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Ben Vlass

8 May, 2018 Journal

Yeti SB4.5 - New Bike Day First Impressions

Nothing beats new bike day… unless its new Yeti bike day.

The time had come to get a new MTB and the yearning to be on a Yeti again was becoming too strong to push aside. The last Yeti I owned was their first foray into 29ers, the BigTop. That was an alloy/carbon hardtail that wasn't the lightest or the fastest out there, but it was fun to ride. Things have come a long way since then...

Yeti SB4.5

Waiting for pickup – Image sent to me by Summit Cycles to let me know it was ready


There were two possible choices that I narrowed my search down too, a Niner Jet 9 RDO or the Yeti SB4.5. Both great bikes that do things slightly different to each other and with a significant price point difference (Niner no longer has a distributor in Australia so they were on runout). These were both bikes that you don’t really see a lot, I wanted something special that I will keep for a long time, something I can upgrade parts on, something that will still make me smile 2 years down the track.

As you can tell by the article title, I chose the Yeti, for a number of reasons. One, it’s a Yeti so you know it will look good and be desirable for years to come. Two, it’s a lustful piece of engineering. Three, as Meatloaf says it ride like a ‘Bat Outta Hell’! You know you made the right call on bike choice when you cant take the grin off your face days after riding your local trails. Even writing this I’m laughing at the ridiculousness of this bike, it shouldn’t be able to do the things it does. Excuse me while I pour some cold water over myself.

That Storm colourway, perfection. Photo care of Summit Cycles

AS someone who has always ridden cross country bikes, back when I was younger and fitter, I wanted something that was a bit more forgiving, but, and it’s a big but, I still wanted a short travel bike to ride and race cross country on. The SB4.5 really is the best of both worlds, with 114mm of rear travel paired with a 130/140mm fork. The 67degree head angle is nice and slack which inspires confidence on the downhills and the 73degree seat tube angle is step enough to allow you to stay over the bottom bracket for efficient climbing. I haven’t ridden this bike for more than 3 hours yet so I can’t comment on the all-day comfort first hand but I am looking forward to heading up to Buller and taking on the Epic trail.   

Those not familiar with Yeti and the SB platform will notice something different above the bottom bracket. The Switch Infinity system is the most important factor in making this bike ride so great. I wont get too technical but essentially this is the pivot that switches direction as the rear wheel moves through its travel, changing characteristics through the suspension travel. This system also enables the bike to have superior anti-squat and pedaling characteristics of which I haven’t experienced on any bike I’ve ridden, period.

 Yeti SB4.5 Suspension

Switch Infinity


There is one thing that I’m not sure on, and that is where you can mount your drink bottle. Now admittedly this bike isn’t Yeti’s pure XC racer and was designed as a trail bike where the rider would normally have hydration pack. If you want to carry a bottle it needs to be under the down tube, that’s a long way down when you are riding and if its wet or muddy its not going to be the tastiest of drinks. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but if you want to do longer rides and not carry a pack be mindful of this.

As you can tell my overall impressions of this bike are one of amazement and that I want to marry it, but we would most likely need a plebiscite for that to be legal... All I can say is that you need to do yourself a favour and get a Yeti at some stage of your cycling life, trust me it will be worth the $$ and the little white lies to the significant other about how much it truly cost.



Thanks to Cory, Shane and Nash atSummit Cycles Fitzroy who took my money and helped me make a dream a reality. 

Full Specifications

FrameYeti SB4.5 Full CarbonBottom BracketBB92
ForkFox Performance 34 140mmCassetteShimano SLX 11-46
ShockChainShimano SLX
WheelsDT Swiss M1900 25mm (Hand Built by Shane in store)BrakesShimano SLX 180mm/160mm
Rear DerailleurShimano XTSeatpostFox Transfer Dropper
ShifterShimano SLXTyres – Maxxis Ardent 2.40 EXO Front and Maxxis Ardent 2.25 EXO Rear
CrankRace Face Affect 30tHeadset Cane Creek 40
HandlebarRace Face Evolve 750mmStemRace Face Ride 60mm
GripsErgon GA2SaddleWTB Custom Yeti 

Want a Similar Ride For Less?

Love the idea of the Yeti but just don't have the $$$ to handover? It's tough because it truely is a unique bike and nothing will be a direct substitute as such. But if you are looking for a trail orientated bike that you can still line up on at your local race check these out. 

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