2017 Yeti Beti SB5 Carbon XT/SLX

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Review - 2017 Yeti Beti SB5 Carbon from Vital MTB Test Sessions

Fresh updates for 2017 make this ripping ride accessible to more riders than ever.

Rating: Vital Review
Review - 2017 Yeti Beti SB5 Carbon from Vital MTB Test Sessions

One of Yeti’s most popular bikes, the SB5, has a twin sister in the Beti lineup. For 2017 the bike received a number of sweet updates atop women’s specific contact points, a lighter shock tune, and a gorgeous paint job. Built for “hard charging women who want the ideal trail bike,” we dropped in on Tucson’s Mount Lemmon during Vital MTB Test Sessions to find out if the second generation Beti can back up the bold statement.

Highlights

  • Full carbon frame
  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • 127mm (5.0-inches) of rear wheel travel // 150mm (5.9-inches) fork travel
  • Switch Infinity suspension design
  • Tapered Inset headtube
  • Internal cable routing
  • Metric 210x50mm Read More »

One of Yeti’s most popular bikes, the SB5, has a twin sister in the Beti lineup. For 2017 the bike received a number of sweet updates atop women’s specific contact points, a lighter shock tune, and a gorgeous paint job. Built for “hard charging women who want the ideal trail bike,” we dropped in on Tucson’s Mount Lemmon during Vital MTB Test Sessions to find out if the second generation Beti can back up the bold statement.

Highlights

  • Full carbon frame
  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • 127mm (5.0-inches) of rear wheel travel // 150mm (5.9-inches) fork travel
  • Switch Infinity suspension design
  • Tapered Inset headtube
  • Internal cable routing
  • Metric 210x50mm rear shock
  • Collet axle system on all pivots
  • Integrated axle and derailleur hanger system
  • Press fit 92 bottom bracket shell with ISCG05 mounts
  • Boost 148mm rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured weight (size medium, no pedals): 28.2 pounds (12.81kg)
  • MSRP $4,699 USD

Like a real housewife of Orange County, the 2017 Beti SB5 has been given a bit of a face lift for the new year. One of the first details you might notice on this carbon beauty is that they did away with the junction between the seat tube and top tube. This gives the bike a much cleaner aesthetic and helped Yeti achieve a drastically lower standover height. Great news for riders with shorter inseams. Woo hoo! In the extra-small and small sizes it's claimed to have best-in-class standover heights, making it suit a wide range of lady shredders that previously may not have been able to ride it.

Keeping up with current mountain bike trends, the Beti frame now also supports a metric-sized shock and Boost rear axle spacing. Yeti also took the opportunity to make the wild looking Switch-Infinity suspension design just a tad more progressive than the previous version, likely to add bottom-out support.

Ogling the great paint job, we noted that the Beti’s clean lines are definitely helped by the new internal cable routing. Many bikes have internal routing, but the new Yeti uses a tube-in-tube method that reduces cable noise and makes routing through the frame easier. Taking it a step even further, there's now an access port near the bottom bracket allowing you to see what you are doing when routing the seatpost cable. This will save time and tons of frustration when working on this part of the bike.

The Beti SB5 shares the same frame and build with her male counterpart, but what is unique to the Beti is her women’s specific contact points. These include smaller diameter grips, a women’s specific saddle, and shorter crank lengths. The FOX shock also gets a custom tune for lighter riders.

While a mount is still available under the downtube, we really wish it had one inside the front triangle to keep bottles free of whatever your front tire happens to roll through. We all know things can get pretty gross down there!

Yeti makes the SB5 frame in two different carbon types. One is simply noted as "Carbon" and the other is listed as "Turq." Other than the color they look identical from the outside, and both are said to be just as strong. Turq models are the high-end version with 0.77-pounds (349g) of weight savings thanks to a different carbon layup.

We had the opportunity to test the most affordable Beti SB5 Carbon with a Shimano XT / SLX build at $4,699. Things get very fancy as you look through the four pricier builds ranging from $5,599 to $10,499. It's also possible to build up a custom bike based around the $3,400 Turq frame.

Geometry

There's much more to the package that just looks, and the bike now sports subtly tweaked geometry numbers for 2017. In addition to improving standover, Yeti steepened the seat angle to give a more upright pedaling position, shaved a few millimeters from the chainstays to enhance maneuverability, lengthened the front end slightly, and dropped the bottom bracket height a little bit. With five sizes to choose from, there's one that will fit everyone from 4'11" to 6'6" (1.50 to 1.98m).

Suspension Analysis

For those that really enjoy the techy stuff, this info will appeal to you. Using the bike industry's leading linkage analysis software, André Santos, the Youtube suspension whiz, was able to determine a close approximation of the the SB5's kinematics for the purpose of this review. These charts provide great insight into several key factors that impact how it rides. Those unfamiliar with these types of graphs should watch André's excellent series of suspension fundamentals videos. The results of his analysis are as follows:

Observations:

  • The Yeti SB5 has an almost linear leverage curve. Therefore, it uses all the travel easily.
  • Great pedaling efficiency for a single-ring setup with anti-squat values close to 100-110% on most cogs.
  • Anti-squat values remain near 100% at the pedaling zone and drop at the end of the travel, allowing the suspension to be more independent from chain forces and decreasing the total amount of pedal kickback.
  • Anti-rise around 90% at sag, meaning that the geometry of the bike is preserved under braking.
  • Overall it’s an almost linear trail bike with excellent pedaling characteristics.

How does science meet the dirt? Did our real life ride time confirm the analysis? It's back to Vital's testers to hear how the SB5 performed on trail.

On The Trail

Our 2017 Yeti Beti SB5 XT/SLX was put through the paces in the rugged terrain of Tucson, Arizona. Riding from the top to the bottom of the mountain we encountered everything from snow and mud to loose over hardpack soil types. The trails varied widely in their technical features from wet roots to rocky tech. Oh, and don’t forget all the sniper cactus lurking at the edges of the trail! Our test rides included Aspen Draw, Incinerator Ridge, Bug Springs, Prison Camp, and La Milagrosa.

After requesting a size small test bike, when we first hopped on we were a bit surprised to see we were on a medium sized frame with a 60mm stem. At 5’5” and 5’6” (1.65 and 1.68m) tall, our two shorter testers are accustomed to small frames. Surprisingly none of us felt too stretched out, although we did switch to shorter 50 and 35mm stems to dial in the fit.

Setting up the bike, we made our standard adjustments such as brake lever reach, shifter position, and seat height. Then we looked to the suspension. The Beti comes with a 150mm travel FOX 34 Performance fork and a FOX Float Performance rear shock. Yeti recommends setting up the rear shock sag at 30% (15mm of stroke), so we started there.

Our last order of business was checking the tires. This bike comes stock with Maxxis Ardent EXO tires front and rear with 2.4 and 2.25-inch widths, respectively. These were already set up tubeless which was nice. We made sure they had enough air to prevent rim dings and hoped they would hold up against the rock and cactus. With everything in order it was time to grab the pack, some snacks, and hit the trail!

Right out of the gate this bike was fun to ride. It was easy to move around, slicing and dicing along the way, and felt solid and stable at speed. The bike has a light and poppy feel and tracks well where we directed it to go. We never felt that it would tempt us into a situation it couldn’t get us out of. Even through high speed consecutive hits, the 127mm of rear travel didn’t feel overwhelmed. We were impressed by this.

Noting that the suspension feels a bit firmer early on than many comparable trail bikes, we found that running the fork with a bit of compression damping helped balance things out. The suspension works very well when pushing into the trail, pumping, and popping off rollers, adding little bursts of speed along the way. It really excels on fun, flowy, dippy sections of trail.

The suspension works very well when pushing into the trail, pumping, and popping off rollers, adding little bursts of speed along the way. It really excels on fun, flowy, dippy sections of trail.

That firmness is likely due to the compression tune used, meaning you feel a lot of the trail. Sometimes the suspension can be a little abrupt feeling out back. In light of this we messed around with sag and found the Beti to have a bit of a dual personality. At 30% sag it had more of a cross-country feel that wouldn’t mute the trail. It was light and fun but needed constant rider management in rough terrain. At 35% sag there was a little more margin for error. The Beti still pumped and jumped quite well but it was a more comfortable ride. We appreciated this at the end of a long day on trail. Which personality did we like more? Too close to call. Both have their place and make the Beti SB5 a versatile bike.

An active and aggressive rider will reap the greatest rewards from this bike, though at a deeper sag point it’s a bit more comfortable for the casual rider.

One area we felt the bike didn’t excel was on slower, techy descents. We didn’t feel that we were able to control the front end sufficiently through these sections. The size medium bike required more maneuvering than a size small would. Even our 5'7" (1.70m) tall tester at felt that if she didn’t get really dynamic, the front wheel could sometimes have a mind of its own and want to get away.

It sounds cliché to say this bike climbs like a goat, but this one truly does. Standing or seated it was light on its feet and the scale concurred. There's no need to mess around with rear suspension levers while climbing because it performs so well fully open. We were also pleasantly surprised to find that dropping the sag to 35% didn’t really negatively impact climbing ability. We still found it had an excellent pedal response but with less of a cross-country feel on tricky climbs.

Build Kit

Each of our testers found a setting on the 150mm FOX 34 Performance fork they liked, varying from a stiffer XC feel to the more plush side of things. When running the fork with a lower air pressure, we relied on the simple to adjust compression setting to prevent diving and avoid harsh bottom outs. Again, this made for more balanced feeling suspension between the front and rear. We thought this fork was a great match for the SB5 Beti and were happy with its ease of use. Once we had it set it didn’t need further tweaks between different types of trails.

We’ll admit we were skeptical of the Maxxis Ardent EXO tires from the get-go given past experiences, but they held up longer than expected in Tucson's rugged terrain. They were fast rolling and felt lightweight while pedaling. Cornering on hardpack the tires didn't squirm on us and the 2.4-inch front tire did pretty well, although when things got loose we found ourselves wishing for a bit more control and bigger side knobs. Then, as we had feared, the narrower 2.25-inch rear tire flatted a handful of times when faced with really rough sections of trail. If the trail forecast calls for rugged or wet, it may be wise to switch out the Ardent tires for something a bit beefier.

DT Swiss has a great reputation for their wheels and it was nice to see them on this bike. While the M1900s are on the less expensive side and a bit heavy as a result, we didn’t notice any drastically negative effects from their weight. They have straight-pull spokes and Boost spacing, making spoke replacement relatively easy and adding some stiffness to the mix. The rear hub had nice engagement when we needed to make repeated bursts to get up and over the many rocks on the trail. Last but not least, the M1900s came set up tubeless. It was a breeze when we switched tires after one gave up the ghost.

For a budget level brake, the Shimano 615 Deore stoppers performed quite well. They had good modulation and weren't overly grabby. We liked the spec of a 180mm front rotor and didn’t feel we needed more than the 160mm rear, especially with the low-profile tread on the Ardent tire out back. The only thing we missed were tool-free adjustments for reach. It isn’t a deal breaker but it does make life easier. The reach adjustment was sufficient for all of our testers.

Shimano's XT/SLX drivetrain performed flawlessly. Shifting was spot on and we didn’t notice any bad chainslap noise. The new Shimano 11-46 tooth cassette has a large jump from the 37-tooth cog to the easiest 46-tooth cog which can feel awesome or awkward depending on the situation. Transferring the power of the rider into all that get up and go are Race Face Aeffect cranks paired with a 30-tooth chainring. Shorter 170mm cranks are spec’d on size extra-small and small bikes while size medium to extra-large come with 175mm cranks. Even with the longer cranks we felt we had plenty of pedal clearance while riding through technical sections.

We were quite happy with the 150mm travel Race Face Turbine dropper post. It performed well during our test and the ergonomics of the lever allowed us to keep a secure grip on the bars while riding. Cockpit setup was also clean and simple. Thumbs up to that! We also really appreciated the generous 150mm drop when the trails seemed in a hurry to get us down the mountain. You say “steep,” we say “no problem.”

Overall we thought the spec on the XT/SLX build made sense. There was nothing funky or proprietary, and at $4,699 it's a good value. That said, the Carbon Eagle build at $5,599 is also worth some consideration. That extra $900 isn’t exactly pocket change, but it does get you a wider range SRAM Eagle drivetrain for less than what it would cost to do the upgrade yourself. You also get SRAM Guide R brakes which are comparable in stopping power but include a tool-free reach adjustment.

Long Term Durability

Aside from potentially troublesome rear tire flat resistance, we experienced nothing else in our testing that sent up red flags for durability. Everything about the bike feels stiff and stout. The downtube guard is a bit small, so consider some extra protection in that area if it's a worry for you.

We do feel it's worth mentioning the little bit of added maintenance for the Switch Infinity suspension system. Recommended service is every 30 hours of riding. Luckily this can be done at home or by your local bike shop pretty easily. All it takes is a grease gun to make sure all the moving parts are properly lubed so they stay buttery smooth. To protect it from wheel debris and to stiffen the rear end, the sleek carbon frame wraps both in front of and behind the system. Yeti and FOX have proven it to be durable in the long-term.

Take care of the bike and it will take care of you. Yeti backs the Beti SB5 with a five year warranty.

What's The Bottom Line?

So is this the "ideal trail bike" for lady shredders? It's pretty darn close. In the end we found the SB5 Beti to show little compromise uphill or down. It's an excellent climber and proved to be very fun on fun on smooth, flowy sections of trail thanks to its playful nature, and can navigate rocky and technical sections with care. An active and aggressive rider will reap the greatest rewards from this bike, though at a deeper sag point it’s a bit more comfortable for the casual rider. At $4,699 we feel it is in line with other bikes of its class and has trusted components. Taking performance and price into consideration, we would recommend this bike or one of its other build options to any friend looking for a capable and fun short travel trail bike that can pedal many miles.

Visit www.yeticycles.com for more details.

Vital MTB Rating

  • Climbing: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Descending: 3.5 stars - Very Good
  • Fun Factor: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Value: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Overall Impression: 4 stars - Excellent

Bonus Gallery: 25 photos of the 2017 Yeti Beti SB5 Carbon up close and in action


About The Reviewers

Amanda Wentz - Age: 35 // Years Riding MTB: 10+ // Height: 5'6" (1.68m) // Weight: 131-pounds (59.4kg)

"I like riding rocky technical uphill as smoothly as I can, but my rims would say all that goes out the window when the bike is pointed down." Over the last decade, Amanda has soaked up all aspects of mountain biking and continues to push herself to progress. She's a personal trainer and mountain bike coachand loves knowing what her gear is doing and why.

Courtney Steen - Age: 29 // Years Riding MTB: 9 // Height: 5'7" (1.70m) // Weight: 155-pounds (70.3kg)

"Going downhill puts a smile on my face and I climb for ice cream." Courtney routinely shocks the boys with her speed and has experience in various disciplines. Today she travels the country in an RV in search of the next best trail and writes women's reviews for Vital MTB. Her technical background helps her think critically about products and how they can be improved.

Krista Rust - Age: "I've been told I act 12" // Years Riding MTB: 14 // Height: 5'5" (1.65m) // Weight: 118-pounds (53.5kg)

"I love racing down technical trails." As a racer at heart, Krista's focus is on going fast and racking up results. She brings an engineering perspective to the tech side, isn't afraid to try the burly moves or be friends with Tucson's tarantulas, and absolutely hammers on the way downhill.

Which reviewer resembles you the most? Don't miss our Q&A with the testers for more insight about their styles and preferences.

About Test Sessions

For five years a dedicated crew of Vital MTB testers have been bringing you the most honest, unbiased reviews you'll find anywhere. This time around we rode 2017's most exciting trail, all-mountain, and enduro bikes on a wide variety of rowdy trails in Tucson, Arizona. Reviews can be accessed 24/7 in our Product Guide. Test Sessions was made possible with the help of Arizona Cyclist. Tester gear provided by Troy Lee Designs, Specialized, Five Ten, ZOIC, Sombrio, Race Face, and EVOC. All photos by Lear Miller.

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Specifications

Product Yeti Beti SB5 Carbon XT/SLX
Model Year 2017
Riding Type Trail
Rider Women
Sizes and Geometry
XS, S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size XS S M L XL
Top Tube Length 552mm 578mm 603mm 629mm 654mm
Head Tube Angle 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5°
Head Tube Length 100mm 116mm 127mm 144mm 165mm
Seat Tube Angle 73.7º 73.7º 73.7º 73.7º 73.7º
Seat Tube Length 382mm 419mm 445mm 483mm 521mm
Bottom Bracket Height 338mm 338mm 338mm 338mm 338mm
Chainstay Length 437mm 437mm 437mm 437mm 437mm
Wheelbase 1116mm 1142mm 1168mm 1195mm 1222mm
Standover 668mm 683mm 724mm 737mm 749mm
Reach 382mm 402mm 424mm 444mm 463mm
Stack 585mm 600mm 610mm 625mm 645mm
* Additional Info 150mm Fork
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details High Modulus Carbon Fiber Main Frame and Swing Arm, Molded Carbon Internal Cable Routing Tubes, Custom Down Tube Protector and Chain Guards
Rear Travel 127mm
Rear Shock FOX Float Performance
Fork FOX 34 Performance, Boost
Fork Travel 150mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Cane Creek 40 Inset Taper
Handlebar Race Face Evolve, 750mm
Stem Race Face Ride, 60mm
Grips Yeti Lock-On
Brakes Shimano 615 with Shimano 180mm Front /160mm Rear Rotors
Brake Levers Shimano
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters Shimano SLX
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT
ISCG Tabs ISCG 05
Chainguide N/A
Cranks Race Face Affect, 170mm
Chainrings 30 Tooth
Bottom Bracket Shimano BB92
Pedals
Chain Shimano SLX
Cassette Shimano XT, 11-46 Tooth
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Rims DT Swiss M1900 Boost Wheelset
Hubs DT Swiss M1900 Boost Wheelset
Spokes DT Swiss M1900 Boost Wheelset
Tires Front: Maxxis Ardent EXO 2.4 Tubeless
Rear: Maxxis Ardent EXO 2.25 Tubeless
Saddle WTB Deva Custom
Seatpost Race Face Turbine Dropper Post
Seat Post Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp 35.0mm Standard
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 148mm x 12mm (Boost)
Max. Tire Size 2.4"
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Storm
Warranty 5 Years
Weight 27.7 lb 0 oz (12564 g)
Miscellaneous Switch Infinity Patented Suspension System
Collet Axle System on Pivots Reduces Bearing Wear
Integrated Axle and Derailleur Hanger System
Metric Sized Shock
Molded Cover for Stealth Seatpost Routing
Price $4,699
More Info

​Yeti Website