It was only a matter of time until Yeti redesigned their 100mm bike offering. While the ASR from Yeti was a great all-around bike, and many riders including myself found it able to punch above its travel limit; it was a simple bike geared towards the rider going uphill rather than down. After being discontinued in 2017 along with their hardtail in 2016, there was a question if Yeti would come back into the short travel category and have a full line up of full suspension bikes again. Jump to April 2018, and the new SB100 was released. A fully redesigned 100mm bike that really has a category of its own. Not quite the featherweight XC climber, but also not a trail bike ready to take on enduro races. Do bikes really need to fit in a category anyway? Take a ride on the SB100 and you probably will not care.
In the words of Yeti president Chris Conroy, “How capable can we make a 100mm travel bike?”
Well, one ride on the SB100 and you will see exactly how capable the bike truly is. Yeti offers complete bikes coming stock with Fox’s new 34 Step Cast Fork in a dedicated 120mm travel and a headtube angle laying at a slack 67.8 degrees. While nothing extreme, this is over 2 degrees slacker than their previous 100mm bike, the ASR. Not only is this new bike slacker but the frame has been designed to be ridden hard and is much stiffer and more confidence inspiring when the trail gets chunky. Yeti comes right out and says, "call it what you want but this is the bike we have always wanted to build."
The SB100 still utilizes their Switch Infinity suspension design, however, it has been engineered into a lighter package. Dropping both the size and weight, they moved the bearings from the Switch Link into the frame. In addition to the new Switch unit, it has also been rotated 90 degrees and now runs perpendicularly to the frame. This is something that seems like it will improve pedaling response when you’re throwing down some watt bombs. A small plastic mud/dirt guard has been made to keep most dirt and crud out of the unit.
One major thing to note is how burly the build kit is. It comes spec'd with a 2.3 Maxxis Minion DHF/Aggressor combo. A meaty option considering the amount travel and that this combo isn’t even found on their slightly longer travel trail bikes that come with Maxxis Ardents. While this can push the stock weight up a bit, many riders looking to do all around trail riding would probably try this combo out anyways. Something else to note is the short 50mm stem, not typically found on a 100mm bike. This is due to the extended reach being about 10mm longer than other Yeti bikes. The last part of the build kit worth mentioning is the Fox 34 Step Cast in 44mm offset (29ers are typically 51mm offset). This helps both steering and stability.
Yeti strongly recommends running 32% sag, which is about 12mm on the shock. This is a very large number for such a short rig. The suspension characteristics have been tuned in such way this actually feels the best when set up right. Often XC bikes are regressive and it takes a harder initial force to get into the travel, and then once you’re in, you blow right through it. This is not the case on the SB100, which has a more progressive feel than any other 100mm bike I’ve ridden (I raced XC for 4 years and have been on my fair share of short travel rigs). While the fun-o-meter told me I used the full travel, there was never a hard bottom out. It does an amazing job of ramping into its travel and the SB100 handles medium size hits and drops like a champ. It's no enduro bike, but it sure is close and impressive for the 120/100mm travel it sports.
Riding the SB100 on our typical trails feels more like a trail bike mixed with a bike ready for the pump track. Getting the most out of every pumpable trail feature and going for the fun optional lines, the SB100 is a blast to ride. It's not too shabby on the climbs either. I found the pedaling extremely efficient even while riding the bike in open mode. Since it transfers all my power into going forward and also has great small bump compliance to keep traction, it's easy to see how this bike can be raced at an XC level. While it is slack and long for the typical XC bike, I had no major issues in switchbacks, tech sections or general steep pitches.
If you want to have a featherweight climbing machine, this might not be the bike for you. If efficiency going up, but also cranking up the fun and stoke on the way down suits your fancy, the SB100 delivers. With the classic Yeti good looks and great overall riding impressions, I think Yeti hit this bike out of the park. Everything from build kits to geo numbers, it checks my boxes and then some. If you are looking to get a very capable and efficient trail weapon, the new Yeti SB100 could be the one you are looking for!