First Ride: Yeti's New SB130
There are five different build kits available, along with a frame only option at $3,500 USD. If you haven't splurged enough already (the GX Eagle build starts at $5,199 USD) the kits can be upgraded with carbon DT Swiss hoops. The top of the line XX1 Eagle build is $9,199, or $10,099 fully upgraded.Frame DetailsThere's no hiding the Yeti style in the SB130. There's the Switch Infinity suspension design, and like the SB150 the downtube is a little longer and straighter just before the bottom bracket to allow room for a water bottle. There are internally molded cable routing tunnels and an access port near the bottom bracket to aid in cable routing and keep mechanics happy. The frame utilizes a 180mm post mount on the swingarm so there's no need for a brake caliper adapter. The seatpost diameter is 31.6mm, which Yeti claim decreases the influence the seat-clamp has on the motion of the dropper. They state that the larger diameter dropper also adds strength to the structure.
The shock is driven by a short link mounted just in front of the seat tube.Yeti's Switch Infinity system has been around for a few years now. The system uses two small and short Kashima-coated rails - made by Fox Shox in conjunction with Yeti - just above the bottom bracket to manipulate the bike's axle path. As the bike goes through its travel, the carrier moves up on the rails to give the bike a rearward axle path and improved pedaling performance. As the rear wheel continues through its travel, the mechanism moves downwards and reduces the amount of chain tension for better absorption of big hits.The new and unique two-piece shock extension design provides a few advantages, according to Yeti's Director of Engineering, Peter Zawistowski. It gives the ability to manipulate the leverage rate of the bike within a huge range, independently of other kinematic variables such as anti-squat. This provides the flexibility to position the shock to fit a water bottle in the frame while obtaining the ideal leverage rate.Zawistowski says that they aimed to design the bike with linear progression (12%) and that a straighter curve aids in shock tuning and also maintains a consistent and predictable ride feel. The bike's leverage ratio is said to have improved small bump sensitivity, mid-stroke support and bottom out control compared to the 5.5, all while still allowing use of full travel. Combining the increase in progression with a lighter compression damping tune is said to give the bike a livelier feel and make it highly efficient in pedaling.
GeometryThe SB130's geometry is very progressive for a trail bike, with a 65.5-degree head angle and 460mm reach on a size medium. The seat tube is steep at 77-degrees to make the bike climb well and paired with a reduced offset (44mm) fork. Chainstays are 433mm.
Developing the SB130 and SB150Zawistowski says the development of the SB130 and SB150 happened at the same time. Yeti wanted to make a Richie Rude approved, EWS-specific 29er - the SB150 - along with a bike that would be an improvement on the SB 5.5, which is where the SB130 comes in. Designing the bikes in conjunction offered several advantages for them. First, outside of the upper link, both bikes use identical hardware. This was done to make it easy to source replacement parts if necessary. Yeti also wanted to the bikes to have a very similar fit in terms of stack, reach, seat tube angle, along with a similar suspension feel to make transitioning between the models natural.According to Zawistowski, the variables that change between the SB130 and SB150, besides the obvious rear-wheel and fork travel, are head tube angle, leverage rate progressivity (12% for the SB130 and 15% for the SB150) and testing protocol. The SB130 is tested to Yeti's trail standards, while the SB150 is tested to their DH standards. The greatest change to the layup between the two standards can be seen near the head tube, top tube, and down tube. The SB150 also has a 2mm greater wall thickness at the head tube for added strength.
My opinion thus far is that Yeti have done a very good job with the SB130. It climbs well, descends like a bat out of hell, and manages to strike a nice balance between the two. I'm going to continue putting it through its paces over the coming months to see just how versatile it truly is, and to see how it stacks up against other contenders in this travel bracket. Look for a full review later this year.