The Yeti brand was born in Colorado, where earning descents usually involves re-tasting breakfast on the way up, so it’s not surprising that the all-carbon, 27.5-inch-wheeled SB5 Beti is one of the best-pedaling 5-inch bikes around.
When it comes to women’s bikes, Yeti’s ethos is to offer the same quality and geometry as its standard line, but with touchpoints geared toward smaller riders–namely a women’s-specific saddle, 170-millimeter cranks on the XS and S sizes and lighter-tuned suspension. This year Yeti answered the question “What can we make that’s more affordable?” by introducing a slightly heavier carbon-fiber layup to keep costs at bay. Two of the five SB5 Beti models are available in the new Carbon series, adding 350 grams of frame weight to the higher-cost carbon frame, now called Turq. The builds range from our sub- £5,000 test model to the £10,600 Turq XX1 Eagle.
The improvements in the 2017 SB5 line are noticeably purposeful. Most striking is the removal of the gusset connecting the toptube and seat tube, resulting in lower standover along with a sexy sleekness to the frame. Riders who dig getting greasy will appreciate new tubing that eliminates the part of routing internal cables where you feel like a jerk for wasting so much time fishing for the end of the cable inside the frame. ‘Pushing up hills’ is not in the SB5’s vernacular, and although the Beti’s 127 millimeters of rear suspension got a little more overwhelmed on burly descents than its longer travel peers, the maneuverability of this lightweight rig was second to none, no matter the direction. Yeti’s unique Switch Infinity suspension uses a translating pivot to provide pedaling support, small-bump compliance and bottom-out control.
The previous SB5 Beti leaned more toward XC than trail, but this new design slackens the head angle to 66.5, shortens the chainstays a smidge, increases the handlebar width to 750 millimeters and bumps the front suspension to 150 millimeters with a Fox 34 Performance fork. These changes come together to create an awesomely playful bike that falls squarely in the trail category, even if it still climbs with the determination of an ornery goat.