[R]eviewed // Yeti Cycles ‘new’ SB165: first Impressions

Hailing from a long-esteemed career in all facets of MTB culture from DH, Enduro, Freeride, XC etc Yeti Cycles have always been at the forefront of creating bikes with a unique style and attention to detail. As far as bucket list bikes on the market, the word ‘Yeti’ would always be in the conversation and that is just a fact.

A few years back we saw Yeti release a very freeride orientated whip being their SB165 which boasted a 165mm of travel out back and a 180mm fork up front. We even observed riders take this platform to events such as Red Bull Rampage and Darkfest. So, when the test team at [R]evolution heard we were getting this bike exclusively prior to its official release, it’s fair to say we were all exited considering it really fits with the aggressive riding style of the [R]evo test team.

Words // Scotty Prendergast Photos // Matt Staggs

The existing SB165 looked and rode bloody well, so what have Yeti done with the new version in aiming to up the ante even higher?
Plenty! When we first got our hands on this sled, we were wiping our eyes and the drool from our chin as to just how nice this sucker looks in the flesh. Sure it’s a Yeti and it’s to be expected but there’s nothing quite like a new Yeti like this. Trust us when we say that as far as good looks go the new SB165 is very difficult to beat. Sure, this bike comes with a rather similar silhouette to the previous model however, there have been a ton of subtle changes which make for a dramatic change overall. The biggest change would be the new model comes stock with a 29-inch wheel and a 170mm fork. With that said, you can still run a 180mm fork and a 27.5 wheel and this frame is rated to take a triple clamp without voiding any warranty. Whilst speaking of warranty, Yeti bikes stand behind their product and offer a lifetime warranty on the frame, so think about your new Yeti as an investment that will last for years to come.

Tell us a bit about the spec?
Here in Australia Yeti are offer the SB165 in several spec builds. Our test bike rolls off of the production line sporting an assortment of sweet gear included DT EX 1700 Wheels, Fox Suspension platform, (DHX2 Coil Shock – Fox Factory 38 Fork), Fox Transfer Dropper (200mm) Maxxis Tyres, SRAM Code RSC brakes and SRAM XO transmission drivetrain.

This bike however will be available as a frame only option for those who want a custom build, or in a number of different build options depending on what you like in a bike.”

Hit us with some of the bike’s key numbers and features?
Sure, so the latest ‘gen SB165 comes stock as stated with MX wheels, it is a full carbon frame and swing arm which are size specific between each of the 4 frame sizes from small to XL. In other words, you’re kind of getting a decent custom fitted bike for your size where the suspension kinematics and adjustability in the frame will be best suited to your height and weight. There are some other slight changes in angles depending on the size of bike you shredders ride at home. The test bike we rode was a large which comes stock with a 63.5-degree head tube angle, 76.9-degree seat tube angle, 480mm reach and 437mm chain stay length. This bike (large) also weighs in around 15.7 kgs which is pretty damn light for a big bike with a coil shock. And as forementioned with every other bike brand Yeti will offer this bike in a few models, colours and/or build options depending on what you prefer in components to go along with your whip.

Diehard Yeti fans will no doubt be pleased that the ‘new’ SB165’s frame silhouette retains a similar look to the original which was widely regarded as one of the finest looking long travel bikes on the market. Looks aside though what are the main design changes that you’ve discovered with the new bike?
Interestingly this bike runs the same front triangle as the pure Enduro race bike being the SB160. However, the rear end has been re-fabricated so includes a new linkage which gives the bike a bit more travel and better small bump sensitivity whilst still maintaining the tried and tested switch infinity stable pedal platform. Some other cool features we should mention are a threated bottom bracket shell, a universal derailleur hanger, complete internal cable routing and the frame also has plenty of room for your bottle. Just like the quiver of Yeti bikes, apart from their e-MTB, the ‘Switch Infinity’ suspension platform, is comprised of a floating link that slides upwards in the beginning of the stroke and then floats downwards towards the mid to end stroke in the travel. This platform provides a 22% leverage rate, which in short provides a very supply feeling bike over the light trail chatter for maximum traction and it ramps up progressively heavier later in the stroke, providing a bike that maintains tractions and sensitivity over the larger knocks whilst keeping the bike stable at speed throughout a variety of terrain.

So, how does that all translate into ride performance?
Keeping in mind we’ve only had this bike at the office for a little over one week before we had to wrap the latest mag up for print so we’re not going to dive too deep into how it rides just yet as we’re planning to hold onto it for a while longer to put in some serious trail testing hours – be sure to check back in next issue for that ‘in depth’ review. What we can say for certain right now though is this bike really suits the riding style that we love here at the mag. So for riders who want something super bling and want to turn heads in the crowd is hard to deny the aesthetic appeal of this new bike. To put it bluntly, the attention to detail is outstanding. For those crew who really prefer the aggressive style of MTB but want a whip you can still pedal all day long, then let us say you would want to be adding the new SB165 to that shopping list.

The limited time we’ve spent aboard this steed has been very impressive, this bike inspires very confident riding over a variety of terrain and has definitely put smiles on our dials.

We’re also putting together some video reviews on this bike which will be going live across on the mag’s YouTube channel so jump online to check those out.

See you back here next issue to chat more about this epic new rig from Yeti!

Key Details:

  • 165 mm travel rear
  • 170 mm fork
  • Mixed wheels
  • Carbon frame
  • Size specific chainstays
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL