• Climbing Ability 70% 70%
  • Downhill Ability 70% 70%
  • Overall Fun 80% 80%

Travel: 115mm rear/ 130mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 67.6

Seat Tube Angle: 74

Reach: 450mm (large frame)

Weight: 29.63 lbs

Price: $4,900

What We Like: New rear linkage

What We Don’t: Not different enough from the Yeti SB100

The Yeti SB115 is a slightly longer travel ride than the SB100, but that is about the only difference. Yeti did not upgrade the geometry of the bike, which leaves us wondering if it could have been better with a more modern set up. The SB115 is also a fair bit heavier than the SB100 and just seems to be like an awkward pre-teen unsure of where it belongs. The rear linkage did get an upgrade from the SB100 and is now bulletproof, which is a great feeling when you take the bike into the chop. Yeti makes good bikes; unfortunately, this one just seems to miss the mark.

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If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, wait a second isn’t there an SB100? Well, you would be correct. Yeti has introduced the SB115—the same same but different bike—that slides into the new and highly controversial category of “down country” bike. If you were a fan of the 100 and like most riders on the SB100 were always thinking, “This is fun, but if it was just slightly more capable, it would be stellar…”—well, the Yeti SB115 is the ride for you.

The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Yeti SB 115 - Gear Hacker

The Bike

Well, as this is a new bike, I’ll compare the 115 to the old 100, so you can read the changes that have been made and why the 115 is just that much more ready for clocking miles and shearing rock gardens.

An important upgrade made by Yeti was to improve the Switch Infinity rear suspension linkage, so now it is built for added travel as well as being more durable so you can ride the Yeti more aggressively. The old linkage on the 100 had a trend of loosening after harder rides, but with the new locking threaded nuts, the current linkage is verging on bulletproof.

As in the name, the next upgrade is that now you’re cruising on 115mm of rear travel versus the 100mm of travel, and the front suspension has been upgraded from 120mm to 130mm. The tires have become beefier from a 2.3 Minion DHF to a 2.5 Minion DHF, and the brakes have been upgraded from 2-piston to 4-piston.

The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Yeti SB 115 - Gear Hacker

Climbing

Yeti bikes have always had a good reputation for climbing. With the additional travel in the front fork, it does feel more sluggish compared to the 100. Yeti did not do too much to the geometry of the new 115, so you are riding a fairly slack 74-degree seat tube angle. Compare this to the newer geo with bikes like the Evil The Following on a super steep 77-degree seat tube angle. The head tube sits at 67.6-degrees—pretty steep. Yeti has essentially taken the geo of the 100 and smacked a bit more travel on both ends. So in terms of geo progress, there has not been too much. The bike is also on the heavier side with build options sitting between 27.3lbs to 29.76lbs, which is fairly burly for a bike that is built to be a climber.

While climbing on steeper more technical terrain, this bike can get a bit light on the front end and get squirrely on you. The 450mm of reach (on a large frame) does not help keep the front end down on the steeper climbs. It is comfortable and can be ridden all day. The variety of terrain that it can handle may not be as wide as with some of the bikes with the newer, steeper, slacker, and lower geo though. Depending on your riding style, this can be a pro or a con. The large front triangle does leave a lot of room for water bottles and other gear if needed, which is a bonus on the older school frame geo.

It feels like the Yeti was built for races and to be put on long rides with a slight variation in terrain—but nothing too choppy or aggressive. This may be why the “down country” bike type has been so hard to narrow down, as no one really seems to know what it means.

The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Yeti SB 115 - Gear Hacker

Downhill

Again here is the problem with the older style of geo, the head tube is steep, the seat tube is slack, and the reach is too short to lend the most confidence to riders. The additional travel on both ends is an upgrade from the SB100, but was it enough? Leaving the same front and rear triangle on the 115 as the 100 makes it seem like a bit of an afterthought. Why not change a few of the angles to add a bit more confidence on the downs while not compromising the climbing. Anyone who only wants to climb will go for an XC bike like the SB100, the SB115 should have been built with a greater difference so that it can stand out and fill a different category than the 100.

With 115mm of travel, the bike won’t get too overwhelmed when things get a bit hairy, but steep and rough rides will get pretty exciting and maybe not in the right ways. Call me picky but I just don’t think that enough was done to the 115 to really push it beyond the 100 and make it a bike worth drooling over. It is too spongy for an XC bike yet not adjusted well enough to be a confidence-inspiring trail bike.

The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Yeti SB 115 - Gear Hacker

Build Options

As always you can go for just the frame, which is built using Yeti’s TURQ series carbon for $3,500. The TURQ carbon is as Yeti states “the highest quality carbon on the market, stiff and compliant, with an optimized layup to reduce the overall weight.” A lot of words, I know, but the bike sure does feel good.

There are two C series carbon build options for $4,800 Shimano SLX drivetrain, and $5,000 SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain with different brakes as well. The TURQ carbon build options range from $6,400, $7,000, and finally up to $8,100. There is no wireless build option at the moment, helping to keep some of the drool in our mouths instead of on showroom floors or our keyboards.

The Bottom Line

We really wanted to like this bike. A more capable version of the highly impressive Yeti SB100? Sign us up! Unfortunately, the Yeti just fell short on a few areas that could have made the difference in producing a truly remarkable bike. Don’t get us wrong, it is still a blast to ride, and you could ride it on some well-maintained trails all day, up and down, no issue. Where the problems rear their ugly heads are in the small geometry numbers that keep the bike from being in the new class of modern geo short travel crushers.

The angles keep weight fairly far back and make the front end squirrely on climbs—and occasionally on descents in fast corners where the short reach and slack seat tube have the rider’s weight over the back wheel. Is it more capable than the Yeti SB100? Yes, of course it is. As a bike in the short travel 29” market, is it a contender for the top spot? Sadly, no. The modern geo of bikes like the Ibis Ripley and Evil the Following just make them more versatile and snappy on climbs and descents. Every rider is different though, and if you just wanted a beefier version of the Yeti SB100, well, then it is here and ready for you!

With a 7 year warranty, you’ll be able to trust this bike until “modern geo” standards change again, and we’re all riding on bikes with 5-meter chainstays and 42-degree head tubes looking like Fred Flintstone on his way to work.

The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Yeti SB 115 - Gear Hacker

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!