First Look: Yeti’s New SB140 – Splitting the Difference

If you’re a Yeti fan, it’s been a pretty good month. Matt showed you the new SB160 a week ago, then came Kazimer with the SB120, and today we’re splitting the difference with the also-new SB140. There’s still a 27.5″ version in the lineup, but this SB140 is essentially the next generation of the SB130 (confusing, I know), and can be configured with either a 150mm or 160mm-travel fork depending on the build kit.

Like the other new bikes, the SB140 is offered in two flavors. Sign up for one of the burlier Lunch Ride models with that 160mm fork and there are six complete bikes to choose from, all with a Float X shock and burlier tires and brakes. The C1, C2, and C3 are all based on the heavier carbon frame and retail for $6,600, $6,900, and $7,800 USD. There are another three models based on the pricier and lighter Turq frame that uses pricier and lighter carbon fiber. You’ll need $8,800, $10,200, and $11,700 USD to get the T1, T3, and T4.

SB140 Details
• Intended use: Trail riding and more
• Travel: 140mm
• Fork travel: 150mm / 160mm
• Frame material: Carbon fiber, two versions
• Head angle: 65.4º / 65º
• Seat angle: 71.8º – 73.7º
• Wheels: 29″
• Sizes: SM – XXL
• Reach: 435mm – 525mm
• Frame weight: 3,375 grams (med Turq frame w/ DPS shock)
• Price: $6,400 – $11,700 USD, $4,500 USD (frame only)
• More info: www.yeticycles.com

If you want that 150mm-travel fork and a bit lighter build kit, pricing starts at $6,400 for the C1 or $6,700 USD for the C2. Turq-framed bikes begin with the $8,600 T2 and $10,000 T3, or you can get the top-end T4 for $11,500 USD. There are eleven different SB140s to choose from, as well as the $4,500 USD frame, so head over to Yeti’s website for all the specs and details.

Frame Details

The new SB140 looks a lot like the previous version, but the differences are more obvious up close… or if you’ve already read about their other new bikes. The low-hanging bit of bulbous carbon in front of the bottom bracket has finally been trimmed down to a slimmer shape that also offers more ground clearance. That’s also where you’ll find a dual-density downtube protector that uses a softer inner layer combined with a harder cap bolted over the top, all of which can be removed to make it easier to route the dropper post line.

Cables enter and exit at the usual places, but Yeti’s added small clamps at each of those points that gently hold them in place and should keep excess slack from rattling around inside the frame. Other notables include a switch to a threaded bottom bracket shell rather than Pressfit BB92, plenty of rubberized protection on the swingarm, and a relatively cheap and easy-to-find Universal Derailleur Hanger.

Yeti has also changed a bunch of stuff in the suspension department with an eye on reliability, most notably moving to pressing all of the bike’s bearings into the metal suspension components rather than the carbon front or rear triangles. This makes sense for all the obvious manufacturing and long-term reasons, but it’s also easier and less risky to remove and install bearings in a chunk of aluminum than some expensive hand-laid carbon fiber. There are also new floating collet pivot axles to hold it all together, and Turq-series frames see better seals, bearings, and hardware used at the sliding Switch Infinity unit versus C-spec frames that use last year’s stuff.

What’s all this about Turq and C-series? The two versions of the frame are made in the same place and look identical on the outside, but Yeti says that the Turq versions, “are made with the highest quality carbon fiber available and offer the perfect balance of stiffness and compliance.” The C-series frames receive, “small changes in the carbon fiber layup” that make them less expensive to manufacture, hence the slightly lower price point for complete builds. The ride quality and frame rigidity are said to be identical, but the fancy SB140 Turq frame weighs 3,375 grams, 174 fewer than the peasant-y C version when they’re both fitted with the same Fox DPS shock.

Suspension Details

Some of us thought that the new SB160 might use a similar six-bar layout as the motorized E160, but Yeti stuck with a slightly revised version of the sliding Switch Infinity design they’ve been refining for years. It’s the same story with the SB140, too, and that’s a good thing; we’ve always liked the balanced nature of Switch Infinity for how it’s always managed to do the pedal and bump-absorbing jobs equally well.

Yeti has an interesting history with unconventional suspension designs, and if you’re not familiar with Switch Infinity, here’s the gist of it. The solid rear triangle floats on two links; the upper one drives the shock via a split clevis and is pretty ordinary, but not so down at the bottom. That’s where you’ll see that the main pivot is on an anodized black aluminum carrier that slides up and down on two Kashima-coated rails and a set of upgraded bushings. Grease ports let you inject some love as needed without taking the whole thing apart, and Yeti’s also added better seals, bearings, and hardware.

What does all that do? “When Switch Infinity reverses direction, anti-squat drastically drops for freedom of suspension movement,” Yeti explains, with the black carrier sliding up on the two gold rails in the first part of the bike’s travel for more anti-squat and better on- power feel, before moving back down later on in the travel so that the chain has less effect on the suspension action.

Geometry

The refinement continues in the geometry department, with a few small changes here and there but also the notable switch to size-specific chainstays. While the previous version had a 433mm rear-end across the range, the new bike gets 2mm longer per size, starting at 436mm for the small and up to 444mm for the double-extra-large. The same goes for the actual seat angles that start at 71.8 and go up to 77.3-degrees on the Lunch Ride version (slightly steep on the normal models).

The Lunch Ride builds get a 160mm-travel fork that puts the head angle at 65-degrees even, whereas the less aggressive builds with 150mm forks sit at 65.4-degrees. Reach numbers run from 435 to 525mm, with a large sitting at 485mm and a 623mm effective top tube length.


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