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: 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.
Bike Setup: Heavy'ish AM/lite DH build with Saint brakes/shifters, Chromag 760 OSX bar, Lyrik RC2 DH solo fork, Hadley on Flow wheels, SLX cranks 36/24 w/bash
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 19, 2011
Strengths: good weight, balanced, great looking, fast, great climber
Weaknesses: none yet
just got in after a rip round local trail so here's a quick review:-
let me put it bluntly "THIS IS THE BEST BIKE I HAVE EVER RIDDEN"
bold statement i know but thats how strongly i feel, it is much better than my previous rides & they weren't exactly Appollo's! (2010 Titus El Guapo, 2010 Santacruz Blur XC carbon, 2005 Whyte 46, 2007 Marin Mount Vision etc.
After a little 'fiddle' with rebound it was brilliant, it felt a litle weird first few minutes as the suspension feels very 'floaty' but once u got used to it i was bombing!
The thing tracks amazing, there's a bit of gravel on the trail built into switchback berms & if you ride em hard there's a tendency for the rear wheel to 'wash' a little but this thing grips like shoot to a blanket!
it feels like an XC bike, nimble, great climber but once i got to the jump section it hit rocks, drops & ramps much smoother than any bike i have ever ridden, it puts my El Guapo to shame & that rode brillianty.
The suspension just feels bottomless, what Yeti have done with this frame is amazing, if you are thinking of buying this bike DO NOT HESITATE, it freakin ROCKS!
Strengths: Climbs well, stiff, handles well. This is my 2nd Yeti, my first is a Yeti ASR 5...I love that bike! So I decided to stay with Yeti. The SB-66 is a good bike. However, not completly sold on the "switch technology". The suspention I feel bottoms out on bigger drops and jumps. If I add more air to the shock then the suspention isn't as active. Maybe I jsut havn't found that sweet spot yet? I had to swap out the fork to a Talas 36. It came with a Fox Float 32. Why an "all mountain" bike would come with a 32 is beyond my understanding. Now that I have the 36 on it, it does feel better on the high speed/technical decents. Also I suggest dropping the 160mm to 150mm. Front end felt to slack. I went with the lower build kit and kinda wished I wouldn't have. Had to swap out the Headset to a King, as the pos cane creek HS bearings literally fell apart. Now with the King HS front end is sweet. Looking at ordering a new wheelset now, should lighten the bike up a pound or so.
Weaknesses: Lower end build is "low end" go with the higher end build, you will be happier in the end.
I like the bike a lot, I guess I just am having a hard time not comparing it to my Remedy (that I sold):(
But, every ride is getting a little better on it, so hopefully once I get it built to best suit my riding style (aggresssive) it will be better. If your looking for a am/fr bike...maybe re-consider. But if your looking for a am/trail bike then go for it! And one more thing to consider and I'm speaking from first hand...Yeti's customer srvs is horrible. Just an fyi.
Similar Products Used: 2009 Trek Remedy (the all mountain/freeride one) not the new 2010 trail xc'ish one. Should of left the Remedy the way it was. I regret selling that bike every day.
Bike Setup: Still working on it but as is now. Fox Talas 36 droped to 150mm travel. Kashima rear shok, king HS, KS-I900r adjustable seatpost. Elixer 5's, X7 cranks,DT-Swiss m1900--soon to be I9's.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 14, 2011
Strengths: Light, peddles well,blasts down & jumps nice,stiff,
Weaknesses: Not carbon but still very fun to ride
This bike is just fun to ride! It peddles up hill better than any other bike I have tried. The back wheel never seems to get caught on things that I used to caught on. When you reach the top and head down this bike just wants to rail corners & jump of all rises. Small drop offs seem to not be there any more it is so smooth. I find my self looking for excuse to want to ride. The dog is getting lots of afternoon runs at my local trails so he thinks it is 5 chi is as well!
If you want a bike that can go up and then turn around and blast down & do it all day, believe the hope and get your self on the waiting list for this awsom bike.
Favorite Trail: All mount bulla,cannon ball run fizroy falls
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: Bike culture canberr
Similar Products Used: Norco fluid lt, Merida one five O,giant reign x1,
Bike Setup: Yeti sb 66 med frame,fox 36 talis,xtr breaks, xo 2 x 10 drive train, shifters & mechs, reverb seat post, hadley hubs with dt Swiss rims,frame skins,crank brothers mallet peddles,Easton havoc carbon bars,Easton haven 70mm stem, schoweble Hans depth tyres.( still to come SRAM chain guid)
a Weekend Warrior
from Highlands Ranch, CO
Date Reviewed: October 3, 2011
Strengths: Climbs really well, goes down even better.
Weaknesses: I wish they had anodized black since I hate chipped paint.:-)
If would have been nice if they included the ISCG bracket.
I only had two rides on the bike and I am very impressed. First ride was on Lair O'Bear which is very mellow Colorado Front range trail. I was a bit nervous with the new 2x10 drive train, but once I hit the trail I love it. The bike climbs much better then my old trustworthy 575 and I didn't notice much the change of the gear ratios. There was no bobbing, and even with the slack geometry I felt that I was flying uphill. The most amazing thing was that the rear tire rolled effortlessly over any bumps and rocks on the way - without the usual feeling of slowing you down and pulling you back. Then I hit the downhill and the bike definitely put smile on my face – great control, very stiff and totally predictable. You just point it where you want to go and it goes. I love my 575, but I definitely had to compensate a lot on the fast corners and I had the occasional feel that I will lose control, but not with this bike. It is slightly firmer feel on the back, which I like, but if you a looking for the ultimate plush you may want to consider the 575.
The second day I went to Apex (the birth place of the SB66 ?) which is one of the roughest trails on the Front range. The uphill was great – no spin out on the loose, very efficient. Then I hit the first downhill – loose, rocky with set of switch backs and the SB66 shined – ease of control, bottomless feel and stable at speed. Enchanted forest was just a blast and the bike ate the drops and water bars. Once I hit the main trail (Apex) downhill I just gunned it and cleared everything with ease. My average downhill speed was about 5 miles faster than with my old Yeti and I that was only my second ride on that baby. It is impressive how comfortable this bike feels and how easy is to ride. Yeti definitely have done exceptional job.
Few words on the setup: I was a bit nervous on the SRAM Elixir CR brakes, but so far I love them. Great modulations and exceptional stopping power. If you like pedaling higher gears I definitely recommend 2x10 drive train, but if you find yourself a lot on the 22t ring you might not find it as nice. SRAM shifters work a charm. The DT Swiss X1600 rims are very light and I hope they are durable, but time will show. Stan’s no tubes standard kit works great with them. I change the tires since I found that Specialized Esker (front 2.3) and Purgatory (rear 2.2) work great in Colorado.
Note: If you ride on bumpy terrain you will need chain guide since I found my chain out on my pedal side at least 4 times. SRAM is coming with Truvativ X-Guide but it’s no out yet. Also ISCG bracket is not included with the bike so you will need to purchase it separately (that was a bummer). Only Janson.com has them as of now.