REVIEW: YETI’S ALL-NEW SB135 – THE MOST FUN YETI YET!
Yeti is Refusing to let 27.5" Wheel bikes Die with the introduction of the all-new SB 135
THE NEW YETI SB135
A Playful Master of Fun
Yeti Cycles has been a staple in the high-end mountain bike community since 1985 and show no signs of slowing down. Each generation of models comes with redesigns for bikes we didn’t know possible and keeps pushing the envelope in Enduro under the likes of Ritchie Rude and Bex Baraona, both top contenders in the Enduro World Cup Series. They’ve also been pushing the limits in freeride with Reed Boggs and Robin Goomes.
The Bike we have tested today is built simply for fun, or at least that’s how we perceive it. There’s a dwindling desire for 27.5” trail bikes, but Yeti isn’t letting them fall with the tide. Their new SB 135 has now replaced the SB 140 27.5”, bringing with it all of Yeti’s most recent innovations in suspension and geometry.
Yeti always marketed the 27.5” SB 140 as a bike meant to hit every transition and jib every feature and with the SB 135, that mantra hasn’t changed one bit. There have been several new Yetis over the past few months and each one carries the same updates – size-specific seatangles and chainstay lengths along with some other geometry tweaks here and there.
Our test bike came with the TURQ Series carbon frame and bears a new sleek silhouette with a high clearance downtube with dual-density protection and more compatibility for longer dropper posts. Our bike came with clear protective tape installed along key parts of the frame which we were glad to see. This bike also features a threaded BB, the SRAM UDH (universal derailleur hanger), and internally routed cable tubes with secure entry and exit point closures to reduce rattling and rubbing cables and hoses.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – SRAM’s T-Type drivetrain which mounts directly to the rear axle. This bike has it – more specifically the XO variation which is as strong as they come. Of course, this system is a wireless 10-52t 12-speed AXS system actuated by the new POD Controller (which we don’t like) and is meant to be the end of all traditional derailleur systems. We’ll keep this short, but we’re impressed, it really does shift well under tension and remains smooth in all conditions, and, besides the POD Controller, we love the look and feel of this system.
Our test bike came with SRAM Code RSC brakes with 200mm rotors front and rear which is a nice inclusion and has worked well for us throughout the test. Yeti’s inclusion of Maxxis Tires in their build continues with an Assegai 2.5×27.5” EXO+ front and Minion DHR II 2.4×27.5” EXO+ rear which we always feel we can trust straight out of the box. These tires are mounted to some DT Swiss EX1700 wheels with 30mm internal widths and a star ratchet. These are some of the strongest alloy wheels we’ve ridden and love their inclusion on this bike. The cockpit consists of a 50mm stem, Yeti Carbon bars, and a custom WTB Silverado saddle mounted to a 200mm travel Fox Transfer post which started sticking halfway through the second ride. You can upgrade to DT Swiss EXC 1501 carbon wheels if you’ve got the cash.
Yeti has used the Switch Infinity link on their full-suspension bikes since 2014 allowing excellent small bump sensitivity and good progression rate while keeping anti-squat numbers in the perfect spot. They’ve updated the link slightly to both improve robustness and efficiency in this generation of bikes. The SB 135 has a 14% progression rate and Yeti paid more attention to the tune on the Fox Factory Float X to help that 135mm of travel to be as smooth as possible.
Even with only 135mm of rear wheel travel, Yeti went with a 160mm travel Fox Factory 36 with the GRIP 2 damper to lead the charge.
This is a Yeti, it should be an amazing climber, right? We can dip into that stereotype and agree on a certain level; it does climb well when traction is in question and balance is a must. Having the quick-turning 27.5” wheels to torque on when starting on a steep pitch was fantastic. Long drawn-out climbs are where it’s weakest. Technical climbing was thoughtless and fun whenever the challenge arose.
We found our position on the bike hard to maintain when in the saddle for too long which led to major adjustments and tweaks to the cockpit in an effort to be more comfortable. We moved the saddle forward and raised the bars all the way up and still felt a little strained. Not as if our reach was too long, but as if the bars were too low. The 610mm stack height does seem a bit low, but not out of touch with many bikes of today, so we’re chalking this up to the lower front end the 27.5” wheel allows. Suspension performance on the climbs is good, but we felt the need to throw the shock into pedal mode to squeak a little more efficiently out on long road climbs. On more fiddly singletrack and technical ascents, we had no problem keeping the shock open to help with grip. The suspension is soft off the top which allows for more comfort on rough trails and grip in the back wheel but sometimes took away a little bit of efficiency when going full tilt. The new SRAM T-Type drivetrain was exceptional in all things climbing even when shifting in the most awkward situations.
Our excitement to ride this bike was spurred on by the shadows of fun cast by the Pivot Shadow Cat and Giant Trance X, both of which received high marks in our reviews. So, how’d it go? Any discomfort or pain we may have felt on the climb instantly evaporated when pointing the SB 135 downhill. There is definite merit in the idea that 27.5” wheel bikes corner better than many 29ers because this thing rips the corners unapologetically wherever it goes. The suspension tracks the ground very well and is balanced in a way that leaning the bike way over is a gleeful experience. A similar effect is felt when taking to the air – it’s just, effortless.
Aside from changing directions well, the SB 135 was surprisingly stable and composed at speed. It held its line even on some questionable off-camber sections without complaint allowing us to focus on the next section. This bike promotes a loose riding style where you’re more directing than commanding it where to go. As stable as it is, it’s also very light on its wheels. It encouraged a certain level of bouncing down the trail moving over ruts and skipping through small rock gardens as if riding a pump track. It’s hard to believe you’re doing all of this on 27.5” wheels.
When we choose to ride the SB 135 it’s not to win a KOM at our local XC track or win a multi-stage enduro, it’s simply to have as much fun as we can on the trail. You don’t need to go fast on this bike to fully enjoy it’s capabilities. Racing is one thing, and maybe you could do well on this bike if you really tried, but we think this bike is more suited to the rider who enjoys the ebbs and flows of the trail and the feeling of absolute freedom. The SB 135 is a huge smile maker and will have you hooting and hollering all the way down the trail, so if you can afford it, why not get it, it’s very much worth it.
Yeti SB 135 LR (Lunch Ride)
SUSPENSION FRONT AND REAR: 160mm front, 135mm rear
WHEEL SIZE: 27.5”
CONTACT – www.yeticycles.com
Price – $9,500
Weight – 32.5 Pounds (without pedals)
Sizes – XS, S, M, L(tested), XL
Frame – 135mm travel, Carbon Fiber (travel and material)
Shock – Fox Factory Float X
Fork – Fox Factory 36 GRIP 2, 160mm travel
Wheelset – DT Swiss EX1700
Tires – Maxxis Assegai EXO+ (2.5×27.5”) front, Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO+ (2.4×27.5”)
Seatpost – Fox Transfer (200mm travel)
Saddle – Custom WTB Silverado
Handlebar – Yeti Carbon 35x800mm
Stem – Burgtec Enduro MK3 35x50mm
Grips – ODI Elite Pro Lock-on
Headset – Cane Creek 40 integrated
Brakes – SRAM Code RSC
Rotors – SRAM Centerline Rotors, 200mm (f) 200mm (r)
Rear derailleur – SRAM XO Eagle Transmission
Shifter – SRAM AXS POD Controller
Crankset – SRAM XO Eagle, 170mm
Bottom Bracket – SRAM DUB BSA 73
Cassette – SRAM XO Eagle12-speed, 10-52T
Chain – SRAM XO
Chainring – 32-tooth
Geometry – SIZE L
Head tube angle – 65°
Effective seat tube angle – 76.5°
Reach – 475mm (18.7“)
Stack – 610mm (24.0“)
Bottom bracket height – 340mm (13.4“)
Chainstay length – 435mm (17.1“)
Wheelbase – 1229mm (48.4“)