Apex is a trail that starts right in Golden and culminates after a few miles at the top of the ridge some 1,500 feet higher, and it's the prime artery into the county open space for the Yeti crew when they take their lunch rides. Considering this, their focus on hard climbs makes logical sense, which in no small part led to the development of the Yeti SB-66 with its 152mm (6") of rear suspension travel. It climbs with the unflinching prowess of a full-on XC race bike. And true to the old adage, "what goes up must come down," the SB-66 is a truly inspired descender. The key to its multi-faceted ability is the distinctive Switch Technology rear suspension design. Technically, it's a mini dual-link system. While there are a number of iterations currently on the market, Yeti's application offers something a bit different, and from our ride experience this translates into a "best of" ride quality. And quality is one of the words we heard the Yeti crew use to speak about the SB-66, as in "quality of travel".Switch Technology refers to the rotational movement of an eccentric that houses the lower pivot. So it's a pivot within a pivot, with 12mm separating the centers, and that is the effective length of the lower "link". As the rear suspension compresses into its travel, the eccentric (and the pivot) rotate counter-clockwise as viewed from the drive-side of the bike. It moves this way through the first 100mm or so of travel, providing plenty of anti-squat that keeps the bike stable and neutral as your weight shifts rearward due to the grade of the trail and with the acceleration of each pedal stroke. You'll feel as if the bike has a built-in pedaling platform, and since it comes as an effect of the linkage placement and movement, the bike does not rely on heavy compression damping to eliminate excess suspension motion caused by your body. At the same time, the SB-66 is highly responsive to bump input from the trail, even when pedaling hard. You'll experience reliable traction and control through challenging sections of trail, in the big ring or small and with zero pedal feedback. The supple midstroke is controlled and predictable through boulders and high speed berms. This is remarkable since you often can't have great performance in both situations because of the different way these high- and low-speed compressive events load the rear suspension. Near that 100mm point in the travel, the eccentric reaches the inflection point, where it changes direction and rotates clockwise. This is part of Yeti's focus on what they call dCSL, or the rate of change in the chainstay length. They knew that excessive chainstay growth through the stroke can affect the rear suspension performance, even when standing and coasting. By limiting the rate of chainstay growth and at the same time ramping the leverage ratio from what is, for the most part, a flat curve, the SB-66 rear suspension can be pushed all the way through its travel without requiring excessive
Chris Conroy of Yeti Cycles shows us the new All Mountain Chasis, currently known as the SB-66. Featuring the new Switch Technology, an eccentric link above bottom bracket that creates a stiff pedaling platform in the front end and gets more plush further into travel. Continue reading →
Strengths: Rides great. Did a custom build with fox 36 and it descends like a monster kind of heavy but it's a burly build. Rode the aluminum version for a year and swing arm cracked!
Weaknesses: Frame strength, pivot bearings, weight, yeti service and warranty absolutely terrible. What ever you do don't buy yeti. This bike only last one year and it cracked and local shops won't do a dang thing. Call yeti they say go to a local shop. I live in Colorado and May have to drop this over priced turd off to them.
Don't buy yeti. Service is terrible there dealers are stuck up and don't care and I live in Colorado!
Date Reviewed: October 14, 2013
Strengths: Great Geometry (slack angle, handling), Proper Suspension, Great All Mountain Rig, Fast and Agile
Weaknesses: Low BB, Pricey, Paint a bit weak, Expensive Pivot Rebuild kit
I have had the bike for over a year, road it on trails from Utah to Oregon. I changed some things such as a dropper post (a all mountain must have), I also have upgraded the rear to a 12mm X 142 axle (definately stiffer on bigger stuff). The front is a Fox 34 160 Talas, great when you have to climb the steep stuff. I run some custom tubeless CK/Mavic rims, CK headset/BB, XTR shadow plus rear Derailleur, XT brakes/crank/front derailleur. I worked with the suspension and I believe this thing flies (it can go faster than I take it), I can climb for hours then turn it downhill and have a blast. No creaking at the pivots, I have taken great care (weekly cleanings) of this bike since it was a sizable investment, but I also understand a pivot job will be in the future (as Yeti recommends), and that is another pricey spend as well as complicated. I enjoy this bike and would buy it again. I would recommend this bike to someone looking for a higher end All Mountain bike. I would like to see a more duable paint job, but they took care in designing the bike, the intergrated rubber chain/seat stay protectors are a nice touch. I see people have previously mentioned the low BB, but it is partly the slacker angle that leads to that, but I haven't had many issues with it (a few pedal strikes in a year). The suspension works fantastic for me, I run it alittle stiffer than the 30% Fox recommends, but I have always prefered alittle more rigidness in my suspension.
Strengths: This bike is great as it climbs great, then comes down great. I replaced my 8 year old Freeride bike that I had to push up many hills (or ride really slowly) with this bike and this one climbs and comes down as good if not better. I ride fast flowy trails and I wanted a bike with some pop of the bumps and something that digs into berms and this bike delivers.
Weaknesses: Now for the problems...I have not had any problems with the frame whatsoever. Paint is still there and there has not been any squeaking. I have hard problems with many of the components that are on the bike. I got the Enduro package, not only because shelling out $4500 on a bike is enough, but I was really happy with my SRAM derailer on my last bike (Enduro package is all SRAM parts in one form or another, Avid, mavic, SRAM, except for the fork and shock). Well I have not had problems with the derailer, but have broken a spoke, broken the dropper seatpost (ok I added this when I bought the bike, but it sucks and was made by SRAM/Rock SHOX), and had the loud Avid brakes from hell (there are a couple of other forums on it). The dealer that I bought it from has been really good and is going to fix the wheel and the seatpost (either under warranty or at his cost), but it does make a person wonder how you can spent so much for a mountain bike and get such crappy parts.
BTW I fixed my brake problem with an Alligator / Gusset rotor for $25
I find that overall the bike makes me really happy and makes me want to ride a lot more. If you are in the market for an all mountain bike that climbs and rides good, then I would consider this bike. I compared to the Nomad and the Transition Covert and found there was more technology for the money with this bike.
I have also found that I get more pedal strikes with this bike, but I assume that is the trade off for having that sucked in surfy feel when going around berms. I figure that a decent set of pedals are pretty resilient these days and if I have to buy a new pair every couple of years, $80 is a small price to pay (compared to the bike) to have fun.
Strengths: Fun geo for the front range
Switch provides an adequate stable platform for pedaling
Fun to jump and moderately poppy bike
Weaknesses: Okay for descents
Weak OEM Shock eyelet bushing
Weak Rear triangle
Frame Design is a dirt trap/magnet around pivots
Does not like very wet or very dry conditions
Must go thru dealers for customer service
It is a fun bike to ride despite the fox suspension component warranty issues. It needs to be pushed hard. Switch provides an adequate stable platform for pedaling but it is no DW link nor 4X4. Climbing traction is good. The frame is stiff enough for cornering at speed. Descending was mediocre when compared to bikes in its category.
However, the frame itself is a maintenance nightmare. The pivot points as well as the Switch area of the frame are dirt magnets. It requires constant cleaning and re-lubing especially during dry conditions or it will creak to no end.
Rear triangle is not strong, broken while riding trail with tiny curb size to 1 foot drops. Replacement was similar to the original. The frame's reliability is uninspiring and does not provide confidence. Given all the warranty and dealer issues, I found the customer service lacking as well but turnaround time was quick on Yeti's part. I got really good at taking the bike apart, fixed/replace parts, and reassembling (akin to driving a Ford from what I've heard).
At this price range, there are better valued and better designed offerings than the SB-66. Like most things in CO, its. more hype than reality.
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2013
Strengths: True all mountain bike. Switch tech is magic. Geometry. Lateral stiffness. Sexy.
Weaknesses: Low BB. Occasional squeeking from pivots (I live in super dry/dusty southern Idaho). Enduro set up could be a bit higher end for the money.
Bought my 2013 Enduro set up when they first became available about 9 months ago. This is THE all mountain bike. The most reactive bike I've ridden on any type of trail. For a full suspension bike, it climbs like Reinhold Mesner. On fast flowy trails this bike inspires me to take lines faster and harder than I think I can. In the tight, technical stuff the SB66 gives great feedback and reacts exactly as you want to. The bike climbs like no other (short of a hardtail). Southwestern Idaho trails are hard packed with a bit of sand in the mix, but even on tight, steep switchbacks, this bike sticks and keeps climbing. As for downhill, the SB66 took me to 38mph on a rocky cat track at Park City last weekend. I know that's not true DH but it was the smoothest I could ask for for my ride style/ability.
I haven't had any bearing issues short of a bit of squeeking from the pivot points. That's not surprising considering I live in a very dry/dusty climate. After a good cleaning, the squeeks have always gone away. The BB doesn't feel low, but I do get more pedal strikes than on previous bikes. I'm not sure if that's the BB height or the fact that I ride this bike harder than any other.
Some have said the pain scratches easily. It's a mountain bike. I can hardly be upset about scratches if I'm willing to blast through rock gardens and launch off logs in to a forest.
Overall, this bike is pure pedal metal.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: April 4, 2013
Strengths: Great ride downhill.
Looks good until the paint falls off.
Weaknesses: Pivot bearings wear out rapidly
Rear pivot broke along weld after moderate use
Poor paint quality that wears off rapidly
Terrible customer service from local distributor (kh cycles Malaysia) and Yeti in US are no help at all; wont deal with public direct.
Climbs like a dog and weighs alot more than the competition
A complete waste of money. There are far better bikes out there that do a far better job! Dont buy a YETI and buy from a dealer that provides service.
Weaknesses: THought I was lucky when I picked up one of the first batch of 66s that Yeti put on the market. Not so much. Stock SRAM 2x10 drivetrain was crap. Went through 3 X0 derailleurs due to the chain getting wrapped up in the pulleys. Chain would consistently pop off top ring on rocky descents, even with MRP Chainguide. Converted everything to shimano 1x10 and no more drivetrain problems. BB sets way too low. Always clipping rocks with pedals. Creaks because of bad pivot bearings. Cracked the rear triangle. Blah blah blah.
My first and last Yeti. Will beat this into the ground and buy an IBIS or Turner. Yeti customer service sucks. I've ridden Apex trail outside of Golden, CO where rumor has it Yeti tests their bikes. Its a plush, flowy trail. The worst damage it can do to your bike is scratch some paint. Have them come out to the Southwest and take some turns in the rocky, gnarly high desert of Moab or Hurricane and see how their bikes perform. Bring the duct tape.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 27, 2012
Strengths: Rides like everyone says it does.
Weaknesses: Pivot design is pants for longevity. Yeti customer service has let me down. Paint finish is soft as ....
First set of bearings were the low quality Bolu ones everyone's been on about. Yeti refused to change them under warranty. Wheelbase were as supportive as a baggy pair of boxers. After trying to source Enduro equivalents in the UK, and several experiments with cheaper bearings (10 hour life!) I ordered the official Yeti rebuild kit. It contains:
4 off bolts.
2 off quad seals.
1 off Enduro 6808.
1 off Enduro 6809.
2 off Bolu 6902.
2 off Bolu 63802.
1 off Bolu 6903.
1 off Bolu 7903.
The Yeti parts list states 2 off 7903 - so why have they put a normal 6903 rather than an angular contact 7903?
Any advice before I fit these?
If I don't get 6 months of winter riding out of this set of bearings, its bye bye Yeti, and hello, Whyte.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: September 28, 2012
Strengths: See my previous review- all these strengths still hold true.
Weaknesses: Update on my situation: After initially intending to sell the bike because of aforementioned pivot/bearing issues, I chose to keep the bike because it was, simply put, the most fun bike I had ever ridden (seems like the guys at Yeti are great at figuring out the perfect equation for geometry & measurement = great ride). The bike was running well after my most recent pivot rebuild- until the creaks and screams from the frame came back. At this point, I have had to replace the bearings 4 times in 10 months. I ride about 3 times per week here in the Andes. Full riding weight (gear, clothing, water, etc) is 195 lbs. No major jumping or drops- don't hit doubles, stay away from lippy kickers, and biggest drop to flat I'll pull is 3-4 feet. I ride quick enough downhill, but nothing more than any other experienced mtb-er.
There is absolutely NO way that the bearings should be wearing out like this. See http://forums.mtbr.com/yeti/switch-pivot-bearings-745350.html for others who had the same issues as me. After having Yeti via Competitive Cyclist (where I bought the bike from, and where I totally recommend buying from as their customer service was phenomenal) send me the first 2 rebuild kits, I have now had to pay for 2 more with the likelihood of buying more high. Not OK.
I'm now returning to my initial thoughts that I need to replace the Yeti with a full suspension all-mountain bike who's pivots/bearings last more than 3 months at a time (most companies) and/or don't charge a boat load of money for rebuild kits (I've dropped over $500 on rebuilding this p.o.s, and that's after they sent me 2 free rebuild kits after I had the first problems). I'm thinking a SC Nomad based on feedback from friends, and the fact that they have free bearing replacement policy. In short, if you are into an amazing bike that is constantly having major problems, buy the YETI SB-66.
Favorite Trail: the one I'm riding, but especially Huinginal bike park here in Santiago, Chile
Duration Product Used: 10 months
Purchased At: Competitive Cyclist
Similar Products Used: SC Blur, Mongoose Khyber, Ibis HD 160, Cannondale Jeckyll,
Bike Setup: Full X0 build, Stans Flow with Chris King hubs, Reverb, Fox RP23 kashima, Fox TALAS 160 w/ 20 mm thru axle
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: July 28, 2012
Strengths: Climbs like a goat. Descends with abandon. Can handle almost anything but the biggest freeride stuff. Geometry very aggressive, always pushing your limits while you're grinning ear to ear.
Weaknesses: A bit pricey and can be hard to get hold of. Inspires confidence to the point where you might think of doing something really stupid. Geometry stretches you out a little.
If you want one bike to "rule them all", this is it. Yeti's SB 66/95 series are setting new standards with their Switch technology. Two groups may not like this bike. One would be the competive XC crowd who want a sub 25 lb rig with minimal suspension and would rather suffer on descents in order to gain some time on the climb. The other would be near pro level free riders who pretty much don't climb and are into big air/drops at a bike park/resort. Otherwise, GET THIS BIKE! I demoed all the relevant competition before buying, and liked this the best. Trek Remedy, Pivot 5.7, SJ Comp Evo, S Enduro, Knolly Chilcotin, SC Blur, and yeti ASR-5/575 are also good choices.
After riding my 575 for 3 years It became a part of me,I loved it every time I rode. The only thing about the 575 it could have used more travel. This is why I went with the new Yeti SB66. I have rode for 1 month and here it comes... I was immediately missing the 575 on the uphill the 575 climbs way better. The sb66 seemed like a whole new platform even though most people seem to have no problem with it. All the super steep climbs I am struggling. The wasatch crest has a good climb called puke hill. The 575 would roar up it the sb66 seems way harder (to me). I also think Yeti missed the mark on the paint job. Its glossy and scratches really easy. I actually put a big scratch on the frame just pulling it out of the box (it must have snagged a staple or something). You would think they would want there brand Yeti to stand out but you can barley make it out, what the F!
As for the downhill... It rips and shreds anything in its path. Wow! The switch technology is really cool. I love Yeti bikes and I was more then impressed the way the sb66 roles down the hill. I have not bottomed it out anything like I would the 575.
I am sure after a season with the sb66 I will forget how well the 575 climbs otherwise I will be re-thinking my purchase and go back to the 575
Favorite Trail: Wasatch Crest, Little Cottonwood Canyon
Duration Product Used: 10 rides
Purchased At: Jensen USA
Similar Products Used: Yeti 575. Yeti 303rdh
Bike Setup: 2012 Yeti sb66 Endro Build from Jensen USA
Date Reviewed: June 17, 2012
Strengths: Suspension works the way it's touted. Climbs exceptionally well and descends like a BEAST! Geometry and frame measurements are speed and enduro/steep/big mountain friendly. Rear end is extremely stiff. Not too heavy, not too light (an important element for an AM/Enduro bike)... just right. Should be the bike of my dreams.
Weaknesses: My bike came out of the box with bearings (one from the main eccentric and one other in the dog bone) that needed changing. Yeti sent the rebuild kit no questions asked and a forthright explanation that has since been corroborated by a variety of sources, forums, etc. (see: http://forums.mtbr.com/yeti/switch-pivot-bearings-745350.html for others who had the same issues as me). Unfortunately, the pivots have started squealing again after only a few months of frequent use (there was a proper install with proper torque and proper cleanings since in an attempt to avoid any more issues). For this reason alone- it SHOULD be the bike of my dreams (see strengths above), but will likely be sold and replaced by any of the other very competent competition that's currently out there (Jekyll, Nomad, maybe a TRc, a RMC Slayer, or potentially a Knolly Endorphin are my first thoughts for replacing my SB-66).
This bike rips. Up and down. I live in Chile where there are big Andean climbs and bomber descents all around. This bike rips em all. In the past few years, I've owned several top-end bikes and test-ridden other top-enders (a Blur LT, Jekyll, GT Force, Ibis HD just to name a few), and can say that this is tied for my favorite ride with the Jekyll.
If you see the 'weaknesses' section above, you'll see why I'm not a believer in this bike. It should be the bike I keep for a few years. It should be the bike I ride all over this country with. It should be... but, pivot problems like that, at a price point like that are unacceptable to me.
I'm not rich and I spend way too much of my money on bikes because it's my passion. For that reason, I have very high expectations for companies that are asking this much $$$ for their top-enders. Too bad Yeti couldn't sort out this detail for my bike. Maybe I simply got a bad seed. When reading other people's reviews, it seems like that could be the case. To be honest, though, it seems to me that are certainly enough people out there with similar experiences as me to prove to me that my SB-66's pivot problems are a real issue. That sucks... for whatever reason, I was cheering for this bike. I like the brand. I like what Yeti does as a company. Too bad for me, my hard-earned $$$, and for Yeti. They've lost a potential return customer (for good or bad, I buy a new bike every year) and their poor quality control have inspired me to write my first ever review of a bike. Here's to hoping that the Chilean used bike market treats me well when I do sell, and that my new bike is bullet proof!
Until that day comes, I WILL go out and enjoy the hell out of the Yeti b/c, like I said, it shreds! I'll just have to ride with my ipod to wash out the squeaky pivot background noise.
Strengths: Weight, Climbing efficiency, descending ability and playfulness under stress.
Weaknesses: Expensive and replacement parts are harder to find. (Luckly it wont brake easily)
After 3 months on this bike I can safely say that this bike is a class leader. I have found the bike pedals just as well as my Yeti ARC and opens up wonderfully during descents.
The weight of the frame helps keep the overall weight down which makes the bike playful and reactive even while going through the rough stuff.
Quite simply the bike rocks and if you can afford it or save for it, you will not be let down. Its Outstanding.
Bike Setup: Yeti SB-66 Large
Fox 26 Float
Formula "The One" brakes
ZTR Arch EX rims
Thomson Stem and Seatpost
a Cross Country Rider
from Lakewood, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: March 26, 2012
Strengths: Have to say the Yeti SB-66 takes riding to a whole new level. Climbing is more efficient, as noticed when the rear wheel is moving over small rocks (i.e. 'Box of Rocks' trail) or when the rear wheel is in really loose sand. Stays in contact with the terrain like it is glued on. Then on downhill sections it is SUPER smooth. I can stay in the saddle on sections where I would previously have been raising up on the pedals. One can get going stupid-fast on descents if not careful--I've caught myself a number of times barely making corners after straight downhill sections. I went with the 203mm front rotor and the 180mm rear--I definitely think the larger rotors make a big difference in smoother braking and generate less heat.
Weaknesses: More pivot locations to collect dust/dirt that are hard to get at to clean. Bracket for "switch technology" is a U-shaped affair that would be a massive mud collected (or so it seems). Still wonder about the long term operation of the eccentric and such--whether they will hold up well over the years...but we'll find out!
Highly recommended. Super efficient on uphills and unbelievably smooth on downhills. Expensive, but if you ride a lot it is well worth it. I average 2 to 4 hours per day of riding.
Similar Products Used: I had a Yeti AS-R prior to this. That in itself is a great bike, but the SB-66 is a whole new level of riding.
Bike Setup: Easton Haven tubeless wheels (great). Easton Haven carbon handlebar; Magura MT-8 brakes, XT Deore shifters, derailleurs and 10-speed, 3 chain ring set up; Shimano MT-780 pedals; Rocket V seat; Thomson seat post; multi-compound grips.
from Portland, OR, USA
Date Reviewed: December 19, 2011
Strengths: ONE FUN BIKE! Very playful, responsive while staying planted to the ground when needed for great traction and stiffness in the turns for a nice solid feeling throughout. Very supple suspension at beginning of stroke for great small bump sensitivity and optimal traction while technical climbing with no pedal feedback. Suspension design allows for great ramp up for the jumps and hits with nice plush landing without bottoming the shock.
Weaknesses: Front end or weight of frame feels a little on the heavy side for a trail/AM bike initially. I had a really heavy stem on there initially though, replaced with lighter stem and feels much better and balanced in weight front to back. Great mid-stroke control, but also causes a somewhat high feeling when jamming down the trails with 160 fork at 25% sag. Upped sag to at least 30% and bike descends much better while giving a little bit snap on the climbs.
A SUPER FUN BIKE if you are into riding a little bit of everything going up or down and don't mind a little heft in the frame. If so, then than the carbon version is your ticket. Would get 5 stars for value, but ALU frames going for over $2k, made overseas is a little on the spendy side, IMO.