Built as the big brother to the SB66, the SB95 is Yeti first offering in to the full suspension 29 category and let me tell you, it was WELL worth the wait. The SB95 exceeded all expectations. From its ability to concur the steepest and most technical climbs, to its nimble and sharp handling on the descents, the SB95 will not let you down.
Best bike I've ever had. I spent 4 years on Niner RIP9's and took one demo ride on a SB95, and then ordered one. I'm 5'7" and I got a medium, and I came off a small RIP9 (roughly the same top tube length). The Yeti fits me a lot better. The bars are lower relative to the pedals. I don't need a negative rise stem (run a 0degree) to get the bars low enough! The slack headtube is the killer feature though! It makes the handling so good. I'm in Norcal and ride up in Tahoe regularly. I love the downhill biased slack angles. Riding this bike instantly made me faster and more confident. I am comfortable doing things that I was nervous about on my RIP9. The rear suspension uses all the travel, all of the time, but I never feel the bottom. It just feels smooth and awesome all the time. I don't notice a bob on climbs, but I like the Fox CTD rear shock. The Climb setting keeps the rear suspension more extended during climbing, keeping the bike better balanced.
I custom built mine, so I can't comment on the stock build kits. It begs for a dropper seat post though. I'm running Sram XX1 with the 28t ring. So I can climb great. I get into the high gear now and then but if I'm rolling downhill, I don't generally feel the need to pedal.
Strengths: Amazing traction
Pedals very well
Weaknesses: Water bottle location
I was riding my Superfly 100 a bit harder than it could handle and wanted a step up. I demo'd a few other contenders, but the Yeti stood out as being the only that felt like a worthy upgrade over my SF100 for the trails I ride and my riding style. It made everything I wanted to do, easier, allowing me to take my riding to a whole new level. I wanted to travel more I was riding confidently and fast, on trails new to me. The only things that I got tripped up on, is when I found myself in the wrong gear, but fortunately, the SB95's suspension is so well designed that it doesn't care how you pedal. The new Shimano XT doesn't cry if you're a bit late with the shifting either.
The fit and ride feel are hard to describe. I'm 5'7" and could've chose either the Sm or the Med, but chose the Small primarily because I like low handlebars. The 3.7" HT and inset/zerostack headset combined to get my handlebars where I like it, without needing a crazy neg rise stem or flat (or neg rise) bars, and helped create a perfect feeling front end. The ride feel is not plush, yet not firm, and not overly stiff, but stiff enough to give great confidence. It feels great at speed and yet likes to climb. The traction is just amazing. Give this thing faster low profile tires and braking control might feel a bit lower, but let off the brakes and it still has more than enough traction and control. I feel like I can push it so much more than any 5" bike has a right to be pushed.
The only thing negative I have to say is the tire buzzing sounds when I hit particularly hard bumps. The front can buzz the water bottle if you have one, and the rear can buzz the back of the seatpost if you run a big tire.
At under 150 lbs in riding gear, even I could feel the DT wheels flexing a bit when sideloaded, which wasn't a bad thing for me, as I think it gave me a bit more traction in the turns, but I can see how heavier riders would not like them. The hubs are great though and worth keeping, with an appropriate rim upgrade for a rider's weight and riding style.
Newer bikes have already came out that have caught my eye, but I don't regret my purchase at all. I would've maybe considered the Intense Spider 29 Comp and the Cube Super Stereo HPC, if I had the money... among alloy frames in this class, I firmly believe that this is the best choice.
Strengths: The xt build is a great value, wide bars, 34 mm fork, large frame tubes this bike kills it on the rough stuff.
Weaknesses: The wheels are a little under built for what the rest of the bike can handle.
I'm 6'2" weigh 200 lbs and I chose a xl frame size. I test rode a pivot 429, santa cruz tallboy and when I hopped on the yeti, instantly I knew it was the one. The bike is so natural to ride it makes you want to attack the trail. From railing a corner to dropping a gnarly rocky root infested chute, the bike just begs you to push the limits. It's a sweet ride.
Strengths: Can climb techie rock gardens amazingly well; rolls over stuff like a monster truck, plus the big wheels (run tubeless 25 psi) mute a lot of the small stuff that gets transmitted to the rider on a 26er; incredibly stiff chassis that is brilliantly executed
Weaknesses: Same as any 29er - it takes extra effort to keep the wheels rolling up those techie rock gardens, and you get a bit of wheel flex on some off-camber moves
A superb "desert" bike - take it to Fruita, Moab or Sedona and unleash the beast. Looks damn good, too.
Strengths: Pedals like a hardtail+, seems to ride over the top of anything, great cockpit, top of the line suspension. Rides like a much lighter bike. Makes me a faster, better rider. Comfortable.
Weaknesses: Price, weight
Easily the best bike I've ever owned or ridden. The switch suspension pedals almost like a hardtail, but with the addition of some great bump absorption that helps keep the rear wheel stuck to the ground on technical ascents. As a result, I feel like I get more consistent and useful power onto the ground than I would with a hardtail, at least for the types of trails that we have in Southeastern Wyoming where there are a lot of rocks and roots.
The Fox 34 fork combined with the Switch/RP23 Kashima rear suspension and 29 inch wheels on this bike makes for an extremely able descender that seems to roll over the top of almost anything, and I've ridden out of sticky situations where I know I would have gone down on a 26 inch bike. On fast flowing single track, the bike can really carve a nice smooth line, but it really shines in technical stuff where it makes line selection less critical - you can often point it and bomb it and the bike will just eat up whatever you throw in front of it. I came from a Yeti 575, and I feel much more comfortable and fast descending on this bike than I did on the longer travel 26" bike.
The cost of all of this lays in both the price, and the weight of the bike. Even with the high price, there are some components that are not quite up to the standard of the rest of the bike. Some people have complained about wheelset, but I've had no complaints in that aspect at all. The cassette on the Enduro build is a lower end SRAM, and pretty heavy. My size L bike, weighed at the shop the day I bought it, was right at 30lbs. However, due to the fantastic design of the rear suspension and a comfortable cockpit, the bike feels several pounds lighter than it is. My 575 was somewhere between 27 and 28 pounds, and I felt like it was a decent climber, but there is no contest on which bike I'd want to pedal up a hill.
I did need to have the DU bushing on the rear shock replaced after only about 3 weeks, but since then I haven't had an issue, so it might have just been an issue with that one bushing.
I demo'd several bikes in this class prior to purchasing (Niner RIP 9, Trek Rumblefish, Santa Cruz Tallboy and Tallboy LT), and while the Niner was a great bike, this was clearly the best overall.
If you are in the market, and it is in your price range, I think that this is THE bike if you want one bike that can do it all.
Strengths: Technical trail handling; descending; rigidity of the frame (in all the right ways only); lovely physical design; seems to be regular/low maintenance required (see comments below though); fabulous Everything bike
Weaknesses: stock build wheelset is wimpy (narrow DT XR400 rims, hubs seem okay so far); rear shock eye bushing wears fast (for me); stock rear tire wears fast;
This is a fabulous One Bike - the only thing I'd NOT do on this bike is huge DH/FR drops and BIG DH chunk-fests - stuff where you really want another 2 or more inches of travel. But remember, this IS a trail-bike not a freeride-bike!
It's a little heavy (30# ish) and the geometry isn't right for someone looking for a lightweight XC race "whip" - but it would probably excel at marathon MTB racing, certainly Enduro MTB racing, and is just a kill general-use trail bike.
If you want a general use / trail bike, I don't think you an go wrong.
I could gush for pages, but since I've already done that I'll give you the link to that instead : http://forums.mtbr.com/yeti/hey-yeti-dudes-n-chix-thanks-sb-95-a-793432.html
Here's the short version though.
I have put over 500 miles in little under 8 weeks of ownership, on small and huge rides all over NE PA and NJ.
Buff stuff, relentlessly rocky rooty, super-fast chunky downhills, chunky climbs, gravel grinder climbs, tight and twisty, huge rock rollers, modest jumps, modest drops (3-4'), etc.
Hour long techy post-work rides to 7+ hour epics with 5000' of climbing and multi-mile descents.
It does almost everything I asked my 6x6 26er (Titus Quasi-Moto) or my 7x7 26er (Titus SuperMoto) to do and does it with more composure and does it faster, I feel.
I just draw the line at HUGE drops (over 4') and DH/FR rock-fests at speed (think Mountain Creek Bike Park Stalker or BMW or Asylum trails).
I pretty much leave the shock in the lightest compression-damped setting all the time; and on the trail the fork stays pretty much in Descend mode.
I only use the fork Climb mode / shock ProPedal mode for long gravel-grinder or road climbs.
I have found few blemishes of the bike, but there are some minor warts. Could be the build (done by LBS in NE PA) or could be more systemic, or could be the rider, you decide.
- rear tire as shipped wore out in ~200 trail miles (Maxxis Ikon 3C EXO)
- rear shock eye bushing wore out fast - 1st in 1 week, second in less than 2 weeks, until I replaced the mount hardware with Fox pin&sleeve, 6 weeks and going strong on 3rd bushing
- DT XR400 rims are too lightweight for this bike, it deserves something trail oriented. I had significant deformities in the rear wheel and almost daily truing required, and minor issues with the front wheel after 2 weeks of ownership. I replaced with Stan's Flow and the build has been solid and maintenance free for six weeks. I am still planning a 36 spoke "burly" wheelset build for if/when I take it to a bike park. ha ha ha.
- 160mm rear rotor could not dissipate heat well enough and the brake faded on me completely on a couple descents in Michaux State Forest (near Gettysburg, PA). 180mm rotor solved this, apparently. Nicely enough if I decide to there is plenty of frame and fork room for 200mm rotors, and if I wanted to bling-out I could use ice-tech for best heat handling. Don't think I need it though, but we'll see.
- rear brake hose rubbed a bit of anodizing off the black Switch yoke, I zip-tied it to the vertical rear-triangle spart and stopped that.
- front derailleur housing rubbed a bit into the bottom of the bottom bracket, I added a wrap of hockey tape around the housing where the lowest two zip-tie mounts are on the down tube and snugged it down tight with zip ties to give the mount point extra holding power. We'll see if that stops it. I think the hose had slipped forward so the suspension cycling was causing the cable housing to rub the frame.
- no way for moisture that gets into the frame to drain out easily. I am considering drilling a hole in the bottom of the BB shell to allow this since I live in an area where moisture is an issue.
- with a 28t granny, for the chain to clear the MRP XCG bash, I had to add a 1mm spacer to gap the crank out a little further. If you're running 24t or smaller it's not an issue. If you're running 1x it's not an issue.
- the saddle is hit or miss in fit (WTB Rocket V), works mostly for me, but I know some hate it. Still, I am considering changing one with a shorter back-end.
I weigh 200#, have a 10-15# camelback, the fork is at 60 psi, the shock is at 192 psi.
My primary build changes are:
- convert 3x cranks to 2x by replacing 24/32/42 rings with 28/38
- rebuilt wheels with Stan's Flow rims on stock DT 350 hubs, added 36t ratchet to rear hub
- replaced rear rotor (160mm stock) with 180mm (plain, not ice-tech)
- added Bionicon v2 chainguide, to quiet chain slap and add some retention (works great)
- added MRP XCG bash guard (mounted on ISCG-5 tabs)
- replaced rear shock mount hardware with Fox pin&sleeve (no, not the newest style, just metal)
- replaced grips with Ergon GX1
- Time Z Strong pedals
- currently running Panaracer Rampage 2.35 tires (tubeless) and they seem pretty great on the bike
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 15, 2012
Strengths: Ability to plough through and smooth all manner of chunky/gnarly terrain.
Stable, confidence inspiring decender.
Terrific bike on any technical terrain which begs you to find a tougher line to ride so it can level it for you.
Pedals very well on the way back to the top. Faster than a hardtail if you have the legs over chunk.
Very linear and non progressive shock rate so you easily use the suspension stroke required to soak all hits.
Remarkably nimble and very very stiff.
Weaknesses: Big and heavy (with XT build kit)
When climbing very lumpy/chunky terrain you can get some funky pedal feedback
Many describe it as very efficient but it isnt exactly. Biased to the sensitive and plush so not a super pedaller on smooth terrain.
The SB 95 next to you feels huge. But hop on top and itssuprisingly nimble and agile for a 29er. Given its wheelbase itstill feels like a slack hardtail of similar top tube dimensions. This is a good thing.
With alternative rubber (Hans Dampf up front) the bike is an incredible descender. Any lines you may have taken in the past need not be adhered to. Just point and plow.
This must be its best atribute, it is trully the best MTB I have ridden in technical terrain.
The rear end is very stable but reacts instantly to any change in terrain. It is so subtle and responsive. This allows for fantastic traction and inspires hugh confidence.
The Fox 34 is a quite different to any fox I have owned before. It uses all its travel !
This fork and the slack and stable head angle obviously play a huge role in the bikes ability to blast through and down anything you have the skill and balls to handle.
It honestly feels like a 7" coil sprung freeride bike on the descents.
Given this it also gets up the other side rather well.
The shock rate, even though very linear, seems to be supported by a decent amount of anti squat dialed into the linkage geometry.
Seated pedalling is efficient and stable and even in out of the saddle efforts are quite stable but not the same as some of the more progressive dual link designs such as the DW link or the short 4 bar set ups like the Giant Maestro and Niner Jet9.
This just leads to a different style of ascending but if your an out of the saddle masher then you might be disapointed.
When seated the SB95 climbs steps better thanall above but does give a bit of funky pedal feedback on the big steps and lumps during a climb when you are grinding hard.
Its heft, which some dont seem to mind, is an issue for me and I expect for those who are used to lighter bikes. It prevents itfrom being a "point and shoot" machine.
It has the makings of one if it were about 3kg lighter. To get it down that much would mean waiting for the lighter carbon frame and a big spend on wheels and other kit.
Perhaps some rear shock tuning would also make it more sprightly. I find the SB 95 feels a tad less efficient and pedal responsive compared to their SB66 - just in the uphill pedal response, that is all. I actually prefer it to the SB 66 for anything else but I like a more cruisey 29er feel.
The rear end is definitely more lively than any other multi linkage I have tried but its still hard to make the bike "pop" with its heft and almost too plush rear end.
Overall a super impresive ride.
Very much a Trail oriented technical terrain machine.
Not an XC racer that's for sure but has potential as an endurance racer as it turns any nasty trail into a smooth superhighway.
Similar Products Used: As for 29ers - Niner SIR 9, Orbea Alma, Giant Anthem, Trek Superfly 100, Pivot 429, Jet9 RDO
Bike Setup: XT build kit with trigger shifters (yuk ! - so slow - im an XO gripper shifter) , XT brakes with 160mm rotors ( perfectly powerfull enough suprisingly...) Racing Ralph rear and Hans Dampf front (tubeless)
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: July 13, 2012
Strengths: Climbs better than hardtails. Very efficient, I have been up some pretty steep climbs and never taken it out of the middle ring, granny gear is for only the most extreme of climbs (and I am a 250 lb clydesdale, not a climber at all). Descends like my 7 inch travel Kona Coilair, wait not like, better.
Weaknesses: Price! XR400 rims may be a bit light, tire choice a bit poor (rear will wash out on loose corners). Could use the 12mm x 142 in the rear but it's still pretty freaking stiff.
Flat out, best bike I have ever owned or ridden on. This is my first foray into the 29er world and I am hooked. I swapped with my buddy on a Ibis Mojo and he said "I need to get one of these" I asked "a 29er?:" he commented back, "nope, one of these". After less than 15 minutes he was hooked.
Out of the box, once the suspension is dialed in, this thing just makes you better. The climbs are shorter, downhills faster, no loss of momentum, just better. It took a little bit to get used to the wagon wheels but now sitting on a 26er just feels wrong. Best of all, this bike just makes me ride more and the girls find me way more attractive. Ok, I may have made the last one up but you get my point.
Similar Products Used: Ibis Mojo, Santa Cruz Blur, Fezzari Nebo Peak, Kona Coilair Deluxe
Bike Setup: Yeti Enduro Build.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: June 20, 2012
Strengths: Great climber and awesome on the descents.
Weaknesses: None... I guess if you're picky the weight is a bit much but I don't think it's a huge issue. Frame color choices are limited.
I demoed the SB 95 3 times for 2 days each time. My first impression was that it is very good on the uphill and very stable and fun on the downhill. I've ridden it on very flowy singletrack and very rocky, almost freeride type trails. It eats up everything with ease. I have always ridden with the rear shock wide open and have never needed to adjust it. In comparison, I demoed the FSR Stumpy 29er for 2 days and I had to toggle the rear shock depending on if I was climbing or descending. I never felt as efficient or comfortable as I did on the SB 95. The geometry of the SB 95 is amazing, I love it... I also tried the Ellsworth Evolve and it was a little too active, lots of bob on the uphill. Didn't like it.
Strengths: Very stiff laterally and a very efficient pedaling bike. I spoke with Yeti before purchasing due to not being able to take a test ride and John helped a ton. I'm 6'2" and went with the XL. I put a 50mm stem on and the fit is perfect, its very reminiscent of my 2004 Heckler.
Weaknesses: None per se but spend time getting the sag just right.
After riding several other 29'ers I've finally found the "one", this baby handles buff trails and chunky trails with aplomb. I've been fortunate to ride some really nice rigs but this one is truly special. It's somehow nimble yet burly and tough.
Strengths: Pedaling efficiency! I came from a hard tail and whether it is actually true or not, I certainly feel as though the uphills are easier. And related, the suspension works great. Hardly feel any pedal bob. I'm still getting it dialed in and have heard good things about the shock and fork (Fox Float and RP23) after they break in a bit. On the downhills, this thing is fun as heck.
This bike fits me quite well. I'm 6-2.5 with most of my height in my legs, so I bought the Large after getting a chance to demo it. The wide bars make up a bit for the shorter ETT, but I'm still inclined to advise that if you are a taller upper-body or long arms and in between sizes, lean towards the next size up.
Weaknesses: Cost mostly... but c'est la vie.
Haven't heard great things about the DT Swiss wheels that came on it, but I haven't had issues with them yet.
Not the most in-depth review I know, but overall I would say that if you are shopping for a FS bike and have the dough for the SB-95 (as I'm assuming you do, because why else would you be reading these reviews), you'd be wise to at least demo it. The suspension won't disappoint. the weight of the frame is really a non-issue given its application as quasi-AM rig.
I know a lot of guys have the hots for the SC Tallboy LT now (which I haven't ridden), so if you are one of those dudes the SB-95 should also be on your radar. I'm willing to bet the suspension on the 95 would outperform that of the Tallboy... (maybe this helps explain why SC filed a lawsuit against Yeti over it).
Bike Setup: Stock Race kit... Will probably change a few things out eventually, but for the price, the race kit is well equipped.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: April 27, 2012
Strengths: If you are a previous Yeti owner you feel right at home,the geometry has that familiar feel. The pedaling platform separates this bike from anything I have ever ridden. All the energy from the pedal stroke is directed straight ahead and the bike just jets ahead with no lost energy. The 95 steers as easily as my 575 so I don't feel any of the downside characteristics of other 29ers. The traction and balance of the design allows the new bike to excel in technical terrain. I demo'ed the 95 three times on different terrain (Apex,Lair O' The Bear and Mathews Winters/Dakota Ridge). I just could not believe I had found a 29er that was such a excellent all around trail bike. My 575 Pro build is super and at 25 LB's is not nearly as fast up hill as the 29.5 LB SB-95. As they say if it is too good to be true it probably is, well I believe Yeti will sell a boat load of these as riders get a chance to try them out. I went home a immediately called my LBD and told him to order me a SB95 Pro ASAP. I plan to add Easton Haven Carbons and make the thing really fly up hill.
Weaknesses: Originally the 7.5 LB frame almost backed me off but that turned out not to be an issue. The Switch technology overcomes most of the additional weight in pure efficiency.
I did not like the traction on the first bike that had Schwalbe Nobby Nicks, The second one had a Maxxis Ardent 2.4 front and a Icon 2.1 on the rear, the front was fine the rear had a tendency to wash out in higher speed corners. These were tubed tires and with a switch to tubless the issue could be quickly solved. I actually plan to use Specilized Captain Controls they have served me well and shave some gram's.
With the cost of bikes pushing the limit it is refreshing to find a quality ride that at least makes you feel your getting value for all your hard earned money. I looked long and hard to find a bike that gave me a reason to want to leave my trusty 575 and in a few more days that will happen. Hope this helps as you make your personal decision.
Strengths: Great climber
Sublime, unnoticeable suspension
Great riding position
Fox 34 120 mm fork is very nice, smooth and sensitive
Weaknesses: Personal preference, but I dislike the saddle as-built
Racing Ralph tires great for XC, but could be a bit over-whelmed for more aggressive riding
Shimano XT crank is a bit fussy when shifting to the big ring
Hit the Yeti demo this past weekend at Dakota Ridge in Lakewood, CO...I rode both the SB-95 Race/XT with a 120 fork and an SB-66 Race/XT plus-like kit with a Float 36 in large..
OK, so here are my observations. For reference I currently ride a 7 set up with a TALAS 36 and a Big Top.
1) I did not prefer the SB-66 with the 36. Even on the easy climb at the beginning, the laid back HT angle made it feel like a DH bike going up hill. Sluggish. On the technical area it was a complete PITA.
2) The SB-95 climbs excellently. It easily conquered the long climb (I know this because it was first and I was still a bit hung over ), and made the technical bit even enjoyable at times, instead of a complete lung buster. The big wheels just rolled up and gripped.
3) The SB-66 got hung up more often and required much body English to navigate the section at 4:08 in the first vid.
4) The SB-95 stomped the aforementioned section of trail.
5) On the DH bit, the SB-66 felt great and rocked it, but I did not care for the 2.4 NoNi. The 2.25 RaRa on the SB-95 had more traction on the rocks (greater contact area and less open tread)
6) Even at 120, the SB-95 railed the last DH section. I think it would be even more wonderful with a 140 TALAS. Although, if you are on a budget and want to get the standard build, I would say go for the 120. It is an excellent fork.
7) The switch suspension on both bikes is sublime and unnoticeable in its operation. IMO, this is the hallmark of a great suspension design. Both pedaled excellently, although Pro-pedal was nice on the smoother, switchy climb for out of the saddle riding. From seated, neither exhibited any bob that was noticeable.
So, my verdict? SB-95 by a long shot!! I think that the Float 36 on the 66 hurt it's chances a bit since the technical climb was nearly impossible with the slack HT angle and long ATC, but where it really did not come through was the rocky, technical, rolling terrain. The big wheels on the 95 just rolled everything like a monster truck. Since keeping momentum is key in that type of terrain, the 95 rules. I honest felt I had to work the 66 harder to get the same results. There was one switchback on the initial climb, where regardless of wheel size the corner had to be cut. The 95 went up and around without much effort. The 66 hung up and stopped dead on the 2 in tall water bars made of rocks. While neither made the trail magically easy, no bike can. Overall, the SB-95 gives up very little in maneuverability and DH-ability, but destroys the 66 in the rough stuff.
Strengths: The frame is very stiff laterally and torsionally. Got the bike put together yesterday and hit the roughest trails I could think of to start out. I am coming from an Intense Tracer29 and the difference in the rear triangle stiffness i remarkable. The bike is very stable in extremely rocky and rough terrain. Up or downhill, it handled the terrain easily. I haved owned several short link bikes and Yeti somehow increased the pedaling efficiency with their new design.
Weaknesses: A lighter carbon version will be nice.
For rough, rocky terrain that requires equal climbing and descending this is a great choice. Run the 140 mm length fork, it balances the bike perfectly and is worth the slight weight penalty. I am 6'on 5"and 51 years old at 250 pounds riding the XL.
Bike Setup: XO 3x10
Avid CR brakes with 203 front rotor, 185 rear rotor
Easton Haven carbon wheelset with Geax Gato's tubeless
Fox 140 mm Talas fork
Thomson Elite 90 mm stem and offset seatpost
WTB Silverado saddle
Crank Brothers carbon riser bar