Yeti’s new suspension system proves there’s life after wheel sizes.
Yeti’s most recent release, the SB5 Carbon, comes in the shape of a five-inch travel trail bike. It has an amazing new ‘Switch Infinity Translating Pivot’ that switches direction as the bike moves through its travel. Yeti says it makes the suspension feel bottomless, maintaining pedalling efficiency and resisting the adverse effects of chain force.
As great as that sounds, the mind-blowing part is this: Yeti didn’t boast that it also has 650b wheels. Let that sink in! For the past two years, wheel size has been everything. First there were 29ers, then there were 650b-wheel bikes. That was all bike builders wanted to talk about. Discussing suspension goes back five years, to a time when dubious science focused on linkages and pivots, rather than the distance between your hubs and rims.
Yeti isn’t the first to go back to the old school. In August, Canyon released the Strive, with its ‘Shapeshifter’ remote-activated suspension design that allows adjustment of travel and angles on the fly.
Is the wheel size debate over? Probably not, but the boffins have moved on, and that’s a relief in itself. In short, this is neither the end of the debate, nor even the beginning of the end. It is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
- There are no UK prices yet, but the XX1 bike with Enve M60 wheelset costs $10,599 (£6,300). Yes, really!
- The SB5 Carbon has 127mm (5in) travel and 650b wheels.
- Switch Infinity is based around a main pivot that moves along Kashima-coated rails, altering the suspension characteristics as the bike moves through its travel.
- At the beginning of the stroke the pivot moves upwards, something Yeti says stops it diving through the travel and makes it pedal efficiently.
- Midway through the travel the Switch Infinity link moves downwards, and it’s claimed this stops the chain force from interfering with the suspension and makes the travel feel bottomless