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29er , Bike , Daily Coverage , Interbike 2011

Yeti SB-66 and SB-95 Ride Impressions

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(new video added! – Steve from Yeti shows us the SB-95 features and highlights.)

Several months ago Yeti introduced the SB-66 bike, which uses their new Switch Technology dual-link suspension design. The trick system uses an eccentric lower pivot, that reverses its direction mid-stroke, to control the chainstay length, and offers a solid platform, good anti-squat capabilities, for optimal and efficient pedaling, with suspension independence throughout its travel. On the heels, or more properly the wheel of the SB-66 is the spanking-new SB-95. The numbering system of the SB series (SuperBike) corresponds to the wheel size and rear travel, so the SB-66 has 26-inch wheels and 6 inches of travel, while the SB-95 has 29 inch wheels and 5 inches of travel.

The aluminum frames use the Smart Technology suspension system, have tapered inset headtubes, Yeti’s Chip System dropouts (allows switching between QR and 12x142mm), direct mount front derailer and internally routed cables on the rear triangle. The SB-66 has a 67 degree head angle and 17.1 inch chainstay, while the SB-95 has 68.5 degree head angle and 17.5 inch chainstay, and frame weights of 7 lbs. and 7.5 lbs., respectively.

They will have a carbon version (they get a C designation) of each bike, which should be available in the early part of next year, dropping around 1 lbs. of weight, and losing the Chip System functionality. The SB-66C frame was on display at the show, and it looked pretty darn sweet, and the sculptured lines and aesthetics were knockouts.

Ride Impressions
I test rode the new Yeti SB-66 and SB-95 at the Outdoor Demo, and got some good-quality time on each of them on Bootleg Canyons rocky terrain. They both climbed like champions, and the Smart Technology suspension, offered a firm and stable platform, excellent resiliency and bump absorbency. They sort of felt like they had Velcro attached to the tires, pulling up immense amounts of traction in loose and hardpacked conditions. The platform and great anti-squat, meant that standing up in the saddle or applying hard brute force pedaling into the system caused no ill effects, and the bike retained rock solid composure. You could flick them in any direction, and they would react with a quick snap, and motor off to their appointed destination. In tighter conditions the SB-66′s shorter wheelbase and smaller wheels, gave it better control and flickability than the SB-95, at a slight loss of the big 29ers rollover capabilities in ledgy terrain. When you got the bikes rolling downhill, they had great control and predictability, and you could waltz through Bootlegs loose gravel and chunky conditions like they’re on rails, with a slight edge going to the big brother SB-95. Neither bike has the deep plushness of Yeti’s ASR-7 or 575, which would be more comfortable in massive rock garden sessions, but they can’t climb like a goat on steroids nor descend with as much suppleness.

Yeti has hit a massive home run with either of these bikes, and the new Smart Technology suspension is pretty amazing, making a superb meld between the Cross-Country and All Trail riding world. The differences between the two models of the SB series are very minor, although I personally liked the SB-95 better the SB-66, and enjoyed the additional benefits of the big wheels, such as a better rollover, carving, cornering and spinning capabilities. The new SB series has excellent composure, resiliency, predictability and suppleness, and either model would be a great asset to own.

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