I just want to start this review by coming forward and admitting that I have a problem…I am a bike whore. I wasn’t always this way. I used to enjoy riding a bike for a year and had a sense that the bike and me were on the same team and that we would never break up. But after a few years in the bike industry this feeling that there was only one bike for me out there went out the window and I was left with a desire to try every bike out there on my bike shop, fresh out of college budget!
I have been extremely lucky to own and test some of the best bikes on the market! My last 2 “victims” were the new Santa Cruz Bronson and the Giant Reign Adv. The Bronson was a fun bike and definitely on the more efficient side of the climbing spectrum but after riding it for a bit I wanted something a bit more “Im going to huck off everything and never choose a line” friendly and so I pulled the trigger on a Giant Reign. The Reign was probably one of my favorite bikes I’ve ever owned. It was super plush on the downs but still nimble, mainly due to the short chain stays and custom offset on the fork they spec, which helped with handling. However, even with all the confidence given on the down by the 160mm of travel and 65 deg headangle, there was something missing from that beast. I felt like I could go down anything on it, but I never felt like I was at my fastest. I wanted to combine the precision of the Bronson with the aggressiveness of the Reign so I pulled the trigger on the Yeti SB6c!
A little about the Yeti SB6c, its an “Enduro” bike, sporting 152mm of travel and a 65.5 deg head angle with a reasonably steep seat angle (a preference for me since I have long legs and am 6’2, so slacker seat angles put me further behind the bottom bracket). It utilizes their Switch Infinity linkage, which I was skeptical of at first. At first glance it looks like there is a lot going on back there and I was wondering if it was going to be all they make it out to be and more. A quick summary of the Switch Infinity is that it changes the position of the linkage in relation to where the bike is in its travel, which allows them to deliver a confident inspiring enduro steed that is also efficient under pedaling and on climbs. The Sb6c also sports a little longer than average chain stay and wheel base for a bike of its travel, as well as a really tall stack height, 2 things you don’t see to many companies going with now-a-days.
I’ve spent about 2 months on the Yeti SB6c, trashing it around everywhere, from the steeps of Laguna to the bike park in Mammoth and I can say that all the skepticism I had about the Switch Infinity has gone out the window and has been replaced with pure stokeness! Climbing has been insane on this bike and rarely do I find myself using the lock out unless I’m on the road mashing to the next trail. Traction is very apparent on the ups and I don’t feel the bike getting hung up on technical climbs like some VPP bikes I have ridden. I think what I really enjoy about its climbing characteristics is that I feel like the bike actually climbs better with the shock wide open! It stays extremely efficient when you want it to be and then when you approach something technical the bike uses just enough suspension to get you up and over, without holding you back and maximizing your traction! Its been pretty fun to see just how messed up of a line I can take up and get away with!
The downhill’s is where this bike truly shines. The best way to describe the SB6c downhill attitude is “racey fast”! The longer chain stay and wheelbase combined with the active Switch Infinity provide an enormous amount of stability and traction. It took a few rides for my eyes to catch up with the bikes speed and when it did, I found myself constantly trying to push the bike to its limits and not finding them! The longer chain stay did worry me at first as I thought the bikes cornering precision would be thrown off, but I have to say that this has probably been one of the best cornering bikes I have owned! Its extremely precise and I feel like I can put the bike exactly where I want it, when I want it! The amount of speed I can hold into a corner and come out with has also gone up on this bike and I’m constantly being blown away by how great of an all around descender it is!
Any drawbacks? Being a bike whore you definitely develop a lot of preferences and what I have come to realize is that no bike is perfect, especially when there are so many boxes to check! Which box did the SB6 not check? For me, even though I loved the Sb6 on all the downs, I definitely missed feeling a little more in the bike like I did on my Reign when the trail got steeper and more “free ride-ish”, which isn’t all that frequent in most places I travel too. I also, at times on those same steeper, chunkier downhill’s, wished for a little more travel as well. Is it a deal breaker? No way! I would say that the Yeti is the perfect enduro race bike, carrying speed everywhere and maintaining efficiency as well as confidence. This means not over bulking or carrying more travel than needed.
In summary, the Yeti is the perfect bike for that rider who wants to go Richie Rude fast and know that its not the bike slowing down their Strava time. It will blow your mind how a bike that is so capable on the downhills can be so efficient up, even when the bike is not locked out. It isn’t the most aggressive bike in its category but if speed is what your looking for in your next endure bike then it is the bike for you!