This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Round five of the 2014 Enduro World Series took place this weekend on the alpine trails high above Winter Park, Colorado. It was a resounding win for the Yeti Cycles / Fox Racing Shox team. EWS series leader Jared Graves put his stamp on the event, winning four of the seven stages and securing the overall win ahead of teammate Richie Rude, who won the first three stages, finishing in second place.
While Rude opted to ride the new Yeti SB5c, the 31-year-old Aussie chose to ride what appears to be a production-ready SB6c, the 27.5in-wheeled successor to the SB66c.
First look at the Yeti SB6c
Graves has spent the majority of this season aboard Yeti's SB66c, but the Colorado-based company could not resist the temptation to unveil its latest creation while it had the home field advantage.
Like the SB5c, the SB6c uses the Switch Infinity suspension system. (Read more about this novel suspension design here.) The shorter-travel SB5c has 127mm of rear suspension, while the yet-to-be-released SB6c has approximately 157mm of rear wheel travel. Both bikes share the same swoopy lines and similar cable routing. One difference is the front derailleur mount. The SB5c uses a direct mount. While the SB6c looks like a 1x specific frame, we're told the SB6c actually uses a removable front derailleur mounting bracket.
Yeti wasn't willing to disclose specifics such as frame weight or geometry numbers, but it is likely that the SB6c will keep in step with Yeti's low and slack design philosophy, with a long front center and a head tube angle in the neighborhood of 65 degrees.
Graves did state that he had a significant of input in the design of the new bike. "It's every spec I wanted," he said, "Wheelbase bottom, bracket height, top tube." His recent race results certainly back up the claim that this bike was shaped to fit his style of riding. "Yeti said, ‘whatever size you want, that's what we're going to make the stock medium,'" he added.
While frame weight remains unknown, Graves bike came in at a very respectable 12.38kg (27.3lb). Given the build, it's not unreasonable to expect the SB6c frame to be nearly a pound lighter than the SB66c.
Mechanical and electronic versions of Shimano's 11-speed XTR M9000 groups are starting to make appearances in the wild. However, Graves is content to use the tried and tested mechanical 10-speed version on his bike.
The Fox 36 RC2 fork is favored by enduro racers for its adjustability
Like many other Fox-sponsored enduro racers, Graves is running a 160mm Fox 36 RC2 fork paired with a Float X CTD shock. Yeti mechanic Shaun Hughes noted that Graves runs the Float X shock in the fully-open at all times. Hughes claims the Switch Infinity suspension design does not require additional platform damping.
For the dry and loose course conditions Graves ran a Maxxis Minion front tyre with a fast-rolling Maxxis Ikon in the rear.
The SB6c frame that Graves rides may be a stock medium, but Hughes added a number of custom additions that make the bike one of a kind.
Like several others racers on the enduro circuit, Graves is running a hacked XTR front shift lever to operate his cable-actuated dropper seatpost, in this case a Thomson's Covert Elite Dropper. "This lever just feels natural," Graves said of the modified XTR lever. Graves prefers the infinite travel of the Thomson dropper over the preset positions offered by the Fox DOSS.
This XTR front shifter is used to operate the dropper seatpost
This hack required a bit more effort than it would have with a Fox DOSS. The Covert Elite Dropper is designed to have the fixed end of the shift cable routed from the seatpost to the lever. This is the opposite routing of a shift cable through a shift lever. Hughes' solution was to add a tiny cable stop, held in place with a set screw, to secure the cable at the dropper end.
This tiny removable cable stop makes the Thomson Covert Elite Dropper / XTR shifter hack work
Part of going fast is knowing when and how to brake. On the rare occasions when Graves does want to slow down, he wants ample power. To that end, Graves runs XTR Race brake levers mated to a pair of four-piston Saint Calipers with finned Ice Tech rotors to keep his speed in check.
Last but not least is Graves' custom chainguide. While clutch-equipped rear derailleurs and narrow / wide chainrings do a commendable job of reducing chain slap and improving chain retention, the combination is by no means foolproof. Many enduro racers, including Graves, still choose to run some form of chainguide. In his case, Graves runs an e*thirteen LG1+ with the lower slider removed. This setup provides the security of a top guide, protects the chaining against rock strikes, and the lack of a lower slider reduces chain drag.
More information on the way
Stay tuned for more information on the Yeti SB6c
There's still much we don't know about this new model. The SB6c's carbon frame was devoid of decals, although it appeared quite polished — and is probably ready for production. We expect that Yeti will release the full details of the bike shortly.