We don’t reckon anyone would argue against claims that the current Yeti SB5 is a phenomenal trail bike, but now the Americans say that they’ve taken it to the next level with a whole new mainframe. Can the SB5 TURQ dominate in the same dream-crushing style as Richie Rude in the EWS?

Yeti SB5 C | € 8,939 | 11.97 kg

Yeti create legendary, show-stopping bikes that continue to turn heads with their turquoise paint jobs. Yeti have become iconic for their distinctive aesthetic and really fluid, flowing frame designs. Now featuring internal cable routing to up its style game, the new Yeti SB5 TURQ comes in the choice of two carbon models, with the slightly lighter top-of-the-line version known as the TURQ saving around 250 to 300 grams over the more budget (but no less exclusive) model. The SB5 TURQ with an X01 spec rocked up to our offices for testing, flaunting its € 8,939 price tag. However, its spec only goes partway to justify those big numbers! Forget looking for carbon wheels or SRAM Guide Ultimate brakes – we were a bit concerned at first glance that Yeti may have scrimped and saved in the wrong places.

Fortunately, there’s no hint of corner-cutting on the trails as the Yeti wafts its familiar wand over the terrain. In terms of layout and sizing, the geometry is balanced, and the 11.97 kg SB5 is a nimble climber. The trickier the climb, the more you’ll fall for the Yeti. Pedal strokes are immediately fed efficiently through the rear, producing great traction – don’t worry about flicking the rear shock lever here, as it’s not necessary! On the downs, the Yeti’s buttery smooth and playful handling will plaster a smile on your face. The Switch Infinity suspension has great definition, and its 127 mm of rear suspension feels like much, much more. The FOX FLOAT Factory suspension zooms over the trails with ample feedback, coolly soaking up hits of all sizes, from small, brutal ones to high-frequency bumps. With such a mean frame layout, the weight distribution is bang on, so get ready to corner with surgical precision – but it’s a good idea to upgrade those stock MAXXIS Ardent tires first. At the front there’s a 2.4″ model and a narrow 2.25″ one at the back, and both struggle to fend off punctures and lack grip when drifting.

Helmet Troy Lee A1 | Glasses 100% Speedcraft | Jersey Race Face Podium | Shorts Race Face Podium | Backpack USWE AIRBORNE 15 Carbon

Yeti SB5 C in Detail

Fork: FOX 34 Float Factory
Shock: FOX Float Factory
Brakes: SRAM Guide RS
Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle
Seatpost: RaceFace Turbine Dropper Post
Stem: Easton Haven 55 mm
Handlebar: Yeti Carbon 740 mm
Tires: MAXXIS Ardent 2.4″ / Ardent 2.25″
Wheels: Naben: DT Swiss 350; Felgen: DT Swiss XM 421

Virtual pivot point
The Switch Infinity rear suspension design is fundamentally a floating pivot point system that uses rails instead of a second rocker arm. It works brilliantly, delivering grip and efficiency en masse.
Out of place
That MAXXIS Ardent up front might excel on the hard-packed, dry trails of Colorado, but it lacks grip across all-round terrain. We’d switch it immediately for a Minion DHR II or a High Roller II.
Superb
The FOX 34 FLOAT fork gives a superb performance, with silky smoothness, stable support in its travel, and no risk of bottoming out. Ace!
Extra light
Yeti have launched the SB5 in a regular carbon-framed version and this TURQ model, which weighs in around 250 to 300 g lighter and comes with a more high-end spec.

Conclusion

Fit for the inside of an art gallery, the Yeti SB5 TURQ comes with crowd-pleasing geometry, potent suspension, and an eye-catching aesthetic. However, its steep price tag sets a precedent that its spec, unfortunately, doesn’t fully satisfy.

Strenghts

  • Agile, composed handling
  • First-rate suspension
  • Strong look

    Weaknesses

  • Narrow bars
  • Feeble tires
  • Expensive

For more information head to yeticycles.com!

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: A Bike for All Situations – 9 of the most exciting trail bikes of 2017

All bikes in test: FOCUS JAM C Factory | Giant Trance Advanced 0 | Lapierre Zesty AM 927 Ultimate | ROSE ROOT MILLER 3 | SCOTT Spark Plus 700 Tuned | Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29 | Trek Fuel EX 9.9 29 | YT JEFFSY 29 CF Pro

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer