Yeti SB5+ XT TURQ ReviewFebruary 23, 2017
- Top-end carbon frame
- Plushest, most dialed suspension
- Good bang for the buck
- Most expensive in group
- A bit heavy for price
Yeti’s SB5+ climbs quite well, thanks in part to the lightweight full-carbon frame and it descends beautifully. This year’s SB5+ also features a slack head tube which positions the rider in a comfortable, relaxed place while the suspension and plus sized wheels/tires makes choosing a line of less concern. However, this all comes at a very steep price, and we’d like to see Yeti shave off another pound or so, especially at this price.
Yeti’s SB5+ XT TURQ offers exceptional ride quality. The FOX suspension and Switch Infinity, a translating pivot that switches direction in response to the travel of the rear end, incredibly reduces movement and improves pedal efficiency. One of the first sensations we noticed when mounting up the Yeti, was the translation of pedal spin to forward momentum. It is a noticeable feeling. That feeling continues whenever pedaling the bike as a low movement set up with a superior ride. When climbing, you can lock out the FOX Float Factory rear shock and the 2.8 Maxxis Rekon Eko tires provide plenty of softening, but keeping the suspension open created no noticeable penalty. The FOX 34 Factory 150mm Boost front fork has nearly six inches of travel, with a crown-mounted adjustment dial, and adds to the climbing quality of the bike. On the descent the SB5+ is dreamy. Although Yeti’s TURQ carbon frame feels small in stand-over yet rides large with the combination of nearly six inches of travel in the front and rear and the oversized tires this bike eats rocks and roots with cornering limits unknown by us testers.
Yeti adds Race Face Turbine 30T aluminum cranks to the SB5+ carbon frame, however the stiffness of the build is easily overcome by the Switch Infinity suspension and tires. What is not deterred is the efficiency of the set up which translates to forward drive from pedaling effort. We also appreciated the stiffness of the bike when needing to lunge the bike forward in a technical situation—this bike responds when needed.
The SB5+ is nearly as solid a climber as many lighter bikes in this category. Though the SB5+ has a more laid back cockpit, this does not deter from climbing quality. The Easton Haven (55mm) stem and Yeti carbon bar and grips provide excellent comfort and control. Yeti’s TURQ carbon frame and swing arm propel the bike forward on the climb. And especially when locked out, the torsional stiffness of the frame is unmatched, so even power climbs are a (relative) joy.
Yeti’s SB5+ has all the requisite attributes to make for a great descent. FOX Factory suspension on both ends, each with 150mm (nearly 6 inches) of travel is matched with a laid back geometry with substantial rake in the front end. The + in the name (SB+) refers to the carbon frame and swing arm that was built to accept the 2.8 inch Maxxis Rekon tires which it rolls on. Tires of this size with 150mm travel smoothes the roughest trail and makes former mandatory lines simply suggestions for the rider to consider. The 27.5″ wheel size with a frame that rides small allows the rider to confidently cram the front end into tighter spaces, and drive the bike around tight bends. Basically, riding rocky downhill technical trails is fun. So are buff or sandy jammers. Fire roads aren’t bad either.
Components: Drivetrain, Shifting and Brakes
Shifting on the Yeti SB5+ is provided by Shimano XT provided error-free crisp shifting, though the thumb shifter required substantial thumb pressure to activate the derailleur. An 11-46 cassette paired with 30 tooth Race Face chain ring up front pulling a Shimano SLX chain was proficient through all manner of trail conditions. The gearing set up was comfortable on grinding up hills and “big ring” down hills. When it’s time to stop, Shimano XT brakes are just a single finger pull away. The XT brakes continue to be impressive for ease of braking, single finger modulation even under aggressive braking scenarios, and their consistent performance when wet, dry or dusty. The Yeti carbon bar and Race Face internally cabled dropper post are nice touches on this bike.
The DT Swiss 370 hubs with DT Swiss XM551 Boost rims that are mounted with Maxxis Rekon EKO (fortified sidewall) tires (2.8 inches), together make up the wheel set. Though this is a 27.5 inch wheel, the larger tires do provide some increased wheel size so the bike performs somewhere between a true 27.5 and a 29’er. The wheels remained true through some very rocky and aggressive riding as this bike with these wheels and tires beg to take the harder line at speed. The sidewalls held up well, notable because these size tires run at lower pressure and are prone to expensive tears and punctures. We tested this set up at factory recommended 35psi all the way down to a rim puckering 10psi. The sweet spot is in the high teens.
The Yeti SB5+ is a high end bike at a mid to high end price. A full carbon bike (carbon swing-arm versus other similar carbon bikes with aluminum swing-arms), with some carbon parts (bar), an internally cabled dropper, and Yeti race pedigree is a lot of bike for the money. This is a bike that is worth the money.
Seth Portner has been riding and racing mountain bikes since the late 1990s, specializing in XC, marathon and ultra-marathon events. He also enjoys regular multi-day road tours, and is an accomplished ultrarunner and XC skier. Seth, his wife and their daughter all split their time between Lyons and Winter Park.