Whether slaloming through technical single-track, riding cross-country on fire roads, or maneuvering over slickrock at Moab, you’ll find the Yeti SB-95 full-suspension mountain bike up to the task. This carbon-framed cycling jack-of-all-trades might just be the best all-around mountain bike ever made.
How can I make that statement? Because every year mountain bikes improve. Just as in certain other areas of technology that inspire passionate design and ferocious competition in the marketplace (smartphones, cars, TVs, golf clubs, vodka, etc.), mountain bikes continue to evolve each year, with continual innovations in suspensions, frames, geometry, materials, and components. 2013 is no exception when it comes to fielding a crop of bicycles that outperform other models made up to now.
Yeti Cycles has earned a reputation as the maker of some of the best mountain bikes on the market. And when they say that the SB-95 — specifically, the SB-95 Carbon Pro XTR — is probably the best all-around mountain bike they’ve ever made, those shopping for a do-everything mountain bike must give it serious consideration.
The carbon-framed version of the SB-95 is new for 2013. When it comes to assessing this bike’s quality and performance, you don’t have to just take Yeti’s word for it. Experienced mountain bike reviewers have put the SB-95 Carbon Pro through its paces in a variety of mountain biking environments and uses and the SB-95 has generally come out on top. While there are any number of narrower-purpose mountain bikes — bikes particularly good at descending, racing bikes, trials bikes, etc. — that may excel in one area, if you want a freeride bike that can do everything from traveling cross-country over rocky trails to bombing down ski runs in the summer, you should take a careful look at the Yeti SB-95.
There are a number of models of this full-suspension bike, including a version with an alloy frame. The top-of-the-line model is the carbon-framed SB-95 Carbon Pro XTR equipped with Shimano XTR components and 29-inch wheels. The bike features Yeti’s innovative “Switch Technology” rear suspension, which uses an eccentric mechanism to reverse direction as the link absorbs impact, pivoting upward to make more efficient use of energy. What this translates to is enhanced pedaling effectiveness and stability, and the feeling that the bike adheres to the ground more firmly and comfortably. In other words, Switch Technology enhances the “flow” of the riding experience regardless of what type of terrain you’re riding on.
Among 29er mountain bikes, you would be hard-pressed to find a bicycle that is more versatile than the SB-95 Carbon. With this bike you get the advantages of 29-inch (622 mm inside rim diameter) wheels — more capable of rolling over obstacles, generally a more comfortable ride, improved traction, reduced rolling friction, and better ergonomics for taller riders — without the drawbacks, i.e., lessened “flickable” maneuverability. If you take a look at the video below of the Yeti SB-95 Carbon being put through its paces, I think you’ll see that this bike offers plenty of quick maneuverability. It is the quintessential XC mountain bike.
As noted above, this cutting-edge 29er mountain bike has received enthusiastic reviews from the professional cycling press. Bicycling magazine awarded the Yeti SB-95 an “Editor’s Choice” designation. In the summary of their 8 top mountain bikes (out of 24 bicycles reviewed), they stated:
Another repeat winner, the SB-95 offers a stunning blend of stability and sharp handling. It bombed down steep chutes, but also carved around off-camber sweepers. The magic rests with the Switch suspension, which one tester described as brilliant: “The way it feels so efficient while pedaling yet smooth and controlled in the rough left me in awe.”
Outside magazine’s testers were even more effusive in their praise of the SB-95 Carbon Pro XTR from Yeti Bikes, selecting it as their favorite mountain bike (out of 59 bicycles tested) for 2013. After putting all their mountain bikes — from hardtails with alloy frames to pro-level carbon-fiber framed bikes — through thousands of miles of collective riding, they summarized their evaluation of the Yeti SB-95 thus:
Cross-country racers and downhill devotees alike loved this five-inch travel carbon trail master. Thanks to Yeti’s ingenious rear-travel system (the pivot actually reverses direction midcompression for a consistent feel throughout), it pedaled with the efficiency of a bike several pounds lighter but skipped through ledges and stair steps with the ease of a downhill rig. Add to it a 120-millimeter Fox 34 fork, a tapered head tube, and front and rear through-axles [which are stronger and make steering more precise] and you get dead-accurate descents and surprisingly fluid climbs. The only thing missing was a dropper seat post… This is our favorite new bike of 2013.
Outside magazine also selected the Yeti SB-95 as its top “Editor’s Choice” among all mountain bikes reviewed. I think you’ll see from the statements above that when it comes to the best mountain bikes, the SB-95 is indeed, as Yeti Cycles states, not only the best mountain bike they’ve ever built, but possibly the best “one-bike quiver” when it comes to an all-around mountain bike.
You can order the Yeti SB-95 Carbon Pro XTR from Jenson USA by clicking here (currently $8,000). Take a look at the website’s comprehensive description of the bike’s parts and features. The frame of the SB-95 Carbon is available in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes. The two available color schemes are Carbon/Turquoise (pictured above) and Turquoise. In their own evaluation of this bike, Jenson USA states that: “…this is a bike you grow into. Designed for racing, yet perfect for trail riding, if you only have one bike, this ought to be it.”
By now you’re probably getting the picture that this is the most versatile mountain bike made.
Jenson USA also carries the less expensive alloy-framed Yeti SB-95 Pro XTR model (with Shimano XTR components) and the SB-95 Carbon Enduro mountain bike (with SRAM components). And if you simply want one of the best carbon-fiber mountain bike frames made, you can order the SB-95 Carbon frame alone and hang your choice of parts on it.
If you prefer 26-inch wheel mountain bikes, then get the new carbon-framed Yeti SB-66 Carbon Pro XTR moutain bike, also available from JensonUSA.
If you wonder about shopping for bikes online and ordering from Jenson USA, rest assured that they care about customer service and are one of the most reliable sources for mountain bikes, road bikes, mountain bike parts, and cycling accessories online. JensonUSA is a Google Trusted Store, which means they have passed an evaluation that puts them in the top tier of stores with regard to reliable shipping and excellent customer service. You can find many positive reviews and a lot of good customer feedback for Jenson USA online. Especially if you live in a remote location where you don’t have a good bike retailer nearby, Jenson USA makes shopping for complete bikes and bike parts easy and convenient.
Also be aware that Jenson USA offers “Price Matching,” which means that if you find a lower, legitimate price from another retailer that offers mountain bikes for sale, they’ll match it. I suspect, however, that the available stock of SB-95 Carbon Pro XTR mountain bikes will sell out before they’re ever discounted. Yeti Cycles tends to inspire happy customers who snap their bikes up.
Below is a video of the Yeti SB-95 Carbon 29er in action. If you’re combing through the hundreds of available bicycles for a bike that will satisfy your mountain biking needs for years to come, I recommend the SB-95 that Yeti Bikes states is “simply the best bike we’ve built to date.” Coming from these passionate mountain bike designers, that’s saying something.