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  • Writer's pictureMo Awesome

Yeti SB140 First Ride Impressions. I Didn't Like It and That's Okay...

Updated: Mar 13

Yeti SB140

Well it finally happened again. A first ride on a new bike that left me more confused than Charger fans every NFL season. I had been on such a good streak of straight forward first ride impressions on new bikes that I had started to forget this was a possibility. Afterall, a first ride on a new bike isn’t the deciding factor on if you will like that bike or not. It takes weeks, if not months, for me to really put together final thoughts on a bike. The first ride is merely a first impression. With that being said though, first impressions are important and the Yeti SB140 has left me pondering what the next few weeks of testing will look like. 

So let’s talk about the bike in question. I recently built up a Yeti SB140 LR edition in a size XL. I went with the classic Yeti Turquoise and was very excited that the build also had my favorite drivetrain on the market, SRAM AXS. Most people who know me know that I am very anti-Transmission at this point, and I'm going to continue on with the first ride notes as I do not want to rile myself up again while typing this. The bike itself is a 140mm 29er do it all enduro bike, a category that I am currently working on a buyers guide so stay tuned!

In the market for an Ibis, Pivot, Yeti, Enve, or Rocky Mountain? Hit up N+1 Bikes and tell them "Mo and Hannah" sent you and they will take care of you!

For those that might be new here, every time I get a new bike in for testing, I do a first ride write up. It’s not a review by any means, but simply the thoughts I had during the first ride of a bike. Full disclosure, these thoughts often will change drastically after a few more rides as I learn more about the bike. However, for the most part, most bikes that have come in for testing have been very easy to adapt to, and most first ride impressions have been very positive. Until this Yeti SB140. 

Yeti SB140

The first ride for me on the SB140 was in Sedona on a hot lap I had been doing near the venue of the Sedona Mountain Bike Fest. As soon as I set out for the ride I noticed how light the bike felt. I haven’t weighed it yet, but the Yeti SB140 feels like one of the lightest 140mm 29ers that has come in for testing recently, even with alloy wheels. The pedaling efficiency and speed while heading to the trailhead confirmed this, as the bike had a very fast cadence to it that made me think this bike was going to be much quicker than I expected. This isn't a surprise though as Yeti has a very race oriented design philosophy. They make bikes for racing, or at least intended to win races. 

As I was pedaling to the trails I was trying to get an understanding of the geo. The bike felt long for a size XL. I felt like the chainstay was longer than the Switchblade I have been testing, and the bottom bracket also felt substantially lower as well. The front end of the bike also felt to have a lower stack height, and I felt like the bars were lower to the ground, even given the same amount of spacers underneath the bars I normally run when I first get a bike. Everything about the ride to the trail head screamed fast. 

I hit the singletrack and made my way up to the downhill. The trails in Sedona are pretty twisty with lots of tech in between. The bike itself felt insanely efficient when the trails were smooth and I felt like I was sitting much higher in the travel even though I had sag set to 30%. This led me to think that maybe this bike wouldn't be a very good technical climber because even with the shock open, I found myself constantly wondering if I had accidently locked it. This was very evident when I picked up the pace. However, the strange part was as soon as the climb got techy, the bike seemed to get more active suspension wise, and traction seemingly came out of nowhere. The longer chainstays also gave a degree of stability on slow tech move climb sections, where it felt like I could crawl a little slower and maintain traction on more technical moves. Everything about how the bike was climbing was throwing me off, this bike was not making much sense at all. 

Yeti SB140

After getting to the top of the climb I took a good look at the bike. The Yeti SB140 might just be one of the best looking bikes on the market. The lines and curves of the frame are very easy on the eyes and the classic Turquoise paint job photos very well from any angle. The thing that stood out most to me was the Yeti head tube emblem. In a day and age where it seems like most companies are painting their company's logo on the head tube to save cost, the Yeti stands out with a real badge. I couldn’t help but think of Ibis, who recently removed their emblem in exchange for a painted one. Performance wise, it changes nothing, but I can't help but feel like one of the reasons I like looking at the Yeti so much is that badge. It screams we care about quality and gives the bike some added soul. 

Now it was time for the downhill. This trail was very fast and flowy, with lots of tech mixed into it. I also have to say I was in a very soul ride mood, wanting to decompress a bit after the festival. This was not the bike for that soul ride. The confusion set in almost immediately. The bike itself had a very “I want to go fast'' feel to it and I found myself having trouble adjusting to what the bike wanted to do. Where I would want to slow down a bit and play with the trail, the bike itself didn’t, and it almost seemed like we were arguing like a married couple. As soon as I let off the brakes and let the bike gain speed, the bike seemingly got more comfortable and in its element. The faster I would go, the plusher and more in control the bike felt. 

However, in the section where I would hit the brakes and try to set myself up for some more fun and less straight style lines, I felt as if the bike was telling me no. The feeling was very odd. The bike didn't want to be played with, but rather it felt like it wanted the ride to end as soon as possible. It wanted to be the first one down the trail, something that was not the current mood I was in. Once again, every time I let off the brakes and got into attack mode, the bike carried a speed and comfort more than any other similar bike in this travel category. It almost seemed to soak up bumps on the trail and turn them into more speed generated which was a slightly terrifying feeling. The best way I could describe it was that my eyes were not ready for the speed I was going. And once again every time I brought my speed down a bit, the bike itself felt like it lost its personality, almost as if it was throwing a tantrum.

Yeti SB140

The trails came to an end after a lot of confusion and I found myself pedaling to the car pondering lots of thoughts. What just happened? Is this bike too fast for my riding style? Will I adapt to a bike that wants me to be on a podium, even though I have no interest in racing? How will this bike perform on more freeride style trails that require crawling down steep sections of trail at a much slower pace? 

These are all very good questions and I look forward to putting this bike through the paces over the next few weeks. I feel like this is a bike that I am going to have to learn how to ride, which will be interesting. Clearly it likes going fast and wants to be ridden a certain way, which is going to be interesting figuring out its personality more. What I am looking forward to the most is taking this bike through its paces on a variety of terrain because something tells me that slow speed desert chunk might not be where this bike performs the best. Everything about this bike screams fast and I have to admit it's the best looking bike I have gotten in for testing. However, the question is, am I fast enough to ride it? Time will tell, and the Chargers will always disappoint. Sorry that was uncalled for. 

Check out the Yeti SB140 here:

-Mo Awesome


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