First Impressions

2019 Yeti SB 150 - First Impressions*

Words Cam McRae
Photos Aj Barlas
Video Aj Barlas
Date Nov 29, 2018

*Our First Impressions pieces talk about componentry, geo and background so we can focus on ride characteristics for the full review later on.

When I first saw Yeti's new SB 100 at Sea Otter I hoped a burlier sibling was on the way. The 100 was a departure for Yeti in that it was longer and slacker than the bikes that came before but it also had a pair of bonuses; water bottle bosses in the main triangle and a less eager seat mast. 


Where the magic happens. 

A few years ago many riders wouldn't have been fussed about the absence of a well protected cage but the age of enduro has alerted many riders to the freedom and simplicity of packless riding. A long seat mast was NBD either, before the advent of long travel droppers, which have seen widespread adoption, and riders going a size up to get more reach


Tubes guide the brake and dropper cables and the rear brake line through the frame, making installation a piece of piss and eliminating any nasty noises. 

You could say the SB 5.5 was such a solid performer, it took two bikes to replace it. Richie Rude occasionally selected the 5.5 for EWS rounds and it was Cody Kelley's first choice when he rode for Yeti. With 140mm in the rear mated to a 160mm fork, it could take a beating on the way down but get you back without laying a beating. The 5.5 was replaced by both the SB 130 and the SB 150. Yeti will tell you the 130 is the direct replacement, but it has 10mm less travel front and rear. The 150 has 10mm more front and rear than the 5.5 with, not surprisingly 150mm rear and a hefty 170mm up front. 


Front tire good...


Rear not so much.  Not enough tread for the mucky rainforest although I'm sure it works elsewhere. I did enjoy the feel of the aluminum rims, until I bottomed out the rear, dented the rim, and flatted. 


The frame has some nice details like this downtube protection. I'd like to see a shuttle guard for hanging the bike of the tailgate of my truck as well though. 


The Fox X2 has more DH feel than the DPX2 I've been running on other bikes of late. There is less platform and it more willingly moves into the travel when a big bang comes along. I don't think I've found the tuning sweet spot yet but it's coming along. 


I like the shape of Yeti's house brand bar. 

Bikes continue to grow in length and Yeti took a big leap with the SB150. The large 5.5 had a reach* of 442mm while the large SB150 measures 480mm. This is larger than the incremental change we normally see with new models and these numbers compare to some manufacturers XL frames. Of the frames I compared to the SB150, only the Pole Machine was longer at 510mm in size large. Or course the smallest Geometron, which are sized by reach; the 'long' is 485mm. If that scares you off it shouldn't. I'm 6' without long arms or torso and the large fit me perfectly. After I tested the XL Bronson, the large Yeti 5.5 began to feel small to me. 

*reach is the measurement of a horizontal line extending from the centre of the top of the head tube to a vertical line that bisects the centre of the bottom bracket


Full geo. I've heard some riders complain about bashing cranks but that hasn't been a problem for me, even on technical climbs. 


Yeti took an inch off the seat mast when compared to the 5.5C. Good news for riders with a large ape index and those who want all the dropper post they can get. Previously some riders were even taking a hack saw to their frames. Sacrilege!

So she's long of cockpit and also of wheelbase. At 1248mm the 150 leads most mainstream brands.  Transition's Sentinel is within a whisper at 1247 while Pole's Machine leaves both in the dust at 1335. The SB150 goes the other way with the rear end and the chainstays measure 433mm, the shortest among the bikes I compared with, aside from the 27.5"-tired Santa Cruz Bronson at 430mm.


Yeti's unusual split shock extender is sort of a split clevis. At 50mm it is actually two pieces and allows the shock to be removed without additional hardware being removed. Since this design exhibits more rotation than earlier Yetis, bearings were added to the end of the extenders to reduce friction to improve small bump compliance and durability. 

shock extender

An exploded view. Most shock extenders are hard on coil shocks but this is the only one to be given Fox approval to be used with steel and titanium springs. The extender also moved the shock out of the way of and improved kinematics. 

That sounds pretty good unless you want to run fatter than standard tires in the rear. I have a 2.4" Minion DHRII installed right now and there is enough clearance, but nothing extra. 2.6" Minions are out but 2.6" Specialized tires fit just fine. A 2.8 will turn a good day into a bad day. 


It's not easy to get a shot of the clearance between frame and tire. Left to right is non-drive, middle and drive side. Middle and non-drive look to be fine but the drive side is a little close using a Minion DHRII WT 2.4 mounted to a 30mm internal rim. Most riders won't want more on the rear but you can fill your boots up front if you are so inclined. I haven't had any issues related to clearance thus far. Photos - Cam McRae


Like Transition's Sentinel, Yeti decided on a short 44mm offset fork rather than the more common 51mm. This is also one of the few with a 170mm travel fork. The Fox Factory 36 GRIP 2 works as expected - but more tuning is needed. 

While we are talking about the back end, I should mention that some riders have had some issues with rear end flex and even some bushing play. On the trail I haven't noticed the rear end feeling noodly at all but the frame overall feels less robust than my most recent tester, the Santa Cruz Bronson. There is no play to speak of after a handful of rides but when you grab a  fist full of tire you can induce plenty of flex. Thus far this doesn't seem to be an impediment but time will tell. 


SRAM Eagle drivetrains are boringly reliable and smooth. How can you write anything about that? Seriously - the XO1 stuff is everything you could want in a drivetrain. *yawn*

With the shock extender and the new orientation the frame will work fine with a piggyback shock and, because of the more progressive suspension curve, a coil shock is an option. 


The Switch Infinity mechanism allows this pivot to move up and down. See video below for more. The mechanism is better protected from the elements than before as well. 

Pete from Yeti Cycles UK explains and demonstrates the Switch Infinity Link.

The first place I was able to notice the short offset fork and how it works with the SB150 geometry was on the road. The first time I pushed up to ride 'no hands' I was surprised by how solid the bike felt. I could juggle, mix a martini or even do a handstand on my saddle with ease. The SB150 is vastly more stable sitting back on the saddle than any bike I've ridden. How this translates on the trail needs more evaluation but it's safe to say that this platform holds lines extremely well. 

Switch Infinity

A pair of Kashima-coated stanchions along with bearings and a shuttle allow the Switch Infinity to do its thing. 


Our test bike is a TURQ-framed XO1 build. No surprises really but the 7600 USD price tag, without carbon wheels, may raise a few eyebrows. I wasn't sure about the XT 4-pod brakes to being with but I am really enjoying them now. 

Excuse me if you have seen this video but it's too good not to share again.

Yeti Cycles. SB150. from Yeti Cycles on Vimeo.

It's early days but I haven't had the easiest time tuning this bike. It came from another publication and it had been ridden pretty hard. Or at least beaten up a little. I'm also not sure, since it didn't come directly from Yeti, if there are non-stock volume spacers in the shock. The fork came without any spacers and after bottoming out hard on a drop recently I'm going to add one at least. 

Another challenge is that I had to adjust my riding position after either shorter 29ers or the long Bronson in XL with 27.5 wheels. This bike rewards an aggressively forward position, even more than other big wheelers I've been on, and it took me a few rides to sort that out. Despite all that the shape feels bang on and the bike gets faster and more fun with every ride. And boy can this thing climb. I expected to pay a price over the 5.5 but if there is a tariff it's a very small one, likely thanks to the anti-squat characteristics and the 76.9º effective seat angle.

Stay tuned for the full review, likely in January. Until then check out 

Trending on NSMB


+1 IslandLife Jerry Willows Merwinn
bullit  - Nov. 29, 2018, 2:11 a.m.

I thought DHRll  are just 2.4 width

+1 Merwinn
Cam McRae  - Nov. 29, 2018, 1:01 p.m.

I have ridden 2.5 in 29 and 2.6 in 27.5.


+1 chachmonkey
sospeedy  - Dec. 1, 2018, 6:55 a.m.

Hi Cam, for general aggressive riding the S2S, I’d be interested in your thoughts on the conventional 2.5/2.4 vs 2.6? I’ve never used there any real advantage?

+1 sospeedy
Cam McRae  - Dec. 12, 2018, 9:25 a.m.

It turns I was wrong (shocking!) and it’s a 2.4. It looks exactly the same width as the 2.4 up front though. 

I  very keen on 2.6” tires. The Bronson I tested came equipped with them and they weren’t too heavy and held an edge well, unlike 2.8 and wider. Lots of grip, lots of rim protection and control even at lower pressures. Love ‘em!


Alexander Naumann  - Nov. 29, 2018, 3:01 a.m.



bullit  - Nov. 29, 2018, 3:05 a.m.

I have two DHR 2.4 WT but i didn't know there's was a 2.5,only the DHF..WT


bullit  - Nov. 29, 2018, 3:07 a.m.


AJ Barlas  - Nov. 29, 2018, 7:19 a.m.

You’re correct, bullit. DHRII WT is 2.4, the Aggressor WT that was on the bike is 2.5. Simple mistake, sorry.

Cam McRae  - Nov. 29, 2018, 1:04 p.m.

I put another set on there for photos of the clearance. 2.5 front and (edit) 2.4 rear.  Had to ditch the aggressor asap though.


+2 IslandLife Vik Banerjee legbacon Cam McRae
Kieran  - Nov. 29, 2018, 8:06 a.m.

I just don't get the lust for Yeti's. Over engineered throughout their lifetime, remember the crap sliding beam thing on their DH bike?

Sure they ride great, but so do much simpler designed frames.

Dentist bikes ;)


pedalhound  - Nov. 29, 2018, 9:25 a.m.

Short seat tubes may work great for some, but those of us with long legs are putting a ton of strain on our frames which will cause frame/seatpost issues. Even with a 520mm seat tube and a 170mm post I still have 3" of post showing....and with being a bigger guy the extra leverage that this creates is huge. It may be great for those upsizing frames...but for those of us with long is an issue.


+1 legbacon
Morgan Heater  - Nov. 29, 2018, 9:53 a.m.

Really? Have you broken one? Seems like the loads on the seat post would be relatively small, even with the torque from the post, compared to the loads the frame sees when hitting drops/jumps/chunder.


mrbrett  - Nov. 29, 2018, 1:58 p.m.

I have broken a carbon frame, in the clamp area/above the tube intersection. Long legs = long seatpost showing.


pedalhound  - Nov. 30, 2018, 2:25 p.m.

No snapped posts, but I have broken every full suspension bike I have owned. You put together long limbs and heavy weight and I am a punisher of My Thomson post was longest lasting..never had an issue with it, but it was a 125mm travel on a full 520mm seat tube. On my KS dropper before rarely lasted a month or two before it would stop working. I am now running a OneUp 170mm dropper (on a 530mm seat tube and still have 3" of post showing) and it's having some I would say I have seen some


+2 AJ Barlas Endur-Bro Andrew Major Joseph Crabtree
Tim Coleman  - Nov. 29, 2018, 11:13 a.m.

With steeper seat tube geometries becoming more popular this puts less torque on the frame as the vertical lever arm reduces in length. So you can run more exposed seat post, without risking damage to the frame.


AJ Barlas  - Nov. 29, 2018, 1:42 p.m.

This. It's not simply shorter with more exposed post means more issues. Steeper angles change the forces. Also interested if anyone has actually had an issue with more recent frames and components, as Morgan notes.


Heinous  - Dec. 3, 2018, 9:29 p.m.

My Capra (previous model) split along the top tube where it met the top of the seat tube, right in the top mid-line of the tube. I feel that had more to do with YT's appalling QC than anything else, given the 2 warranties I got after also failed catastrophically in weird places.


+4 ninjichor Shoreboy pedalhound Jerry Willows
Joseph Crabtree  - Nov. 29, 2018, 6:29 p.m.

Unfortunately,the actual seat tube angle is slacker than the numbers tell and if you run your post higher than the spot they measured their "effective" angle at it will be under more load.


ninjichor  - Nov. 30, 2018, 4:02 a.m.


Many of the modern designs has the seatpost's angle matching the fork's angle, indicating an actual STA that is slack. The effective STA is steep due to forward offset.

The Pole Stamina is one of the few exceptions.


pedalhound  - Nov. 30, 2018, 2:26 p.m.

Agreed...but running 300mm+ of exposed post is


legbacon  - Nov. 30, 2018, 6:46 a.m.

At 5'9 I am one of those who needs a short seat tube.  The 457mm seat tube on my large Fugitive is just short enough fo my 175mm cranks and thin flat pedals.  I have about 10mm to spare with my 160mm Revive.  I could probably ride a large SB150 and the 450mm seat tube sounds good.


+8 AJ Barlas Shoreboy Andrew Major Kieran Trent Blucher dan_l sospeedy damonsauve Todd Hellinga Joseph Crabtree
IslandLife  - Nov. 29, 2018, 12:20 p.m.

Ok, I have a couple issues with this bike...

1. Calling it an X01 build when you only get the X01 derailleur and crankset, but not the cassette, chain or shifter (GX) for $10k (Cdn) is a bit disingenuous and frankly eye-watering.  You have to step up to the "X01 Race" build at $11400 (Cdn) just to get a true X01 build (yet still a GX chain?? C'mon...)... frankly at those prices, I'd expect to see a full XX1 build.  But no, with Yeti, you have to spend $12600 (cdn) to get an XX1 build... and then they still skimp and give you the X01 crankset, but hey, at least you get the chain.. haha!  I get that a lot of companies mix and match... but again, at 10 or 12k I don't want any peasant value added mixing and matching.  Give me the whole group or GTFO.

2. That flexy of rear end on a fairly long travel carbon 29'r is a bit worrisome... will be interested to hear how that plays out long term.

3. Rear tire spec... the Aggressor is suspect, but could be understood depending on where the majority of the these bikes are going.  But no 3C?  So, I'm spending 10K+ and I still have to buy or do a shop swap and add money to get a proper rear tire?  Again at 10K+, I shouldn't have to worry about that shit.  I'd really like to see bikes at this price point offer a choice of rubber, even if it's from the same company, offering various treads, widths, compounds and carcass choice would be a nice touch.

I shouldn't really even complain, Yeti's prices are out of my reach... but I just don't like seeing this kind of thing from such a premium bike at such a premium price.  If you're spending this much... you should expect the bike to be fully sorted, no fucking around.


0 AJ Barlas IslandLife
Joseph Crabtree  - Nov. 29, 2018, 6:16 p.m.

Grabbing the rear end and tugging it back and forth isn't going give a real world idea of how the bike rides and a little bit of rear end flex can really help keep a bike from being knock around.

BTW the Aggressor only comes in a DC and I think it is a bit too terrain specific to spec IMHO.Works great in the summer hardpack around here but the DHRII seems a no brainer.


0 Zapp IslandLife
UFO  - Nov. 29, 2018, 8:21 p.m.

When you drop $10k+ at the shop for one if these, I'd be surprised if they aren't more than happy to swap tires to your liking and maybe even a matchy matchy chain just for you. Maybe...

I get at this price point you would expect everything to be spot on, but you're basically asking for a location specific build kit. Most LBS in my experience are happy to help you adjust the build to suit, maybe even at no additional cost.

+1 IslandLife
Cam McRae  - Nov. 29, 2018, 2 p.m.

I agree with you on the XO1 designation.  I actually noticed too late and just assumed the drivetrain was all XO1. I would expect a company like Yeti to be more straight up about that. An aside is that I prefer the feel of the GX shifter. The paddle arm is a little stiffer which appeals to me. The cassette is a bigger deal because there is a significant gap in both price and weight.


0 Vik Banerjee damonsauve IslandLife Cam McRae
Mike Wallace  - Nov. 29, 2018, 5:35 p.m.

Packless riding came from Bikeparks and DH. Not Enduro.  

Coil shocks on trail bikes came from Enduro. No wait, that was DH too.


+1 IslandLife
Perry Schebel  - Nov. 29, 2018, 6:13 p.m.

enduro has certainly spawned packless riding innovations. integrated tool solutions, swat boxes, and bottle mounts in easy to reach locations, etc. one needs to be self sufficient, but packs cover up logos on sponsors jerseys (plus packs just suck). pros don't do packs, and the adaptations have trickled down to we peons. coil shocks also (in some cases) make better sense on enduro bikes than dh, given the much longer stage lengths & the associated heat management issues.


Vik Banerjee  - Dec. 1, 2018, 11:18 a.m.

I don't care where it came from. I'm just stoked that my bike can carry two water bottles and decent sized frame bag. I don't have to wear a fanny/backpack unless I am on a really epic ride. I sure don't miss having a small baby on my back or around my waist.


+1 Cam McRae
Dave Waddell  - Nov. 30, 2018, 7:31 p.m.

It would be alot easier to get those shots of the rear tire clearance if you had turned the bike upside down !  Looks amazing, wish the frame didnt cost more than my entire (high end) complete knolly :]


Speeder1  - Dec. 4, 2018, 10:17 a.m.

AJ, who makes that front fender? Looks very effective...

Cam McRae  - Sept. 17, 2019, 10:51 p.m.

Sorry - missed this. That was my tester and that's from Rapid Racer products. It's awesome.


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