Why We Like the SB150 Carbon C1 SLX Mountain Bike
Are you the type to spend your season lapping the gnarliest trails at the bike park, hunting for pirate trails, and hitting the local enduro races? If your answer is yes, then you know how challenging it can be to find a bike that keeps up with these kinds of downhill demands, yet remains capable for long days in the saddle when you need to get up to get down. That's where the SB150 comes in. A race-bred machine, the SB150’s sole purpose is to get you down the mountain as fast as possible, having proven itself a winner at the highest levels of enduro racing. Equipped with 150mm of plush Switch Infinity rear travel, a 170mm Fox 38 fork, progressive race geometry, and unstoppable 29-inch wheels, the SB150 makes quick work of steep descents while maintaining good pedaling characteristics for big climbing days that involve serious elevation gain. It's much more capable on gravity oriented trails than it's shorter travel sibling the SB130, and it does a better job carrying speed over roots and rocks than the longer travel SB165 thanks to its 29in wheels. So if going fast is your top priority and you want a capable machine that won't hold you back on any trail, the SB150 might just be the perfect bike for you.
At this point, it's hard to question the benefits of 29in wheels when riders are winning Enduro World Series races and World Cup Downhills on them. Shortly after the initial release, Yeti factory team rider Richie Rude piloted the SB150 to a stunning victory on the steep and loose stages of the EWS at Ainsa, immediately followed by another win at EWS Finale Ligure, solidifying the legitimacy of this new hard-hitter from Yeti and proving that the wagon wheels are here to stay. Since then, the SB150 has found itself atop countless podiums at local enduro series as well as the flagship EWS. The fact is, 29ers simply roll faster and don't get hung up as easily on obstacles, making them a stellar choice for covering ground quickly on rugged terrain. Of course, all of this was brought about by changes in modern geometry, boost spacing, better suspension, and refined frame materials — all things that Yeti took full advantage of with this new bike.
The unmistakable Yeti ride quality is attributed to their Switch Infinity suspension design. Honestly, Switch Infinity is one of the best designs we've ridden. It's plush throughout the 150mm of rear travel, delivering a smooth ride quality that feels like you've got more travel than the numbers show, and it maintains impressive traction across chattery small bumps and larger square-edged hits alike. The key to its performance is the translating main pivot, aka the Switch Infinity link, which switches direction as the bike moves through its travel, providing excellent anti-squat characteristics for superior pedaling performance, and ideal suspension characteristics as it gets deeper into the travel. For the SB150, Yeti made the leverage ratio more progressive to provide greater compatibility with modern shocks and various rider weights and styles. The refined leverage ratio also gives the bike better small-bump compliance, quicker ramp-up in the midstroke for a more playful and supportive feel, and better bottom-out control while still allowing full travel usage. The refined suspension kinematics are attributable in part to the patent-pending wishbone shock extender, which also maximizes standover height and allows Yeti to fit a water bottle inside the front triangle, all while maintaining compatibility with a coil shock should you want to throw one on the bike later on.
On paper, the long, low, and slack geometry with plenty of suspension travel make the SB150 look like a wicked descender, and that it is. By using a 44mm shorter offset fork, Yeti was able to seriously slacken the real head angle for better stability on descents and high speeds, all while maintaining excellent steering precision. The longer reach, steeper seat tube angle, and short chainstays help move the rider forward on the bike, keeping weight on the front wheel for better traction on steep chutes and chunky downhills. Paired with a metric Float X2 rear shock, this bike absolutely rips on the descents.
These geometry benefits are not one-sided though, as the steeper seat angle, short-offset fork, and forward riding position help keep power to the pedals and the steering quick and nimble when climbing. Frankly, we were quite surprised with how well this bike goes uphill, clamoring up the loosest, steepest, and most ledgy terrain we could find with relative ease, enough to convince us the SB150 is worthy of being a one-bike quiver.
Yeti specs this build with its more pocket friendly carbon fiber, that still offers the stiffness and durability of its revered Turq line, but with a little more material than its sibling, enabling price to be dropped, while a couple of grams are gained. It scales in at about 220-grams heavier than its Turq counterpart, which is a moderate price to pay for the savings your bank account will gain. 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.
The build kit on this bike is everything we'd need without breaking the bank. Fox Performance suspension yields a plush ride, with a wide range of adjustments to dial it in for your individual weight, riding style, and the terrain at hand so you can charge steep trails with confidence. When you need to arrest that momentum, Shimano Deore 4-piston brakes do the job nicely with excellent modulation for scrubbing speed, and sufficient outright stopping power. Acceleration duties are handled by a Shimano SLX drivetrain that offers crisp, reliable shifting with a wide gear range and a 51t bailout gear that helps you crest the even steepest climbs. Yeti rounds out the kit with a Race Face bar and stem, a trusty Fox Transfer dropper post, and dependable Maxxis rubber with EXO+ casing for grippy traction.
- Yeti's flagship enduro rig thrives on steep and fast trails
- 150mm of Switch Infinity travel is both plush and efficient
- Carbon fiber frame is light, stiff, sheds price down from Turq carbon
- Longer, lower, slacker geometry improves descending prowess
- Fox 38 fork utilizes stiff beefy stanchions for steep trails
- Short-offset fork balances slack geometry with precise steering
- Steep seat tube puts you in an efficient position to spin all day
- Shock extender allows room for a water bottle in the front triangle