‘Tis the season for new bike releases, and Yeti just dropped news of some changes for 2017. Is it a whole new bike? Well, no. The basic lineup remains the same, but there are some significant changes, and some high zoot options.
First up, we have tweaks to Yeti’s most popular bike, the SB5c. The SB5c gets a lot of love for good reason – it’s a competent, do everything pretty well kind of bike. But at the risk of fixing something that ain’t broke, Yeti has fiddled with the numbers a bit, and at least on paper, the changes seem to make sense.
The SB5c is now a bit longer, a little lower, and just a hair slacker. Unlike, for example, the changes Kona made to the their lineup for 2017, Yeti has not made massive, sweeping changes. Rather, this is more of an incremental improvement. There are also some changes like internal cable routing, which make the bike look much cleaner (at the cost of some frustration at the time of installation).
More noteworthy, perhaps, is that the SB5 now comes in a “Beti” version for women. The frame itself is the same, but the build is designed around women, which means (among other things) a shock tuned for lighter riders, and a women’s specific saddle. It’s also worth noting that, in both the men’s and women’s versions, the SB5c is available in an Extra Small size, which should work well for smaller riders.
The other all-new addition to the SB5 lineup is the SB5+, which, as the name implies, is built around plus tires. This marks the first venture into the plus tire market for Yeti, which seems to be an indication that there’s a lot of interest there.
The other big change throughout the Yeti lineup is the addition of the “Turq” frame option – a higher end carbon layup, that’s paired with higher end builds. The Turq frames weigh 250-350 grams less than the existing carbon versions of the frame. And for the record, that’s somewhat ridiculous; the SB5.5C that I’m reviewing right now is already damn light. Shaving over ½ lb off of that frame is impressive. Interestingly, pricing for a Turq frame only hasn’t gone up for 2017; for example, an SB5C is still $3,400 USD. And while that’s certainly at the upper end for a frame, it’s nice to see that Yeti was able to use a higher end carbon and shave a considerable amount of weight off without raising the price.
Overall it looks like Yeti’s new line is very well thought out, and is defined by incremental evolution, rather than huge changes. Riders concerned about weight will appreciate the Turq option, while while the new Extra Small and Beti options should be well suited to women and smaller riders.