Yeti has just released a brand-new trail bike: the SB5c. Sporting 27.5″/650b wheels, this is a full-carbon rig with 5″ (127mm) of travel.
I’m sure the question that’s on everyone’s mind is: “is this Yeti’s answer to the controversial discontinuation of the SB66c?” While maybe this bike will help calm the crowd of agitated SB66c fans, the SB5c most definitely isn’t just a 27.5-wheeled version of that acclaimed steed.
For starters, with just 5″ of travel, this bike isn’t quite as long-legged as the SB66c. But the real difference is the never-before-seen Switch Infinity Technology.
Developed in conjunction with Fox, the Switch Infinity technology/linkage is radically different from most other suspension linkages on the market. While it is descended from the system found in the previous SB66c and the SB95, Yeti and Fox have taken things to a ‘hole ‘nuther level. Since the technical details are probably way over this poor journalist’s head, I’ll quote for you Yeti’s take on the tech:
Switch Infinity utilizes a patented translating pivot that switches direction as the bike moves through its travel. This provides excellent anti-squat characteristics for superior pedaling performance and ideal suspension characteristics as it gets deeper into the travel.
At the beginning of the travel, the main pivot translates upward, creating a rearward wheel path. This provides excellent anti-squat and optimum pedaling performance. While the pedaling is crisp, the linear leverage ratio and translating pivot combine for amazing small bump sensitivity. The linear movement provides unprecedented control of the kinematics and marks a significant improvement over link-based designs.
Once the Switch Infinity system reaches the inflection point, the main pivot begins to translate downward. This linear movement prevents the chain force from adversely affecting the suspension performance and gives the suspension a controlled, bottomless feel.
The linear path of the patented Switch Infinity system has very little resistance as it moves through its travel. This allows the system to achieve seemingly contradictory characteristics. In the early stage of the travel it displays superior pedaling efficiency and excellent small bump sensitivity. As you move deeper into the travel, it is well supported and responds effortlessly to square edge hits. The mechanical advantage of our linear system cannot be achieved with traditional link designs.
The Switch Infinity is a simple, lightweight, bombproof system built by Fox Racing Shox from proven suspension components and engineered and tested to withstand the worst riding conditions. We only use the best components in its construction — Kashima coated stanchions for low friction and durability, seals and bushings that are used in Fox’s off-road racing division, and a lightweight forged translating pivot. We have field tested the parts for over three years and the original bushings, seals, and stanchions are still in perfect working condition. Fox has thrown the system into its testing regimen as well — spray testing, mud, dyno, and ride testing — and found the system worthy enough to be “Enabled by Fox.” The system is significantly lighter (100g) than the original Switch Technology.
Switch Infinity is a versatile system easily adaptable to different travel platforms. The system can be mounted in any orientation and can achieve a myriad of kinematics depending on the design intent. For example, longer travel bikes require drastically different kinematics later in the travel (controlling wheel path trajectory). The Switch Infinity system can control this much more precisely than other suspension designs because of the linear path of the main pivot. We also can control leverage ratio and anti-squat with much greater freedom than other systems.
Now, if that happened to go over your head as well, be sure to check out this video for a visual demonstration of what happens throughout the travel range:
One thing is certain: if the paragraph titled “Tunable” is any indication, the SB5c is just the first of many Yeti bikes that we’ll see with Switch Infinity technology.
SB5c Specs and Geometry
Now that we’ve fully established how radically different this rear suspension design is, here are the full specs, geometry numbers, and prices for the SB5c:
X01 Build Kit
Fork: Fox Float 34 140 Factory Custom Yeti Decals
Headset: Cane Creek 40
Crankset: SRAM X1 (32T)
Rear Der: SRAM X01 11spd
Shifter: SRAM X01 11spd
Cassette: SRAM XG1195 11spd
Chain: SRAM XX1 11spd
Wheels: Custom DT Swiss 350 Hub w/ XM 401 Rim (Option: Enve M60/240)
Tires: F: Maxxis Ardent 2.4 / R: Maxxis Ikon 2.2
Brakes: Shimano XT
Rotors: Shimano IceTech 180 F / 160 R
Handlebar: Easton Haven Carbon 740mm
Stem: Thomson Elite 70mm
Grips: Yeti Lock-on
Saddle: Yeti WTB Volt Custom
Seatpost: Thomson Elite (Thomson Elite Covert Dropper +$350)
Price: SB5c with SRAM XO1 and Enve M60 wheels: $8999 (as pictured)
SB5c with SRAM XO1: $6599
Weight: 25.5 lbs with Thomson Elite post
26.2 lbs with Thomson Elite dropper post
Option: The SB5c will also be available with a SRAM XX1 Build Kit with an Enve M60 wheelset for $10,599.