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Bike Review

Yeti SB120 Long Term

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It feels like a lifetime ago when I received a pair of Yetis to review. It was not a lifetime, unless that life happened to be 13 months long. Because that is exactly how long it has been (give or take a couple days) since I wrote about my desire to dual-review the Yeti SB120 and SB140. The goal, back then, was to try use almost identical spec and wheelbase as an analytical fulcrum point and determine if, all else being relatively equal aside from wheel travel, I would lean toward the shorter or the longer travel end of the test. The litmus, as always, would be my own calcified biases. I asked “Am I really just an incorrigible old XC burnout, or would I, like so many other people, be better served with more travel and more capability in more terrain?”

And Then There Was One

If you want to get all the numbers and stats and detail photos, stroll down memory lane with the intro article. Meanwhile, time marches on.

Both bikes got ridden around the usual Monterey and Santa Cruz county spots, and then I was sucked into the vortex of selling my poison oak farm and moving everything I owned into storage except for the stuff I was taking to Mexico for the winter to hang out with my mom while she argued with breast cancer. So then they got ridden around in Baja for a bit. And then the 140 got stolen on November 17th, right after an absolutely transcendent Noble Canyon ride in a gentle rainstorm, along with my truck and all that other shit that I’ve written about too many times already. So that pretty much put an end to the comparison test. But I will say this: even then, I was opting to ride the SB120 more than the SB140. Much of that was terrain dependent, but there was also something else going on. Call me an incorrigible old XC burnout, but I kinda fell in love with the SB120.

Here, then, is my review of Yeti’s SB120. This is a bike model that has been around for a couple years now, and it has been soundly eclipsed by Yeti’s new ASR as the preferred XC race offering. It weighs about the same as the longer travel, more rowdy-capable SB140, and is, I fear, languishing in no-man’s land when it comes to the bikes that people gravitate toward buying. Probably causing some existential chin scratching at Yeti. Too mild mannered and casually comfortable for XC racing, not burly enough for the progression-uber-alles, huck-to-flat crowd. Since we are all into compartmentalizing everything, the SB120 now finds itself not fitting into any of the easy buckets we choose to define our ride experiences.

And yet… and yet, I adore this bike. I’ll even go so far as to say it is one of the most surprisingly awesome bikes that I’ve ridden, ever.

SB120Baja

The SB120 spent about 5 of the past 9 months in Mexico, working on its tan and getting dust and sand caked all over the Switch Infinity linkage. It did just fine in that regard. Man, that water bottle has covered some ground since November though!


Call me an incorrigible old XC burnout, but I kinda fell in love with the SB120.

But… Why?

Okay, partly out of laziness and partly because it sort of doesn’t matter, I am going to refer anyone with spec-nerd needs to the initial breakdown, and will otherwise encapsulate everything right here in one sentence:

Yeti SB120 T2 Turq build with DT Swiss EXC1501 wheel upgrade, Fox Factory 34 130mm Fit4 fork, Float shock, SRAM mostly X01 Eagle drivetrain and G2 RSC brakes, about 8,200US (when you add the wheels onto the price) and weighing right about 30 pounds.

SB120geo

Okay, fine, here’s the geo chart. Mostly business as usual on that front, with a nice note of size specific chainstays complementing a head angle that is about par for current XC, and a degree or so steeper at the head and slacker at the effective seat angle than the current crop of rangy trail bikes. The wheelbase is trending long by XC standards, but a centimeter or two shorter than the current crop of similar travel trail rigs – going toe to toe with the Trek Top Fuel, Transition Spur and the new Specialized Epic Evo 8, but giving up 15mm between the axles to the Rocky Mountain Element and 35mm to the Transition Smuggler. Admittedly the Smuggler would be something of a freakish outlier in any of these comparisons, but it serves as an interesting data point in the evolutionary tale of short to mid travel trail bikes.

So, on paper (why do any of us even say that anymore?), we’re looking at a carbon fiber bike that is neither XC nor aggro-trail, costs a bunch, isn’t all that light, doesn’t have a ton of travel but has that Switch Infinity razzamatazz making what travel it does have feel plush and a little languid. This is a hard row to hoe, as the PR hacks would say, most of whom probably have no idea what a hoe even looks like. That’s the problem with PR and marketing – it is not something that is very often based in the practicalities and constraints of the real world.

SB120fisheye

Not a PR hack to be seen as far as the eye can see...

Some Of The Parts Are Greater Than The Hole…

That’s how the old saying goes, right? Here’s where the SB120 quietly destroys the spec sheet and the bracketed nature of compartmentalized marketing.

Let’s start with the suspension. It has 120mm of travel that is so composed, so excellent at everything, up or down, that it can put more than a few 130mm bikes to shame, and maybe even some 140mm bikes I could name. The littlest SB has superb seated pedaling traction, manages to eat up whatever I happen to be pedaling over, and offers just the right amount of platform/anti-squat/whatever to still be clean and responsive when it is time to shift the body weight and lunge up some the chunky bits. And it’ll just roll out and pedal all day without bobbing around or feeling like a boat anchor. Unless you compare it to one of the flex-stay XC greyhounds. But ANY bike will suffer in that very particular accelerative comparison. Meanwhile, when measured against those same whippy greyhounds, in every other measure the SB120 feels like a magic carpet. It is smooth, efficient, and incredibly well-mannered in how it pedals and climbs.

Then you get to point it downhill. And here it flat out crushes any other XC or “downcountry” bike I have ridden. The closest comparison would be the Rocky Mountain Element I tested the summer before last. I really liked that bike. The SB120 makes it feel like a noodle. There’s a modest amount of progression designed into the SB120’s Switch Infinity leverage rate, and when combined with the smallish volume air can on the Factory Float rear shock it manages to be reactive and plush in small bumps, just the right kind of supportive in the mid-stroke, then ramps up at the end of stroke to deliver a ride that feels very well-mannered and “more” than the numbers indicate. It is very easy to forget there’s only 120mm of travel, and even when the limits of that travel are finally pushed against, the level of composure and stability that the bike possesses is super readable and predictable.

According to my shock pump, I ended up here after the first few rides and never bothered with it again (aside from pressure checks front and rear the two times I spooged grease into the linkage):

Front – 90psi, LSR 7 clicks out, HSR 4 clicks out

Rear – 215psi, rebound 6 clicks out

The carbon fiber frame, and the visually “more complex than it needs to be” Switch Infinity link that holds those two units of carbon fiber together, has just the right amount of stiffness to feel planted and keep the wheels pointed where they need to be – even when the suspension has finally been pushed past its happy place. It corners beautifully, holds a line like a champ, and responds to body English willingly and without any twitchy weirdness. If there’s a fly in the ointment, it would be that the SB120 isn’t super snappy in the way it does anything. A touch more effort is required to sprint, wheelie up or throw around than some of the lighter, more nervous competitors. That said, it is still a whole lot more responsive doing all that than the more gravity oriented bikes up in the 150mm travel range. That is a whole different kind of riding there, though, so again, this is not really a worthwhile comparison.

I’m struggling for words to describe the nature of this bike. “Gentlemanly” has come up a few times, which is probably a bit too gender weird. “Aristocratic” also has some class baggage (but hey, cue up the bougie dentist bike references if you feel the need). “Composed” is what springs to mind the most. Uphill, downhill, corner apex, rock garden, boulder roll, off-camber, wherever. Nothing really seems to bother it, and that, in turn, makes whoever is holding onto the handlebars feel that much more relaxed about whatever the trail may throw up next.

SB120Rock

"Oh look, another static picture of an old dude not getting very rad." There is some irony to be noted here that I have probably ridden this bike more than any other three bikes in the past calendar year, but at the same time I have taken fewer pictures than ever of all that riding, most of which was alone, some of which may or may not have been semi-rad or rad-adjacent. Regardless of perceived radness or lack thereof, this bike possesses rad potential by the bucketload. Don't let that suave XC-esque profile deceive you...


For over a year now, this hard to categorize teal bike has held my taco intact, even when I probably shoulda grabbed a fork or just thrown all my food into a bowl to begin with.

The Taste Test Conclusion

Remember when I was writing about flour tortillas a couple weeks ago? I was thinking about them while I was riding this bike. There I was, adapting to yet another new riding environment, not really thinking about how the bike was working at all, learning my way toward cleaning lines that had been messing with me a week or two earlier. Trusting that nothing shitty was going to happen, that no matter how many times I smashed my pedals into the rocks or got my helmet or shoulder hooked by Piñon branches, or some new trail devolved into a jumbled mess of head-sized rock as some local led me in way faster than I shoulda been going, having total confidence in the bike.

Metaphorically speaking, the SB120 never let my taco disintegrate. Not in Toro Park, not in Santa Cruz, not in La Paz, not in Noble Canyon and not in Buena Vista. For over a year now, this hard to categorize teal bike has held my taco intact, even when I probably shoulda grabbed a fork or just thrown all my food into a bowl to begin with. Three sets of tires, two sets of brake pads, two pairs of grips, some grease, a lot of chain lube. I still smile every time I sling a leg over it. It may not be the style or terrain specific tortilla that we think we want, but it just might be the general purpose tortilla that most of us need.

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Yeah, that. It’s more than the travel numbers. It’s not to be dismissed by a glance at the geo chart. This is a surprisingly good bike, on so many levels, for so many riders, in so many places. Yeah, I know, this probably comes across as a blatant plug, but I already copped to the fact that I fell in love with the SB120 way back in the beginning of this thing. I also know that no matter how much smoke I blow up its seatpost, most people are still gonna look straight past it. Ah well. Their loss.

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Comments

syncro
+10 Vincent Edwards Jotegir Chad K Grif BarryW Lacy Kemp ClydeRide vunugu T_Chilly Tehllama42

When you say "Don't let that suave XC-esque profile deceive you..." are you referring to the rider or the bike?

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mikeferrentino
+2 Andy Eunson BarryW

Ha. The bike, no doubt. I do not think I have ever been described as anything leaner than "blocky"...

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lacykemp
+2 ClydeRide Mike Ferrentino

I'm sad Mark beat me to this comment

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syncro
+3 Velocipedestrian Mammal t4lturner

Knowing roughly when these articles get posted I just sit in front of the screen hitting refresh so I have first crack at these sorts of things.

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loki141
+3 Chad K Mike Ferrentino Kos

Nice writeup, demod the 120 in Moab. Wasn't a fan, Ended up going with a top fuel. Felt much more "composed and rowdy at the same time" more of an xc bike that could take the hits and chunk where I'd describe the 120 as an enduro bike with a silencer on it.

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mikeferrentino
+2 Andy Eunson SimonR

Interesting. I was at a product launch a couple years ago, and one of the Euro journos there described the 120-130ish bike that was being unveiled as "another Top Fuel." Which was his very Belgian way of damning with faint praise - since Top Fuel amongst his group was code for "capable but uninspiring". And that is kind of THE problem with this in-between category of bike. Whether Top Fuel or SB120, there is not any one attribute that really jumps out and inspires the weird fanatical lust that so many of us are seduced by in a bike.

I agree mostly with your assessment, though. The Top Fuel as it has stood for a while has been exactly what I think of as XC-plus. I'd put the SB120 is in that same bucket though, but in my view it does a better job of edging toward rowdy capability without sacrificing too much of the pedally versatility. And at this point we get into those strange personal nuances that define "what works for me" versus "what works for you."

I also feel like this category of bike, from the Epic EVO on up to say the Transition Smuggler, is white hot at the moment and packed with options that are redefining what we think short travel bikes are capable of.

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hongeorge
0

Have  you ridden the SCOR 2030 Mike? Its a 120mm bike also, but maybe different intent to the SB120, curious to know how it compares

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mikeferrentino
+1 hongeorge

Nope. I wanted to ride that, but Deniz beat me to the punch...

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syncro
+3 Jotegir Mike Ferrentino fartymarty

Have you spent any time on a DH bike Mike? I think that could make for a great article.

For reference: https://nsmb.com/articles/downhill-bikes-are-psychotic/

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Jotegir
+3 Velocipedestrian fartymarty T_Chilly

Downhill Mike! Downhill Mike! Downhill Mike!

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mikeferrentino
+5 Velocipedestrian taprider Mike Riemer Jeremy Hiebert T_Chilly

I have spent some time on DH bikes, but only sporadically, and it has been at least 7 years since I last really got to let one rip. I feel like I'm getting beyond the time of life where that appeals to me any more from a pure self preservation perspective. DH bikes are so damn fun, but they really need to go so damn fast. And I find myself needing to recalibrate a whole lot of everything whenever I ride one. I love the mental rewiring, but I don't really feel like I can decouple my inner nanny state the way I used to. It's hard to explain. I am saying this after coming off a day riding Vitamin B on a 150mm bike and having so many "dude, why are you choking" moments that it is front of my mind right now. I'm closing on 60, and I am definitely erring on the side of caution more and more than I ever did in the past.

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syncro
0

This comment has been removed.

syncro
+2 Jotegir BarryW

60 is the new 40.

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nikkimmahoney@gmail.com
0

That’s also kinda just how that trail works. Some days you have it. Some days you don’t. Which is the beauty of it. A DH bike would do you zero favors on that trail. It’s fun on a 120 bike differently than it’s fun on an enduro sled than it is on a hardtail (ouch!) but it’s always fun.

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syncro
0

C'mon, it's not like I was suggesting Mike test out a DH bike on a mellow trail.

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syncro
0

I get what you're saying. 15-20yrs ago DH bikes felt more like a regular bike, just with more travel.  Nowadays they are a completely different animal. Current DH bikes are unwieldy at slow speeds, but once you get going on them they have a very different and fun feel from other types of mtbs. While going fast is fun, the problem is that going really fast leaves way less room for error. And you also smash a lot harder when things go awry. 

Seeing as you (Mike) mostly write and trail type bikes I thought it would be cool to see an article from you on a modern DH sled.

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mikeferrentino
+4 Mark Jeremy Hiebert mnihiser T_Chilly

I'm self limiting. Kinda written this to death already, but there's a reason I only write about short to slightly less short travel bikes - I do not think I have the suitable level of aggression to push longer travel bikes in a meaningful enough way to find their limitations. I can blab about components and fit and relative behaviors when cornering until the cows come home, but once travel gets upward of about 140mm I do not think my insight is very valuable to the people who can send longer travel bikes properly.

Case in point: Seems like most test bikes I've received in the past few years have at least two volume spacers in their forks. I almost always remove one of them, and about half the time I pull both. I generally run compression dampers, even on 130mm bikes, all the way open and work in from there if I feel the need

I love speed, but I do not love air. Might be kinda late to reshape riding styles I consciously moved away from a long time ago. You might say 40 is the new 60, but I harbor a suspicion you are closer to 40 than you are to 60. Shit starts changing, and time can be a brutal mindfuck.

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syncro
+4 Mike Ferrentino Mammal Jotegir Velocipedestrian

I'm mid 50's, but still trying to live like I'm 20, or 12 if you judge me by my comments sometimes. I get your point about the aggression/air factors, and while I'm not averse to them I don't need to charge hard and can take an 26" Explosif out for a rip that's just as much fun as a charger on a bigger bike. IMO one of the big flaws in the mtb industry is how a lot of marketing gets pushed to the extreme end of things - everything has to be wild and crazy. I think that's unfortunate because you can go out for a mellow ride on a little bike and still have a great time. 

I just figure your writing about the experience would be fun to read - whether or not you took full advantage of a bigger bike. More like a thought experiment than an actual review.

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Roxtar
0

Ooooh, I've been trying to get out to Vitamin B for a while.

Good on ya.

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MNKid
+1 Velocipedestrian

"I don't really feel like I can decouple my inner nanny state the way I used to." 100% in alignment with you on that. I wish I could let go the way I once could, but I just can't. And I'm mostly fine with it.

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vincentaedwards
+2 Allen Lloyd Mike Ferrentino

And it’s still on SALE! (All the C2 and C3 builds look good, and suspension can be upgraded which is a nice touch)

Good read as always. I remember thinking this bike seemed ‘boring’ when it was released… like ‘oh, another 30lb short travel trail bike that costs a lot of money’. (I would love a comparison to the SCOR2030, and new Revel Rascal) 

Because ‘on paper’ there isn’t much to make it stand out. Which is why a good long term review is so valuable. I’m thinking about this bike through the lens of ‘iphone’ now. There’s nothing about an iPhone 15 that makes it groundbreaking, but compared to an iPhone 8 it’s worlds better due to the incremental refinement over several generations.

Sometimes refinement is a whole lot better in the real world than groundbreaking change.

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neologisticzand
+1 Vincent Edwards

I agree that I'd love to hear a comparison between those same bikes, as they, in addition to the sb120, are my list of bikes that I'd like to try.

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DogVet
+2 Jotegir Mike Ferrentino

It’s not a lot to do with how the bikes work with lesser travel, they work very well, but they cause more fatigue. 

Simple’s really, otherwise everyone one would be riding rigid hardtails.

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Jotegir
+2 taprider Mike Ferrentino

In the alternative, climbing my 180mm front, ~170mm rear bike causes more fatigue than climbing my light trail bike. Just at the other end of things.

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DogVet
0

More on the descents, certainly in Uk, tracks when riding short travel soon fatigues the ride

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andrewbikeguide
+1 Mike Ferrentino

I feel that way about my Arrival 140. Everything is just balanced, natural and minimum effort. Don't know or care what it weighs as every part is robust enough to handle a season of coaching/ guiding and other than regular maintenance checks I just don't have to think about it at all.

nice write up.

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Roxtar
+1 ClydeRide

As good as this write-up is, I'm still disappointed in the lack of A vs B.

I was truly hoping for the original promise of Baby Bear vs Goldilocks. The entire time I was reading this review, I kept wondering if the same words might have been written about the 140.

My own experience with a different brand's 120 vs 140 bikes showed the 140 to do everything pretty much as well as the 120 model so, "Why not?"

I was hoping to find out if the same situation existed here.

One more thing the thieving bastards stole from all of us.

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mikeferrentino
+4 Andy Eunson Merwinn Lynx . vunugu

I suspect that this is where most bike buyers gravitate. 120 to 140, Ripley to Ripmo, Smuggler to Sentinel. It's a testament to how well the various suspension systems have been evolved to where they are now super capable everywhere. And it is exactly the bugbear that I personally grapple with: when faced with the option of "more", it is hard to say no. 

But, just like the super size option at mickey D's, more does not always connote "better." Even before the theft, i was finding myself reaching for the 120 more than the 140. As mentioned, some of that may have been terrain dependent. But it also felt, to me (and this is where things get super personal and I really NEED to preface that we may all have a very different interpretation of personal need here), like the 120 was a more cohesive single identity. Everything about it felt balanced and in proportion and "just right" and it was super easy for me to get along with it.

So, dirt bike analogy time: I used to have a KTM 200. I would show up to hare scramble races on it and the dudes I lined up next to would look down at me from their 450s and 525s and ask me if I was racing my girlfriend's bike. But for all the extra displacement and custom valved suspension and orange anodized aluminum widgets, they were never really any faster. In a lot of places, they were in my way. Even in the desert. That little bike was so easy to ride, I never had to think about it. And it worked everywhere, even the places that it probably shouldn't have.

I have a Husqvarna 501 now. It is so overkill. I miss my 200. More is not always better, for me.

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Roxtar
+2 Chad K Mike Ferrentino

My first experience with the "Why Not" phenomenon was Ripley to Ripmo. I was looking for a 120mm 29er and the Ripley pedaled and climbed amazingly. However, so did the the Ripmo plus it was more capable when working WITH gravity. So, why not?

I rode the Ripmo for a few years before having the same experience with Evil. My son's Following pedals great, however, so does my Offering plus...

In fact, it seems the bar is getting even higher in that regard. I recently rode a 160mm Wreckoning for a week and was amazed to find it pedaled scarily close to my Offering. 

Is "Why not" being taken to the next level?

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Jotegir
+1 Mike Ferrentino

I've heard it said a big difference between modern all-mountain and enduroy bike performance and whatever vague trail bike category you want to place this current phenomenon of bikes in is tire spec, and I have to agree. They're all pretty dialed as far as body position and efficiency, and a 36/38 vs a 34 isn't adding drag or friction, just weight. So if all you want is a very efficient pedaler that gets you the most bang for your buck on the descent, then grab that Wreckoning and just find a balance in tires that meets your desires.

Harkening back to another article by Mike from a few months ago, I did the opposite and kinda ruined my top fuel by putting enduro tires to race an east coast enduro and ride bike park when it was the only bike I brought on an 80 day road trip. Let me tell you, it was a huge climbing penalty. 

But there's a lot more to it than simple climbing performance once we're away from true XC rockets.  People ride DH bikes because of they way they make you feel hitting stupid, f-you tech lines at speed or when they save your ass after screwing up a huge step down. I know that feeling and I love it. At the same time, I spend the majority of my shoulder seasons on light 140mm bikes or less because of the way those bikes make me feel when the priorities shift. Instead it's nailing snappy corners, popping over trail garbage, doubling rollers, and easily making trail gaps that just wouldn't happen at responsible speeds on the DH bike.

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Roxtar
+1 Mike Ferrentino

I've always been someone who prefers to work with gravity instead of against it and it showed in my choice of bikes (I'm generally a "quiver of one" guy). 

Several years ago, I began to tire of riding bikes that had no interest in doing anything but DH (coil-sprung Nomad, I'm looking at you), and decided to try the new crop of 120ish travel 29ers. Ibis, however, had just come out with the Ripmo which, to me, was the first of these "why not" bikes; 140mm goldilocks bikes that punch both above AND below their weight class.

I've been a huge fan of this class of trailbikes ever since; just so good at everything.

Now, it seems that technology may have evolved to the point where bikes like the Evil Wreckoning and Pivot Firebird (non-enduro-sled 160mm bikes) are starting to feel the same way.

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BarryW
+1 Mike Ferrentino

The motorcycle analogy is a perfect way to describe that.

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kos
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Sorry to be stalking you this week, Mike, but to this day, my KTM 200 is still the bike I wished I'd never parted with. It was like a motorized mtb before mtbs added motors!

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32x20
+2 Mike Ferrentino Kos

Mine got stolen a lot of years ago. Such a good enduro/harescramble bike. 

Mike, how much is it killing to you pronounce ‘Buena Vista’ and ‘Salida’ like a local (after spending some time in Mexico)?

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mikeferrentino
+2 32x20 Mike Riemer

I'm starting a campaign to call Leadville "Leed Vile" and purposefully mispronounce every single landmark or town in a hundred mile radius. Cannon city. Koh Tohn woooood creek. MowNarsh pass. The Ar Kan Sass river.

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burnskiez
+1 Kos

YES the mighty KTM 200, possibly the best analogy ever!  The thing rides as if telepathic - I'll never forgive ktm for stopping production of those.  God how I want a newer tpi version with the magic button.  Less is certainly more when executed that well.  Said as a current owner of a 500 exc that I love and will likely never part ways with.

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Joe2008
+1 OneShavedLeg

Smart, provoking and snazzy writing, as usual. We’re in awe. Thank you.

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neologisticzand
0

Perfectly timed review as this bike has been living rent-free in my mind!

Especially interesting to read about the 120 vs 140, as that's my biggest consideration as well

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mikeferrentino
+1 Chad K

I feel like if I had gone with a Large in the 140 that I would have gelled better with it, but then again, I dunno. I would've been trading ripping fun for stability by going from M to L, and there are cases to be made for either of those. The 140 is an incredibly capable bike in the rowdy stuff, and it has super appealing pedaling behavior that makes it an easy bike to bag a ton of climbing on without hating it or yourself. The 120 is not going to be as good in really high speed chunk or big hit terrain, but it's a better pedal all day option.

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neologisticzand
0

That makes sense to me! I've done some long enough rides on my sb140 (say about 6 hours in saddle) and didn't feel like the 140 was too much bike to pedal around and it remains my "these are new trails to me, what bike should I ride?" bike given that it can pedal and descend well enough to fit into most trail rides well enough. Still, the temptation of a sb120 remains...

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mikeferrentino
+1 Jotegir

If you were on a 160, I would tell you to get a 120. If you already have a 140, I would be more inclined to tell you to get an ASR. My preference for the 120 is shaped in many ways by my access to a whole mess of different bikes. I can appreciate the 120 as this supremely balanced singularity without having to place it in a 'what do I personally own, and where are the gaps" frame of reference. The 140 is definitely not too much bike to pedal around, and I feel that the differences between it and the 120 are more nuanced than they are glaring. Some may disagree with that, but so be it. The two bikes are different interpretations of very closely aligned riding philosophies.

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shutter2ride
0

Pretty good bike for the local BV and Salida trails, I'm on a Lunch Ride with RockShox Ultimate spec and this further helps the "feels like more bike" although probably not enough for the downhills off the 'crest. Wished the headtube was taller, and the bike didn't creak like it does. Seems to be a bit of a newer issue with Yeti's this year (I work on bikes but don't want to work on mine).

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neologisticzand
0

Interesting to hear about the creaking. I have 2 of the current gen yeti's and one of the prior gen ( sb140, sb160, sb130LR) and the bikes have never creaked for me. Where do you get the sound from?

How are you liking the LR version? I'm a sucker for a piggy back shock, so much so that my currently short travel rig also has one.

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mikeferrentino
+1 Chad K

Much as I am increasingly a "ride it stock" kind of rider, the 120 seems like it would be awesome in LR clothes.

As for the creaking, I had a few instances but didn't think them very noteworthy: Lower and upper shock bolts needed to be snugged up twice, and the upper rear triangle bolts needed a tighten up once. Since the lower swingarm bolts need to come out in order to spooge the Switch Infinity zerks those also got retorqued twice, but they were not the cause of any creaks. Link spooging aside, this feels about par for the course with any modern multi-link bike.

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XXX_er
+2 Mike Ferrentino Chad K

I've had 3 oh shit its creaking instances in the headset area on a  Yeti 5.5 with fox 36 / SC with ZEB but its always been fixed by just dropping the fork to give the stem/ headset a quick wipe

Switch infinity link needed a yearly shot of grease

same with VPP link

i also " ride it stock " so just replace shit that is wearing out, even the maxxis tires cuz i havent got time to wank about trying stuff, thats your job

ime with switch infinity it climbed really well and when it came time to go down it was very composed just point it

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kos
+2 BarryW Mike Ferrentino

Dirt biker roots revealed there, Mike!!! Every mtb rider I know that has moto in their blood thinks nothing of regularly checking every single fastener on their bike. Many others, not so much.....it's just odd to me that some are surprised when the main pivot on an FS bike is found loose after not being checked since last year some time. Sorry, mini-rant over.

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Frorider
0

So how many miles (or riding hours) did you go between Zerk spoogings?  For dry climates I’m hearing 80 hrs or so.

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mikeferrentino
0

I went about 60 hours before the first spooging, and was concerned that I was too late. Conditions had been mostly dry, but very dusty. Second spooging was just at the beginning of June, I think. So, somewhere in the 80 hour range. Again, predominantly dry conditions, and no wear visible. Fox recommends something like 75-100 hours between spoogings in dry/dusty conditions, but 15-20 hours in "extreme mud or dust". I would be willing to maybe stretch the timing out a bit given my conditions and the lack of any noticeable wear. Buuut, them links ain't cheap, so an ounce of prevention is far less pain on the wallet than the pound of cure.

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ESQDavidK
0

Sorry if I missed this info in the article.  What size bike were you testing?  And, what's your height and weight?  Thanks.

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mikeferrentino
+1 David Krahulik

Ah, yeah. Oops. In the initial twofer test, I had lined up a Large SB120 and a Medium SB140, since the wheelbases were exactly the same between the two. Anyway, shoulda repeated the sizing. Large. I'm somewhere between 5'9" and 5'10" and you should know that it is extremely uncouth to ask a lady her weight. Right now, about 190 geared up to ride. It's all bone density, I swear.

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ESQDavidK
0

Thanks for the response and the informative article.

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swackerbat
0

I have this bike. It's not an XC race bike. But i have raced XC on it. DId poorly due to being out of shape. It's not an enduro bike but i have ridden some local "enduro" style trails. It was slower than my enduro bike on the downs. Where this bike shines is when you want to go mountain biking. It climbs like a goat. It is so fun to rip on all types of terrain. With some smart build options you can get the weight down below 28 pounds. This bike is for the days when you want to go ride your mountain bike and have fun. Moab, Sedona, So Cal, Nor Cal and more. I think with a 150mm Fox 36 on this thing it could improv a bit more vs having a 130mm Fox 34. 5'10 and 200 pound rider who knows better than to ride double blacks or maybe even blacks at this point in time.

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kamperinbv
0

MFer

I loved this read the other week when first posted and it got me thinking - as im looking to replace current steed w "something" in the 120-140 range.  Believing id be happier w just a bit more Tavel - say 130 in the middle but more fasterer and livelierer than current bike.  Ive recent demoed the Tranny Smug - REALLY good bike and could own it but it has the really janky cable routing to the back.  Not a deal breaker but....  really good bike up, down, traversing BV the way we do and hey - its in that oh so trail worthy 130 range.   today I had the 3 bike demo day in departure aka Salida.  Got to go in order of travel - SB120LR, Rascal V2, SB140.  I ONLY tried the 120 because of this review and the way you framed it all up(but interesting enough - all the shop guys apparently chose this as their free shop bike for the season as well - so maybe its not as under the radar or they know what you do?).  it was first rides on both 120 and 140 but 2nd on Rascal (but seems eons ago - day after it launched).  Winner altho some close similarities - sb120LR.  Color me a bit shocked yet not so fast...  setups on all 3 were "demo bike good" and even some "next to the truck" refinements helped, but boy the 120 was good everywhere and dare I say took the sting off all matter of trail chatter, babayheads, some larger square edges etc...  yet offered just the right amount of trail feedback for me - I actually set a PR on a pedally segment with some good trail chop etc and I stopped once to reduce rebound a click...  so yeah - was a really non category defining kind of ride and had I not known the travel - I might have thought "easily" 130 or even up to 140.  I think the biggest disappointment was the 140.  while the numbers on paper are VERY close to my current 140/160 trail bike - it felt like it was longer, more sluggish (especially compared to the 120 and rascal) - now didn't get a proper janky hard DH run which may have altered the opinion to a degree but SB120 was fun, easy and just all good, Rascal right there yet still second place -  the 120 felt overall better and oddly more plush to me today, 140 felt least plush and harder to move... now lets see how that now Rip and Spot feel as those are next on demo for me and if you have a review coming look fwd to it!

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