Picking the bikes that go into the demo fleet at Glentress always involves lots of debate. The Yeti SB-95 is a fairly rare beast. It’s also one of the most expensive bikes in our fleet, so keen to see how it performed I took it out for a spin.
The Yeti SB-95 29er is the first big wheeled full suspension bike from the Colorado based firm. I’ve ridden many 29ers before, so I was keen to see how Yeti’s offering performed. Based on the same “switch” suspension system as it’s 26inch wheeled sibling the SB-66 (see the SB-66 review here), the SB-95 is designed to be a tough trail bike capable of taking on every type of terrain. The matt black frameset is designed with strength and durability first in mind. Light it is not, but you’d be missing the point. The SB-95 is for the rider that wants to take on rough and technical trails.
The first thing you notice about the SB-95 is that despite appearances, it is actually quite short in the reach to the bars, giving a livelier feel than I was expecting. I was immediately struck by how smooth the ride quality was. The big wheels and 120mm travel front and rear ironed out the bumps in a way that few 26inch bikes can. Even when riding up steeper gradients, the bike never lost traction, despite the semi-slick Maxxis Ikon rear tyre. On steeper descents and in rougher sections, the SB-95 was incredibly stable and confidence inspiring to ride. Never did I feel like I was reaching the limits of it’s capability. On fast, flowing descents the bike is brilliant. It holds it’s speed really well. In-fact so much so that in some cases you barely have to pedal, so efficient it is a maintaining momentum. In twister terrain the bike was more nimble than I had expected, and unlike some other 29ers I have ridden was easy to thread through the trees. This can probably be put down to the switch suspension system allowing for a relatively short back end which will aid maneuverability. As mentioned earlier the shorter cockpit will also be contributing to this more nimble feel.
Kit wise our demo bike is equipped with a full Shimano XT groupset and brakes. There’s not much to say about this that hasn’t already been said really. Shifting from the 10spd drivetrain is smooth and crisp, and the power and modulation offered by the disc brakes is brilliant. As mentioned earlier the bike has 120mm of travel, but the frame is capable of taking up to a 140mm travel fork if you so desire. The bike as you see it here has the new generation 34mm tubed Fox forks with CTD damper, coupled with a Fox Float CTD shock. The CTD or climb, trail descend system of adjustments is a great improvement over the previous generation, as it takes the guess work out of suspension set-up. This should be a great benefit to those who aren’t complete suspension techno geeks!
The only thing I didn’t like about the bike was the weight. Our large sized bike weighs in at a smidge under 31 lbs. While it isn’t that noticeable in most situations, you are aware of the extra bulk, especially on steeper or more technical climbs where your speed is naturally slower, lessening the advantage of the bigger wheels which offset the weight penalty in most other situations. Rumors of a carbon version of the SB-95 to arrive in summer 2013 abound. If it follows the same strain as the carbon version of the SB-66, we should see a weight saving of around 1.5 lbs frame weight
To sum up, the SB-95 is a great bike. It’s one of the most fun 29ers I’ve ridden in a while, and should be capable of anything you can throw at it.
If you want to take the SB-95 for a spin, then check it out here.
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