Blister Brand Guide: Yeti Mountain Bike Lineup, 2021

Intro

When considering a new mountain bike, there are so many similar-looking bikes on the market being made by so many different companies, it is virtually impossible to (1) know where to begin; (2) quickly figure out which one or two products from a given brand might work well for you; and (3) determine what products from other brands might be the most similar and also worth considering.

So in our new “Blister Brand Guide” series, we provide an overview of the entire product lineup of a brand; highlight how each product stands out from the rest of that brand’s lineup; and help you figure out quickly and easily which bike might work best for you.

In our individual product reviews, we go very deep into the details of particular products. With these Brand Guides, the goal is not Depth, but Breadth. Our Brand Guides and full reviews are designed to complement each other — provide a broad overview of entire company lineups, and then also very detailed reviews of individual products. 

Our mountain bike Brand Guides are presented by CBGTrails. Learn more and start planning your trip today at cbgtrails.com, then download the CBG Trails app for info on the 750+ miles of singletrack and 150+ trails in Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley, Colorado.

About Yeti

Yeti was started in 1985 and has been involved in various disciplines of racing since the brand’s creation. They have primarily made off-road bikes, and many of them were developed for a specific type of racing. Throughout the years, many Yeti bikes have come and gone, until we were left with what we have today from Yeti’s lineup: carbon-frame mountain bikes. They offer many of their bikes in their “standard” carbon frame and their higher-end “Turq” carbon frame, which cuts a couple hundred grams (depending on model & size). 

Starting at $3,600 for a complete bike, their low-budget selections are basically nonexistent, but if you want all the bells and whistles, you can find that with Yeti. They have a bike for everything from cross-country and Trail bikes to full-on Freeride options, though they haven’t made a dedicated Downhill bike for a few years. 

On their website, they put their bikes into two categories to further express the bikes’ intended use: “Race” and “Rip.” The SB115 and SB150 fall under the “Race” category, and the ARC, SB130, SB140, and SB165 are listed under the “Rip” category, intended to be slightly less racing-oriented and more playful, though many people still race on some of those bikes. One of the most distinctive features of Yeti bikes is their “Switch Infinity” suspension design, which you can read more about here.

Yeti is currently located in Golden, Colorado, USA.

Current Warranty (for the original retail purchaser)

  • Lifetime warranty on all frames 2019 and newer.
  • One-year warranty on all paint and finish.
  • Crash-replacement pricing for non-warranty situations. 
  • For more information, visit Yeti.

Yeti’s Suspension Design: Switch Infinity link

Before we get into their specific models and build options, here are some things to keep in mind when deciding on which build level to go with, and why.

First, when looking at complete bikes, suspension and wheels are going to make the biggest difference in how a bike really rides. Spend money on those before other things like higher-end drivetrain parts, cockpit parts (e.g., stem, handlebars, etc.), cranks, etc.

Tires make an enormous difference in performance, but are cheaper and easier to upgrade, especially since they tend to wear down quicker than other components. Upgrading a lower-end front tire to something better — and saving the original for rear-tire use — can be a good way to improve a bike while still making use of the originals, since front tires are generally a lot more important than rear tires when it comes to traction.

Drivetrain parts can be upgraded piecemeal as they wear out, or if you just want to upgrade down the line. Higher-end cassettes are mostly just lighter, while higher-end shifters and derailleurs get lighter, smoother, and sometimes last a bit longer as you go up in price.

We’ll outline here the different models in Yeti’s MTB lineup, organized from most cross-country-oriented (XC) to downhill-oriented (DH). In other words, the bikes at the top of the list are optimized to pedal and climb uphill very well, while the bikes at the bottom are optimized to handle very rough, steep, and challenging descents very well.

We’ve included some notable information for each model:

Available build kits & their MSRP

  • Best Budget Build: These are the build kits that we think make the most sense for people trying to spend the least amount without ending up with a build that’s going to immediately break or need to be upgraded.
  • Most Performance for the Price: These are the build kits that we think make the most sense for people seeking the best balance of performance and cost. I.e., if you don’t need to get the cheapest bike, but you also don’t need the absolute lightest bike or all the newest bling, this is the build we think makes sense for you.
  • Suspension travel (e.g., 100 mm of travel, 130 mm of travel, etc.)
  • Wheel size (e.g., 27.5”, 27.5+, 29”)
  • Frame material options (e.g., alloy vs. carbon)
  • A brief description of what the bike was designed for and any notable design details.
  • Some of the bike’s most direct competitors from other brands
  • Reasons why you should buy it
  • Reasons why you should not buy it

Yeti Mountain Bikes

(Most Cross-Country-Oriented to Most Downhill-Oriented)

Blister Brand Guide: Yeti Mountain Bike Lineup, 2021

The ARC hardtail made its debut in Yeti’s lineup in 1991, and after disappearing for a few years, the ARC is back for 2021 with modern geometry and components. This bike is designed to be an efficient yet fun hardtail. Features generous dropper post insertion and dual-sided downtube mounts for an extra water bottle or other cargo mount options. 

Consider If:

Don’t Bother If:

  • C1: $3,500 – Best Budget Build
  • C2: $3,900
  • T1: $5,100 – Most Performance for the Price
  • T2: $5,700
  • T3: $6,800
  • 35th Anniversary Edition: $9,900
  • Specialized Fuse 29”
  • Santa Cruz Chameleon 29”
  • Kona Honzo
  • Rocky Mountain Growler
  • Nukeproof Scout 290
Blister Brand Guide: Blister breaks down Yeti's 2020 mountain bike lineup

Yeti discontinued the SB100 for the 2021 lineup, replacing it with the new SB115 (see below). The SB100 was Yeti’s shortest-travel bike, designed with climbing efficiency as a main priority but with more modern geometry than most other XC bikes at the time. The new SB115 shares the same front and rear triangle as the SB100, but the SB115 uses a different linkage for more rear travel and comes with longer-travel forks.

Consider If:

Don’t Bother If:

  • C1: $5,099 – Best Budget Build
  • C2: $5,699
  • T1 / Turq: $6,499 – Most Performance for the Price
  • T2 / Turq: $6,999
  • T3 / Turq: $7,899
  • Turq Frame Only: $3,399
  • Trek Top Fuel
  • Santa Cruz Blur (TR Builds) & Tallboy
  • Scott Spark
  • Pivot Mach 4 SL
  • Kona Hei Hei
  • Rocky Mountain Element
  • Cannondale Scalpel SE
  • Specialized Epic & Epic EVO
Blister Brand Guide: Yeti Mountain Bike Lineup, 2021

Now Yeti’s most pedal-friendly full-suspension bike, the SB115 essentially replaces the SB100 that shared the same front and rear triangles. New for the 2021 lineup, the SB115 is designed to be an efficient XC racer on today’s rough and long courses while also being capable and forgiving for its class. More modern geometry and a bit more travel than most race-specific XC bikes.

Consider If:

Don’t Bother If:

  • C1: $4,800 – Best Budget Build
  • C2: $5,000
  • T1 / Turq: $6,400 – Most Performance for the Price
  • T2 / Turq: $7,000
  • T3  / Turq: $8,100
  • Turq Frame Only: $3,500
  • Trek Top Fuel
  • Santa Cruz Tallboy / Juliana Joplin
  • Transition Spur
  • Scott Spark
  • Pivot Mach 4 SL
  • Kona Hei Hei
  • Cannondale Scalpel SE
  • Giant Trance 29
  • YT Izzo
  • Revel Ranger
  • Ibis Ripley
Blister Brand Guide: Yeti Mountain Bike Lineup, 2021

Yeti’s best Quiver Killer, this is their versatile 29” Trail bike offering. Featuring “shock extenders” that let Yeti tweak the leverage ratio and also create more shock clearance to allow for ease of access and shock replacement. It also features pretty progressive geometry (low, long, & slack). Available in the “Lunch Ride” edition (CLR and TLR builds) with a longer-stroke rear shock and increased fork travel, bumping front and rear suspension up to 160 mm and 136 mm, respectively. The  “Lunch Ride” editions also feature a few components that are more downhill-oriented than the standard SB130. (Check out our full review of the SB130)

Consider If:

Don’t Bother If:

  • C1: $5,200 – Best Budget Build
  • C2: $5,500
  • CLR: $5,600
  • T1 / Turq: $6,900 – Most Performance for the Price
  • TLR T1 / Turq: $7,100
  • T2 / Turq: $7,400
  • TLR T2 / Turq: $7,600
  • T3 / Turq: $8,600
  • Turq Frame Only: $3,600
Blister Brand Guide: Yeti Mountain Bike Lineup, 2021

Yeti’s most agile 27.5” Trail bike, designed to be jibby and playful. Less speed oriented than the SB130 and SB150, though still features pretty modern geometry.

Consider If:

Don’t Bother If:

  • C1: $5,200 – Best Budget Build
  • C2: $5,500
  • T1: $7,000 – Most Performance for the Price
  • T2: $7,500
  • T3: $8,700
  • Turq Frame Only: $3,600
  • Santa Cruz Bronson / Juliana Roubion
  • Pivot Mach 5.5
  • Trek Remedy
  • Rocky Mountain Altitude
  • Intense Primer 27.5
  • YT Jeffsy 27
  • Norco Sight 27.5”
  • Transition Scout
Blister Brand Guide: Yeti Mountain Bike Lineup, 2021

Yeti’s 29” Enduro race bike, designed to be ridden fast on the descents but still fairly efficient on the up. Featuring “shock extenders” that let Yeti tweak the leverage ratio and also create more shock clearance to allow for ease of access and shock replacement. Also features progressive geometry (low, slack, & long).

Consider If:

Don’t Bother If:

  • C1: $5,600 – Best Budget Build
  • C2: $5,900
  • T1 / Turq: $7,400 – Most Performance for the Price 
  • T2 / Turq: $8,000
  • T3 / Turq: $9,100
  • Turq Frame Only: $3,900
Blister Brand Guide: Yeti Mountain Bike Lineup, 2021

Yeti’s longest-travel bike that’s more oriented toward freeriding than racing. Features progressive geometry (low, long, & slack). Designed to run a coil or high-volume air shock and all kits come with a coil except for the T2 Float X2.

Consider If:

Don’t Bother If:

  • C1: $5,500 – Best Budget Build
  • C2: $5,800
  • T1 / Turq: $7,400 – Most Performance for the Price
  • T2 / Turq: $8,000
  • T2 Float X2 / Turq: $8,100
  • T3 / Turq: $9,300
  • Frame Only: $4,000
  • Santa Cruz Nomad
  • Kona Process 165
  • Commencal Clash
  • Transition Patrol
  • Rocky Mountain Slayer 27.5”
  • Nukeproof Mega 275
  • YT Capra 27
  • Norco Range 27.5”
  • Devinci Spartan 27
  • Cannondale Jekyll
  • Canyon Torque
  • Revel Rail

5 comments on “Blister Brand Guide: Yeti Mountain Bike Lineup, 2021”

    • Yeti is not keeping the SB100 in their line for 2021, with it being replaced by the SB115. But we just added the 2020 SB100 to this guide for reference.

    • Huh. That’s weird I would have assumed they still made the SB100 as their “xc race” Full suspension bike. Anyway thanks for adding it.

  1. Nice roundup. Pretty killer offering for 2021

    Side note, Yeti did a road bike, the Road Project, in 90’s and a cross bike, the ARC-X in 00’s

Leave a Comment