Yeti Cycles SB4.5c 29er Full Suspension


The SB4.5c is optimized for 29" wheels and has a different personality. The pedaling platform is a little stiffer, so out of the saddle climbs feel effortless. Descending, it’s all trail bike — open it up and let the big wheels roll.


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[Feb 25, 2016]
Tom Leigh
All Mountain Rider


Lightweight, stiff, agile


Price, Availability, No effective bottle mount, No turquoise option (yet)

Full disclosure: I am a committed Tribe member, so not particularly objective. This is my second Yeti; I also own an aluminum SB 75 which is a great all-around trail bike, and hell for stout.

I wanted a 29er for the characteristics inherent to the wheel size: fast rolling, good attainment over obstacles and larger tire contact patch. Compared to the SB 75, the other differences are the carbon frame, shorter travel and Boost hub spacing.

The carbon frame is beautiful. Nude finish, subtle graphics and full internal routing makes a clean, artistic design. I also added a Frameskins custom-cut protection film before ever riding the bike. It's worth it, as the unfinished carbon needs a layer of protection to be fully confident on rock and gravel trail surfaces. The Frameskins kit is $135 US for a fitted set of pre-cut templates, Easy to install. Find them online from Alan in Australia.

Mine is the GX kit, with Fox Float 140 fork. This combination performs well and is (relatively) affordable. I replaced the alu bars with carbon and fitted my preferred Ergon grips. It's 29 lbs ready to ride (pedals, tubed tire setup) The DT Swiss M1900 wheels are somewhat heavy, but surprisingly stiff, likely due to the Boost 148/110 hub spacing. I was reluctant to go this way, as it's a brand new standard. It is noticeably stiffer compared to other 29ers I've ridden. Hard to tell if it's the carbon frame, the hubs, or the feel of a brand new bike. Still, I like it and hope the Boost standard sticks around.

The SB 4.5 accelerates and rolls faster than my 27.5 bike no question. It's a better climber by a long shot. It's more agile on left-right-left flow sections than any 29er I've ridden. It is not, however, as agile as my 27.5 bike, and I'm not as confident on descents or throwing it over drops. Still getting it dialed, so too early to tell. Any rough or sketchy trail I will ride my 27 bike anyway. Most of the trails I ride, however, are not rough and sketchy, so I prefer the SB 4.5. It's a nice luxury to have two bikes. If I only owned one, I would pick the SB 4.5, if that tells you anything. With the suspension fully dialed, and more time to get accustomed to it, I think I could tackle anything but the biggest drops with the 4.5.

Some complain about the price, and it's a valid point. Lack of a reachable bottle mount also limits your options. It's a casualty of the Switch suspension design, which has proven to be (arguably) the best in the industry. I'll admit a lack of objectivity. The value is subjective. My advice is not to ever ride a Yeti if you truly can't afford it, as you will not be happy with anything less thereafter. Tribe!

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