SB165 Carbon C1 GX Eagle Mountain Bike
If you have a penchant for racing, chances are you'd best be served by a wagon wheeled steed. But if you have a tendency to seek gnarly trails outside the race tape, and try out lines where there's no room for mistakes, you need bike that's got your back when the margin for error is low—a bike like the Yeti SB165. With 165mm of coil-shock-driven Switch Infinity suspension, a 180mm fork up front, super slack geometry, and responsive 27.5in wheels, the SB165 is made to handle the rowdiest, most technical trails you can possibly find while remaining comfortable and efficient enough to pedal back to the top for another run. It's a bike that's equally at home ripping laps at the bike park as it conquering big rides on raw backcountry singletrack, and it's just as willing to air over rock gardens as it is to plow straight through them. If this sounds to you like a recipe for pure fun, you'd be absolutely right, and the SB165 might just be the right bike for you.
A lot of mountain bikers are familiar with the SB6—a bike that dominated the Enduro World Series for a number of years at the hands of Richie Rude. The SB165 builds on that foundation, but Yeti pushes the geometry into fully modern territory to stay ahead of the current crop of long travel sleds. The reach has grown by 40mm in size large compared to the SB6, landing at a whopping 480mm, and the head angle was slackened by a full 1.5-degrees down to 63.5-degrees. These numbers are pretty close to what you'd find on downhill race bikes, which means riders can enjoy absolute confidence carrying speed through treacherous rock gardens and steep, washed out chutes. The longer reach and slacker angles mean the wheelbase has also grown considerably compared to the SB6—a full 1.6-inches to be exact—but Yeti keeps that in check with a short offset fork that maintains excellent steering precision, ensuring you'll have no trouble threading the needle in tricky terrain. Yeti also did the requisite steepening of the seat tube angle, which at 77-degrees puts the rider in a nice forward riding position to help keep power to the pedals and the steering quick and nimble while climbing. While the SB165 is certainly a big bike, Yeti's progressive geometry and the remarkable efficiency of the Switch Infinity suspension platform means this bike climbs with the best of them (if not the best) in the uber-long-travel 27.5 category.
The heart of Yeti's Super Bike series is the Switch Infinity platform, and honestly it's one of the best suspension designs we've ridden to date. It's plush throughout the 6.5-inches of rear travel, soaking up everything from chattery brake bumps to harsh landings and square-edged hits with a smoothness and composure unmatched by most designs, yet it remains supportive when you're hammering on the pedals or pumping rollers to gain speed. 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 SB165, Yeti tuned the leverage ratio for coil shocks, and considering this bike is meant to be ridden hard, the SB165 is equipped with one right out of the box so that riders can enjoy better heat management and more consistent performance on long descents. 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. Yeti was able to achieve this ideal leverage ratio in part due to the wishbone shock extender, which also allows for a lower standover height and room for a water bottle in the front triangle.
The frame is constructed from Yeti's C-series carbon fiber, which offers a fine balance of strength, stiffness, and compliance with a modest 220g weight penalty compared to the TURQ carbon frames. This is achieved through a modified carbon layup schedule that helps keep the cost of the frame down without sacrificing strength, stiffness, or quality. For the 2020 model year, Yeti was actually able to shed some weight from the C-series frames by moving to a lighter swingarm that results in less suspended weight, meaning you'll enjoy smoother suspension action without any sacrifices to durability. Yeti also started using a Performance black finish on the Switch Infinity link to match the suspension stanchions, and replaced the titanium hardware with stainless steel. They were also able to incorporate full-length tunnels for the cable routing, giving you a rattle-free ride and simplifying maintenance by making it easier to feed your cables through the frame. Yeti is confident enough in their mastery of carbon fiber that they offer a lifetime warranty on the frame so you can shred with peace of mind. Also, it's worth noting that the rear triangle has clearance for up to 2.6in rubber, letting you run high-volume rear tires if desired.
The SB165 comes with a few useful details that cater to its gravity-hungry nature. In addition to the coil-driven suspension, Yeti gives the bike a custom turquoise OneUp Bash Guide that protects your chainring from impacts and keeps your chain from derailing when you're throwing in some pedal strokes to clear a rough section of trail. On that same note, Yeti puts 170mm crank arms on all build kits for some extra clearance against pedal strikes—something we truly appreciate on a long-travel bike like this where you may be more likely to catch a pedal in certain situations. There's also a downtube protector to keep unruly rocks at bay, and a swingarm protector to silence chain slap and protect the paint and finish.
- Yeti's longest and slackest bike for mastering unruly terrain
- 165mm of plush Switch Infinity rear travel driven by a coil shock
- 180mm travel fork soaks up big hits with confidence
- 63.5° HTA for unwavering stability on high-speed descents
- 77° STA puts you in a comfortable, efficient pedaling position
- Short offset fork for precise steering despite the long wheelbase
- Frame accommodates full size water bottle and up to 2.6in tires
- Reliable components include Fox Performance suspension, GX Eagle drivetrain, Code brakes, OneUp Bash guide