SB6 Carbon XT/SLX Complete Mountain Bike
The SB6 is Yeti's flagship enduro race bike, piloted by Richie Rude to the top step of numerous EWS podiums. The SB6 absolutely rips on the descents, letting you take the straight line through pretty much anything with striking confidence and composure. That being said, exceptional descending prowess is not the only defining element of a modern all-mountain bike. In order to qualify as a one-bike quiver and be a successful enduro race machine, the bike must also pedal and climb well. The SB6 certainly fits the bill, able to tackle tough climbs and long transfer stages without exhausting your energy. If you're in the market for a capable all-mountain bike with plush suspension and dialed geometry, something ready to slay technical descents and then pedal back to the top for more, the SB6 Carbon XT/SLX Complete Mountain Bike is a formidable choice.
Yeti's Switch Infinity suspension is among the best we've ridden. It's plush throughout the 6in of rear travel, offering a smooth ride quality that feels like you've got more travel than the numbers show. It maintains impressive traction across chattery brake bumps and square-edged hits alike, with enough ramp-up to confidently absorb sizeable drops. Paired with a 160mm Fox fork up front, the SB6 is right at home when gravity takes over and the trail points downward.
Climbing abilities are just as important as descending, and fortunately Switch Infinity is adept at both. The beauty of this design is the translating main pivot, aka the Switch Infinity link. The link moves upward in the beginning of the travel, creating a rearward axle path, before sliding back down as you progress through the rest of the travel. This initial rearward axle path is what makes the Yeti an impressive technical climber, preventing the rear wheel from getting hung up as you power up chunky climbs. Of course, the pedaling platform is supportive too, with almost no bob when you get out of the saddle to hammer up a steep incline. We found ourselves leaving the shock in open mode for most climbs, except for sustained grunts on mostly-smooth fire roads.
The SB6's geometry is a big contributor to its overall success. The 65.5-degree head angle is plenty slack, encouraging you to stay off the brakes and let er' rip. The faster you go, the smoother this bike feels. The reach and wheelbase are generous, but not too long, providing a good balance between stability and maneuverability. The 17.4in chainstays are pretty long by today's standards, but that's what Yeti wanted, keeping your rear wheel tracking well as you reach warp speed through chunky rock gardens. A low-slung top tube and short standover height help you lower your center of gravity in order to clear that steep chute that's been taunting you since day one.
Yeti offers two levels of carbon for the SB6 frame. TURQ is the higher-end carbon, but that entails a hefty price tag. This bike is the Carbon series, which offers the same stiffness and durability as TURQ carbon, with a modest half-pound weight penalty. The SB6 handles so well, and pedals efficiently enough, that the weight difference is negligible while riding. If money wasn't an issue, we'd all be rocking TURQ series frames, but the value of the Carbon-series SB6 is hard to beat. Plus, it leaves you with plenty of cash for epic riding trips and race entry fees.
Yeti is known for their sound build kits, and this one doesn't disappoint. Shimano SLX and XT drivetrain components offer comparable performance to XTR at a much more reasonable price point. Fox Performance suspension keeps things running smooth, while reliable DT Swiss wheels and sure-footed Maxxis rubber help you stay glued to the ground at speed. To keep all that speed in check, Yeti specs dependable SLX brakes with 180mm rotors that will stop you on a dime if needed.
- Yeti's flagship all-mountain and enduro race bike
- 6in of travel smooths descents and technical terrain
- Switch Infinity design is impressively plush and efficient
- Geometry loves high speeds but can still pedal to the top with ease
- Carbon construction is stiff & strong with satisfying ride quality
- Shimano drivetrain & brakes perform reliably with good value
- Fox suspension damps the trail for confident handling
- Proven EWS-winning bike at the hands of Richie Rude