Yeti SB120 Switches Up XC With More Trail-Ready Travel & Enduro Inspiration

Yeti’s shortest travel mountain bike isn’t quite so short anymore, as the SB120 stretches out with a bit more rear wheel travel but a lot of enduro inspiration. The new “cross country” bike essentially gets all the same upgrades as Yeti’s recently overhauled big-travel EWS, but scaled down into a lighter, more nimble short-travel mountain bike that will fly up the hills on its way to bombing back down again…

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready XC bike

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, photo by Sterling Lorence, airtime

c. Yeti, photos by Sterling Lorence

Just like their SB150 EWS bike became the longer SB160 last week, now Yeti’s SB115 XC bike is being supplanted by this ever so slightly longer SB120. But even though an extra 5mm of rear wheel travel doesn’t sound like much, Yeti assures us that the new XC bike punch above its short-travel class.

What’s new?

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, photo by Sterling Lorence, complete Alpine

From the most basic standpoint, the suspension concept is the same as before – with the moving Switch main pivot, one-piece rear end, and linkage-driven shock under the toptube. So why does the new Yeti SB120 look completely different than the old SB115?

The reason is that Yeti has given the SB120 all the same functional upgrades as the recent SB160.

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, frame

That means a more pared-down, more angular frame design that noticeably rises more steeply in front of the bottom bracket for an extra 25mm of rock clearance, also paired with slightly higher chainstays, too. Yeti claims the tighter chassis design is a more efficient use of carbon for the win-win of lighter weight, increased stiffness, and improved durability.

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, pivot bearings

It gets fully revised pivot designs that use standard-sized Enduro Max bearings and presses them all into the linkage assembly, so the carbon main frame & swingarm just connect with a floating collet axle design that ensures more perfect alignment and thus smoother suspension movement.

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, photo by Sterling Lorence, headtube

The new SB120now features full-length internal cable tunnels & locking modular hardware to keep it all quiet, multi-part integrated dual-density downtube & chainstay protection, a UDH dropout for the ultimate in replaceable hanger & future-derailleur compatibility, shorter seattubes to allow for longer travel droppers on all sizes, and a welcome return to a classic co-molded aluminum BSA threaded bottom bracket with integrated ISCG tabs.

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, photo by Sterling Lorence, driveside

You do still get the same moving / translating Switch Infinity V2 main pivot that works its balance of plushness AND support throughout the bikes travel, plus it’s upgraded with improved seals, bearings & hardware. And on the new SB120 it gets a mostly linear leverage ratio with only 11% of progression which means you can run 30% sag for plush traction, with good mid-level support, and enough end-stroke ramp-up to handle the odd unexpected big hit.

Geometry & Tech Details

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, photo by Sterling Lorence, cornering

You can’t overhaul a mountain bike these days without giving it a longer, lower, slacker upgrade – a process Yeti claims makes for a more balanced bike. And the new Yeti SB120 doesn’t disappoint. 20-30mm longer frame reach, lower stack on the bigger bikes, a degree slacker 66.5° head angle, and a two-and-a-half degree steeper 76.5° effective seat angle.

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, geometry

Another big geo boost, the new SB120 comes in a significantly wider 6-size range, adding a smaller & a bigger bike for an XS-XXL offering. The bikes also all get size specific-geometry, so longer chainstays, front centers & steeper actual seat angles for the bigger bikes so everyone gets the same ride feel in the bike.

 

This slacker front end also does an interesting thing to the relative front suspension. Like the 115, the new SB120 gets a 130mm fork. But now with more than a degree slacker head angle, that means the effective vertical front wheel travel drops a millimeter to 119mm vs. 120mm out back. Yeti calls this a “brilliantly balanced ride” but it also reminds us that while many new XC bikes seem to be growing out of hand and blurring the lines with lightweight trail bikes… Yeti still intends this to be a race-ready rocket ship.

2023 Yeti SB120 – Pricing & options

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, framset colors

Like most other recent Yetis, the carbon SB120 comes in two carbon layup specs – the more affordable but still pricey C/Series and the super-pricey Turq series – and in four color options: Turquoise, Dust tan,  Raw Carbon & Loch green.

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, photo by Sterling Lorence, TURQ

Only the premium Turq version is available as a carbon frameset, selling for $4300 with a Fox Factory shock for a claimed weight of 3021g.

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, halo complete

Complete bikes start at $6300 for the C1 with Shimano SLX/XT or $6600 for the C2 with SRAM GX Eagle. The premium carbon Turq complete bikes with Fox Factory suspension start at $8200 for the T1 with GX/X01, $9600 for the T3 with XX1 AXS. And they top out at a whopping $12,100 for the Yeti SB120 T4 with XX1 AXS, Level Ultimate brakes & DT Swiss EXC 1501 carbon wheels.

2023 Yeti SB120 trail-ready carbon XC mountain bike, photo by Sterling Lorence, trail riding

So now that the enduro 150 got bigger and the XC 115 got bigger, we can guess what Yeti has in store for their trail 130!

YetiCycles.com

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