There has been a lot of buzz about the new ‘switch‘ suspension technology from Yeti, and it is definitely well deserved. In non-engineering terms, Yeti employs an eccentric (not round) suspension link that rests in a position that counter-acts pedaling forces when climbing, but then moves around the axis of the link to ‘open up’ when the trail turns downhill.
While I (mostly) could not really feel the suspension doing anything special, the end result is impossible to ignore. Yeti has actually managed to create a 29er that climbs efficiently, and then descends confidently with plenty of plush travel.
The reason I said ‘mostly’ on feeling the switch link doing its thing … well, let me tell a little story. On the Lazy/EZ demo loop there is a thin slab of rock sticking up about 6″ out of the soft sand on either side. On the first lap of the first day, we saw a guy do a spectacular endo over this rock. (He was ok, as he face planted into deep, soft sand.) Anyway, I kind of made it a point to ride over this rock on every lap with every bike I demo’ed, just for grins.
So I hit this same rock with the Yeti SB95, and when the rear wheel encountered it the switch link engaged all at once with a loud BANG reminiscent of a missed shift on an old manual truck transmission. It scared the crap out of me! A quick inspection revealed nothing out of place and the bike performed flawlessly for the rest of the ride.
Aside from that bit of weirdness, this is one awesome handling bike. I live in Colorado and I regularly ride on the trails where Yeti does their product testing, and it is very apparent that all of that gnarly riding has resulted in a radical new suspension design.
If you are in the market for a capable all mountain 29er bike that is also an excellent climber, then take a hard look at the Yeti SB-95!