XTR 9100, WeAreOne, Chris King, E13 and OneUp

Yeti SB150 'Test Platform' Custom Build

Words Cam McRae
Photos Cam McRae (unless noted)
Date May 21, 2019

It's often not feasible to strap test product onto a test bike. The frame is part of the test, and certainly the most important element, but we are also evaluating the product spec and how everything works together. Change the fork and you change the bike. Which means there needs to be a calm centre to the product testing storm, which I like to call my test platform.

It's essential that this is a bike that performs well for me and this one does; fit is perfect, it allows me to ride at the best of my ability and I have answered all the questions about tuning and set up. That way if I strap on a new set of wheels and I feel something different, I may come to the conclusion the wheels are responsible. I know, it's Einstein-level stuff.


Yeti has a dedicated and almost fanatical fanbase. Respect for brand heritage and attention to detail seem to be very important to this contingent. Yeti doesn't mess around with the sacred elements.

After testing the Yeti SB150 the decision was easily made. The size large frame perfectly suits virtually all the riding I do and is an incredible performer, both up and down, on top of fitting me better than any bike I've ridden. I have been collecting test parts and other elements for this build for months, and the final bits, from Chris King, arrived last week so Friday became build day.

With a little help from Jeff Bryson at Bikeroom, who did the brake bleed and 'cable porn' for me, she was ready to go. She's a mix of XTR, WeAreOne, OneUp, e*thirteen and Chris King with an Ergon saddle - and everything came together perfectly. Product choice was a combination of parts I was interested in testing and a few I have confidence in that were essential to the build, namely Chris King headset and bottom bracket and e*thirteen TRSr tires. I'll lay everything out in captions below, but I will say that after just one ride I am smitten with this bike.




This Ergon SME3 Pro Ti saddle (size small) felt pretty good on ride one. It has very little scoop to the rear though and that will take some getting used to - or possibly an angle adjustment.

When it was announced that XTR hubs were going to be available but without a corresponding XTR rim (or other Shimano-branded product) my first thought was WeAreOne Composites from Kamloops B.C. I was treated to a tour of their modest manufacturing facility and I came away impressed. The fact that Dustin Adams' team in Kamloops is able to manufacture carbon rims domestically and still sell for less than half the price of other domestic manufacturers, caught my attention. Timing was good as well because WeAreOne had just released the Faction rim. With a 28mm internal measurement and a shallower cross-section to improve compliance, these are aimed at the trail market.


Laced to XTR hubs the WeAreOne Faction wheels weighed in at 740 front and 890 rear with rim strips and valves - very comparable to the ENVE M630s I will test them against head-to-head.


I also have wheels from Specialized, Santa Cruz, ENVE and Crankbrothers to ride head-to-head with identical tires, pressures and sealant volumes.

OneUp Components continues to beat the big brands at their own game, particularly in the dropper market; more drop, shorter stack and overall lengths and better pricing. The posts also seem to be durable, well-engineered and reliable so it was time for me to give one a go. I was also interested in trying the company's new carbon bar.

In order to engineer some flex the cross section of the bar was flattened some. I have no idea if it felt any different after one ride because everything was different, so some back to back analysis will be required. I also used OneUp's tidy stem that is designed to work with the EDC (Every Day Carry) system. There is a clamping mechanism on the stem that does the job of the top cap, putting downward pressure on the headset and keeping things tight. This also means you can use EDC without threading your steerer tube.


A OneUp V2 210 mm dropper was hard to resist. When I rode 125mm I thought it was adequate and was sure I didn't need more drop. I thought the same at 150 and then at 170. I may have finally found the limit - since I bottomed out my shorts on my rear wheel on ride one - but we'll have to see. Travel can be reduced to 190mm if necessary. Stack height is low, overall length is short and the price hasn't changed at only 263 CAD or 199 USD without lever. I will be trying the WeAreOne lever as well as the PNW Components Loam Lever to compare with the XTR version.


We'll see if this out of round shape is more comfortable than a conventional bar. OneUp claims an average improvement of 21% in vertical compliance with a 28% increase in steering stiffness over "the most popular carbon bars on the market as well as foam filled aluminum bars." Bar stats are 800mm Wide / 35mm Dia. / Sweep 8° Back 5° Up / 220g (20mm rise) 225g (35mm rise).

Shimano XTR 9100

The heart of this build is Shimano XTR 9100, which I first saw in Japan and then later rode in Crested Butte. There are a couple of changes since Crested Butte; the 'Scylence' hub has been shelved for now and the cranks have been delayed. Shimano is said to be continuing the pursuit of the disengaging Scylence hubs, that run silently and with virtually no drag, but they won't be included with this version of XTR sadly. Instead the hubs will be the new FH-9111 model with an identical 7.6º of engagement. Apparently the Scylence hubs weren't reliable enough to meet Shimano's standards for XTR.


The replacement hub is anything but 'scylent' and I'll be working on a lubrication mixture that conforms to Shimano's standards while deadening the buzz some.

The cranks have been held up by a manufacturing issue. Shimano used a hollow forged construction on previous XTR but this version was to be a hollow bonded construction. Until that is sorted Shimano has issued a non-series FC-MT900 crank finished in black. It's a good looking component but the placeholder is not as sweet as the original. The new cranks were 594 grams on my scale, while the bonded version was said to be 511. These are still lighter than previous XTR.


This is a good looking crank, but it's not going to compete with the delayed version...


which looks like this. Photo - Sterling Lorence

Other changes include the cancellation of the 11spd option, which was aimed at racer-types with a desire to shed some weight and who had no need for a 51t cog. The short cage derailleur and the 10-45 option are still available.

Everything went together well and I continued to be impressed with the shifting smoothness and braking feel, power and modulation on home terrain - after one ride that is.


The lever has a slightly wider contact area which I find much more positive and comfortable than previous Shimano levers.


These calipers are incredible looking and so far they have delivered excellent performance, without the inconsistent bite point I've experienced using some recent Shimano brakes. 203mm rotors are not yet available but should be soon I believe. Photo - Sterling Lorence

Of course Shimano is all about the shifting, and I'm looking forward to challenging XTR9100 on the North Shore in all sorts of weather conditions. In Crested Butte conditions were as close to ideal as you can get. It will be interesting to see how Hyperglide +,* which uses Shimano's HG technology on upshifts for the first time, works when you have only a moment to make a shift before you've got to ratchet off the edge of a rock face.

I dove in on HG+ in my first XTR 9100 article here...


Light lever action for downshifts and smooth shifts under power are highlights of XTR 9100 but I felt the lever action for upshifts was a little stiff. I did however appreciate being able to use that paddle as a trigger or a thumb lever.


Shimano ergonomics in an I-Spec (EV) dropper remote? I'll take it. Adjustability and lever action are both good with the SL-MT800-IL and the interface is as tidy as can be.


The shifter tucks in nicely and can also be adjusted over a suitable range, both inboard and outboard and in terms of rotation.


A very tidy bar with only two clamps.


Photo bomber stole my stick! The SB150 frame with shock and rear axle weighed 7.94 lbs/3.6 kg.


The business end. Inspired by a commenter, I am going to work on a custom fender to keep detritus from the rear wheel away from the linear bearing and reduce the chance of premature wear. I did some custom vinyl work to match the components a little better - and it doesn't hold up to macro scrutiny.


Hand Built, abominably rad.


I have had positive damping experiences and no issues with the Fox X2 rear shock.


I'm a big fan of e*thirteen TRSr tires. Some riders suggest the rolling speed is a little slow but that's not on my radar for my local rides. Traction is king.


Unfortunately the tall side knobs, with their badger-like cornering grip, don't seem to have adequate clearance on the SB150, despite their 2.35" marked size.


Yeti's Turq frames are a little lighter and they use carbon product that is harvested from recently retired F1 cars. Actually Yeti tells us Turq frames weigh between 250 and 350 grams less than the standard carbon frames and are 25% stiffer. They also have pretty graphic details! The standard frames are also said to be a little more durable and I wouldn't hesitate to ride one.


Details! I really like these Firewire reusable cable ends. Just unscrew them and you have a clean uncrimped end.


And a final shot of the non-drive side. There are those who think the SB150 isn't a good looking bike, and while it makes a much better impression in person, I have grown very fond of the shape.

I remember Hugh Hefner being asked whether he got bored because of the access he had to an unending supply of young partners. Hef was Playboy so he could only answer in the affirmative, but I thought it was likely bullshit. I however have to say that I am no less fond of interesting, beautifully-made bike frames and parts than when I first became smitten with bikes as a young lad. It doesn't hurt that bikes have taken leaps and bounds in recent years, with more and more emphasis placed on the rider's experience, but the engineering excellence and sheer inventiveness in this industry continues to put a smile on my face 35 years after buying my first mountain bike.

Stay tuned for updates on the test products currently installed and those waiting in the wings.

Trending on NSMB


Eric Van Sickle  - May 21, 2019, 6:19 a.m.

You may want to change the WR1 dropper post to 1Up.

Cam McRae  - May 21, 2019, 8:30 a.m.

Doh! I always swap those. Thanks!


+2 Agleck7 Dan
Kos  - May 21, 2019, 7:02 a.m.

Personally, not a fan of the bike (150 mm "Enduro" bike without adequate room for an honest 2.4 tire?!) but a huge fan of the back to back testing idea for various components.  Bring it on!

REALLY interested in the slightly compliant bars (one bum hand here).

No fender for the SI, please.  IIRC, when Fox and Yeti announced this concept, they showed a video of it operating while immersed in an abrasive bath for around a million hours.  A real world NS test of this is called for.

+3 Kos Beau Miller IslandLife
Cam McRae  - May 21, 2019, 8:35 a.m.

I have run a 2.4 Minion with no trouble at all Kos. Clearance was fine and there was no contact. I've also run Specialized 2.6s - but they measure smaller than that. 

Check my long term review of this bike for a little background on my desire for a fender. I think I may have done the real world test already.


Agleck7  - May 21, 2019, 7:17 a.m.

Is that a shim for your dropper? the horror!!


cyclotoine  - May 21, 2019, 8:12 a.m.

I think it's just grease. The fact that the 210 dropper isn't slammed and shimmed for the perfect fit makes me think this frame is a bit on the small side.

Cam McRae  - May 21, 2019, 8:37 a.m.

No shim. 

I am longer of leg than upper body, with an ape index of zero, so I tend to need lots of post extension but not massive reach. I have ridden bikes as long as 490mm reach comfortably but others that are a little shorter than that (XL Megatower) feel too big.


+3 Cam McRae Shoreboy Tjaard Breeuwer
[user profile deleted]  - May 21, 2019, 7:28 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

+2 IslandLife Dan
Shoreboy  - May 21, 2019, 8:45 a.m.

How about we start with the $5 crimpless cable end :)  If you are going to go full dentist build, you gotta have these!


-1 Dan Timer Beau Miller Avner B. Jenkins5
babyzhendo  - May 21, 2019, 8:19 a.m.

Surprised you guys have liked the e.13 tires so much, especially for where you live. I'm in Seattle and found them terrifying - once you exceed a certain lean angle they tend to let go very suddenly, and grip has been pretty lackluster on wet roots and rocks. Had a few too many close calls on those (or in several cases, unexpected crashes) and went back to Magic Marys, no issues.

Those cable crimps look genius - where does a north american buy them? Your link is to a British site.

+2 Beau Miller Jenkins5
Cam McRae  - May 21, 2019, 8:42 a.m.

It's possible that my affection for the TRSr tires is somewhat terrain dependent. Lean angles are not a big thing for most of the trails we ride and I've not had that experience at all. You also may corner harder than I do! I've loved them in the wet though, on hard and soft surfaces. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that e*thirteen is cooking up something new all the same... 

I was sent the Firewire ends by a UK distributor - and he no longer seems to carry them. So nice to work with as long as you have clean ends to start with. I haven't found them on this side of the pond sadly.


Peter Adamkovics  - May 21, 2019, 10:30 a.m.

do you have any extra you want to sell? :-)

2.99 GBP is currently 3.82USD... i can almost live with that, they do look really cool.  it's the 30 GBP shipping cost that's keeping me from buying any.... (maybe I need to order 100 of them, but alas, i don't have 100 dentist riding buddies)

Cam McRae  - May 21, 2019, 10:59 a.m.

We all know where these are made. There must be a way to get some to North America - or at least to Canada where tariffs are lower!


+1 Cam McRae
Peter Adamkovics  - May 21, 2019, 12:54 p.m.

nice!  thanks for the tip (both Cam and Shoreboy)

earle.b  - May 21, 2019, 1:40 p.m.

I guess they don't need tire clearance in Colorado.


IslandLife  - May 21, 2019, 2:23 p.m.

Beautiful bike, excellent and well thought out build.  Looks to be about as good as a high performance test bed could be.  I for one am excited to see the cycle of test parts applied to this bike.

Just curious... seems you've decided that the 150 > Lunch Ride?

+1 IslandLife
Cam McRae  - May 21, 2019, 4:39 p.m.

Thanks IL! 

Haven't ridden the lunch ride yet but I ride enough trails that scare me to death to justify all the travels. Beyond that the SB150 is an incredibly agile machine considering how capable it is.


kekoa  - May 21, 2019, 7:46 p.m.

Nice build. Be curious to see how you get along with XTR 12 speed. I've got a smattering on my older sb5 and am trying to convince myself it was worth it.


+1 DarioD
awesterner  - May 22, 2019, 9:02 p.m.

Cam, have you noticed any quirks from the OneUp dropper?  I've had one for a few months and not too many rides.  from the get go it struggles with the last 1/2" or travel on the way up.  Seat collar is as loose as it will go without slipping down.  It seems like a tight upper nylon bushing.  I can remove the upper bushing (after unscrewing the cap) and the post slams up no problem.  With the bushing in and the collar crewed tight, it struggles. I've improved things by sanding the out diameter of the bushing to free up the clearance a bit, but it still is a bit inconsistent. I'm sure a little more grease and maybe try a new bushing from them might help, but I'm curious if it's common. How's yours?

Cam McRae  - May 23, 2019, 10:46 p.m.

I have just returned from a press camp so I haven't had a chance for my second ride yet, but it was perfect on ride one. I would give them a call or send them an email. They are all about the customer service.


Chad K  - May 22, 2019, 9:05 p.m.

Cam, I really like the vinyl decals that wrap fully around on the part of the rear triangle that connects the seat and chainstay. Did you overlap it on the backside to make a loop?

Cam McRae  - May 23, 2019, 10:49 p.m.

I completely bodged the inside Chad. Because of the angles the strips point up on one side and down on the other on the back. To make it encircle as a band would require two separate pieces. I haven't decided whether I like the original pattern or the bands but the bands are much easier, at least for the outside!


+1 Cam McRae
Chad K  - May 24, 2019, 4:20 a.m.

That makes sense, Cam. I noticed that yesterday when looking at my sb130. I've got a good bit of colored vinyl laying around, so maybe I'll give it a go for the bands


+1 Cam McRae
XXX_er  - May 26, 2019, 9:02 a.m.

the  Fox  seat post on my 5.5 was creaky from day 1, I tried lube but it still always creaked, the key was to clean off all the lube and use carbon paste


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