Yeti SB130 debuts + short term review
The final piece of their 2019 bike line up, the Yeti SB130 29er complete with room for a water bottle inside the main triangle. Photo by Brent Jacoby
Following last month’s roll out of the enduro-racing ready SB150 comes the new Yeti SB130, which similar to its longer travel sibling, is an aggressive 29er that aims to remedy any shortcomings of the Golden, Colorado-based bike maker’s previous trail tamers, which basically means it’s another great bike that now has room inside the main triangle for a full size water bottle.
The Yeti SB130 does this while maintaining the exemplary performance of its highly regarded Switch Infinity suspension system that provides an efficient pedaling platform — and capably soaks up whatever you throw at it when headed downhill.
The steep seat tube angle and slack head angle conspire to deliver the best of both worlds. Photo by Brent Jacoby
Key metrics of this wagon wheeled singletrack slayer include 130mm rear travel, 150mm up front, 65.5-degree head angle, 76.9 effective seat tube angle, 433mm chainstays, 44mm fork offset (versus the traditional 51mm), 480.2mm reach/797.2mm front center, and 1230.2mm wheelbase (all size large). And like its longer travel SB150 sibling, the Yeti SB130 has a new patent-pending 60mm shock extender, and all hardware, aside from the link, is shared between the two models.
“The SB130 replaces one of our most popular bikes – the SB5.5,” explained Yeti president, Chris Conroy. “We updated the geometry, kinematics and created a bike that rules in the high country.”
Like with the SB150, space for the water bottle on the Yeti SB130 frame was achieved by altering shock mounting placement, which on the Yeti SB130 attaches to the top tube (versus on the downtube on the outgoing Yeti SB4.5 and SB5.5). This change required use of the aforementioned shock extender, which Yeti designed with input from suspension provider Fox in order to assure that the bearing overlap ratio did not put too much load on the shock. The extender itself is a two-piece hinged component that allows you to remove/install your shock without need for disassembly.
The use of the extender also means the new frame will accept all manner of shocks (including coil models), and it allowed Yeti to maintain a low standover (728.2mm size large), which along with a shorter seat tube means there is plenty of room for long travel dropper posts. How long depends on post insertion depth, collar height, etc., but figure at least 170mm will be possible. (Note, though, that at launch of the Yeti SB130, the longest spec’d dropper will be 150mm because that’s the current longest Fox Transfer option. Presumably Fox will add a longer travel option soon and Yeti will in turn make a running change to OEM spec on the new bike.)
The 60mm shock extender helped free up space inside the main triangle, while maintaining all that’s good about the Switch Infinity suspension system. Photo by Brent Jacoby
Other top line highlights of the new Yeti SB130 include a high modulus carbon fiber main frame and swing arm, 31.6 instead of 30.9 seat tube diameter meaning less required clamping force (and thus less friction in dropper post movement), integrated ISCG-05 mounts, tapered integrated headtube, downtube protector and chain guards, and internally molded carbon tube-in-tube inside the frame for truly hassle-free cable routing (and presumably no rattling). The new bike also has an integrated axle and derailleur hanger system, a nifty removable port under the pressfit BB to ease dropper post routing, and boost hub spacing front and rear.
Reach was also dramatically lengthened. A size Large SB5.5 reach measured 442mm, while the new Yeti SB130 comes in at a touch over 480mm. And just like the SB150, the Yeti SB130’s fork offset dropped from the traditional 51mm to 44mm. This change came thanks in part to the efforts of Transition, which convinced both Fox and RockShox to make forks with shorter offsets for their Sentinel 29er enduro bike. That allowed other bike makers the opportunity to experiment. Yeti did and liked the results.
The Yeti SB130’s rangy front center makes for a roomy and comfortable cockpit. Photo by Brent Jacoby
The general thinking is that as bike geometry has evolved (longer, slacker, lower), performance at slower speeds and on flatter terrain could be negatively impacted. The culprit, of course, is the front wheel, which has been pushed farther and farther away from the rider. But by reducing fork offset you bring the front axle rearward, moving the wheel back under the rider. Combine that with a shorter stem and you get better front wheel traction. Or so the thinking goes.
The potential drawback is that by shortening fork offset (and slackening head angle) you increase trail, which in turn means more steering input is required. This was definitely something we noticed when testing the longer travel SB150 (it needs to be pushed hard to truly perform as intended). But the Yeti SB130 showed no ill effects of the fork offset change, and instead simply wowed us with its overall trail taming abilities (more on that below).
The other major Yeti SB130 headline is the tweaks to overall suspension kinematics, which now include a slightly more progressive leverage curve compared to the outgoing Yeti SB5.5 and SB4.5. This was done while still maintaining Switch Infinity’s efficient pedaling platform. As a quick refresher, Switch Infinity utilizes a patented translating pivot that switches direction as the bike moves through its travel. This provides excellent anti-squat characteristics for enhanced pedaling performance, solid mid-stroke support, and still maintains the desired bottomless and plush feel as the suspension gets deeper into the travel.
Yeti studied leverage ratios intently during the bike’s two-year development process that coincided with bringing the SB150 to market. Before they averaged a 5% leverage curve, but now they’re at 12% for the SB130 and 15% for the SB150. These new progression percentages give both bikes a wider range shock compatibility and tuning window (it’s less likely you’ll need volume spacers), while at the same time improving small-bump compliance and end stroke support.
Yeti increased the leverage curve, but not at the expense of too much progression. Photo by Brent Jacoby
“We didn’t want to have too much progression because that can mean a harsh mid-stroke and then the feeling that the suspension is hitting a wall at the end,” explained Yeti director of engineering Peter Zawistowski. “The intent is that you’ll use all travel and use it well, and still get good small bump and mid-stroke performance. That means greater bottom out resistance and a poppier feel. We were also able to keep the desired anti-squat curve, so you have a flat stable range around sag, and then a quicker dropoff. So the bike pedals efficiently, but then gets rid of anti-squat and uses all the travel while minimizing the influence of crank rotation.”
The Yeti SB130 comes in three frame colors (black, spruce, and their traditional turquoise), and two material options, standard C Series carbon and the more expensive Turq, which shaves 200-300 grams depending on frame size. A Turq frame only runs $3500. The two C Series builds are $5199 (SRAM GX Eagle) and $6199 (GX Comp Eagle). Price for the Turq complete bikes are $7199 (SRAM XO1 Eagle), $8199 (SRAM XO1 Eagle Race), and $9199 (SRAM XX1 Eagle). All five builds can be upgraded to DT Swiss carbon wheels for around $1000.
Claimed rear tire clearance is “most” 2.5 options. Pictured here is a 2.3 Maxxis Aggressor. Photo by Brent Jacoby
The SB130 is the final addition to Yeti’s 2019 line-up, which now includes the SB100, SB100 Beti, SB5, SB5 Beti, SB5 Lunch Ride, SB150, and SB6. All the 2019 bikes starting with the SB100 released in April of this year, are covered by Yeti’s “no-B.S.” Lifetime Warranty that reads as follows:
All 2019 (and on) frames are covered for life against breakage due to manufacturing defects for the original purchaser. We will repair or replace, at our discretion, any frame we deem defective. There are a few conditions: You must take it to an authorized Yeti Cycles dealer for processing and you must register it online within 60 days of purchase. The warranty does not cover breakage due to ordinary wear and tear, neglect or intentional breakage. If you happen to have a crash or non-warranty situation, we’ll get you back on the trail with a reasonable replacement price. Same conditions as above. Lifetime Warranty applies to all 2019 and newer frames (including the SB100). Model year 2018 and older frames will be covered under our previous warranty (5-year or 2-year based on time of purchase).
Here’s the complete geo chart and full build spec sheets with pricing. Click the image to enlarge and keep reading to find what we thought of the Yeti SB130.
Mtbr has spent about 6 weeks testing an XL-size Yeti SB130 with SRAM XO1 Eagle Race build on everything from mellow high desert singletrack, to rough backcountry chunk, to the expert-rated bike park trails at both Aspen-Snowmass and our home hill, Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Evolution Bike Park.
After about 6 weeks of testing, the number one thing the Yeti SB130 has delivered is smiles. Photo by Brent Jacoby
Our test bike set up tubeless weighs a respectable 29.2 pounds, and features Fox Factory DPX2 shock, 150mm Fox Factory 36 fork, SRAM Guide RSC brakes, DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One aluminum wheels with 30mm inner rim width, Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 (rear) and Minion DHF 2.5 (front) tires, 35x780mm Yeti-branded carbon bars, 40mm Race Face Aeffect stem, and a 150mm travel internally routed Fox Transfer dropper post.
As for the bottom line, I’m going to cut to the chase here. For where I ride and how I ride, I honestly have a hard time envisioning a better bike than the Yeti SB130. Thus the 5 out of 5 rating below. It climbs exceptionally well for a 130mm travel bike — or any bike for that matter. And it’s got enough brawn to handle just about everything I’ve thrown at it going downhill. No, this is probably not your next enduro race bike or XC whippet. But that’s not what most of us are looking for. What we’re after is a bike that plays nice with gravity going up or down — and the Yeti SB130 is that kind of bike.
The Yeti SB130 is a nimble rock crawler — that also descends exceptionally well. Photo by Brent Jacoby
Remember the Green Lake trail that served as proving ground for the Yeti SB150 review here, and had that climb I’d never cleared. Well, I cleared it on the Yeti SB130 and honestly it didn’t seem that hard. The combination of exceptionally dialed geometry (seat tube angle makes such a huge difference) and superbly stable pedaling platform (Switch Infinity is the real deal), allow for clean and efficient climbing, while still staying supple enough to maintain traction through choppy terrain. And not surprisingly the SB130 is a touch more precise and nimble than the SB150, thanks largely to its slightly slacker head angle (65.5 versus 64.5) and shorter wheelbase (1230.2mm for an L versus the SB150’s 1248mm).
Going downhill was just as impressive. The Yeti SB130 is wonderfully playful like you’d expect from a mid-travel bike, but it can also capably play the plow game when asked. Just make sure you have the Fox DPX2’s compression setting nailed. I started out a touch on the soft side of the shock’s 10-click adjustment range, and found myself bottoming out semi-frequently. But after adjusting to dead center at 5 clicks of compression, the bottom outs ceased, yet the bike still was plenty supple on small bump hits. That remaining range is good news for heavier and more aggressive riders. (For reference, I weigh about 172 pounds fully kitted, and had sag set right around the recommended 25% position.)
Internally molded carbon tube-in-tube inside the frame aims to deliver truly hassle-free cable routing (and presumably no rattling). Photo by Brent Jacoby
The other thing that really stood out about this bike is how intuitive it is to ride. Typically it takes me a handful of outings to get comfortable on a new bike. But the Yeti SB130 immediately felt like an old friend, slashing precisely through turns with minimal steering input, dancing through (or over) chunder, and easily clawing up chunky ascents.
My only really quibbles are price ($3500 is a lotta cash for frame and shock), and some of the spec. While a great rolling tire with decent grip, I managed to flat the rear 2.3 Maxxis Aggressor twice (both times before I added more compression damping). If this bike were mine, I’d swap on something a little more robust. Same goes for the stock 150mm travel dropper post; 170mm would be a better option. And yes, I wish the SB130 was a tad lighter, a problem I’d address with a carbon wheel upgrade, budget permitting. But honestly, if your ride objectives lean toward being able to go up and down without significant (or really any) compromise, you owe it to yourself to test drive this bike. It’s that good.
- Superb stability and control at speed
- Highly efficient pedaling platform even in shock’s open mode
- Roomy and comfortable cockpit
- Exceptionally capable climber thanks to steep seat tube angle
- Front end slack enough to handle all but the steepest and most techy terrain
- Low standover + short seat tube = long travel dropper post space
- Wide range of shock compatibility, including coil models
- Wide shock tuning range, lessening need for volume spacers
- Tube-in-tube cable routing means less build-up headaches
- Removable port under pressfit BB to ease dropper post routing
- Smart component spec that shows understanding of what today’s riders want
- Clearance for some 2.5 tires (though it may be tight in rear so measure first)
- Did we mention the water bottle space
- Managed to flat rear tire twice during testing
- Initially 150mm droppers are max spec
- Not the lightest $8k bike out there
- There’s no such thing as a budget priced Yeti…
Rating: 5 out of 5
More Info: www.yeticycles.com
- The steep seat tube angle and slack head angle conspire to deliver the best of both worlds. Photo by Brent Jacoby
- The final piece of their 2019 bike line up, the Yeti SB130 29er complete with room for a water bottle inside the main triangle. Photo by Brent Jacoby
- After about 6 weeks of testing, the number one thing the Yeti SB130 has delivered is smiles. Photo by Brent Jacoby
- Claimed rear tire clearance is “most” 2.5 options. Pictured here is a 2.3 Maxxis Aggressor. Photo by Brent Jacoby
- Internally molded carbon tube-in-tube inside the frame aims to deliver truly hassle-free cable routing (and presumably no rattling). Photo by Brent Jacoby
- Yeti says it increased its leverage curve, but not at the expense of too much progression. Photo by Brent Jacoby
- The Yeti SB130 is a nimble rock crawler — that also descends exceptionally well. Photo by Brent Jacoby
- The 60mm shock extender helped free up space inside the main triangle, while maintaining all that’s good about the Switch Infinity suspension system. Photo by Brent Jacoby
- The Yeti SB130’s rangy front center makes for a roomy and comfortable cockpit. Photo by Brent Jacoby