SB165 Carbon C2 GX/X01 Eagle Mountain Bike
There's no question that Yeti's focus as of late has been refining their big-wheeled lineup, especially considering that their last three bike releases were all 29ers and it's been almost two years since they've bestowed us with a fresh 27.5in steed. Rest assured that while we've been contemplating the future of 27.in wheels, Yeti has been hard at work building their biggest, baddest, longest-travel Super Bike to date, and it comes in the form of the SB165 Carbon C2 GX/X01 Eagle Mountain Bike. Equipped with 165mm of Switch Infinity suspension driven by a coil shock, a 180mm fork up front, super slack geometry, and of course, 27.5in wheels, the SB165 is made to tackle the burliest, steepest, most technical descents you can possibly find while still being efficient enough to pedal back to the top of the mountain for more. It's a bike that's equally at home sending big hits at the bike park as it is racing gnarly enduro courses, and it's just as willing to jump right over rock gardens as it is taking the point-and-shoot approach. If this sounds like your kind of jam, take a closer look at the SB165 because this bike has all the right ingredients for a solid helping of pure fun.
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 carbon that they offer a lifetime warranty on the frame, just for good measure. 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.
Yeti gave the SB165 some useful custom bits that cater to the gravity-hungry nature of this bike. Custom DT Swiss EX 1700 wheels with a 32-spoked configuration provide the stiffness and durability needed to withstand repeated hits on aggressive, rocky terrain. There's also 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 on 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 might be more likely to smash cranks in certain situations.
- Ride the gnarliest trails you can find with Yeti's longest travel bike
- 165mm of plush, coil-shock-driven Switch Infinity suspension
- 180mm travel fork soaks up big hits with confidence
- 63.5-degree HTA for unwavering stability on high speed descents
- 77-degree STA puts you in a comfortable, efficient pedaling position
- Frame accommodates full size water bottle and up to 2.6in tires
- Custom DT Swiss 32-spoke wheels can handle serious impacts
- Workhorse build kit includes Fox Performance suspension, GX/XO1 drivetrain, Code brakes, OneUp Bash guide