Copy of DSC02426 deniz merdano yeti sB165 cooper
First Impressions | Product Launch

2024 Yeti SB 165

Photos Deniz Merdano
Reading time

Today, Yeti launches the new SB165 and as you could have predicted, it’s a UDH equipped mullet bike. It's 2024, after all. This is the brawler in the Yeti range and with 165mm of rear travel, it's the longest travel bike they currently sell and the brand’s first mullet. The outgoing bike is a 27.5'-wheeled 'freeride' machine, and the new bike carries that ethos forward; billed to be ready for anything you’re capable of throwing at it, from steeps to park laps, to all day backcountry epics. I've been aboard for a few weeks now, and have been having a good time the whole time.

Features & Highlights

  • 27.5”/29” mullet
  • 170mm front, 165mm rear travel
  • Threaded bottom bracket
  • Shortened seat tube for increased standover and longer dropper posts
  • Four sizes, S-M-L-XL
  • Integrated two-phase downtube protection, molded chainstay protection
  • Four carbon builds, from 6,300 USD to 9,200 USD (8,500 CAD to 12,400 CAD)
  • Turq Carbon Frame Only available for 4,200 USD
  • Approximately 34.25lbs as built

Frame Details and Geometry

Angles on the new SB165 thread a line between the current, race focused 29”-wheeled SB160 and the bike this supersedes, the 27.5” shod SB165. As with many recent bike launches (and ignoring the change to a wagon wheel), it's largely a story of evolution and refinement rather than revolution. Gone are the days of each version going longer/lower/slacker; this bike retains nearly identical dimensions in many places to its predecessor. But, by utilizing a combination of small rear wheel, shorter seat tube for longer droppers, and more stand-over clearance, Yeti hopes this bike answers customer feedback around the SB160 looking for more capability in the steepest terrain, as well as adding some speed to the SB165 by going mullet.

That's not to say the SB165 is slow, but in back to back testing with Yeti's EWR team, the SB160 tops the timesheet under the likes of Richey Rude by a small margin. To be clear though, this is an SB165 with a bigger front wheel, not an SB160 with a smaller rear wheel.

Copy of DSC02355 deniz merdano yeti sB165 cooper

The SB165 cuts a very familiar profile for anyone with eyes that's been around a Yeti in the past decade. New for the brand is the mis-matched wheel sizing.

For other features, some folks may be surprised by the lack of some form of in-frame storage compartment, but I'm not one of them. I prefer the cleaner, lighter frame and to chuck a multitool and pump on my person. There's a significant downtube protector, with a hard outer shell for impact resistance backed by molded rubber, which serves double duty as an access panel for dropper post routing. There's also a molded rubber chainstay protector, with significant coverage. Combine all this with good tubes-in-tubes for brake hoses, and the bike has been very quiet.


Geometry for all four sizes - while the SB160 gets different length chainstays for each size, the SB165 doesn't get the same treatment. Sorry, tall folks. You'll have to shop for SB160s; there's no XXL here.

Rather than revolutionary geometry numbers, the SB165 is a natural evolution of the Yeti lineup, in mullet form. In news I like, Yeti says that all of their frames are tested and approved for forks 20mm over stock; this change of course comes with the requisite caveats around changes in geometry. The SB165 also has the ability to run a dual crown fork (one of my small criticisms of the 6th Generation Trek Slash). Yeti however, does not endorse exceeding an axle-to-crown measurement of 607mm. I'd note that a 190mm Boxxer comes in at 595mm.

Copy of DSC02435 deniz merdano yeti sB165 cooper

Thus far, I've only taken the Yeti into some of the worst steep terrain the Shore has on offer. At some point I'll have to see how it does when the trail mellows out.


Like nearly all non-electric Yetis since 2014, the rear end slides and rotates on the Switch Infinity suspension system, with stanchions and Enduro Max bearings, Yeti’s Switch Infinity design has been the basis of the company’s (non-electric) bikes since 2014 and, like most multi-link designs, the additional complexity gives designers the ability to tune some kinematics in relative isolation. For the SB165, the progressivity has been dialed down slightly from the previous iteration, but it's still a platform built for big hits. If you believe the hype, the design also gives Yeti the ability to retain ample anti-squat through to the inflection point, where it drops off rapidly to allow for unrestricted suspension movement.


Dialed down slightly from the previous bike’s 27.5% progression, the new bike seeks to provide a solid platform through the middle of the stroke for pedaling and playfulness, while ramping quickly at the end stroke to give that “infinite” or bottomless feel.

As with some previous Yetis, Turq models get an upgraded version of the Switch Infinity mechanism with new bushings, bearing location, and seals while C-models get the previous incarnation, with the option to upgrade at any time. Like any sliding suspension component, maintenance and lubrication of this piece are critical to performance and longevity, and they're equipped with grease ports; I've seen plenty of horror stories around these components so its worth your time to keep them clean and lubed.

Copy of DSC02393 deniz merdano yeti sB165 cooper

Jank testing. So far, I've found the low bottom bracket height to be less of an issue on the SB165 than it was on the Slash.

Builds & Components

First off, there are no alloy models here. You can however get two different flavors of carbon in the ‘base’ model C/Series, or the high end Turq that saves a bit of weight by utilizing fancy carbon fibers. There are two build kits for each option, for a total of four choices. All builds get the top end Fox Factory DHX2, either a Fox Performance 38 or a Factory 38, Maxxis Assegai/DHRII combo, and 220mm/200mm front/rear Codes (Turq models come with the RSC, C/Series come with R).

If you’re a cable shifting aficionado, your only choice is the lowest priced C2 with SRAM GX Eagle at 6300 USD. For the wire-free folks there’s SRAM Eagle and Transmission builds in C/Series and Turq, and if all this is too confusing you should just look at the charts and Yeti website for specifics... Just be aware you won't find any with Shimano drivetrains or brakes. Push come to shove, for my money, I'm getting a C3 build, and using a bit of the money saved over the Turq frames for a brake and wheel upgrade.


The "high end" Turq models top the possibilities, with all the bling. It's difficult to give Yeti a hard time about pricing these days, as they're very competitive with most peers. If all those big numbers seem too reasonable to you, there's carbon wheel upgrades on option, if you have 1,300 CAD burning a hole in your pocket.


C/Series models are well equipped, with some nice touches like the Factory rear shock, but overall more utilitarian builds.


Markedly absent from Yeti’s marketing copy about the SB165 is the word “racing”. For a brand that is proud of the deep roots they have in all forms of mountain bike vs. clock, this is not an accidental oversight. Moving away from this no-compromise approach to speed isn’t a bad thing; this is a bike that will likely see at Red Bull Rampage under Reed Boggs. All this is good for us mortals; as a general rule there’s not a lot of folks reading this review, shopping for a new bike, who are also looking at podiums in the EWR (or at Rampage, for that matter, but it ruins my point). We’re looking for bikes to go have some fun in the woods with no clocks in sight.

Copy of DSC02380 deniz merdano yeti sB165 cooper

The SB165 in it's element - steep, chunky at the bottom, and with no end in sight.

From my time aboard so far, Yeti has struck a good balance and the SB165 has been an approachable bike looking for rowdy, fun lines. I rapidly found myself very comfortable aboard the bike, and have been able to build speed (at least within the realms of my ability…). The Switch Infinity keeps things composed when things get rowdy, inspiring confidence backed up by geometry that provides stability and no surprises descending.

On flatter terrain, I’m struggling slightly with the steep seat tube angle. I’m going to be making some cockpit and saddle changes and have some measure of confidence I’ll be able to find a happy place*. I’d also like to see a higher threshold on the climb switch. There’s still a fair amount of suspension movement, but it’s really only noticeable on smooth road grades, and I’m used to the feeling of a full lockout.

*I've gotten more tweaking and riding in since I wrote this, and I think I've got it nearly sorted with some saddle angle changes, and sliding it back on the rails.

I've also adapted my braking style to SRAM's new Maven, and while these Codes with enormous rotors and metallic pads provide plenty of stopping power, I'd prefer stronger binders. The Fox Transfer seatpost is also a bit sticky. A few different times I've pushed the lever to no avail, and had to give the seat a little bounce to get it to return to full height. These are all small niggles at this point and overall I've got very little to complain about.

Copy of DSC02407 deniz merdano yeti sB165 cooper

Just because the SB186 encourages you off the racing line and into the air, doesn't mean it's slow. You also can't see how flat this ****ing landing is.

Yeti kindly sent me the T3 X0 Transmission version in a lovely Spruce. I’m looking forward to logging some serious miles on this thing, and comparing it to some of its peers; most notably Trek Slash I recently reviewed and my personal We Are One 170mm Arrival.

Cooper Quinn

Elder millennial, size medium.

Reformed downhiller, now rides all the bikes.

Related Stories

Trending on NSMB


+3 Ryan Walters Kyle Dixon BarryW

I would love an NSMB round table on the new Altitude, Knolly Chilcotin, this Yeti and the Arrival.  Maybe hold the Specialized Enduro as a baseline since most of the reviewers have ridden it.  

Also looking forward to the next updates on the Enduro, Megatower and Arrival.  Things seems to be settling and starting to refine more.


+2 Cooper Quinn BarryW

Would love to see a comparison to the Nomad since the numbers are so similiar


+1 Kyle Dixon

so weird seeing you with a FF lid.


+2 IslandLife Kyle Dixon

I'm trying to be better/smarter about wearing it these days.


+3 Cooper Quinn Cam McRae Kyle Dixon

He did hint in his P&P article about the idea of saddling up a DH bike this year... the FF is a move in that direction ;)


+1 Cooper Quinn

I think that sticky Transfer post issue is common.  I've had one fixed twice by Fox for the same problem.



Yep, you're not the only one.


+1 Cooper Quinn

Got one back from fox just last week (was bought in the fall and started sticking after maybe 5 rides).

It apparently got an updated sealhead and guide pins - dunno how recent that update is and/or if it's a permanent fix...

I want to give it a shot because I love the clamp design and I love how they feel when they're working, but the stick is a thing.


+1 Cooper Quinn

No, I’m still on an old Sentinel (mullet, Cascade link, over forked). But on the lookout for something. 

Thanks for tips on the Mavens. Massage the pistons, that’s the 2 rotor trick? I did try that initially, but I’ll give it a go again.


I'm very curious about this bike. A Yeti that's a little more audacious sounds like a lot of fun.



I still have fond memories of my old SB150, so I'm looking forward to hearing your review vs the Arrival and the Slash.

Since you mention the Mavens, any tricks to getting rid of the wandering bite point? I've tried a few things, but nothing has worked yet.



Are you on an Arrival now? 

Re: Mavens, the piston massage procedure is essential - do it a couple/three times. And then vaccuum bleed the f*ck out of 'em.



I'm on a older Sentinel (Cascade X 2, mullet, overforked), but looking for something new.

Massage pistons, that's the 2 disc trick? I'll give that another go and hopefully that works a bit better.



So Cooper, the thing I always think when seeing  Yeti is: 'can Switch Infinity really be worth the extra complication?'

Can you speak to that? Like vs a VPP or Horst link. 

They do look cool though.

Edit: And I actually fully believe that with a mild bit of added maintenance they aren't really much more work than a 'normal' design. So it isn't the maintenance, more the cost, complexity more than longevity for my question. 

Second edit: Meaning ride feel I think. Not going into the weeds too awfully far into the theory but more the trail experience.


+1 BarryW

Yeah, I hear you. Bearings are (probably) simpler and lighter. They're less proprietary, anyway. 

That said, as you note, as long as you don't neglect the mechanism and keep on top of basic service, in theory it may be less faff involved as you're not periodically doing bearing swaps and whatnot. 

On trail, it feels good, but give me some more time on it.


+1 Cooper Quinn

About the less work is something I've also wondered about. With a grease fitting it seems like it could be less maintenance regarding bearing swaps. 

Looking forward to the longer term review.


Please log in to leave a comment.