My first taste of the dry, dusty desert singletrack of Bootleg Canyon was aboard the Yeti SB-95 and what a taste it was! With 29 wheels, 5 of travel front and back, and a 68.5 headtube angle, this is an aggressive bike that was ready to tackle the most technical Outdoor Demo test track that had been marked out in the barren landscape.
And tackle it the SB-95 didand with ease! While a few bikes I rode at the show betrayed their tendencies toward either climbing or descending, out of all the bikes that I rode, the SB-95 was the best at both. A capable descender thanks to the above characteristics as well as a tapered headtube and thru-axles front and back, the bike was still lightweight enough to make the climbs enjoyable as well. Also contributing to the excellent climbing performance was a solid pedaling platform, courtesy of the Fox CTD (Climb, Trail, Descend) suspension, the Switch Technology patent-pending suspension design, and the relatively short chainstays.
I rode several 29er full-suspension trail bikes (~5 of suspension) yesterday, and I was seriously impressed with their performance. Ive heard some writers gripe about chain stays that are too long and the difficulty of fitting a 29 wheel into a longer-travel package (thus, some of the push for 650b long-travel bikes). But based on my experiences today Id have to say that there are plenty of companies doing 5 (and even 6) FS 29ers very well. If I had to buy a bike today, for my personal riding style and the types of trails I like to ride, it would probably be a 5 FS 29er.
I rode a wide variety of mountain bikes today, and I have to honestly say that out of all of them, the Yeti SB-95 impressed me the most. This is one bike that I would love to spend some more time with!