Yeti has a pretty simple philosophy; they build bikes they want to ride. With 3 overall Enduro World Series titles, Yeti Cycles is firmly on the map for making some of the highest performing trail bikes money can buy. The Yeti SB5.5 rolls on 29" wheels, features 140 mm of rear wheel travel, and when paired with a 160 mm fork is an absolute trail killer. Here in this Ultimate Review Guide, we are laying out everything you need to know on the Yeti SB5.5. We have compiled plenty of credible reviews, technical information, and some of our custom builds to drool over.
2018 Yeti SB5.5 Turq Series Complete Bike with Sram XX1 Eagle Build Kit
The Yeti SB5.5 frame is offered in two different frame options, the Turq series and the Carbon series. The Turq series bikes are manufactured from the highest grade carbon fiber designed to balance stiffness, durability, and compliance. The end result gives the Turq series bikes a smooth and strong connection to the trail. The Carbon series bikes use a slightly different carbon fiber layup along with different materials to create a bike that is a little more cost friendly while still exceeding all of Yeti's strength and durability requirements. The Carbon series SB5.5 frame weighs approximately 250g more than the Turq series SB5.5 frame. Offering multiple carbon frame options for the same model is not something new to the mountain bike industry. For example, Santa Cruz offers a similar program with their CC and C bikes.
The heart of Yeti's suspension design seen on all of their bikes is the Switch Infinity system. Switch Infinity is made up of two Fox Kashima coated tubes that allow the main pivot point of the bike to move, allowing Yeti to control the wheel path of the rear wheel as it cycles through the suspension travel. This in affect allows Yeti to get exactly what they want out of the suspension design. At the beginning of the travel, the Switch Infinity system provides great anti-squat characteristics for more efficient pedaling. Deeper in the travel, the translating pivot point gives the bike a bottomless feel, and prevents the chain from negatively affecting suspension performance.
The SB5.5 uses a 7.875" eye to eye length shock and with a 2.25" stroke. For more information on how to measure your rear shock, find our blog on the basics to upgrading your shock. For 2018, Yeti is specking the SB5.5 frame with Fox DPX2 rear shocks.
Customer conclusion - "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."
For even more technical information and answers to frequently asked questions, head over to Yeti's website.
We did our own comparison - "Some love the Wreckoning, because pulling manuals and jumping big trail gaps define their preferred styles. The other half is biased toward the SB5.5, because setting their PR records, blasting down the fastest way possible and being in a controlled-out-of-control riding experience is far superior on the SB5.5."
Custom Build: Yeti SB5.5 paired with Industry Nine Enduro 305 Wheels
Pinkbike's Take - "If the bikes in Yeti's SB lineup were members of a rock band, the SB5.5 is a shoo-in for a spot behind the drum kit, except that this isn't your run-of-the-mill drummer. It'll keep the beat and cruise right along on the approach, but when it comes time to descend the SB5.5 can throw down a mean performance, with a virtuosity right up there with Buddy Rich at his best. Now if only there was room for a water bottle inside the front triangle..."
Bike Mag's thoughts - "There was strong consensus that the bike was among the most capable climbers–if not the most capable climber–of its class. Testers returned from their laps with poorly concealed looks of amazement on their faces, often claiming to have finally cleaned the most technically challenging climbing sections. 'You just don't get hung up on anything,' exclaimed one tester. 'You have this incredible climbing ability, and then as soon as you start going down it's equally as capable.'"
Enduro MTB's Conclusion - A rocket in a multitude of ways, the Yeti SB5.5c secures the test victory with its outstanding suspension, show-stopping finish, and the ultimate handling package that marries all the right ingredients. However, much like the haute couture on the catwalk, this bike is going to be exclusively reserved for those with deep pockets.
Custom Build: Yeti SB5.5 with the full Enve kit
Outdoor Gear Lab's Verdict - "The Yeti SB5.5 is a hard-charging 29er that favors high speeds and burly terrain. This aggressive trail bike rides far more aggressive than its 140mm of travel suggests. The fast and mean SB5.5 ties the quick and sporty Ibis Ripley LS with 78 points. The Yeti is a no-brainer for our Best Aggressive Trail Bike award due to its speed craving appetite and can-do attitude. This burly trail bike sacrifices some climbing speed and comfort in the name of getting rowdy. That said, the SB5.5is more than capable of carrying you up a multi-hour climb. Conclusion: This is a trail bike that no-doubt leans towards the enduro application without sacrificing too much in the way of efficiency."
Flow's riding impressions - "Our fairly extended testing period aboard this beauty was a real pleasure, it’s comfortable all day, quiet and smooth to pedal along and quite fun to flick about and jump. We learnt that it’s not a hard out enduro race bike, more of a go literally anywhere ride anything in your path bike. It doesn’t sacrifice too much climbing or flat terrain performance by making it super long and slack, and the suspension feels very supportive when you get up and crank on the pedals out of the saddle."
Bike Radar's verdict - "While I plan to log more miles aboard this bike before weighing in with a final verdict, I feel comfortable stating that after two days in Moab and several more rides on my home test tracks in Colorado, the SB5.5c is one of the most capable trail bikes — of any wheelsize — I’ve ridden."
"Though they may be relatively minor, the SB5.5c is not without shortcomings, but there’s no arguing with its ability to deftly negotiate steep, technical terrain, and to descend with authority while remaining willing and eager to climb."