Exclusive: 2013 Bible Review–Yeti SB66c

Price: $3,000 (frame only)
Weight: 26 pounds
Contact: yeticycles.com
By Vernon Felton

Yeah, we're reviewing this bike again, and with good reason. Decked out in XTR—or in this case, a custom X0 build—and a dropper post, the carbon incarnation of Yeti's 'Super Bike' weighs less than 26 pounds, yet packs 6 inches of squish. Stiff, light, fast and obscenely fun on the downhills, the SB-66C has other all-mountain bikes re-reading their resumes and wincing.

But let's back up for a second. If you've been hiding under a rock for the past year and haven't seen any of Yeti's three SB models—the design is available in aluminum 26er and 29er versions as well—you might be wondering what the blue doohickey just above the bottom bracket is and what all the fuss is about.

That turquoise widget is the heart and soul of Switch Technology, Yeti's latest linkage. In a nutshell, the SB features a short, dual-link design. That blue eccentric rotates rearward early in the travel, creating a moderate amount of chain growth, which helps neutralize suspension bobbing. As the bike dives deeper into its travel, the eccentric switches direction, which ensures that the chain growth doesn't get out of hand and lead to pedal kickback.

That's the theory and, as it happens, that's also how it works on the trail. Testers unanimously praised the bike's impressive acceleration, even when running the Fox CTD shock wide-open in Descend mode. The tradeoff, a few riders noted, was that the Yeti wasn't the plushest bike in the bunch while in the initial portion of its travel—particularly on small, square-edged hits.

We all agreed, however, that the bike was exceptionally well balanced and brilliantly executed from a design standpoint: clean cable-routing, tons of standover clearance, 142×12 through-axle and a thread-in bottom bracket—impressive. You can purchase the SB-66C frame on its own or decked out in any of three component packages, ranging in price from $4,500 to $7,700.