Yeti is based in Colorado, where earning descents usually involves re-tasting breakfast on the way up, so it's not surprising that the all-carbon, 27.5-inch-wheeled SB5 Beti is one of the best-pedaling 5-inch bikes around.
When it comes to women's bikes, Yeti's ethos is to offer the same quality and geometry as its standard line, but with touchpoints geared toward smaller riders–namely a women's-specific saddle, 170-millimeter cranks on the XS and S sizes and lighter-tuned suspension. This year Yeti answered the question "What can we make that's more affordable?" by introducing a slightly heavier carbon-fiber layup to keep costs at bay. Two of the five SB5 Beti models are available in the new Carbon series, adding 350 grams of frame weight to the higher-cost carbon frame, now called Turq. The builds range from our sub- $5,000 test model to the $10,600 Turq XX1 Eagle.
The improvements in the 2017 SB5 line are noticeably purposeful. Most striking is the removal of the gusset connecting the toptube and seat tube, resulting in lower standover along with a sexy sleekness to the frame. Riders who dig getting greasy will appreciate new tubing that eliminates the part of routing internal cables where you feel like a jerk for wasting so much time fishing for the end of the cable inside the frame. 'Pushing up hills' is not in the SB5's vernacular, and although the Beti's 127 millimeters of rear suspension got a little more overwhelmed on burly descents than its longer travel peers, the maneuverability of this lightweight rig was second to none, no matter the direction. Yeti's unique Switch Infinity suspension uses a translating pivot to provide pedaling support, small-bump compliance and bottom-out control.
The previous SB5 Beti leaned more toward XC than trail, but this new design slackens the head angle to 66.5, shortens the chainstays a smidge, increases the handlebar width to 750 millimeters and bumps the front suspension to 150 millimeters with a Fox 34 Performance fork. These changes come together to create an awesomely playful bike that falls squarely in the trail category, even if it still climbs with the determination of an ornery goat.
How does the Beti SB5 stand apart from other bikes in the all-mountain category?
The SB5 Beti is built for the hard-charging, no-compromises, lady ripper. In comparison to other bikes in the Yeti line, the SB5 Beti is equipped with a women's-specific saddle, shorter crankarms than the inline version of the bike (170mm vs 175mm) and a women's-specific suspension tune.
Relative to the rest of the market, the XS and small models of the SB5 Beti (and SB5, for that matter) have the lowest standover of any all-mountain bike available. This was a major goal for us based on pro rider and consumer feedback.
There were a lot of changes to the SB5 Beti this year. What was the biggest goal of those changes?
As referenced above, one of our paramount goals was to decrease the standover on the XS and small frames on all the SB5 models, particularly with the SB5 Beti. We were able to do it and as it turns out, we ended up with the lowest standover in the entire all-mountain category, all without compromising ride quality.
As we tested this bike, all of us noticed we could clear uphill sections with more ease. Of course, since we test blind, the engineering team later told us this was due in part to the change of the seat angle (for a size small 73.7 now from 72.6). When we pointed it downhill, it was all go and noticeably more playful and agile.
More generally, we wanted to create a bike that was a more-than-capable climber without sacrificing performance on descents.
On what type of terrain does the SB5 Beti excel the most?
We build bikes we want to ride. The terrain around our facility in Golden is extremely rocky, with steep climbs and technical descents. We designed the bike to have an efficient pedaling platform when climbing, but we didn't want to that to come at the expense of the traction. The Switch Infinity suspension allows the bike to be efficient and grippy. Descending, the bike opens up and feels like it has more travel. The SB5 Beti is the favorite ride of female staff members and ambassadors at Yeti.