June 7, 2011
Yeti has a new six inch trail bike coming out: the SB-66. And we’ve already ridden it…
Starting with how it looks… we can see it being a bit ‘Marmite’ with Yeti fans and haters alike. It’s certainly a different look to Yeti’s normal bikes. However, we reckon it’s a pretty purposeful looking machine.
Did that caption say ‘2011’? Yes, that’s because it’s a bike that you’ll be able to actually buy this year, unlike many of the product launches we go to in the spring, this bike is being produced right now…
Let’s see the bike from the non-drive side. Looks like a normal single pivot. Only you have to remember that Yeti doesn’t do ‘normal’. It’s kind of a single pivot, but it’s kind of a dual-link bike too. Confused yet?
So, what’s it all about then? We’ll let Schmoozer in Chief, Chipps, take up the story:
Back in April, on the first day of the Sea Otter, while everyone was roaming the pits, a few select journalists, known for their mighty riding skills, rippling physiques, fine wit and appreciation of good wines were assembled – well, actually it was mainly because we could be trusted to keep a secret for a while – went to a small park a few miles away from the Sea Otter venue for a sneaky preview and test-ride. Yeti was prepared to show us these new bikes (at the same time at everyone else was showing 2012 stuff for all to see) and would then lock the bikes back up in the van and not show them to anyone else – in return for our temporary silence. Why the fuss? Well, the chance to show the bikes off to journos over at the Sea Otter was too great, but Yeti didn’t want to create a rush for a product that wasn’t ready yet. So we were asked to sit on the story until now. The bikes you see here will be shipping in the next fortnight or two, with the UK stock expected mid-to-late July this summer.
OK, so what’s the deal with this bike then? What makes it so special?
About this point, we’re going to need a tech-based shot and to start waving arms around a lot… While the bike might look like a single pivot, it isn’t. There are plenty of designs out there that use some sort of linkage to adjust the leverage ratio of a single pivot, what the ‘Switch Technology’ on the SB-66 does is to adjust the apparent single pivot’s, er… pivot point throughout the stroke. So there’s still, really, only one pivot, but the anchor point of that pivot moves, which kind of makes it a dual-link bike.
Why do that? Well, it’s to try to isolate the suspension completely pedal feedback, but without making it feel like a squishy mess in the early, pedal power stroke of the suspension and to give a plush feel at the mid and end stroke of the travel without doing odd things to the crank feel.
The top (orange seal) bearing is where the top of the swingarm pushes on the suspension. No change there. The lower bearing in the blue circle is where the pivot sits. That blue circle rotates… no, it’s not that simple. First it rotates clockwise, moving the lower pivot rearwards, to counter pedaling forces, then at the ‘inflection point’ (around 50-60% travel) it changes direction and starts to rotate anti-clockwise, to give up the rest of the plush-feeling travel. However, all you feel from the pedals is, well, nothing actually. There really isn’t any pedal feedback, no matter how scruffy your cadence is, or what gear you’re in, yet the bike doesn’t wallow or squat when motoring uphill, or while on the juice on the descents.
The one great thing that our private viewing allowed us to do was to get in a good test ride – two actually – on some real trails so that we could make our own minds up about the bike. It certainly climbed well – especially for a 6in bike, with no pedal oddness when pushing hard and no wallowing. On the flats, you could keep the power down and not be affected by rear wheel travel upsetting your cadence – and on the downs, it worked like a good 6in trail bike should: keeping to lines and sucking up the bad stuff. We could even add the ‘endless travel feel’ cliché because it’s actually well-earned.
Obviously trying a bike on unfamiliar terrain and on sunny, dusty Californian trails can’t really compare to six months of a British Winter, but I’ll have to say that I was impressed with the bike and I’m really looking forward to getting to ride one in the UK when they come out.
Talking of which – UK importers Evolution Imports reckons on a July on-sale date. The UK price, it reckons, will be ‘a little under two-grand’.
Here’s the official Yeti video for your viewing pleasure:
And now for some charts:
It’s interesting that all of the Yeti lines seem to be the opposite of what the dw-link bikes do. Perhaps we need to get CC and DW in the ring together…
Frame weight should be 7lbs with rear shock. There will be a carbon one out late this year which’ll slice a pound off that weight. Oh, and what does the ‘SB-66’ stand for? Seems no one at Yeti was entirely certain, though the suggestion of ‘Super Bike’ was offered more than once. And we’d have to agree on that.
Geometry? Here’s a quick peek at the official Yeti figures… Click it to enlarge.
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