YETI SB115 - First Ride Impressions

A few weeks ago we got a special delivery of two pre-launch Yeti SB115 bikes from Yeti. So Mat and I decided to hit the trails to test the bikes out and get some shots before the bike launch today.  

The bike builds off the success of the shorter travel SB100, but offers a few nice changes.  “We’re always tinkering with the bikes we have at the shop and started to see if we could “lunch ride” the SB100,” said Yeti Product Manager, Ryan Thornberry. “We kept pushing the boundaries of what the SB100 was capable of and we ended up with a bike that accentuates all of the great characteristics found in the SB100 with a touch more travel to make it more capable. It’s a trail rider’s XC bike.”

This is the bike I have been riding. It is a T-Series, size Large T1 build with Enve wheel upgrade (available now as an option through Yeti NZ dealers

The first thing we (Mat and I) did once the bikes were built was a epic backcountry mission with Tom Cappleman. The ride (which shall remain nameless) was a true test for the bikes. With a stupidly steep 1.5hr climb, followed by a section of highly technical super tight and slippery track that would be defined well as 'anti-flow'. And finally a warp speed section with open corners and the odd deep rut to negotiate. It put everything to test, including ourselves!  

Mat is possibly the better one of us to judge the bikes characteristics, as he has been riding the SB100 a lot recently. 

"The SB115 feels mostly the same as the SB100. The geometry, which I love, hasn't changed much, which I'm very happy about. The biggest difference is that this bike is noticeably stiffer all around. And the extra travel is appreciated, especially as I love hitting some of the harder tracks around Wellington. But I don't think it detracts from its ability as a long distance race bike. It would be good to take back to the Whaka 100 to see if I can better my time from last year on this," said Mat. 

For myself, I have been riding the SB130 for the past month. While only 15mm travel difference I can say this is a totally different bike. First impressions were - 'holy crap, its a rocket ship!' The bike feels like it just takes off. I guess that's a combination of all parts, but the way the switch link combines with the extra stiffness and slightly tighter angles, it felt light, fast & nimble and even up the trickest climbs it danced up with absolute prowess. I was also pretty blown away by how comfortable and capable it was on the rough desents. 

I guess the way I see it, the SB130 is an all around fun as shit trail bike that I would be fine turning up and being competitive at any of the toughest enduro's in the country. The SB115 is an all around fun as shit trail bike that I could also go race the Pioneer, or Whaka 100 on. Its actually crazy there is only 15mm travel difference as they really feel very different.

If you are thinking of a bike like either of those above, I recommend first trying both these out to see what takes your fancy the most. If keen, please register your interest by filling in this form. Then we can be in touch with the various demo options as they come up.

Full details including build options, spec, geometry etc is all available on Yeti Cycles website here. The first shipment of SB115 bikes will be landing in NZ end of August. Pricing will be up here soon. 

Finally here are some hot images of the new colours available...