Where is the Yeti SB150? We got this question all the time after publishing our big enduro bike group test in February last year. Yeti wasn’t able to supply us with a test bike at the time but now we’ve got one and we were just as excited as our readers to find out how it would fare against such a strong field.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2020
When Yeti introduced the SB150, it sent shockwaves through the brand’s loyal fanbase. Some cheered, happy they would finally be able to mount a water bottle in the front triangle, others were sad to see the organic, curved shapes of the previous models like the SB5.5 go. What has remained is the Switch Infinity link. The main pivot of the linkage slides up and down on a set of rails as it goes through its travel, thereby creating a virtual pivot point. As with all of Yeti’s bikes, the SB150 is available in their trademark turquoise, but you can also get it in a more subtle grey. Yeti offer the frame in two different grades of carbon fibre – besides the difference in price and weight, the frames are identical. The componentry of the € 8,490 bike is well thought-out and functional. You get a 150 mm dropper post on the size M and a 175 mm on the size L – very nice! There is nothing to fault regarding the FOX factory suspension, SRAM CODE RSC brakes and X01 Eagle drivetrain either, though we would have preferred a bigger 200 mm rotor on the back.
Yeti SB150 T2
Fork FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory 150 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory 175 mm
Brakes SRAM Code RSC 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle 30 - 10/50
Stem Race Face Turbine R 35 50 mm
Handlebar Yeti Carbon 800 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss EX 1700 29
Size S, M, L, XL
Weight 14.56 kg
Geometry and size of the Yeti
Long reach, slack head angle, steep seat tube angle – on paper, the geometry of the Yeti SB150 ticks all the right boxes. However, you’ll also notice the short chainstays and the bottom bracket isn’t particularly low either, but it’s available in four sizes and covers almost every size rider – thumbs up!
|Seat tube||380 mm||410 mm||450 mm||495 mm|
|Top tube||572 mm||602 mm||626 mm||654 mm|
|Head tube||95 mm||97 mm||108 mm||119 mm|
|Chainstays||433 mm||433 mm||433 mm||433 mm|
|BB Height||348 mm||348 mm||348 mm||348 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,193 mm||1,223 mm||1,248 mm||1,278 mm|
|Reach||430 mm||460 mm||480 mm||505 mm|
|Stack||613 mm||614 mm||625 mm||635 mm|
The Yeti SB150 T2 on the trail
Ascending on the Yeti SB150 is a very comfortable affair. Thanks to the steep seat tube angle (76.9°), the pedalling position is well balanced and the long 480 mm reach is nice and roomy – perfect for long days in the saddle. The suspension is sensitive yet efficient for pedalling, offering lots of traction and comfort on the climbs. Going downhill, the Yeti SB150 feels just as plush and absorbs all irregularities on the trail, like you’re on a magic carpet, gliding over the trail… up to a certain point. The suspension hardens on very fast, hard hits because it can’t recover quickly enough. This is where you’ll notice that it only has 150 mm travel. However, the Yeti hasn’t got any trouble dealing with single big hits, offering enough progression to never bottom out. Getting the bike airborne is easy and despite a 20 mm difference in travel between the front and rear, the suspension harmonises well.
Eyes open! The Yeti demands an active riding style in corners
Due to the long front triangle and the short seat tube, you have a lot of room to move around on the bike. On steep terrain and straight sections, it feels stable and confidence-inspiring. However, you have to ride it very actively in the corners to prevent the front wheel from understeering. Here, the combination of a long front triangle and short chainstays feels unbalanced and isn’t very forgiving if you make a mistake. Tight trails and quick direction changes take a lot of work from the rider to balance their centre of gravity between the front and rear wheel.
The rear suspension of the Yeti is very plush and comfortable, but it can’t cope with repeated hits
How does the Yeti 150 compare to the competition?
When you get on the Yeti SB150 you’ll be impressed with the plush feeling of the suspension. You’ll only find something similar on the Specialized Enduro or the RAAW Madonna. However, the rear suspension doesn’t perform as well in rough terrain. The short rear end demands an active riding style like on the Ibis Mojo, but you’ll be rewarded with very direct and lively handling.
Tuning tip: shorten the handlebars | bigger brake rotor on the rear | size down – even Richie Rude (1.82 m) rides a size M
The Yeti SB150 T2 is a bike for racers who know exactly what they’re doing. It offers a lot of traction and very precise handling, though it requires an active and courageous riding style. If you find yourself choosing between two sizes, go for the smaller option. There is nothing to complain about in terms of climbing abilities, but the cable routing could be improved.
- very comfortable rear end offering lots of traction
- efficient climber
- great to look at
- requires an active riding style
- rear suspension could do with more reserves
- rattling cables
You can find out more about the Yeti SB150 T2 at yeticycles.com
The test field
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2020
All bikes in test: Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD | CUBE Stereo 170 SL 29 | Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 | Ibis Mojo HD5 | Norco Sight C1 29 | Nukeproof Mega 275C RS | Nukeproof Mega 290C Pro | Orbea Rallon M-LTD | Pole Stamina 180 LE | RAAW Madonna V2 FOX Factory Built | Rocky Mountain Slayer Carbon 90 29 | Santa Cruz Megatower CC X01 Reserve | SCOTT Ransom 900 Tuned | Specialized S-Works Enduro 2020 | Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert | Trek Slash 9.9 X01 AXS | Yeti SB150 T2 | YT CAPRA 29 CF Pro Race
This scale indicates how efficiently the bike climbs. It refers to both simple and technical climbs. Along with the suspension, the riding position and the weight of the bike all play a crucial role.↩
How does the bike ride and descend? How spritely is the bike, how agile is it through corners, how much fun is it in tight sections and how quickly can it change direction?↩
Is the bike stable at high speeds? Is it easy to stay in control in demanding terrain? How composed is it on rough trails? Stability is a combination of balanced geometry, good suspension and the right spec.↩
This is all about how balanced the bike is and particularly about how well it corners. Balanced bikes require little physical effort from the rider and are very predictable. If a bike is unbalanced, the rider has to work hard to weight the front wheel to generate enough grip. However, experienced riders can have a lot of fun even with unbalanced bikes.↩
How sensitive is the suspension over small bumps? Can it absorb hard impacts and does it soak up repeated hits? Plush suspension not only provides comfort and makes a bike more capable, but it also generates traction. The rating includes the fork and the rear suspension.↩
This aspect mainly comes down to the suspension. How much pop does it have, does it suck up the rider’s input or is it supportive, and how agile and direct is the bike?↩
We don’t calculate value for money in an excel spreadsheet or based on how high-end a bike is specced. We are more concerned with how a bike performs on the trail and how the bike benefits the rider. What good are the best components if the bike doesn’t perform well on the trail? Expensive bikes with a lower-end spec can offer very good value for money – provided they excel where it matters. Just as supposedly cheap bikes with good components can get a bad rating if they don’t deliver on the trail.↩
No, it’s not about racing, it’s about efficiency. Fast, fleet-footed and efficient – those who want to speed along flowy singletrack and gravel roads need a defined and spritely bike that accelerates with ease and efficiency. Nevertheless, reliable components are important too. We interpret XC more like the Americans do: big back-country rides instead of a marathon or XC World Cup with the ultimate in lightweight construction! Uphill-downhill ratio: 80:30 (not everything has to be 100%!)↩
...also known as mountain biking. Classic singletrack with roots, rocks and ledges – sometimes flowy, sometimes rough. For this, you need a bike with good all-round qualities, whether climbing or descending. Uphill-downhill ratio: 50:50↩
Even more extreme and challenging compared to Trail riding, riddled with every kind of obstacle: jumps, gaps, nasty rock gardens, ruts and roots. For this, you need (race)proven equipment that forgives mistakes and wouldn’t look out of place on a stage of the Enduro World Series. Climbing is just a means to an end. Uphill-downhill ratio: 30:70↩
Strictly speaking, a 200 mm travel downhill bike is the best choice for merciless tracks with big jumps, drops and the roughest terrain. Those would be the black or double-black-diamond tracks in a bike park. But as some of the EWS pros (including Sam Hill) have proven, it’s the riding skills and not the bike that define what you can ride with it. Climbing? On foot or with a shuttle, please! Uphill-downhill ratio: 10:90↩
Words: Christoph Bayer Photos: Christoph Bayer / Finlay Anderson / Markus Frühmann