The SB165 is Yeti’s latest long-travel 27.5” with 180mm up front and 165mm in the rear. We had the pleasure of getting in some brief testing on our latest visit to Yeti Cycles in Golden, CO. Stay tuned for a full long term ride report but here are our initial impressions:
This is a big bike capable of tackling steep freeride trails or bike park runs while still climbing with the efficiency of a trail bike. With a head tube angle of 63.5 degrees and 1255mm wheelbase (size large), it maintains Yeti’s reputation for chart topping stability. Compared to the award winning SB6, the new SB165 is 1.4 degrees slacker, 42mm longer and the reach has increased by 39.2mm. We found sizing to be very much in line with that of the SB150 and SB130.A favorite here at the shop since its release, the 180mm Fox 36 Float Grip2 fork (with reduced 37mm offset) feels supportive in the top and mid stroke with no noticeable dive. Despite that imposing 180mm number, the front end still feels light and easy to lift thanks to the bike's 433mm chainstays (9mm shorter than those found on the SB6). The steep 77 degree effective seat tube angle keeps your body position nicely centered relative to the front and rear wheels. Thanks to that forward geometry and the smaller wheel size, we found the SB165 to have less wheel flop than an SB150.
The big surprise for us was that the SB165 will come stock with a coil shock! Carbon Series bikes will include a Performance Series Fox Vanilla while Turq Series comes with a Factory DHX2. Like all Yetis, frame only will be available in Turq Series only and will get Fox’s lighter weight SLS spring in a shiny orange finish. All complete bikes (Turq and Carbon series) will ship with Fox’s standard steel spring in black. Yeti has opted to ship the SB165 with one given spring rate for each size, but we will be offering the ability to select your desired spring rate at no additional cost along with 30 days to exchange if you're not happy with your choice. Keep in mind that SLS springs come in 25 pound increments and steel springs come in 50 pound increments. If you prefer the adjustability of an air shock, the SB165 has been tested with Fox’s X2 and we will offer a no cost swap on all Turq Series frames and completes.Like the SB130 and SB150, the SB165 was built with a progressive leverage curve. This results in a super soft top stroke that provides excellent small bump compliance without sacrificing bottom-out resistance or the pedaling efficiency that Switch Infinity is known for. We spent a few hours testing this bike on some pretty steep trails and at no point needed the climb switch for any assistance on the ups.
Like you would guess, descending on the SB165 is an absolute dream. The 180mm front fork soaks up large rocks and roots so efficiently that we didn't even miss the extra rollover of a 29" wheel. When it came to maneuvering the rocky and tight trails on our test track, it was refreshing to hook into that inside line and take advantage of the smaller wheels. Even with the slack head tube, our front end still felt planted on twisty and flat sections through the trees, one of the few weakness of some of the aggressive 29ers we've been riding.Overall the SB165 was a blast to a ride but our final judgement can only be made once we get this on our home turf, the steep and loose trails of Laguna Beach.
Don’t have to take our word for it though! Our medium SB165 demo bike is available in-store today and we should have a size large built up by the end of the month.
Feel free to contact us to schedule your demo or to price out your dream build on the SB165.
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