas the older 4.5 required a little more precision when it came to line choices and favored maneuvering around obstacles, the new SB130 is tuned for full send and is happy taking on a point and shoot approach.
Cherry-picked components are the mark of the sleek build of this SB130. It benefits from SRAM's lightest XX1 drivetrain on the market, with AXS technology that sheds all cables for a completely wireless build that communicates from your shifter to derailleur with its own closed network, using just the touch of a button. Since SRAM had its electronic expertise dialed with Etap, the first thing we wanted to know was just how much it had in common with its roadie counterpart. Just like on Etap, you’ll have a fully wire-free setup, with no need to search for a spot to store your battery — simply bolt on your shifters, rear derailleur, and pair things together. That’s largely where the similarities end. Naturally, the shifters are all new, and because the demands on mountain bikes can be a bit more strenuous, harsh, and jarring, SRAM took a bit of what its designers already have learned about electronic shifting, and made some serious updates to handle the rough and rowdy conditions on the dirt. This includes a two-clutch system (we’ll get into this later), and a whole lot more torque. Etap spins at 50,000 RPM, but to get things dialed for the trail SRAM builds the AXS rear derailleur with enough torque to spin 80,000 RPM for booking it down steep and quick descents.
Compared to mechanical Eagle groupsets, the Eagle AXS derailleur has been contoured around the frame design a bit more. This translates to increased chain wrap, which improves both load distribution and durability, reducing wear and tear on your chain and cassette for better longevity of components. Dually, this new positioning offers a whole 10-millimeters of increased clearance over mechanical Eagle rear derailleurs. Speaking of clearance, the two-clutch system offers a whole new safety mechanism for when you just don’t have quite enough space, and your derailleur takes a knock. The first clutch is the traditional type-three that you’ll find in most SRAM MTB derailleurs, this keeps your chain in check and tensioned, the second is where things get exciting. The Overload clutch protects your geared motor by disengaging the motor all together in the event of impact, allowing the derailleur to move whichever direction it needs to in order to protect the motor against a rock or a low-hanging branch. As soon as the impact is over, the derailleur automatically reengages and shifts back to where you were, without skipping a beat. This built in protection gives you some serious peace of mind when you’re dropping big dollars on a groupset.
Up front in your cockpit you’ll find the AXS shifter, which uses a completely new profile with three buttons. First, there is a main paddle at the thumb that pivots up and down when you engage it. The shifter is programmed out of the box to shift into your harder gears when you press upward on the paddle, and into your easier gears with a press downward. In addition to the paddle, there’s a trigger shifter that can be accessed when you’re hammering up climbs to get into the perfect gear for your sprint. Both paddle and trigger can be fully programmed with SRAM’s AXS app, allowing you to switch what each button does, and customize how many shifts your derailleur can make when you hold down on the shifters. The shifter pairs with your rear derailleur using SRAM’s own wireless network, which they claim to be completely secure, preventing tampering with from anyone but you. With that said — the shifter also uses both Bluetooth and ANT+ to connect to head units and smart phones, which allows you to program it, view battery life, and see a maintenance schedule. If on race day you find many other derailleurs and shifters popping up on your AXS app, you need not worry. In order to adjust shifting with the app you must be physically holding your bike and pressing the shifters to make any changes to its programming, keeping your ride safe from tampering.
Attention to detail isn't spared anywhere on the bike, packing in featherweight carbon components that are just compliant enough to absorb harsh vibrations, but stiff for total control in rowdy terrain. Yeti equips this build with FOX's Factory-level suspension in the front and rear ends, offering total control of adjustability, and buttery Kashima coating that slides seamlessly through the travel for a soft and supple feel — and it doesn't stop there — even the Fox Transfer dropper post sees a Kashima coating for head-turning appearance, and infinite adjustability.
This build also benefits from the lightweight stiffness of Yeti's top-tier TURQ level carbon fiber construction ensuring a strong, durable, and responsive frame. High-modulus carbon fiber is meticulously hand laid using carefully researched and tested carbon layup structures to reinforce critical tube junctions and high-stress areas without adding excess weight or bulk. The result is a frame that is roughly 220g lighter than the standard C-Series carbon, with the same levels of strength and stiffness. For the 2020 model year, Yeti refined the TURQ carbon layup even further to provide increased levels of stiffness and durability. The design is tested for durability by Yeti's hard-charging enduro bruiser Rude, and Yeti is confident enough in the frame to include a lifetime warranty to the original owner against defects in materials or workmanship, which includes the Switch Infinity link as well. The frame comes with molded guards to protect the downtube and chainstay, and incorporates full-length cable tunnels to simplify maintenance since the housing slides easily through the frame and pops out in the same place every time. Lastly, it's worth mentioning that there's enough clearance in the rear triangle for up to 2.5in tires.
- Your dream bike becomes reality with Yeti's cherry picked SB130 build
- 130mm of plush Switch Infinity eats bumps and pedals efficiently
- Updated geometry is optimized for going up and down steep terrain
- Shorter chainstays keep the handling sharp, nimble, and agile
- TURQ carbon construction drops grams and boosts stiffness
- BB92 shell and Boost rear spacing offer cornering support
- FOX Factory suspension is extremely supple and supportive
- SRAM's XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrain wirelessly communicates for the tidiest cockpit you'll find outside of a fixie