yeti sb66

Yeti 575 vs SB66

"Save or splurge, it's the Yeti conundrum; I took out two classic quiver killers to compare what differences a few years and a few more dollars make."


When it comes time to sell the trusty steed or upgrade your current weapon you’re always faced with the new vs second hand dilemma. I took out two classic quiver killers to compare what differences a few years and a few more dollars make. 


Bike 1: '98 Yeti 575. Approx. 2nd-hand price: $1.5k-$3K
Bike 2: '12 Yeti SB-66 Carbon. New build price: $7.3k-$10k


The courier dropped off two large packages and upon inspection of their contents the first things I noticed were looks and weight.  The old 575 was crafted in the days before hydroforming so the aesthetics suffer a little whereby the new SB-66 is a sleek beast and light too at only 2.72kg’s (frame weight). Both bikes were designed for those that like to earn their downhills and let it rip when they get to the top. This particular SB-66 was set up for the latter with a slack 67 degree head angle and a set of monster Fox 36 forks. As a rule of thumb bikes that go downhill well are rubbish going uphill. This is definitely not the case with the SB-66 courtesy ‘Switch Technology’.


Thanks for regurgitating marketing jargon, what is ‘Switch Technology’ you ask? Essentially it’s a fancy dual link suspension system where one pivot is a funny shape and moderates the level of chain growth to acceptable levels during different stages of compression. This means it’s squishy when you want it and firm when you don’t, pedaling and cornering. On the other hand the simple single pivot suspension of the 575 gives it a tendency to squat when you put the grunt work in uphill, the dreaded ‘pedal bob’.  


So back to the dilemma. It may sound like I’ve been harsh on the 575 but it’s still a ludicrously fun bike and the geometry makes it an ideal bike for ripping those forest tracks. The fact that older bikes come pre-scratched makes you inherently less precious and more likely to extract the full amount of fun from them. As for the price difference, assign a dollar value to the hours you’ll spend trawling TradeMe looking for that deal and you’ll be surprised how much the gap narrows. When you ride new you can’t help but notice how much plusher everything is, especially suspension and gear changes. Rolling improved functionality, new technology and that all important bling factor into a nice new package results in a pretty confidence inspiring ride that encourages you to test the limits of your comfort zone. And if you think you’re having fun on a new bike just wait till you rough it up a little, that’s when the real fun begins.

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