Words by Flow | Images by Flow

The not-so-minor details

Product

Yeti SB5.5 Turq

Contact

Rowney Sports
1300 938 469
www.rowneysports.com

Price

AUD10,850.00

Weight

12.90kg

Positives

A 160mm bike that's enjoyable on a variety of trails.
Choice of Shimano or Sram build kit options.
Jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

Negatives

No bottle cage mount in the front triangle.
Boutique price tag.

Sometimes when we’re writing up First Bites for bikes with 160mm of travel, we like to guess how much longer, lower and slacker the bike is than its predecessor before we’ve even pulled it out of the box.

The Yeti SB5.5.

The Yeti SB5.5 looking majestic high in the Victorian Alps.

Even though the Yeti SB5.5 is a brand-new model from the Colorado based company, it’s refreshing to see that despite its long travel, Yeti haven’t tried to compete in the ‘longest, lowest and slackest’ game some manufacturers seem to be playing.

The SB5.5 isn't pushing the envelope with its geometry, which is refreshing to see.

The SB5.5 isn’t pushing the envelope with its geometry, which is refreshing to see.

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Off the brakes on the new Tombstone trail in Bright, VIC.


What is the Yeti SB5.5 Turq?

The Yeti SB5.5 Turq is Yeti’s first long travel 29” model, combining 140mm of rear wheel travel with 160mm of squish up front.

You know you're in for a good time when you see a Fox Float 36 up front!

You know you’re in for a good time when you see a Fox Float 36 up front!

Much like Santa Cruz’s C and CC carbon models, Yeti have now adopted a two-tier system for frames across their range, with the ‘Carbon’ title representing their budget offering, and the ‘Turq’ series offering a lighter overall frame weight by using higher quality carbon throughout.

Yeti's 'Turq' range represents their top of the line offerings.

Yeti’s ‘Turq’ range represents their top of the line offerings.

Despite the claimed 250-350 gram saving on the Turq model framesets compared to the Carbon framesets depending on model and size, there’s no difference in strength or stiffness between the two.

Regardless of whether you get a Turq or a Carbon Yeti frame, you'll still be able to get as reckless as this guy!

Regardless of whether you get a ‘Turq’ or a ‘Carbon’ Yeti frame, you’ll still be able to get as reckless as this guy!


How much more do I pay for a Turq model?

In Australia, there are a variety of options when purchasing a Yeti SB5.5. The Turq model comes as a frameset, retailing for a mighty $5350, but also comes in four build options (two Sram and two Shimano) ranging from $9890 for a 1×11 XT drivetrain build through to $10850 for the Eagle X01 model with the Fox suspension we’re testing.

Our test bike is equipped with the Sram XX1 build kit, and Fox Factory suspension.

Our test bike is equipped with the Sram X01 build kit, and Fox Factory suspension.

The Carbon model comes in a full build only, retailing at $7390. Major differences include the Fox Performance line suspension in place of the Factory level suspension specced on the Turq models, and the XT/SLX drivetrain. Whilst these componentry changes are downgrades, the spec is ready to roll straight onto the trail, not to mention the fact that despite the slightly heavier frame than the Turq series, the Carbon frame is exactly the same. For those reasons, we’re very happy to see a lower price point option!

The SB5.5 Carbon offers excellent value for money considering it's a Yeti.

The SB5.5 Carbon offers a more affordable price point.


Enough about the Turq and Carbon series, how can we expect the SB5.5 to ride?

Simply having a roll around on the SB5.5 reaffirmed that Yeti haven’t redesigned the geometry textbook with the SB5.5. With numbers like a 66.5-degree head angle, 73.6-degree seat tube angle and an 1168mm wheelbase in a size medium, we don’t feel like we’re regurgitating the ‘jack of all trades’ tagline by saying that the SB5.5 is designed to do a bit of everything.

Equipped with the 160mm Float 36 fork up front, the SB5.5 will handle the burly descents, but the 140mm of Switch Infinity rear suspension pedals insanely well, so combined with the slightly more upright position than other long travel 29” bikes on the market, the SB5.5 should be more suited to all-day pedalling missions in varied terrain, rather than out and out descending.

140mm of rear travel is delivered via Yeti's unique 'Switch Infinity' suspension setup.

140mm of rear travel is delivered via Yeti’s unique ‘Switch Infinity’ suspension setup.


What are you getting for $10850 for the model we’re testing?

As we mentioned before, the SB5.5 we’re testing is X01 Eagle build kit option with Fox suspension, which retails for $10850. This bike is out of the price range of most consumers; however, Yeti has always been, and will always be a boutique brand.

One of the most desirable head badges to be rocking at the trailhead.

One of the most desirable head badges to be rocking at the trailhead.

Obviously, the main attraction of this bike is the stunning frameset. Smooth, curvy lines encase the Switch Infinity suspension design, which uses a custom system provided by Fox to provide some of the best pedalling performance on the market.

The Switch Infinity system is a proven performer.

The Switch Infinity system is a proven performer.

We’ll go into the Switch Infinity design and its effectiveness on the SB5.5 more in the full review, however, to summarise the system uses two rails located directly above the bottom bracket to manipulate the bike’s axle path as it moves through its travel.

These two rails are the crux of the Switch Infinity system.

These two rails are the crux of the Switch Infinity system.

As the bike goes through its initial phase of travel, the carrier moves upwards on the two rails, creating a rearward axle path for improved pedalling performance. As the bike compresses further into its travel however, the rails move downwards (hence the ‘Switch’ part of the title), creating a vertical axle path and reducing chain tension for more supple suspension performance on bigger hits. The rails only move slightly in either direction, but in practice the system works excellently to provide both excellent pedalling performance and a supple stroke as the suspension moves deeper into its travel.


What about the build kit?

The build kit on the model we’re testing is excellent, as you would expect for the money. A Factory series Fox Float fork, with the three position Fit4 damper has low speed compression adjustment in the open position, but also a lockout, which adds to the bike’s ‘do it all’ intentions.

The Float 36 is the 3 position mode, with a full lockout mode.

The Float 36 is the 3 position model, with a full lockout mode.

The Fox Float X in the rear also has three positions and can also be locked out- if the start of your rides typically involve a road pedal, being able to lock out your suspension guarantees you a few extra minutes on the trail!

An awesome build from the guys at Summit Cycles helped us get out on the trails sooner too!

An awesome build from the guys at Summit Cycles helped us get out on the trails sooner too!

The drivetrain is a full Eagle X01 arrangement, need we say more?

Eagle X01 just plain works, enough said.

Eagle X01 just plain works, enough said.

Brakes are also provided by Sram in the form of their Guide RSC brakes, and the dropper post is a RockShox Reverb.

The cable routing from the front of the bike is neat and well thought out.

The cable routing from the front of the bike is neat and well thought out.

In the wheels department, some will be disappointed not to see carbon at this price point, but DT Swiss’ 350 hubs are proven performers, and they’ve been laced to RaceFace ARC 30 rims, with a 30mm internal rim width that gives the Maxxis WT tyres an excellent shape.

Despite costing the big bucks, the SB5.5 is perfectly specced to cope with a huge variety of riding, from general trail duties to rowdier adventures you won’t be admitting to the partner about when you get home.

Dry and loose in Beechworth, VIC.

Dry and loose in Beechworth, VIC.


So, where will we be riding the SB5.5?

Bloody everywhere! We’re very excited to be testing the SB5.5 alongside the YT Jeffsy, another 140mm 29er, and we’ll be riding all sorts of terrain to see how the SB5.5 stacks up.

First up is a huge road trip through the Victorian High Country, we’ve chosen the Yeti to join us in Falls Creek, Bright, Mt Beauty, Yackandandah, Dinner Plain, Beechworth and Mt Buller. Stay tuned!

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