Over forking a Yeti SB130, for good cause

I’m a lightweight, small built guy, with –consistently– weakish legs.

Enduro MTB is my joy.
On a Canyon Strive CFR 150/170 shock/fork for happy 2 years.

I thought I could aid my climbing with a relatively lightweight frame.
Since coach @Jonathan is such a fan of the SB130, I thought I could over fork it a bit to suit my descending needs.

SB130 comes stock 130/150, and the LR version has 137/160.
I want SB130 with 137/170.

I know I’d have my needs mostly catered with a SB150 (stock 150/170), but – since I’m tiny – I want these 1.5lb difference (SB130 vs SB150) off.
An SB130 with 170mm would slacken front angle almost to a SB150 level.

I’ve browsed online and found nothing but discouragement. “Designers spent thousands of hours blah, blah” that makes – of course, plenty of – sense.

On my same frame – just on a larger size – Jack Moir’s EWS Strive has a 180mm fork and adds a 15mm headset spacer to slacken the bike even more.

Yes, I can ride the 160 SB130 and then decide, based on my usual trails, where to go.

But you may have feedback/recommendation and I’d be delighted to read it.

I suspect you’ll get several types of responses based on forum experience. Why over fork is coming; under biking is the new Enduro. :joy: If that makes sense to you….riding gravel bikes on single track…

Anyway. On your point. Is your question specific to Yeti? Or generally? People do this all the time around me. Not sure about doing it on any Yeti. Its popular to over fork the Switchblade, Firebird, Blur, Hightower before the Hightower LT or Mega(Dong)Tower, etc etc. Not sure where you are, maybe perception is based on internet but also where someone rides.

I was actually a huge fan of the ability back in the day to have a fork changeable from 130 to 150/160 on the fly. No weight savings, but certain climbing conditions were better; kept some of the front wheel wandering to a minimum. Was not a fan of repairing Fox’s fork though. No mechanic wanted to touch those forks. 🥲.

Anyway, this used to be very popular to do before bike companies put loads of effort into making 10 mtb models.

My final thought:

  1. I would not get too crazy though and change a 130 forked bike to a 160/170 forked bike. I suspect that magnitude would change handling. Definitely will adjust bottom bracket height beyond designers thoughts.
  2. Check the warranty to make sure it doesn’t void anything.
  3. Have you asked Yeti? I’ve asked SC a similar question years ago.

You won’t gain as much as you think and the climbing geometry will be awkward. Fork sag decreases as climbs get steeper and your handlebars will be way high, making it difficult to get front wheel traction.

Unweighted, yes. But with sag factored in, the HT tube angle steepens back toward “normal” SB130 geometry.

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+1 for this wheel wander comment. the front wheel wandering on steep climbs will worsen no doubt. Thats true for any large 29er enduro bike though 150mm+. 170 will worsen it.

For me 1.5 lbs would be felt more in feel (maneuvering for example) than causing slow down riding up. A good #2 is a full pound.

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I think this is a bad idea. I did something like this over 10 years ago. I put a variable 80-120 or 80-130 mm fork on my XC hard tail that was designed for 100 mm of travel. Riding became impossible, the handling was just abysmal in either of the extreme positions.

Importantly in this context is that climbing with 120 mm (+ 20 mm) was extremely awkward as I felt like I was falling back all the time. So I don’t think you will do your climbing any favors by overforking.

Now you could say this was many years ago, etc. etc. but the basics are still the same: you’d significantly alter the geometry of the bike and having your bike stand taller will negatively impact climbing, especially when it gets steep.

If you look at many downcountry bikes, you see that they actually use slightly different frames than their XC counterparts with slight tweaks to the geometry. Ditto for trail variants of XC hard tails.

So just get the bike you want for the bits you enjoy (which seems to be the downhill) and accept the trade-off. An enduro bike just isn’t as svelte as a more moderate trail or downcountry bike. But on the other hand the added weight has a purpose, the frame is burlier and can take more of a beating.

-If you get a fork that has some adjustability, you can try different travel lengths. The Ohlins on my bike goes from 130-170mm.
-I would rather suffer more on my enduro bike on the climb than suffer on the DH. I am not big either, and mine is even heavier with coil suspension front and rear. Plus not weight weenie parts, plus heavy tires, plus spare parts.

Go try it, see what happens. If you don’t like it, then lesson learned. But I personally wouldn’t, I would rather just have the weight and fully capable bike.

I don’t think there is any reason not to try it. Unless it breaches warranty.
But it’s unclear to me what you are after?

If you’re trying to slacken the HA, angle headsets can e an option too.
I would recommend a fork such as DVO Onyx SC, because it can be adjusted from 160mm to 180mm travel without any additional purchases.

I rode a Yeti SB5.5 for years. It had 140mm/160mm. My problem was never the fork travel. Never.
But Yeti’s rather linear suspension design on the other hand, made it necessary to run large volume reducers in the shock. Even then, I would often bottom the rear out.

I know the Leverage curve has been made slightly more progressive for the SB130. But I would still question if a 130mm rear 170mm front would be a balanced setup

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Embrace the spirit of enduro. No one is timing your climbs, right? Give me all the travel DH please… I’m a fan of over-forking but there is a limit, this one might be that limit. That said, try it - maybe it works for you?

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Adrián, awesome feedback on the angled headsets. Had somehow blocked that and might be relevant for my quest.

Will bring feedback ASATest something out.

Truth said on nobody timing the climbs, but puny legs suffer nevertheless.

I’ll so never regret having asked here.

Thanks so much so far.

Keep it coming. Pleeeease.

Will get back with a full business case for everyone’s benefit.

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I’ve been riding a SB130 LR for three seasons. I would not recommend over-forking beyond 160mm. I don’t think you’ll see much benefit and with the 160 fork the geo already feels a bit off compared to the non LR set up. I’m 5’9” on a medium frame and have my stem slammed to get my bars at a reasonable height relative to my seat. I’d go with the SB150. It still climbs good and the weight difference is minimal when compared to a SB130 with a Fox36.

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I was wondering how much of the weight difference would be in the bigger fork?

I guess if it’s just adjustment up or down it has to be frame weight, but the bigger forks must be heavier in general?

It’s not just travel, very often burlier bikes have wider forks and wider stanchions increase stiffness. (In this case, I think all bikes come with Fox 36 forks, though.)

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Again. Thanks for the insights.

My mind starts to drift away from yeti’s.
Custom or boutique might be the sort.

Another hypothesis to explore: women’s mtbs for slender gentlemen.

Strength training? :slightly_smiling_face:

Far from being the type of person who’d deny someone their custom bike nor am I saying that Yeti is the only game in town, but what is it exactly that you are hoping to get out of it? A lot of custom frame makers use titanium, steel or aluminum (e. g. Nikolai), but these are heavier than carbon frames for the most part. Other parts like forks and wheels are common, and saving weight by e. g. using a narrower stanchion will adversely affect handling. Also, IMHO Yeti already is a boutique brand :slight_smile:

It seems to me as if you are trying to square the circle here by wanting an enduro bike with the weight of a trail bike that climbs like a downcountry bike. I don’t think this exists and you need to make compromises in some areas. E. g. you could sacrifice descending ability for a bike that climbs better. AFAIK that’s the whole point of enduro racing, you need to climb a lot with bikes that aren’t good climbers. In exchange, you aren’t timed for the climbs, they are just made to tire you out.

IMHO the best option seems to be something like the SB130 LR (similar bikes are available from other manufacturers, too), and then up your technical skills if necessary. If you are on the lighter side, maybe you don’t need as much travel as a heavier rider.

You read me perfectly.

I’m the sloppiest climber there is.

I’m also a tiny bloke hoping for his Goldilocks enduro mtb.

Read on, just today I got my realization.

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This is my final reply to this subject.

Came, saw, and failed.

I tried the 170mm fork.
Three riding months and two enduro races later I went this morning back to the 160.

If you think of it, difference is minimal, given that at 30% sag a 170 is pretty much identical to a 25% sagged 160.

Nevertheless, the 160 feels sharper at turns and easier to unload when pointing down the hill than the 170.

Case closed.
Designers won.

The world’s cycling community won. :upside_down_face: