Post-credit scenes are all the rage in today's movies. So much so that audiences have come to expect them. Gone are the days when when we might be surprised and delighted by, say, Ferris Bueller walking out in his bathrobe to tell us to go home because the movie is over. But the folks at Yeti just brought back a little of that magic. It was only two weeks ago that we brought you news of the SB150, the beastly update to the SB5.5. Then, they waited for the audience to applaud and the credits to roll.
Today, I've been given the go-ahead to tell you about the SB130, a totally re-imagined version of the SB4.5. The SB130 features every one of the design and construction updates we saw on the SB150, including the in-triangle water bottle cage, the integrated headset, internally tubed cable routing, shock extender and more. All the details were covered in depth in the SB150 write-up. So instead of sending you back there or making you scroll through it all here, I'll paste it below, after I've covered all the impressive SB130-specific frame updates.
The Frame updates
One update that's impressively not SB130-specific is the bike's linkage hardware. Everything except for the swing link itself is exactly the same between the SB130 and 150. On top of the practical benefits this approach offers, it points to the overall design philosophy behind the SB130. That is, just because it's got less travel doesn't mean it's lighter duty than the SB150, and it is absolutely heavier-duty than the SB4.5.
Its rear travel went from 115 to 130, and the front went from 140 to 150. And its reach is longer by between 33 and 40 millimeters, depending on the frame size. And its 65.5-degree head angle is two degrees slacker than that of its predecessor. That's on top of making the move to a reduced-offset fork. Like the SB150, the chanstays are 4 millimeters shorter and the standover dropped significantly--as much as 28 millimeters on the small. Again, there's a lot more to what made the new SB130 so new, so if you didn't read up on the SB150, keep scrolling after you read about the ride.
I started my day on the SB130 on the exact same chairlift as I did the SB150 the following day. And I pulled the exact same goggles down onto my exact same face before descending the exact same trail. And despite how categorically different the two bikes are, I found that I hit the exact same stride. This shouldn't be much of a surprise looking at the updates made to each bike. Both bikes feel remarkably ready for whatever you want to throw at them, But the SB130 wants to get more up-close and personal about it. The bikes that come to mind as doing something similar are mid-travel slashers like the Evil Calling, the Diamondback Release or the Santa Cruz 5010. But you'll notice, each of those are 27.5-inch-wheel bikes. The SB130 stands out as being a mid-travel slasher 29er. That's a hard thing to pull off, but this bike does it nicely.
First, there's Yeti's signature setup of running 20 millimeters extra travel up front. The 150-millimeter fork keeps the SB130 from riding like any old mid-travel bike. It's what allows it to feel nearly as at-home at the top of a chair lift as at the bottom of a lunch loop. That doesn't mean I didn't get bounced around when I took the bike out of its comfort zone. Big impacts at high speed would rattle the SB130 as much as any well-made 130-millimeter bike. But I wasn't ever out of control. In fact, there were moments I felt I was in more control than I was on the SB150. Not on the full-speed, straight-line rock gardens, but on the convoluted multiple-choice rock gardens. I could slide the rear end around a tight spot or dip it into a manual with an ease and flow that doesn't often come on 29ers this capable.
In those above-category situations, the SB130 is passable, though it shined the most when I took it somewhere a little more down-to-earth. Much of my day on the SB130 was spent outside the Snowmass bike park, where the inclines got mellower and the rocks got smaller. The traverses and ridgelines required some pedaling and pumping to keep at speed, so the SB130's responsiveness was quite handy. Also handy was what Yeti has done to the bike's leverage curve. Like the SB150, it's a straighter and slightly more progressive shape. We touched upon the claim that Yetis tend to feel like they have more travel than they do, and I found the SB130 to exhibit that the most on short-travel terrain. It ate up small bumps as well as many other brands' bigger bikes, but with all the benefits of its conservative travel. On natural trails with natural flow, or man-made trails with man-made braking bumps, it still had that light, fun, big-BMX-bike feel. By the way, I'm pretty proud of myself for holding out so long before I said "big BMX bike" in this review. That sorta sums it up.
I've also been holding out on talking about the climbs. The SB130 gets the same 77-degree seat angle (average across the size range) as the SB150. That, combined with the ever-active Switch Infinity and the newly more-supportive leverage curve makes this bike a true marathoner. The small-bump sensitivity carries over to the climbs perfectly, so it's as comfortable as it is efficient. And I mentioned on the SB150 that I was compelled to use the climb switch on steep, smooth sections of an uphill. That was much less the case on the SB130, though I still did it. On rides with undulating terrain and unrelenting pace, the SB130 is perfect. It responds to out-of-the-saddle quick pushes and high-power long hauls with equal eagerness. For a bike so burly, it's remarkably ready to sprint.
But I can't help but think how the SB150 is not far behind in many of these categories. It got me wondering. You used to need a good, specific reason to choose a long-travel bike over a mid-travel one. But now, the exact opposite is true. There aren't many things that a mid-travel bike can do that a modern long-travel bike can't. If a big bike is supportive, efficient, lightweight and has a 77-degree seat angle, it almost doesn't matter how much travel it has.
So why put as much effort into redesigning the SB4.5 as the 5.5? Why not favor the many and ignore the few? The reason is the same as it was before the tables had turned. Because riders with the style and the terrain that work with mid-travel bikes work really really well with mid-travel bikes. The SB130 is for those lucky enough to have the smooth terrain or skilled enough to have the smooth style that they prefer a finer tool, and the SB130 is a pretty fine tool.
We have no news of any new platforms coming from Yeti in the near future. That means you’ll be waiting if you’re looking for an updated SB5 or SB6. Truth is, aggressive 29ers are sort of a thing right now, so that was the priority. Yeti’s 27.5-inch lineup will no doubt get a similar treatment some day, but no word when that day will be.
Now, as promised, here’s a run-through of the updates I covered two weeks ago for those of you who missed it.
The new SB’s geometry updates were conceived well over a year ago, which was long before most of today’s geometry-trend bandwagons had even gotten up to speed. So the folks at Yeti did some experimenting. They had an idea of what trends were trending. So they grabbed their stock SB4.5s and 5.5s and started getting weird. They built up bikes with frames a full size larger than they were used to. They slammed saddles forward, installed semi-spherical, angle-adjust headsets and shorter-offset forks, and things kept getting better. They went from the data they gathered in those experiments to a few test mules, to the finished product, which brought us the progressive numbers on display in the SB130 and 150.
The SB130 and 150's rear shocks mount to an extender, something no SB has done. It was a way for Yeti to have more control over the position of the shock and the shape of the frame. And it's partially to thank for the lower standover, deeper post insertion, better leverage curve and, of course, the in-triangle bottle mount. So we're going pause here to talk about shock extenders, damn it.
Extenders don't come without consequences. They subject the shock to extra lateral load during compression because they essentially decrease the shock's bushing overlap (how deep the stanchion sits in the body at any given moment) relative to the eye-to-eye because that eye-to-eye has been ... extended. That's why the extender is as short as possible at 60 millimeters. Technically, the extender itself is two pieces, each half hinging off either side of a pivot on the swing link and meeting at the shock eyelet. The design happens to make the shock easier to remove, and the hinged configuration means its width and that of the shock eyelet don't need to be perfectly matched. The extender also allowed Yeti to position the shock farther forward, matching the new longer cockpit, making the lower standover possible, and leaving the extra room necessary for coil shocks. Oh, and the extender essentially replaces one of the eyelet bushings with a bearing, making for smoother action. There's even more bullet points to cover on the extender, but they're beyond even my nerd threshold.
The frame itself got some new hardware updates. The seat tube went from 30.9 to 31.6, making up for the strength penalty of the new lower standover and shorter seat tube. Also, the new SB150 now features guided cable routing in the frame. And it works a treat. I just finished building up an SB150 for Bike editor-in-chief, Nicole Formosa, and the derailleur cable and brake hoses slide through and line up from front to rear triangle more easily than any other setup I've worked with. There's even a little removable door under the down tube to guide the dropper cable up into (or down from) the seat tube. And while we're talking about tubes, the head tube went from an internal- to a fully integrated headset, meaning the bearings lay directly into the carbon. It's not much, but this means there can be a few millimeters more purchase between the headtube and the top and downtubes. Every little bit helps, especially given the longer-travel fork. For years, I've been paranoid about fully integrated headsets. Chris King famously posted a lengthy manifesto about why they were a bad idea. But now, King is producing their own. That's all I need to know.
One thing that didn't change is the frame did not go to Super Boost. While Yeti will not say they'll never adopt the new standard in the future, right now it sees it as a logistical burden for both the brand and for the consumer. The new SB’s are able to have the kinematics, geometry and tire clearance Yeti wanted them to have without Super Boost, so it didn't seem necessary. That tire clearance, by the way, stops at 2.5WT. None of the designers at Yeti rides a 2.6 rear, and they claim the bikes have slashing potential beyond what 2.6 can offer.
Another feature the frame gets is a lifetime warranty. Yeti drove home how rigorous its testing standards have gotten on these frames. Engineers started with DH-level standards, notched them up and added new tests until they were satisfied.
And last but not least, the bottle mount. Every size SB130 and 150 can fit a full-size bottle. Take one down, pass it around.
Anti-Squat and Leverage Curve
Speaking of that nerd threshold, we’re about to stretch it. Yeti's Switch Infinity platform is already notoriously good at isolating pedal and suspension forces from one another. Problem is, it's totally impossible to have perfect 100-percent anti-squat in all gears and at all sag points. But it can always get closer. Yeti claims to have found a configuration that has ideal anti-squat for the most common gears and the widest range of sag, with that anti-squat dropping off later in the stroke to ensure that drivetrain forces won’t get in the way when heavy pedaling meets hard hits.
Leveling-up the nerd factor is the updated leverage curve. The SB4.5 was designed with somewhere around 3- to 8-percent progressivity. The SB130 goes to 12 percent and, by comparison, the SB150 is 15 percent. The idea is to tune the leverage curve to suit the bike's travel and intended use. For reference, the more XC-oriented SB100 gets 10-percent progressivity. And that curve gets flatter, meaning there's less of a hammock in it and just a little extra ramp at the end. The idea is to offer steady support throughout the stroke, not just bottom-out resistance. It's what makes the frame work so well with coil shocks or larger-volume air shocks like the Float X2. And it ought to further prove Yeti's claim that these bikes can and should be ridden with the shocks set wide open all the time.
Build Kits and Pricing
Below is a link to Yeti’s page, so you can get all the details you want, but there's still a Carbon and a Turq frame and multiple build kits in each. Prices on each range from $5,200 to $… well, you should just look at the site.
You’re still here? It’s over! Go home!