Some of you may try to argue that the Yeti SB130 isn’t an all-mountain bike. At first glance, you would be right. It has 130mm of rear travel and a 150mm fork. I’m here to tell you why you’re wrong, though. The SB130 is one of those category-bending, hard-to-put-in-a-box bikes. It punches above its weight class in terms of capability without sacrificing that quick and nimble trail bike feel.
Yeti SB130 Ride Impressions
It’s no secret the Ibis Ripmo wins in the climbing department. The SB1430 is the only other bike that gives it a serious run for its money, though. The SB130 is every bit as efficient and responsive to pedaling efforts. In fact, it might feel a little quicker than the Ripmo on smooth climbs and sprints. The Switch Infinity suspension design does an excellent job of keeping pedal bob to a minimum so that you move forward instead of just squishing up and down. Sure, it’s a little heavier than most other platforms due to the extra hardware, but weight isn’t everything when it comes to climbing – neither is efficiency. That’s where the slightly more active Ripmo has an advantage over the SB130. It’s better at smoothing out bumpy bits of the trail so you can keep the rear wheel on the ground for better traction and control.
I rode the SB130 for a year so I’m fairly familiar with how it performs. It’s not the most comfortable or forgiving bike. It’s all about speed and performance. It wants to go fast everywhere. It really rewards the rider who’s got the legs and motivation to stand up and go fast uphill. Sure it will sit and spin with the best of them, but why buy a Ferrari if you’re never going to try flooring it every once in a while? Trust me, get up and sprint, put the power down and the SB130 will reward you.
Here’s where the SB130 punches above its weight class. While it only has 130mm of travel (or 137mm in the Lunch Ride edition) it uses that travel very well. It’s not overly plush or squishy. Instead, it’s firm and supportive throughout the entire stroke. That’s what allows you to handle bigger hits without the suspension getting bogged down. It’s pretty surprising what the 130 can handle when you consider it only has 10mm more rear travel than a Tallboy, Spur, or Ripley. I had my best lap down Grafton Mesa on an SB130. I never once thought I was under-biked or outgunned. It handled the rocky, ledgy, and mean trail with ease.
My favorite thing about the 130 apart from its surprising capability, is the laser-focused handling. It feels incredibly responsive to rider input. It goes exactly where you want it to go without too much fuss. I don’t know if it’s the travel amount, geometry, or suspension design, but I’d guess it’s likely a combination of those three factors that make it handle so well. It feels precise and accurate without bordering on sketchy or squirrely. The best way I can think to describe it is like riding a quick and nimble trail bike that never gets outgunned by nasty terrain.
The SB130 is one of those bikes that just doesn’t mess around. Yeti’s tagline is “Race Driven Since -85” The SB130 embodies that mantra by keeping your average speed high. It’s fast on the steep and nasty stuff, it’s also very fast on flatter smoother terrain. It’s tough to find somewhere it doesn’t just beg for more speed.
Who is The Yeti SB130 for?
If you’re a fan of shorter travel trail bikes but want just a little more capability and confidence, the SB130 is going to be the bike for you. It doesn’t lose the zippy feel of the bikes you’re used to but opens up a huge new expanse of difficult terrain. If you like to do fast rides without stopping on the ups or downs, the SB130 will be a very rewarding bike — It’s made for flat-out speed.
The bottom line
The quick and nimble sports car of all-mountain bikes.