Nothing Gets in Your Way.
The mountain bike market has certainly seen a growth of longer travel enduro machines as of late. The advantages of big wheels cannot be denied and components, wheels, and geometry have reached a point allowing more aggressive riders to exploit them. While the SB6 is typically the weapon of choice for enduro pilots Richie Rude and Cody Kelly, on some high speed courses or days when the transitions are far between, they will reach for the 5.5. After spending some saddle time on this bike, it removes a lot of people's preconceived notions about 29ers, and we think bikes like this are at least part of the reason why the industry has finally embraced wagon wheels outside of cross country machines. If the idea of big wheels carrying speed everywhere on the trail and plush suspension soaking up the roughest lines appeals to you, Yeti's SB5.5 Carbon GX Eagle Complete Mountain Bike is the one to make all of your enduro dreams come true. With carefully selected components, you'll have enough left in the bank to put number plates on your handlebars all season.
This version from Yeti utilizes the same suspension design and geometry of the higher end SB5.5 TURQ series. And while the SB5.5 Carbon offers the same stiffness and durability as the TURQ, a use of different materials incurs a 400g (0.8lb) weight increase. The SB5.5 Carbon's handling is so dialed and Switch Infinity climbs and pedals so well that the difference in weight, while riding at least, is negligible. Of course we'd all love to own the TURQ frame in a money-is-no-object world but, the value of the Carbon 5.5 with GX Eagle is hard to refute.
Yeti claims that the key to the bike's impressive handling is balanced geometry. Colorado, from where the brand hails, does offer diverse riding opportunities and we're sure that the feedback from the EWS squad from tracks around the world help distill the numbers we see on the 5.5. It's also evident that Yeti isn’t one to quickly jump on the "latest geometry" band wagon when developing numbers and instead looks at what has worked for their racers in the past and of course, riding the hell out of some test mules in Golden, before molds are cut. For instance, the 17.2 inch chainstays aren't super-short by today's standards, but Yeti claims that's exactly the point. Their testers wanted some torsional flex so the bike handled off-camber descents better. They were able to achieve this by using appropriate length chainstays and optimizing the carbon layup allowing the rear wheel to track on gnarly terrain. Balancing the bike’s front end, it chose to use a long travel 51mm offset fork combined with a 66.5-degree head angle. This allows it to precisely tune the bike’s mechanical trail and wheelbase offering that unmistakable ride of a Yeti.
We can't really say enough about the Switch Infinity suspension design. Simply put the patented translating pivot adjust the leverage ratio and wheel path throughout the shock's travel allowing the suspension to work in your best interest when you need it most. From excellent anti-squat characteristics that behooves superior pedaling to the linear path through its travel responsible for that bottomless feel, the Switch Infinity allows the 5.5 to climb beyond expectation for a 140mm 29er and makes it an absolute riot on the way down. For 2018, FOX's new Float DPX2 has a more consistent damping with a revised oil path. On the trail, you will feel more mid-stroke support and less of an over-damped feeling. Additionally, the new shock design allows for compression and rebound to be tuned more independently.
You'll be riding this bike over hill and dale, so naturally you'll need some wide ratio gearing for the undulating terrain. SRAM's GX Eagle has you covered with its massive 500% range firing off shifts as you gain speed downhill and quickly moving the chain to an easier cog when the trail turns up again. Aggressive Maxxis Minion DHF and Aggressor tires roll fast, add tons of traction, and work well in a variety of geographic locations and terrains. SRAM's Guide R brakes pack tons of controllable power at the lever and the 180mm rotors front and rear stay cool and fade-free for the long-descent back to the trailhead. Matching the FOX suspension is its Transfer post which is quickly becoming a Competitive Cyclist favorite.
- An enduro bike that likes to climb and get down
- 5.5in of Yeti's excellent Switch Infinity travel
- Slack geometry for fast lines over difficult terrain
- Carbon construction is light, stiff, and durable
- FOX suspension damps the trail and drops the post
- SRAM's GX Eagle shifts with authority and has the range for trail riding