Yeti SB66 – do they still have bearing issues?

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  • Yeti SB66 – do they still have bearing issues?
  • Rik
    Member

    The SB66 seems to have a bit of bad reputation for eating bearings (lot of stories about them lasting 3-6 months from new) and the replacement kits are £120.

    Live and ride in the Peak – Yorkshire grit and mud takes makes short work of drivetrains.

    Its it an old issue with early models?
    Is it still a current issue?
    Have they put in a fix?
    Or are the hundreds of forum threads wrong and its actually a no issues?

    early models were of concern, the 2012+ models have a new type (manufacturer?) of bearing and i hear they’re much, much improved…

    I thought she wanted a SB95?

    Was happening to new bikes this summer, anyhow. And chainstays. And worse.

    Premier Icon stewartc
    Subscriber

    Have a 2012 SB66c and have no issues, and have not heard of any amongst other SB66 owners where I live (and there are a few).
    Issue appears to have been early models as noted earlier.

    deanfbm
    Member

    I’m a big fan of SB66s, I really enjoyed mine.

    However a big prod to get rid was the fact I’d have the frame stripped down maybe every 6-8 weeks. This was due to a tendency to creak.

    Im not a fair weather rider, but I tend to stay off trails I know will be filthy, fitted skirt mud protection in the form of a sliced inner tube, do not pressure wash.

    Every time I had the bike apart, I’d be horrified by the amount of filth that had worked its way into the switch link mechanism. Fresh bearings would soon be mediocre. I tried packing the seal area of the switch link with grease, it did help.

    Saying this though, first set of bearings did last a year, second set, maybe a couple of months (endure max compliment).

    Depends how much you want to look after things. Compared to other bikes, the bearings are fine, no worse than a lot of other stuff out there, but by no means the best for longevity.

    butterbean
    Member

    My riding buddy had a 2013 66C.

    He loved the way it rode, hated the way it fell apart. It was fine for the first 3 months or so, then the fun started.

    It went through bearings at a frightening rate. He only kept it for 9 or so months, but went through multiple sets. We got one of the mechanics at work to strip it down, because I jokingly suggested it was his ham fisted skills causing excessive wear. It was appalling, so many issues. Bearing seat tolerances all over the place (if you tipped it on it’s side, the Switch Link bearings would just fall out of the frame!

    It got warrantied, and sold on.

    Premier Icon ChrisI
    Subscriber

    Mines been fine so far but hasnt seen the worst of the weather. It did develop a little click just before Xmas which appears to have been a bit of dirt behind one of the bearing covers (cover not seal, it sits in front of the bearings). Other bearings seemed fine when I stripped it down to find the click, all spinning smoothly and everything as clean as it could be given the use it gets. We’ll see how it holds out, I’m not looking forward to ever replacing the Switch link main bearings (big ones) as I don’t have a bearing tool for it so prob need to go back to Ubyk for that.

    micos145
    Member

    Had my 66c since April 2013 and did little to no frame maintenance until recently. I never thought about not riding it in any conditions was very lazy with the jet wash, although not negligent. I recently noticed a creak, which turned out to be the x9 clutch, which can bind and ‘snap’ release sending a small shock through the frame, which feels like pivot bearing binding. Whilst I was looking at this I stripped the frame and examined the bearings anyway, I had started so I thought I should finish!

    Link pivot bearings were all OK but pretty much in need of some new grease. The switch link bearings were covered in grit and gunk and needed some heavyweight cleaning. I ordered new switch link bearings, £26.95 delivered from yetifan.com, and packed the old one’s with new grease having cleaned them first. I rode the newly greased machine and it felt much plusher and buttery, more like how I remember it was when new. I haven’t put the new bearings in yet. I don’t use the jet wash at trail center rides now, I take it home and gently hose the bike down. Gets it just as clean and I can still see the tell tale signs of grease around the edges of the bearings.

    Yeti recommend the option of leaving the O Rings that ‘seal’ the switch bearing out in UK conditions as this allows them to drain when water and grime penetrate. In summary, great bike but be prepared to put in some maintenance. I am planning Switch regrease every month and full bearing regrease every 3 months or thereabouts based on 10 hours riding a week in moderate conditions. If you are a twice weekly rider and reluctant mechanic like I can be when busy I would estimate budgeting on a switch bearing set every 6-9 months and full bearings rebuild (£120) every 12-18 months.I think you could get double that with some care and attention.

    This is obviously my own observation based on my own experience, I ride quite agressively, like jumps with air, use all of the suspension but am light on the bike and weigh around 70KG. I do trips to trail centers, Coed Y Brenin etc, on weekends and ride local trails during the week in all weathers.

    I personally think that I should get more bearing performance longevity if I maintained the bike better, the high purchase price doesn’t include any substantial after care unfortunately. However it does seem odd that there is no warrantee on bearing life or maintainance friendly grease ports to pump into such as Santa Cruz employ.

    Premier Icon kiwijohn
    Subscriber

    Mine is creaking a bit from the switch. My fault, didn’t seat the bearings properly. I ordered a new one, but it’s too big.
    I replaced the big bearings when I had it apart & pulled the seals & packed a lot more grease in first.
    The top linkage bearings were still fine after a winter of ordinary weather.

    Deveron53
    Member

    I have a SB95 which has one bearing and one bush. I had issues with improper installation on the first and second set of bearings. The outer race needs to be tapped in carefully to ensure it is seated all the way to the stops. For the last set, I prised off the bearing dust cover and flooded it 9and the bush) with 3-in-1 oil and put the cover back before installing the switch link. With the swingarm removed (and bump stop removed) I can rotate the link unit easily by hand. 3 months later, still no creaking.

    Due to the short travel of the bearing and the vibration it experiences, it is subject to false brinnelling (wiki!)

    deanfbm
    Member

    Yea i don’t want to go through the grief of regular rebuilds on a bike that price again.

    Bike performs well, would just like to see better sealing (or clear and open for easy mud/water shedding), i think santa cruz have the right idea with their grease ports and bearing warranties.

    Gone “cheap” now, happily content riding the bike in filth and leaving it in the garage saturated and dirty, im not expecting moon on a stick anymore.

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