The Yeti SB5.5 is a 140mm travel equipped 29er with Yeti's signature Switch Infinity system that is paired with a 160mm fork. The frame comes in two different carbon options: the Turq and the Carbon. The geometry and stiffness stay identical between the two, but the Turq version uses a different layup of stronger carbon that requires less material, resulting in about a half-pound of weight loss.
I have been very spoiled with my custom built XL SB 5.5c. I have been riding a top of the line, no expenses spared custom setup, courtesy of Worldwide Cyclery. It is graced with an X01 Eagle transmission, a Float X2 shock, Saint brakes, Enve M70HV wheels, a Next SL G4 crankset, a Rockshox Lyrik fork, and a 9 point 8 200mm dropper post. For tire choice, I have a WTB 2.3 Vigilante up front and a WTB 2.25 Breakout on the rear. Out of the gate I felt comfortable on this bike and it took very little tweaking to get it all dialed. I am enjoying it more and more each time I ride.
The integrated cable routing makes for an extremely clean look but be aware, you DO NOT want to lose one of the pre-fed guide lines supplied with the frame or you may spend the rest of your afternoon trying to fish out the cable as there are no internal tubes guiding the lines. Some may see this as an oversight, but in Yeti’s eyes it’s an opportunity to keep weight down. However, If you follow the steps and use the provided guides correctly you should have no problem setting up your cables.
Just like its siblings in the Yeti SB line, the 5.5 utilizes the Switch Infinity suspension design for its 140mm of rear travel. There is an in-depth animation on the Yeti website which shows you exactly how this affects the path of the axle as the bike moves through its travel. The end result is unprecedented pedaling efficiency plus small bump sensitivity when climbing paired with plush, controlled travel when descending. The Switch Infinity technology was created in partnership with FOX and features Kashima coated stanchions and FOX’s renowned build quality. It has endured Yeti and FOX’s rigorous testing protocol and over three years of on-trail testing (ever heard of Richie Rude?). The system is simple, lightweight, and low-maintenance. The pedal efficiency is something that I noticed on my first ride and it amazes me every time. The bike gets back up to rolling speed on a trail easily with only a few quick pedal strokes out of corners. Its climbing abilities are exceptional, and this coming from someone who is not the biggest fan of pedaling in any shape or form. I find the climbing prowess to be a more than welcome asset. The fact that the bike remains a monster on the downs despite its efficient pedaling characteristic has to be one of its greatest selling points.
Amongst the current ocean of bikes with longer and slacker geometry, Yeti remained conservative when it came to the SB5.5's numbers. The 66.5-degree head angle is achieved by running a 160mm fork, which means that there is not a lot of room left for geometry manipulation by adding more travel up front. This actually also allows for some riders to go the opposite direction and look at running a 150mm fork to get a snappier turning, more trail focused bike. Apparently a conscious decision on Yeti's part, Chris Conroy (Yeti's president) explains that they wanted the 5.5 to be an all-rounder, rather than a race-specific bike solely focused on the descents. If you are looking for a more race-oriented bike, I would advise checking out the SB6c, which will more readily satisfy that craving.
After some experimentation, I ended up running right around 25% sag on my shock and 110psi with 2 tokens in my Lyrik. I am close to 210lbs, just to give you an idea of how I settled on my numbers. The SB5.5's climbing speed is reasonable, and it is very comfortable even when faced with off-camber or trickier sections. On smoother fire road grinds, I don't even bother flipping the climb switch on the shock. Even with a little more suspension movement in this position, the bike still has a very satisfying surge forward when you put some power down on the pedals.
It seems like the SB5.5 may have been aimed to be an all-rounder in the Yeti line up, but one thing is for sure: there is definitely nothing other than the rider to hold back this bike when it comes to downhill speed. It is extremely stable at high speed, making you feel very comfortable while going fast on it. It is a well tuned weapon out on the trail but also includes all the ingredients needed to be an excellent race bike. It’s also a super fun bike to jump, so maybe in due time you'll be able to pull off some sick euro tabes for the babes like young Yeti team rider Cody Kelley loves to do. While the SB5.5 isn't a single-minded downhill focused machine like many other bikes in its class, the simple fact is that it really opens up the number trails on which this bike can shred. My one and only wish for the SB5.5 is for the Yeti engineers to figure out how to place a water bottle holder within the front triangle.
+ Killer looks with clean internal cable routing
+ Stable at high speeds
+ Comfortable in off-camber and tricky situations
- No spot for water bottle in the front triangle
As an official Yeti dealer, we are one of the few dealers in Southern California where you can demo a Yeti bike! We typically have a number of different models and sizes available for demo, just contact us and we can get you set up with a demo immediately! Buying a new bike is a huge decision and we definitely want you to feel comfortable on a bike before you pull the trigger and buy one. Click here to read more about our demo program.
Yeti bikes are not available on our website, please contact us at 805-375-4525 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about purchasing a Yeti. The SB5.5 pictured above and featured in this review was a full custom build. We love helping out customers build the bike of their dreams and if a custom build is something you are interested in, we can absolutely make it happen!