You have to get up to get down.
Getting up to the goods that include flowy and gnarly descents can sometimes require a little work, but the effort is always worth it and we wouldn't have it any other way. So if you don’t have shuttle buddies and don't want to pay for lift access, you'll most likely want a bike that can climb as well as it can descend. We've found Yeti's SB5 Carbon GX Eagle Complete Mountain Bike to be plenty capable of hanging with the big bikes coming down the mountain yet climbs with the alacrity to make an e-bike pilot jealous.
The SB5 is quite possibly Yeti's best rounded and most versatile bike. It's quite lightweight and has an excellent suspension design lending itself well for days when the topo lines get stacked or even toeing the line at the occasional XC race. We have ridden enough bikes to know that we don't want an anorexic, steep-angled, nervous bike while chasing our buddies down unfamiliar or technical singletrack. Thankfully the SB5 strikes a perfect balance of nimbleness and surefooted attacking.
The head tube angle is a fairly slack 66.5-degrees for confidence inspiring handling on the steep stuff without requiring excessive body English keeping the front wheel from leaving terra firma on uphill switchbacks. Further contributing to excellent ascending, the seat tube angle is 73.6-degrees. This keeps your weight forward on the cockpit and knees over the pedal spindle for improved climbing. When work turns to play, drop the WTB saddle out of the way with FOX's excellent Transfer post and you won't have anything between you and that rowdy descent.
148mm Boost hub spacing widens the hub flanges for a stiffer wheel build and rear end, and it frees up precious real estate between the chainstays close to the seat tube. The bonus here is the ability to shorten the chainstays to a stubby 17.2in tucking the rear wheel in closer to the frame and allowing you to run bigger rubber. On the trail, you get near telepathic handling and a laterally stiff rear end. This translates to playful handling and makes it easy to pick up the front end for manualing down the trail and hopping over any trail furniture that gets into your way.
Yeti's Switch Infinity suspension system really doesn't need an introduction these days, but since it does do such a great job we do feel the need to wax a little poetic about it. Yeti had the right idea with the previous Switch Link design but the execution is so much better on Switch Infinity. The suspension platform offers a more linear leverage ratio, smoothly transitioning to control the wheel path and offer the best suspension kinematics throughout the stroke. Switch Infinity moves easily as the shock comes off the top, sliding along its Kashima-coated stanchions, offering support when you are climbing or pedaling with aggression with excellent anti-squat properties. Small bump compliance is superb and we truly feel like you get the best of both worlds with the balance of the anti-squat and plush travel.
As the shock compresses deeper into the travel, the pivot translates in the other direction and that's where the magic happens—and we call it magic because it feels unachievable with any conventional pivot design. Deep in the stroke, the shock is free to gobble up rocks and rooty single track providing a bottomless feel that smooths out big drops to flat, rock gardens, and square-edge impacts for a confidence inspiring ride downhill.
The Switch Infinity works seamlessly with the SB5's FOX Performance DPS shock. It's easy to set up for your riding style and terrain and controls the 5in of quality travel. The compression and rebound offer a wide range of adjustments and with a quick flip of the switch, you can adjust the shock from high-speed, full-send mode plush to stiff-as-a-board for climbing up the fire road to do it again. FOX brings the excellent Performance 34 fork to the party offering plush, controlled suspension to the front of the bike. SRAM GX drivetrain spells demise to the front derailleur and has range for all of your riding needs.
This frame is made from Yeti's standard carbon fiber which differs from the TURQ series in weight alone. It's still meticulously laid-up and bonded around a mold to cure with minimal resin pooling which reduces weight and increases strength in joints. Durability and stiffness are the same as the TURQ, but a little more material is needed to hit those numbers thus adding a little more weight to the frame.
- Climb and descend all-day on this versatile trail machine
- Switch Infinity offers 5-inches of controled suspension
- Stubby chainstays give you a poppy, playful ride
- Descend with authority with the slack head tube angle
- Punch up climbs with steep seat tube angles
- SRAM GX Eagle group offers plenty of gearing with 1x simplicity
- Lightweight, stiff, and durable to endure the roughest riding