Yeti factory in Golden, Colorado where I tested a production model SB-95. In Yeti-speak the name translates to a Super Bike with 29-inch wheels and five inches of travel (more photos below). The SB-95 was released at Interbike and is scheduled to hit the market in February.I just got back from the
I was intrigued by the idea of a Super Bike that climbs like an XC machine but descends like a squishy freeride bike. Because I typically ride a 26-inch bike, I started on the SB-66 (see our July post, Yeti Sighting) to get a feel for the suspension using new Switch Technology. The "Switch" is an eccentric pivot that creates an efficient climbing platform but then rotates and opens up the suspension for the downhill. The climbing platform on the SB-66 worked as advertised—it was efficient on the uphill while still keeping traction over obstacles when necessary.
After a lap, I jumped on the SB-95. Because I'm a small girl, I was skeptical that I would have enough power to get the 29er rolling and feel efficient. And as the weakest technical rider, I'd been hanging at the back of the pack. As soon as I got on the SB-95, though, I wanted to be in the front. On a smooth section of trail, it felt like I had to put in less effort to gain more ground. I didn't get to ride any babyhead rocks on the way up to see rolling efficiency through bumpy terrain, but climbing the waterbars was no harder on the SB-95 than the SB-66.
I don't descend well—just ask my friends. But on the SB-95, I could follow the line of the rider in front of me. Was I on their wheel? No. Was I closer than ever before? Definitely. The cornering was fast and fun, and I wasn't worried about washing out at every turn.
The SB-95 is roughly 29 pounds, which is relatively light for a five-inch aluminum big wheel bike. It's not a cross-country race bike, and it's not a squishy all mountain bike either. It's more versatile than either. For an everyday ride up your favorite trails and smoking your friends on the downhill, it's pretty much a Super Bike. —Sydney Fox
Click on the image below to launch a gallery of the new Yeti SB-65. Photos by Gavin Gibson.