Most wonderful time of the year.
If more than a few creaks, new dents, and a wandering eye throughout last season have signified the arrival of upgrade season for you, well done. You couldn’t have picked a better time. We’ve reached a point in mountain bike tech where compromise has become a nearly nonexistent concept, and nothing illustrates that better than the advent of the 2017 Yeti SB5.5 Carbon Eagle Complete Mountain Bike. In the yawning gap between nimble trail bike and DH bruiser that the SB5 and SB6 sat on either side of, Yeti created a new machine that took its siblings’ best characteristics and turned them into something original.
From the start, Yeti knew the SB5.5 needed rock-solid downhill stability, so it started with a slacked-out 66.5-degree head tube angle and went from there. Of course, it didn’t just want to release another unruly monster that riders wouldn’t be able to control on anything but wide open, straight-line descents. To avoid this, it pushed back against barreling 29er stereotypes and completely eliminated a front derailleur mount. This freed up enough space to shorten the chainstays into a compact, swooping design complete with responsive Boost spacing. The smooth curves of the rear triangle sit in direct contrast to the longer, straighter front end, and serve to temper the bike’s brutish nature on techier rock gardens and serpentine climbs.
When you don’t want to rein it in, of course, the FOX 36 fork—complete with 29er-appropriate 51mm offset—and a 140mm FOX Performance shock answer the call. Serving up 160mm of squish up front, the SB5.5 practically begs you to take the scarier line every time, not just because it wants to, but because it knows it can back you up. Send white-knuckle lines in the style of your favorite enduro heroes, and watch Yeti’s famed Switch Infinity suspension devour them in quick succession, never wallowing after deep rollovers or bottomless slickrock drops. And as much as this bike and its suspension love to descend, Yeti made sure that riders wouldn’t feel like they were pushing a pig on a climb. Leave the suspension open if you’re really feeling trusting; Switch Infinity’s responsive platform will keep you dancing over steep rollers easily to the fun on the other side.
Don’t just trust our pretty words though. Switch Infinity is indeed backed by solid tech. Just like its predecessor, the Switch Link, the Switch Infinity slider travels upward under the first phase of compression, when the SB5.5 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 previously problematic 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. You'll be tempting faster, straighter lines across the chunky stuff, because the SB5.5 is just about the perfect trail buddy, effectively tidying up sloppy, questionable decisions and sweeping rider errors under the rug.
Yeti chooses to sculpt the SB5.5’s frame from carbon fiber, of course, taking full advantage of trickle-down technology in its choice to split its line into Carbon and Turq models for the first time this year. The caliber of carbon construction that the SB5.5 Carbon is built with was nonexistent just a few short years ago at this price point, and it’s a testament to just how much lighter and more durable carbon fiber has become in an incredibly short period of time.
And of course, the frame comes adorned with a full Eagle drivetrain. We can’t imagine a more fitting choice for this super bike than SRAM’s own super drivetrain. Eagle’s massive 12-speed cassette gleams hungrily from the side of the SB5.5, gleefully anticipating the mountains of trail it will devour with precision, ease, and the ultimate bailout gear. SRAM’s equally dependable Guide R hydraulic brakes, a Race Face Turbine dropper, and Boost spacing in the front and rear round out the build, completing the definition of a compromise-free experience on the trails. Upgrade season, indeed.
- Ride without compromise on this do-it-all enduro bike
- Attack bigger lines with 5.5in of Switch Infinity travel
- Slack front end barrels through bumps with stability
- Shortened rear triangle remains nimble in technical spots
- Carbon fiber construction blends lightness and strength
- Massive SRAM Eagle drivetrain has a gear for every climb
View more All-Mountain & Trail
SB5.5 size by rider height
|160mm Travel Fork|
Effective Top Tube
Head Tube Angle
Seat Tube Angle
Bottom Bracket Height
Reviews & Community
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
This bike is the real deal. When riding it, I often think of my favorite ski, the Moment Bibby. Stay with me here for a second and I'll come back to the bike. The Bibby has developed a somewhat of a cult like following for its ability to charge all over the mountain, while still maintaining a playful feel for every little stash you can find. When riding the 5.5 all that I can think about is that this is "The Bibby of Bikes!" She likes to be ridden hard, but when you do you are rewarded with amazing speed while still being playful off of every trail feature.
I was a bit concerned going with the carbon version vs the Turq build, specifically the Fox performance suspension vs the factory suspension. Thus far I have had no complaints with the performance suspension. I may end up adding a few volume spacers in the rear shock, but that would be the case regardless of the performance/factory.
I also had some concerns with the wheelset that the Carbon comes with. So far the wheelset has held up well: solid, durable and stiff with the boost rear hubs. My only complaint is the lack of engagement in the rear hub, but that is to be expected with a wheelset in this price range.
Overall I couldn't be happier with my purchase. I can't think of any bike that would suit my style of riding. From all day epics, to techy downhills. This thing is a do it all bike.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Remarkable enduro bike, is speedy and fun enough that you might feel robbed of all those saved seconds. Until you realize you can just keep going. If you prefer downhill, shuttled or leg serviced laps their is obviously more dedicated downhill crushers, but this is a great all around option if not the best. The larger wheels rolled over awkward holes and found traction on slippery bits quite well. I'm looking forward to getting a lot more riding on this thing.
Plowability Factor is Through the Roof
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Yeti continues to adapt along with the rest of the mountain bike industry to the Boost hub revolution and the SB5.5 is the crown jewel in my opinion. I first had a chance to ride this bike at a Yeti demo last summer and was extremely skeptical going in. The Santa Cruz Hightower had been my favorite bike of 2017 but let's just say that was before ripping on the SB5.5. I have now been on this bike a handful of times, both in the mountains of Park City and the desert of Moab, and it continues to impress me for a variety of reasons.
Quick note: This is not the Turq -Series frame but the slightly heavier Carbon series frame from Yeti (only available on complete bikes). I have ridden both frames and can't tell the difference.
There are a couple key differences between the Hightower and SB5.5. The SB5.5 has a slightly steeper head tube angle (66.5 degrees), slightly higher BB height and longer wheel base. But truth be told the key for me is that a Large Yeti just fits me better than a Large Santa Cruz. I am 6'1" with pretty long arms and for whatever reason I have always felt that Large Santa Cruz bikes are too small (and XL too big). But the Yeti SB5.5 in a Large was built just for me.
I was most impressed with how easily it plowed over everything put in front of it. If there was a plowability rating I would give it 6 stars out of 5. It handled steep, technical terrain with ease and cornered surprisingly well for a 29er considering the added lateral stiffness from the wider Boost hubs. This bike had solid pop off of jumps and was smooth in the air which I did not expect but should not be surprising considering the tech behind the Switch Infinity Link.
If you are looking for a new super bike and are considering the Yeti SB5.5 do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. I would be glad to help you build this bike from the frame up or get you set up with this stock X01 Eagle build.
Kyle Livingston - Expert Gearhead
firstname.lastname@example.org - 801-736-4337
Are you able to order a completed bike and change a few components?
Great question. If you want a factory spec'd bike from Yeti, the only way to make parts changes is by purchasing the new item. We can have our shop install the new parts and send the original part with the bike. We can also do a custom build with a frame only option.
Please reach out to us directly for more information.
Customer Account Manager, Expert Gearhead
Office: 801-204-4674 x2358