All aboard the plus bus.
Anyone who's spent time on a bike built around Yeti's Switch suspension family knows that it has always excelled on the climbs. With the introduction of plus-sized tires on the SB5+ Carbon XT/SLX Complete Mountain Bike, that climbing is only improved. The overall effect keeps pedaling floaty and weightless, adjectives we wouldn't typically attach to a bike with such capably deep travel. But that apparent incongruity has long been a hallmark of Yeti's Switch designs, and the SB5+ carries the torch into the brave new world of Boost hub spacing and plus-sized tires. The bike is kitted with a blend of Shimano components that privilege function over bling, and though it does climb well, a dropper post and plush, 2.8in tires make its enduro intentions clear.
The SB5+ owes its expanded tire clearance (which tops out at 3in) to its Boost rear axle spacing, which is matched with a suitably Boosted 34 Float fork. The gains in traction and cushion from running plus-sized tires are immediately noticeable both on climbs and root lattices and rock gardens. The SB5+ can definitely be pushed harder than its non-plus siblings, and we've found that it thrives in terrain typically reserved for six-inch bikes. The 67.1-degree head tube contributes to that impression by straddling the line between slacked-out enduro and trail-bike moderation. It keeps things stable on the descents but doesn't wander off-line while climbing or during low-speed maneuvers.
Despite the plus-sized tire clearance, Yeti manages to keep the stays at a reasonably stubby 17.2in, contributing further to the bike's clean pedaling and ability to dice terrain that outmatches its impressively capable five inches of Switch Infinity travel. And this being a Yeti, that's where the bike really shines. Riding with the shock open won’t condemn you to wallowing in squish when you have to transition quickly into a short climb on the other side of a long descent. Even when fully open, the bike still claws up anything without leaving you wide-eyed and white-knuckled when you fly down a deep rollover on the other side with a locked-out shock.
Yeti’s Switch Infinity suspension is the obvious lynchpin of the SB5+'s versatile capability. Its linear travel hits the sweet spot of anti-squat to keep pedaling sharp on rocky climbs and while taking advantage of the plus-sized tires to carry speed across moderate trail furniture. it also erases the momentary harshness that its predecessor, the Switch Link design, would display when pushed to the absolute limit. We admit that even we've rarely pushed Switch Link that hard, but—when we do—it's nice to not experience that hiccup.
Though it's undeniably improved, long term Yeti fans will be relieved to learn that the new suspension system is fairly similar to the old. Like the Switch Link, the Switch Infinity slider travels upward under the first phase of compression, when the SB5+ is settling into its sag point. As the rear end compresses deeper, the direction changes, and the DH-inspired slider travels down toward the bottom bracket shell to maintain a steady pedaling platform. This change of direction is smoother, without the above-mentioned dead space, but the effect is the same. Deep in the stroke, it works in conjunction with the upper pivot to produce a vertical wheel path that flattens big hits. On the trail, we find ourselves tempting faster lines across everything from scree fields to babyheads as the SB5+ tidies up sloppy, questionable lines and sweeps rider errors under the rug.
- A trail bike that climbs and gobbles terrain with aplomb
- 5in of Switch Infinity suspension let you run the shock open
- Versatile Front end straddles the slack and moderate worlds
- Plus-sized tires boost traction and add cushion
- Boost axles make for better climbing and tracking
- No-nonsense one-by build kit demonstrates enduro-grade durability
- Yeti Cycles produces the most advanced suspension designs available
More SB5 builds
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SB5 size by rider height
|150mm Travel Fork|
Effective Top Tube
Head Tube Angle
Seat Tube Angle
Bottom Bracket Height