This Just In: Yeti SB5c

Originally posted on September 4, 2014 at 13:04 pm

Yeti SB5c—WEB (5 of 26)

Back in July, Yeti announced this newest iteration of the SB lineup, and our SB5c just arrived for long-term test. In a previous post, we delved into the new Switch Infinity’s design details. Now we’re stoked to get the SB5c out into the wild and slash some turns like Joey Schusler in this video.

With only one commute home from work and one commute to work aboard the SB5c, I’m immediately struck by the bike’s plushness. Both the SB66 and SB95 had a bit of a hard edge to the suspension. They pedaled incredibly well, but sacrificed a bit of small bump compliance. Their firm suspension tuning meant they felt better the more aggressively they were pushed. The SB5c on the other hand, feels considerably plusher than even the SB66, which is highly surprising considering we’re comparing a bike with 127mm of travel to one with 152mm of travel.

Yeti SB5c—WEB (10 of 26)   Yeti SB5c—WEB (14 of 26)

I’m also struck by how “normal” and somewhat stealthy the Switch Infinity slider mechanism is in the flesh. I admit to being skeptical of this design prior to seeing it in person.

Yeti SB5c—WEB (17 of 26)

In many ways I’m more optimistic about the longevity of this execution than the Switch Link design. Though the Switch Link bikes don’t seem over problematic, we did have creaking issues with our SB95 test samples. With both bikes, all of the tolerances have to be just right or the bearings (and one bushing on the SB95) can be too loose or too tight in the frame.

In that vein, even if Switch Infinity mechanism craps out after a couple of years, the whole mechanism can be replaced if it can’t be re-built. Bottom line; all suspension designs require maintenance and this design will be no different. But, it seems like a positive step forward for Yeti.

Yeti SB5c—WEB (21 of 26)   Yeti SB5c—WEB (11 of 26)

Currently, the X01 build kit you’re seeing here is the entry level offering at $6,600. Our test rig included the $350 Thomson Covert dropper post option, bringing the total to $6,950. Yes, that’s expensive. Before you complain about the price of this innovation, please read this post and vent your frustrations in that thread.

Yeti SB5c—WEB (12 of 26)

Unlike some other bikes of recent, the SB5c will accommodate a front derailleur. This is purely speculation, but I’m guessing we’ll see one or two lower-priced build kits with two-by chainring setups in the future.

Rest assured, I’ll be racking up miles on this bike for the upcoming long-term review in an upcoming issue of Dirt Rag


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