At the crossroads of trail, XC, and light enduro comes Yeti's SB5+ Carbon XT/SLX Complete Mountain Bike. With its plus size tires, it's eager to lay down the traction making quick work of any technical climb and flotation over any and all trail furniture, for a composed and fun blast back down to the bottom. Unlike other trail bikes that can do double duty as both a 29er and a plus bike, The Yeti SB5 is purpose built around plus tires, so no sacrifices to geometry or suspension kinematics are lost along the way. The frame features clearance for up to 3-inch tires and the surefootedness is greatly appreciated on sketchy loose corners and rocky, ledge-filled climbs.
The SB5+ is analogous to the non-plus SB5 with respects to the geometry and suspension travel, however the rear triangle sees redesigned elevated chainstays that allows for increased rigidity and tire clearance needed for wider tires. The raised stays allow Yeti to still build a short (17.2-inches) and snappy rear end while adding additional clearance by getting them up and out of the way. On the trail this translates to snappy handling and increases the power transfer from the pedals to the rear wheel.
Yeti's excellent Switch Infinity suspension platform finds a home on the frame and governs the 127mm of travel from the FOX DPS shock. The design helps the already traction hungry plus tires find grip when the trail is loose and rough, and seamlessly transitions to a bottomless feel when crushing it down the steeps in full plow mode. The key to the excellent ride lies in the translating pivot that automatically switches directions as the shock moves through its stroke. This maximizes anti-squat characteristics while pedaling for excellent climbing and an efficient ride, while the linear path of the system allows unparalleled small bump sensitivity and allows all of the travel to be utilized for soaking up massive square edge hits and drops with ease. The 5-inches feels like less on extended climbs and while chasing your buddies on their XC bikes, but won't hold you back when tackling black diamond trails and feels like more when hanging with the enduro sleds. Another contributing factor to the gravity friendly ride is the slack 67.1-degree head tube angle that adds confidence and feels stable at speed. What we like most about the ride of the SB5+ is that it doesn't feel unlike that of a normal bike, you just reap the benefits of the increased tire patch.
This is after all a mountain bike that wants to go on epic adventures, so Yeti wouldn't think of constructing it out of any material that wasn't up to the challenge. The high-modulus carbon fiber used on this frame is both lightweight and supremely durable for years of trouble-free singletrack miles. Weighing in at about 240-grams heavier than their Turq level offering, Yeti's Carbon series requires slightly more carbon fiber than the Turq, which adds a little bit of weight, but boasts strength, stiffness, and feel that improves the ride experience everywhere on the mountain. This Carbon version allows Yeti to hit a more aggressive price point and pack a ton of value into this ride.
Shimano's SLX/XT group is an excellent choice to pair with this frame and its trickle-down technology matches the same ethos as the Carbon frame. Shifting and braking mirror the higher XTR versions without the cost prohibitive exotic materials and fancy finish, again at a minimal weight penalty. The 11-46-tooth cassette range levels terrain making extended fire roads and punchy technical climbs way more manageable. A FOX Performance 150mm fork guides the front of the bike down steep chutes with surgical precision and its plush travel soaks up trail chatter admirably. The plus stance has plenty of clearance for 3-inch tires and the compression and rebound adjustments easily let you tune the fork for your terrain, riding style, and the unique feel of plus size tires.
- Yeti's Plus wheel demon for conquering technical trails
- Descend with authority with a slack 67.1-degree head tube
- Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain shifts and brakes with precision
- FOX suspension supplies the squish
- Switch Infinity offers 5-inches of supple and efficient suspension