While Yeti is a brand with a deep heritage in racing, they know not every rider is focused on being as fast as possible; some prefer jumping, jibbing, and bonking their way down a trail, looking for side hits rather than race lines. If you’re one of those riders, or you happen to be on the shorter side, the new Yeti SB135 is definitely worth checking out.
Yeti spent the last two years developing the new 2023 models, and the name of the SB135’s game is fun! With its 27.5” wheels, the SB135 was built with creative, playful riding in mind. If you are a shorter rider you’ll be happy to hear Yeti designed completely unique small and XS frames, ensuring the SB135 offers smaller shredders Yeti’s preferred geometry and ride qualities alongside a low standover height, water bottle storage, and long-travel dropper post compatibility.
Yeti SB135 – Frame Features
The new Yeti SB135 is only offered with a full carbon frame, but lower-end models use Yeti’s C Series carbon while the higher-end bikes feature Yeti’s TURQ carbon (which offers equal strength and stiffness at a lower weight). The SB135 now shares all the new features of Yeti’s latest generation of bikes which started to arrive last fall.
One such revision is frame stiffness, which has increased across the board and is specifically tuned for each frame size. Yeti has refined its carbon layups so every rider can enjoy consistent levels of stiffness and compliance (where each is required). Even with the different S/XS frames (more on that below), Yeti says advanced computer modeling allows them to keep the frames feeling consistent across the full-size range.
Another revision to the frame creates added downtube ground clearance. The down tube now bends upwards in front of the BB a little more than it did on Yeti’s previous generation frames.
Yeti wanted to ensure the new SB135 could accommodate smaller riders properly, so the new small and XS sizes use completely different frames from the larger sizes. Geometry, travel, and suspension characteristics remain the same as the larger bikes, but both the front and rear triangles are unique to the two smallest sizes. Shock mount points, linkages, and rear ends are all different on small and XS frames; notice how the rear shock mounts to the down tube on the smaller frames, versus the underside of the top tube on larger sizes.
The small and XS frames also use a more compact linkage and a completely unique swingarm. With these adjustments, the S/XS frames can fit riders from 4’11” and up. All this was done with the aim of keeping standover height low, while still accommodating water bottles triangle in the front and leaving ample room for long-travel dropper posts.
The SB135 provides 135mm of rear travel, and comes with a 150mm fork on the standard build or a 160mm fork on the beefed-up Lunch Ride builds. All models roll on 27.5” wheels and utilize Boost axle spacing. If you’re wondering, Yeti says the SB135 can be converted to a mixed wheel bike. Tire clearance tops out at 2.6″.
The SB135 uses SRAM’s UDH derailleur hanger, which is easy to find and replace at nearly any bike shop, and makes the frames compatible with SRAM’s new T-Type transmission.
Yeti says most riders should be able to run 150mm dropper posts on small frames, 175mm on mediums, and 200+ mm on L-XL frames, depending on the actual seat height required. The frames accept 31.6mm diameter posts.
The SB135 includes internally tubed cable routing, with port covers that secure the cables at entry and exit points to prevent rubbing or rattling. The updated frame now uses a threaded alloy BB shell with integrated ISCG05 tabs. Max chainring clearance is 34t (or 32t oval).
As for frame protection, the SB135 includes a down tube guard and a chainstay guard that extends around to the underside of the seatstay. The new downtube protection system uses two layers, a rubber under guard that reduces impacts to the frame, and a rigid outer cap to fend off rock strikes, etc. The guard extends edge-to-edge on the downtube, and replacements are available.
Switch Infinity Suspension
For the newest generation of their MTBs, Yeti put their efforts into refining the leverage ratios of the ‘translating pivot’ Switch Infinity suspension platform. Adjustments were made to accommodate the new bikes’ increased travel while maintaining Yeti’s intended predictable ride feel. The SB135 provides a 14% progression rate, but if you look up and down the SB lineup you’ll see that rate increases as rear travel grows (for reference the SB120 is set at 11%, while the SB160 increases to 17%).
Yeti tunes its rear shocks in-house to ensure they match up with each bike’s intended ride characteristics, experimenting with several tunes in the lab and on the trails before settling on the best option for each model.
Yeti’s new pivot designs use standard-sized Enduro Max bearings, held in place by machined floating collet axles which ensure proper bearing alignment and smooth suspension, not to mention better longevity for the bearings. All bearings are pressed into the linkage rather than the frame or swingarm. All of the SB135 T-series builds include Yeti’s new Switch Infinity System, which features improved seals, bearings, and hardware.
The SB135 features a new patented two-piece wishbone shock extender link; this link moves the shock forward in the frame which decreases standover height, leaves more room for water bottles, allows for smaller shock tabs, and offers compatibility with a wide range of rear shocks.
With their new generation of frames, Yeti has revised its geometry to offer the most balanced ride possible. The brand is clearly big on size-specific tuning; the frames feature size-specific seat tube angles, with the seat masts getting steeper as frame sizes get larger. This makes it easier to move from sitting to standing positions, especially for taller riders. Out back, size-specific chainstays ensure an appropriate rear-center measurement for riders of all heights.
Yeti also adjusted their reach numbers to put the rider in a more neutral position with equal body weight on both wheels. The frames haven’t grown significantly up front; Yeti’s previous generation SB140 already offered a lengthy reach, so the new bikes have been refined rather than stretched out.
One interesting concept Yeti follows is the idea of balanced vertical travel. Yeti runs longer forks to give the bikes more front travel than the rear, which they say helps produce a well-balanced ride with today’s slack head tube angles. Looking at the geo chart for the standard SB135s, you’ll notice the fork’s vertical travel is only 1mm more than the bike’s rear travel (but note there is more of a difference on the Lunch Ride builds).
SB135 Lunch Ride Geometry
Check out the above chart for all the details, but here are some key angles and measurements for the SB135 Lunch Ride models. The head tube angle is 65°, and with their size-specific seat mast angles the effective seat tube angle is 76.5° across all sizes. Reach numbers are 455/475/500mm for M/L/XL frames, and chainstay lengths vary from 433-437mm.
The standard SB135’s angles differ a bit with the shorter fork; their head tube angle is 65.4°, and the effective seat tube angle sits at 77°. Reach numbers grow a little, with a medium frame at 460mm and a large at 479mm. Chainstay lengths are the same as the Lunch Ride bikes but with small and XS frames available the standard models range from 429-437mm.
There are two Lunch Ride models and five standard SB135 builds available, plus a frame-only option. The Lunch Ride build steps the fork up to a 160mm Fox Factory 36, paired to a Fox Float X rear shock. These bikes also get powerful four-piston brakes with 200mm rotors front and rear. Lunch Ride bikes roll on DT Swiss Custom EX wheels, wrapped in a set of Maxxis Assegai 2.5” front and DHR II 2.4” rear tires with EXO+ casings. Please note the Lunch Ride build option is not available on small or XS frames. Pricing is shown in the spec charts.
SB135 TURQ TLR Transmission T3
SB135 CLR C2
The standard SB135 models below get 150mm Fox Factory 36 Fit 4 forks, and a Fox Float rear shock, and they still get four-piston brakes but with 180mm rotors. These bikes come with DT Swiss XM wheels with a wide but faster rolling tire combo of Maxxis’ DHF and Rekon 2.6” EXO treads.
SB135 TURQ T4 Transmission
SB135 TURQ T2
SB135 TURQ TXT
SB135 Frame – $4300
The SB135 frame kit comes with an inline Fox Float Factory shock, a rear axle and a UDH.
Frames for all models are available in Cherry, Turquoise, or Rhino colors. Finally, it’s nice to know Yeti covers all their frames (from 2019 onwards) with a lifetime warranty and crash replacement program. The SB135 is now available in stores and online.
Editor’s Note: I planned to have a complete review of the SB135 TLR T3 to accompany today’s launch article, but a poorly timed hip injury has kept me from riding the bike. Yeti has agreed to leave the SB135 with me for a while longer, so I plan to start a review as soon as I’m back on the trails. Keep an eye on Bikerumor this summer for my ride review…