Yeti SB120

Yeti SB120: First Ride Review

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Yeti might not say the D word in its description of the new Yeti SB120 – it actually makes something of A Thing out of deliberately NOT saying it in fact – but this is a Down Country bike.

120mm rear travel and a 130mm fork up front. It’s not a trail bike. It’s not a XC bike. So, like it or not, it’s a Down Country bike as far as I’m concerned. And it’s a good one.

  • Brand: Yeti
  • Product: SB120 T1
  • Price: £8,199
  • From: Silverfish UK
  • Review by: Benji for 1 day.
Yeti SB120 T1

The Bike

Whatever it may be, it’s pretty clear that it’s a bit more up-to-date with how things are these days compared to the Yeti SB115. The SB115 seemed relatively (willfully?) anachronistic when it came out a couple of years ago; particularly in its reach figures (455mm on a Large). This new SB120 is a significantly roomier experience (475mm on a Large).

That said, it is still very much at the conservative end of the geometry spectrum, which is often the case with these boutique American bike brands (the latest Santa Cruz Tallboy sports a 475mm reach on Large too, for example). The head angle is an eyebrow-raisingly not-slack 66.5°.

Elsewhere on the bike though it’s good to see Yeti going down the route of size-specific rear end things. The actual seat angles change with frame size (to keep the same effective seat angle figure) and the SB120 has size specific chainstays (433-443mm).

One thing that isn’t much difference to the SB115 is the air-specific nature of its leverage rate. At a modest 11% progression rate the SB120 is not coil shock friendly. Indeed, it’s arguably essential to do a bit of messing with volume spacers in the air shock to get the back end to behave how you like it. Which is fair enough and actually a good way of doing things when there’s not loads of travel to play with in our experience.

The other stuff that has changed with this new generation of Yetis is a bit harder to notice.

Yeti talks of refining the carbon layup of the frame and while we don’t have X-ray eyes to verify this, the external appearance of the frame is clearly different to previous Yeti bikes of the same sort of travel. The down tube no longer has so much of a down tube bend at the bottom. There’s a downtube protector down there too now (which is removable to help with dropper post cable maintenance).

Yeti SB120

In general, comparing the SB120 (and the also new Yeti SB160) reveals that the rear shock has been moved forward into the front triangle of the frame. Yeti say they have done this for a variety of reasons. Increased shock compatibility, better standover, more water bottle room, better downtube clearance, increased dropper post insertion (150mm on Small, 175 on Medium, 200+ on L-XXL).

The rear suspension is the Switch Infinity design with a stout wishbone and a super cute – sorry, ‘ultra-compact’ – one-piece shock extender that was developed predominantly with the SB120 in mind.

What other easy-to-miss things are there? Standard size cartridges bearings are used in the pivots. The suspension rotates on neatly machined floating collet axles. The internal cable routing has secure entry and exit points. The mech hangs off a UDH and – glory be – there’s a threaded bottom bracket shell.

The Ride

I only had one day playing on the new SB120 but it was a sunny day and the trails were in tiptop form. Fast and full of everything a mountain biker needs for maximum Type 1 and 2 funs.

I’m not going to go a great deal into how the suspension worked. I wouldn’t actually be able to give much genuine insight there. That would require many, many hours and miles of riding. Not to mention a fair amount of workshop tweaking with volume spacers and stuff.

I set the sag correctly, dialled all the damping to minimum and went riding. The suspension didn’t do anything odd or undesirable. It worked and I didn’t have cause to turn dials or stroke chins or scratch heads. I’m just going to leave it at that.

What I do feel I can comment on is the general handling and feel of the bike. The geometry and chassis in other words.

Essentially, even on just the one ride it was by far the best Yeti I’ve ridden thus far. It was a nice, balanced, comfy place to be. Previously, Yetis have always felt very… uptight, to me. Mega stiff. A bit sketchy and unforgiving (in a handling sense as well as a comfort sense).

Despite the the SB120 not exactly having hugely progressive geometry up front – the 66.5° head angle did take some re-adjusting to – and the bars felt a bit low for my tastes, it was still perfectly manageable at speed or on steeper terrain. Note the word ‘or’ there. Doing steep terrain and doing it at speed was beyond my skills!

Needless to say however, the longer front centre and rear centre combined with the low dynamic ride BB height put me in a capable position for cracking on with most things at full tilt without worry. The bike was easy to pick up and place down when the hammering-through-stuff option was not the best idea.

Overall

The whole vibe of the Yeti SB120 just felt very approachable and accommodating. Forgiving of mistakes. Encouraging on climbs. Friendly even?

I’m sure it could be made to ride in a more aggressive manner by firming up the suspension to 11 and running even-lower cockpit etc etc but… that’s not for me. During the time I had the SB120, I liked its exuberant and happy outlook on life.

As for the price tag, it’s a Yeti. Value concerns left the building many moons ago. In terms of relevant on-trail performance factors, the SRAM G2 brakes were disappointing.

Specification

  • Frame // Turq Carbon 120mm
  • Shock // Fox Factory Float DPS
  • Fork // Fox Factory 34 GRIP 2 130mm
  • Wheels // DT Swiss XM1700
  • Front Tyre // Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 EXO
  • Rear Tyre // Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 EXO
  • Chainset // SRAM X1 Eagle 30T 170mm
  • Shifter // SRAM GX Eagle
  • Rear Mech // SRAM X01 Eagle
  • Cassette // SRAM GX Eagle 1275 10-52T
  • Brakes // SRAM G2 RSC 180/180mm
  • Stem // Burgtec Enduro MK3 35x50mm
  • Bars // Yeti Carbon 35x780mm
  • Grips // ODI Elite Pro
  • Seatpost // Fox Transfer 31.6x200mm
  • BB // SRAM DUB 73mm
  • Size Tested // L
  • Sizes Available // XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Weight // N/A

Geometry of our size L Yeti SB120

  • Head angle // 66.5°
  • Effective seat angle // 76.5°
  • Seat tube length // 440mm
  • Head tube length // 115mm
  • Chainstay // 439mm
  • Wheelbase // 1,217mm
  • Effective top tube // 625mm
  • BB height // 335mm
  • Reach // 475mm

The Full Spec

Click the link below to view our full spec listing for this bike in association with 99spokes.com

Yeti SB120 T1

While you’re here…

Review Info

Brand: Yeti
Product: SB120 T1
From: Silverfish UK
Price: £8,199
Tested: by Benji for 1 day
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Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
  • Yeti SB120: First Ride Review
  • ayjaydoubleyou
    Full Member

    The top tube slopes too much (and the seat mast means it isn’t done to acheive more seat post drop) meaning its not 90 degrees to the fork; giving the impression that it has run into a wall.
    That said, its right on trend, has the cables in the right place and threads in the BB, so if I was given the money, it would be on the short list.

    butterbean
    Free Member

    What even is it? It’s not an XC bike as it weighs nearly was much as some 140/150mm trail bikes, and its clearly not one of them, as they appear to have made it with geometry from 3 years ago.

    I can’t think of any reason why anyone would buy it over 5 or 6 other better options in that segment. Unless people love spending money on bikes guaranteed to fall apart & leave you with f*ck all support 😆

    ayjaydoubleyou
    Full Member

    I can’t think of any reason why anyone would buy it over 5 or 6 other better options in that segment.

    pricing aside, what are its competitors?

    butterbean
    Free Member

    Just thinking out loud:

    Rocky Element, Transition Spur, Santa Cruz Tallboy, Norco Optic, Trek Top Fuel, Spec Stumpjumper, Nukeproof Reactor, Scott Spark, Evil Following, YT Izzo – thats just what I can think of, off the top of my head.

    Kryton57
    Full Member

    Eight, thousand, pounds!!!!

    Rubber_Buccaneer
    Full Member

    What even is it? It’s not an XC bike as it weighs nearly was much as some 140/150mm trail bikes, and its clearly not one of them, as they appear to have made it with geometry from 3 years ago.

    Sums up my initial thoughts. If downcountry is XC weight with contemporary geometry Yeti appear to have it arse about face. Is this the worlds first countrydown bike?

    continuity
    Full Member

    @rubber_buccaneer

    I think you’ll find the term is crosshill. Which, in some ways, accurately describes this bike.

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    Yet another bestest ever bike. Just how many configurations are there out there.

    slackboy
    Full Member

    The pricing has gone a bit wild. US RRP for the frame is $4,300 USD, so likely by the same in £. The sb115 was £3400 so that’s a hefty increase.

    Thanks inflation and trussonomics.

    stevedoc
    Free Member

    At that price I can see the cost of Fillings going up….

    I really cant see the point in the over the Sb130 and even more so with the sb115

    charliemort
    Full Member

    If it was an SB 123 I’d be in

    Speeder
    Full Member

    Nice looking bike but it’s a Yeti with all the daft suspension platform, image and warranty issues associated. I’m out before I even consider whether I could afford one.

    Daffy
    Full Member

    It does seem disappointingly heavy – even in the $12000 T4, it’s 28lbs. A Scott Spark RC Team is almost half the price and almost 3lbs lighter…An RC WC Evo is £1000 cheaper and 5lbs lighter.

    Maybe it rides sublimely…?

    hungrymonkey
    Free Member

    A Scott Spark RC Team is almost half the price and almost 3lbs lighter…

    and also a completely different type of bike?

    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    Stop going on about weight! Weight doesn’t matter anymore. Bikes are more capable, people ride more XTREME.
    That’s what I keep getting told anyway. Dunno why manufacturers even bother mentioning it.

    oscillatewildly
    Free Member

    interested to see the new 29er 140mm more likely a great all round trail bike – theyve finally actually got me interested – the geo looks great and all the neat little updates are spot on – downside is now they are absolutely astronomically priced – frame only doesnt represent any value at all at around £4300?! – guess its time to stop swapping out frames every year and perhaps just buy one and hold on to it for a good number of years/till it cracks 😉

    honourablegeorge
    Full Member

    Yeti generally have that last part covered

    chakaping
    Free Member

    I was gonna take issue with the “it’s not a trail bike” in the review, then I saw it had a 66.5deg head angle. So if it is a trail bike, it’s one from 2017.

    So this is one bike that actually does seem to fit the “downcountry” template.

    Rocky Element, Transition Spur, Santa Cruz Tallboy, Norco Optic, Trek Top Fuel, Spec Stumpjumper, Nukeproof Reactor, Scott Spark, Evil Following, YT Izzo – thats just what I can think of, off the top of my head.

    I’d rather have any of those. Apart from the Evil.

    Daffy
    Full Member

    and also a completely different type of bike?

    Not really – their geometry is remarkably similar and their suspension travel is identical. Only the seat tube angle and the wheelbase really separate them. Oh and you can run a longer dropper on the Spark.

    joebristol
    Full Member

    Over £8k and it’s got a downgraded crank (to x1), downgraded cassette (GX), downgraded chain (GX) downgraded shifter (GX) and mid range alloy rimmed wheels.

    Also got meh geometry and is quite heavy for the price / it’s intention. Plus that stupid switch infinity thing down by the bb where all the mud and grit is doesn’t make sense in the uk.

    I’m guessing the sb140 is likely to be a better bike. Will still be extortionately expensive – but then it’s not aimed at me – I’m more in the alloy frame with decent geometry camp, mid range drivetrain, strong brakes and top notch suspension. And half the price of a yeti.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)

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