What do you want from your mountain bike? And more to the point, what do you expect from your top-of-the-range mountain bike? The Yeti SB5 has seen a few subtle iterations over its four-year history and the Turq has everything going for it – an exciting convergence of style and substance.
Without a doubt the Turq pulls no punches with it high-spec loadout.
The Turq sports the SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain which is pretty much top flight and you really notice the quality on your ride. Shifting feels clean and precise and gives you a good response. It’s also quiet with trustworthy chain retention – both factors that signal confidence in the engineering. It’s a 1×12 drivetrain coupled to a SRAM 1275 Eagle 10-50T cassette, that gives a buttery range to take you readily from shallow inclines up to steep grades.
Fork and suspension
The Fox Factory 34 fork is a FLOAT air spring suspension with GRIP 3-Pos Lever offering excellent security and comfort over all but the roughest terrain. The black anodized upper finish looks the part but it’s the distinctive gold Kashima coat that reminds you that the fork’s pedigree of exceptional durability and silky feel is alive and well on this bike. It comes with two volume spacers but you can add more if you want. Sometimes you can find yourself bottoming out prematurely if you don’t set your suspension up properly. The new 2018 version gives an improved response over bumps and better mid-stroke support. This works well with the increase in damping over previous models.
Arguably the most important part of the bike – well they are forefront in your thoughts if you get yourself into an unexpected gnarly situation – are the brakes. The Yeti comes with high quality SRAM Guide RSC brakes which you can definitely rely on in a scrape, slowing your progress without making the bike squirrelly!
Wheels and tires
In a premium mtb, you are looking for a balance between weight and strength. The specialized DT XM421 27.5 inch rims and 350 hubs don’t disappoint; light and robust, they can take a pounding on aggressive terrain while maintaining form effortlessly. When it comes to servicing, the star ratchet is well designed giving you easy access to replace or clean parts. The inner width is narrower than some at just 25mm but it shouldn’t cause any undue headaches. This is quite an impressive wheelset to come as standard on a bike.
The Yeti’s Maxxis Ardent 2.4/2.25 EXO TR tires are a versatile all-rounder that are well suited to XC and trail and are more reinforced than others in their class. If you’re planning to do a lot of enduro excursions than you would need to switch them out for something more robust. The Maxxis Ardents’ dual-compound tread give you plenty of bite against rough terrain which help the effectiveness of the brakes and also your acceleration.
You can’t always maintain an attack stance with a static seat post so it’s important to have flexibility as the terrain changes. Being able to drop the seat post quickly on the Yeti is a breeze and its return is sharp. Luckily, the 150mm Fox Transfer is an excellent performer. Its sleek lever size doesn’t obstruct your hand and is well-placed for easy use. You may find faster return mechanisms (looking at you, RaceFace) but the Fox should be ample for most riders. Let it help you stitch climbs and descents together seamlessly.
Frame and weight
The carbon fiber T-series frame is an engineering masterpiece that is strong and stable. This latest version of the frame incorporates internal cable routing and some tweaks to the geometry but it’s a case of how do you improve on a (modern) classic? Some of these changes include a reduction to the head angle by half a degree to 66.5 degrees and an increase in the seat tube angle of 0.85 degrees taking it up to 73.6 degrees which give the rider a slight improvement to their climbing exploits.
The T-series weighs a miniscule 2.49 kg although there is a less expensive carbon fiber version that comes in at 2.76 kg. Without pedals, the largest frame is just a whiskers over 12 kg.
The Yeti comes in five frame sizes: extra small (150 – 160 cm or 4’ 11” – 5’ 3”), small (160 – 170 cm or 5’ 3” – 5’ 7”), medium (170 – 180 cm or 5’ 7” – 5’ 11”), large (180 – 191 cm or 5’ 11” – 6’ 3”) and extra large (191 – 198 cm or 6’ 3” – 6’ 6”).
The riding experience
When you first take delivery of your bike you need to adjust it to your preferences and size. Some of the settings ‘out-of-the-box’ are more than acceptable but it’s recommended to experiment with changes. A good example is to alter the sag from its initial 15 mm to 16 mm to give better performance on rough trails. The Yeti is unusual among its peers in that it compels the rider to adopt a more upright posture. This lends itself to giving the rider a more active connection with the trail’s intricacies.
The firm suspension rewards a self-assured rider but also inspires a less experienced mountain biker. Changes to the geometry have also had a positive effect on the braking – the weight shifting that happens under deceleration is well-managed. This results in the rider not feeling quite as thrown forward with their inertia than with previous models. Any improvement that reduces the chance of an endo is great in our books!
The Yeti SB5 Turq X01 Eagle bike is expensive but awesome value for money, an ideal example of getting what you pay for. It performs well under all but the most extreme enduro conditions and even then if you switch out some of the stock parts you will get a bike that just eats the terrain with you coming out triumphant! This mtb is ideal for experienced riders and beginners alike who will grow with their bike. Highly recommended.