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First Impressions: Yeti New Switch Infinity Equipped SB5c Trail Monster

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Yeti-SB5C--4

Built around an aggressive geometry and a new suspension platform dubbed Switch Infinity, the Yeti SB5C is one of the most anticipated new trail bikes of 2015. It replaces the Yeti SB75, the company’s first attempt at a from-the-ground-up 650B model, which received lukewarm reviews when it was launched last year.

Designed to tread the middle ground between trail and enduro, we’ve had the opportunity to abuse the new bike on our home trails. Has it lived up to the hype so far?

Yeti SB5c Switch Infinity-8

The Yeti Sb5c is available as frame only for $3,399. There are four different complete options that start at $4,999. Additional factory upgrades include $350 for a Thomson Dropper Post, and a $2,400 upcharge for ENVE carbon wheels.

Our demo was kitted with an X01 level kit and retails for $6,599. From the Thomson stem, Easton Haven Carbon Bars, 11 speed drivetrain, and Shimano XT brakes, there’s nothing here we wouldn’t consider spec’ing on one of our personal bikes.

Yeti SB5c Switch Infinity-2

The medium size frame has a generous 23.6″ top tube, so we swapped in a 50mm stem for more aggressive handling.

Yeti SB5c Switch Infinity-6

The brake and drivetrain cable routing is external, but the frame has provisions for internal dropper post routing. The one prospective issue we’ve noted is that as the suspension cycles the rear brake cable gets wedged between the linkage and frame. It does not appear to be causing any wear, but we’ll continue to keep an eye on it.

Yeti SB5c Switch Infinity-10

Down below, the carbon frame is protected by a custom guard. This is also the sole location for water bottle mounts. It’s not ideal, but it get’s the job done.

Yeti SB5c Switch Infinity-4

The heart of the new bicycle is the Switch Infinity system. While the casual observer might assume it’s a dual shock due to the Kashima coating, it’s actually the natural evolution of the 303 rail system. As the suspension cycles through its travel, the main pivot moves upward, to produce more anti squat for better pedaling performance. As the bike moves further into its travel, the pivot moves downwards to reduce the impact of chain forces on the suspension performance.

Pushing up and down on the suspension, it doesn’t appear that the linkage moves significantly, but its flat out rad on the trail. We’ve been rallying the bike for over a month and never once bothered to clean it – yet the frame hasn’t complained.

Yeti SB5c Switch Infinity-3

Tyler has been beating on a preproduction Thomson Dropper post for over a year without any issues, and only complaint thus far is that the return speed is a little slow.

Yeti SB5c Switch Infinity-7

For a bike with such an aggressive geometry, Yeti made some interesting choices with tire spec. The company wrapped the DT Swiss wheels in a 2.4″ Ardent up front and a 2.2″ Ikon in the rear. This tire pairing is on the XC end of the trail spectrum and didn’t survive the first ride. Only a few minutes in, our test rider managed to put a rock clear through the rear tire.

Yeti-SB5C--5

The  Yeti SB5C is a burly 160mm bike stuck in the body of a 127mm trail bike. With a spacious top tube and generous 17.4″ chainstays, it’s an incredibly stable platform that begs to be ridden faster. Coupled with the slack 67 degree head tube angle, it can be a handful to pilot around tight technical sections, but truly comes into it’s own at high speeds.

The rear suspension has a lively platform that strikes the delicate balance between being plush off the top, and ramping up smoothly, without bottoming out harshly. Even if you can’t exactly wrap your head around why it works mechanically, it more than performs on the trail.

Compared to the majority of other bikes in this category, the SB5c is built along more aggressive lines, but it maintains its composure when pointed both up and downhill. We’ve ridden it almost exclusively in descend mode, and experienced minimal pedal bob.

Stay tuned early next year for our long term impressions of the bike!

YetiCycles.com

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Ilikeicedtea
Ilikeicedtea
8 years ago

$3400 is getting a bit out hand. Certainly not $500 more bike than an Ibis HD3…

tim A
tim A
8 years ago

@Ilikeicedtea

Considering the proprietary Yeti/Fox bits and the fact that Ibis probably paid off their Mojo molds more than five years ago, it’s almost certainly $500 more bike. That doesn’t mean that it’s a $3,400 frame, though.

tim A
tim A
8 years ago

^Correction: I was thinking Mojo HD, not the new HD3, which probably hasn’t paid for itself yet.

ted
ted
8 years ago

if i had a bike company, i would definitely make sure Saris reviewed my bikes…

craigsj
craigsj
8 years ago

It’s not at all hard to understand how the link works, it’s just like any other link in similar 4-bar designs except that the link has an infinite radius. The difference doesn’t amount to much but it does allow Yeti to get around patents and produces silly explanations like found here.

Ilikeicedtea
Ilikeicedtea
8 years ago

Hella good argument.

Ilikeicedtea
Ilikeicedtea
8 years ago

You think those wonky little bits are worth $500.

C’mon, man…

Roy
Roy
8 years ago

The Yeti is made in Taiwan, Ibis in China, and the Yeti has 3 Fox ‘shox’, these things have to have something do to with the cost difference.

Antipodean_G
8 years ago

I’d go carbon made in TW any day over carbon made in China… especially after having spoken to guys in TW who pulled their carbon production out of China.

Mike D
8 years ago

Anyone have any somewhat solid word on a 29r offering with the SI? The SB95 replacement is what I’m waiting for. I hope it comes out before Santa Cruz reworks the Tallboy LT… that way I can go with the Yeti and not have to debate too much 😀

Ray
Ray
8 years ago

Two weeks ago our shop had a Yeti demo day. I was so impressed with the ride quality and trail manners of the SB5C that I immediately sold my Santa Cruz 5010 and bought one. Switch infinity is awesome and I believe it lives up to the hype. Yeti said that we can expect a switch infinity equipped 29er in the future. Possibly as soon as Summer 2015.

JG
JG
8 years ago

ever feel like you’ve been had…..if not buy the infinty link $witch proprietary rubish….you’d want to be sponsored if not….

up there with a new rear axle standard….lol

andrew
andrew
8 years ago

Infinite radius. Is that a straight line?

craigsj
craigsj
8 years ago

“Infinite radius. Is that a straight line?”

An “infinite radius” produces an arc that’s a straight line. Any modeling that’s done to develop this suspension would use a link with “infinite” length. Looking at it this way, the design just like other 4-bar designs except that one of the bars is unusually long.

Anyone who wants to see how the suspension performs can go to linkagedesign dot blogspot dot com under October, 2014. It’s typical of modern designs except for fairly high brake squat and rather low shock progression. Nothing special at all and the latter is interesting since the author here specifically praises the shock progression, leading me to suspect this “review” is written as much by Yeti as BikeRumor just as so many other things are.

I see nothing here that tells me I want this Yeti and a number of things that say I don’t just like the “Switch” designs before that have suddenly become “no big deal” after being the greatest thing ever. Don’t buy the hype. This bike replaces the previous design to avoid aggressive patent holders, not to improve the breed.

AbelF
AbelF
8 years ago

I like the fact that it appears to have a threaded BB, I dont like the price tag. Bike looks cool.

rileymartin
rileymartin
8 years ago

so…….yeti thinks that their bikes priced at or above the $6k mark will be their main driving product…..good luck with that…….hopefully they will actually have the bikes made and available to sell rather than the typical “not available”….I feel like they might be going down the wrong path that will not end nicely for them…but hey they are big boys and girls over there…….I guess time will tell, huh?????

dodo
dodo
8 years ago

Kind of tight clearance in the back … put in a 26″ wheel with wide rim and big tire and one would be much better of …

chasejj
chasejj
8 years ago

I am also waiting for the Yeti 29er Infinity. But I now see why it isn’t out yet.
If you are going to make a real AM worthy 29er you need to address the wheel strength/stiffness issue. The new 48mm wheel axle standard will add 3mm of triangulation on each side of the hub solving the stiffness issue of 29ers.

I cant wait.

Padrote
Padrote
8 years ago

visit to become an armchair expert on suspension design whereby you can knock things without even seeing them, much less trying them!

ThisGuy
ThisGuy
8 years ago

I don’t understand people’s obsession with Yeti bikes. They blow through their travel and their rear triangles have always been flimsy. Don’t get me started on the 303 DH bike. Yeti has done a great job marketing and have developed an Apple-like brand loyalty, and just like iPhone users who will deny until they are blue in the face that phones exist that are better, Yeti riders do the same thing.

Not to say the bikes are terrible, they’ve made a few winners here and there, but living in Colorado, far too many people with too much money jump into the sport and buy a Yeti, because it’s the cool thing to do. And then they run around with their Colorado flat-brimmed hat, Colorado socks, Colorado underwear, but a California licence.

Shaking my head.

BubbRubb
BubbRubb
8 years ago

Craigslist: what hype? If one goes solely on #s you miss a lot of nuance that can’t necessarily be quantified. I’m do believe this improves the breed. Not just about patents, but also you can eliminate the eccentric. The eccentric switch requires both a bushing and bearing which wear way faster than the kashima shafts. Also the eccentric requires closer manufacturing tolerances I’d imagine.
And as an aside, how much time have you spent on the sb platform, either original or infinity?

Kyle
Kyle
8 years ago

I currently have this bike and have ridden nearly everything in this category. It punches well above its 5″ weight class, begs to be cornered and still climbs fantastic. This bike is magical.

Maddie
Maddie
8 years ago

Price is definitely a bit high. However- I do give them props for doing their carbon in Taiwan over China. Won’t buy an Ibis or Santa Cruz b/c they do their carbon production in China.

Mike D
8 years ago

@ThisGuy How do you define obsession? Yeti bikes are out of Colorado…and you’ve taken issue with people of Colorado choosing to ride them? I’m just so confused by your comment. Can I ask what you ride? Are you upset that you can’t afford a Yeti? Why do you care so much about what *others* are riding?

A bike is a bike, I ride what I like. Yes, I agree there is a bit of ‘hype’ around Yeti, SI, etc. as there is with any other brand. It’s called marketing. Does anyone really expect a brand to drop a bike and say, “We put in tons of design and rider research.. we think this bike is just ok though”. Of course not. Yeti, Pivot, SC… none of them are trying to sell you on a bike that is going to drop your kids off at school and file your taxes for you either. Doubt the worthiness of a suspension design or marketing claim? Show up to a demo day and ride as many models as you can. Figure out what works for you, ride it, and have fun.

Posdnuos
Posdnuos
8 years ago

@craigsj

“Looking at it this way, the design just like other 4-bar designs except that one of the bars is unusually long.”

Only one bar? Then you must be describing the 2007 Specialized Epic, with the chainstay shock on the non-drive-side.

ron erez
ron erez
8 years ago

i am looking for more facts on sb5c and sb6c and looking for a test that compare it to other bikes.

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