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  1. #1
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    Yeti SB5 or Santa Cruz Hightower

    Long time lurker here. Finally decided to spread my wings and post something now that I'm finally looking to upgrade from my current bike. Hope I'm not violating any forum rules by using two slightly different tire sized bikes (they do both come in 27.5).

    I'm looking to purchase my first bike in nearly 8 years as I'm currently riding a Santa Cruz Superlight (26er) which has taken a beating after years of abuse. So, for over the past year I have been demoing various bikes in hopes of finding one that fits exactly what I need. After riding about 15 different bikes I concluded that the two that I like the most were the Yeti SB5 and the Santa Cruz Hightower (I rode it in the 27.5+ configuration). Here were my opinions of both bikes:


    • Hightower: Felt it was the better descender than the Yeti. This bike left me with a huge smile on my face after one of the longer descents on my local trails and was the only bike that I audibly yelled out on while riding (I'm usually a quiet biker). I also liked that it has a threaded bottom bracket and that it is compatible in various 27.5 sized tires and can accommodate 29 wheels. And Santa Cruz's reputation for making rock solid frames with lifetime warranties is another plus. My concerns with this bike were limited. It felt a little bit more "plow through the chunk" kind of bike than a "pick your line" bike which is what I'm used to, so maybe that?




    • SB5: I loved the way that this bike climbed. A lot of New England trails include techy singletrack climbs which I felt that this bike shined on. I loved that it felt more like what I'm used to as line choice was important, unlike Hightower. The bike also felt a a bit more poppy to me. My concerns are the maintenance requirements and how much it will cost me over the long run. Yeti seems like the BMW of the mountain biking world, great to drive but a lot of maintenance and long term costs. I'm also concerned that I am getting wrapped up in the Yeti brand machine. I gotta to admit that I love the way the brand looks. Bikes, clothing, accessories and even their own damn website is slick and attention grabbing.



    Now, due to my own indecisiveness, I can't seem to swing in one direction and could use some help from those of you who have more experience with one or both of these bikes. I'm looking at the Carbon Yeti (SLX/XT) at $4,700 and the Hightower S+ at $4,900.

    Any help is much appreciated. Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Somewhat different bikes with the same intended purpose. The HT can run 29 and 27.5+ tires and the SB5 is regular 27.5 only. The direct Santa Cruz comparison to the SB5 would be the 5010.

    The Yeti maintenance really is nothing to worry about, the SI system is now tried and trued. Its gets greased a few times per year and that's all it needs.

    Both great bikes, I currently have a SB6 and a SC Tallboy 3, I also live in NE so I know the type of trails you ride. I've ridden both the SB5 and the HT as well, its a tough choice as they're both great bikes. Honestly, if the idea of multiple wheelsets is attractive go with the HT and don't look back. The bike will ride very differently with 29ers compared to 27+, and you may love or hate the 29er wheels. The plow through the chunk feel you describe is the plus wheels, the HT setup with 29ers will have more of the precision feel.

    If 29ers or plus sized rubber isn't that important to you then you can't go wrong with the SB5. I personally like the suspension feel on the Yeti more than I do on the SC, but that's 100% subjective and personal preference. Either bike is going to be phenomenal compared to what you've been currently riding! Your in a really good spot and can't go wrong with either bike!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Random_mtb View Post
    Long time lurker here. Finally decided to spread my wings and post something now that I'm finally looking to upgrade from my current bike. Hope I'm not violating any forum rules by using two slightly different tire sized bikes (they do both come in 27.5).

    I'm looking to purchase my first bike in nearly 8 years as I'm currently riding a Santa Cruz Superlight (26er) which has taken a beating after years of abuse. So, for over the past year I have been demoing various bikes in hopes of finding one that fits exactly what I need. After riding about 15 different bikes I concluded that the two that I like the most were the Yeti SB5 and the Santa Cruz Hightower (I rode it in the 27.5+ configuration). Here were my opinions of both bikes:


    • Hightower: Felt it was the better descender than the Yeti. This bike left me with a huge smile on my face after one of the longer descents on my local trails and was the only bike that I audibly yelled out on while riding (I'm usually a quiet biker). I also liked that it has a threaded bottom bracket and that it is compatible in various 27.5 sized tires and can accommodate 29 wheels. And Santa Cruz's reputation for making rock solid frames with lifetime warranties is another plus. My concerns with this bike were limited. It felt a little bit more "plow through the chunk" kind of bike than a "pick your line" bike which is what I'm used to, so maybe that?




    • SB5: I loved the way that this bike climbed. A lot of New England trails include techy singletrack climbs which I felt that this bike shined on. I loved that it felt more like what I'm used to as line choice was important, unlike Hightower. The bike also felt a a bit more poppy to me. My concerns are the maintenance requirements and how much it will cost me over the long run. Yeti seems like the BMW of the mountain biking world, great to drive but a lot of maintenance and long term costs. I'm also concerned that I am getting wrapped up in the Yeti brand machine. I gotta to admit that I love the way the brand looks. Bikes, clothing, accessories and even their own damn website is slick and attention grabbing.



    Now, due to my own indecisiveness, I can't seem to swing in one direction and could use some help from those of you who have more experience with one or both of these bikes. I'm looking at the Carbon Yeti (SLX/XT) at $4,700 and the Hightower S+ at $4,900.

    Any help is much appreciated. Thank you!
    I would go for the Santa Cruz based solely on the weird little shocks in the yeti. If you plan on keeping your bike 6 years is it realistic to have easy access to a replacement shock that size?

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by crankpuller View Post
    I would go for the Santa Cruz based solely on the weird little shocks in the yeti. If you plan on keeping your bike 6 years is it realistic to have easy access to a replacement shock that size?

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
    If your going to give your opinion on a choice between the bikes listed then at least be educated about your comment. The Switch infinity linkage isn't a shock but rather a pivot linkage that aids in the swing arm movement. Yeti will always produce this part for their bikes. The Shock on the bike is Metric and the size is 210x50
    Colombia Stable
    18' Orbea Rallon
    16' Yeti SB4.5
    16' Devinci Troy
    USA Stable
    18' Trans Sentinel
    16' Yeti SB5.5
    19' Yeti SB100

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Random_mtb View Post
    Long time lurker here. Finally decided to spread my wings and post something now that I'm finally looking to upgrade from my current bike. Hope I'm not violating any forum rules by using two slightly different tire sized bikes (they do both come in 27.5).

    I'm looking to purchase my first bike in nearly 8 years as I'm currently riding a Santa Cruz Superlight (26er) which has taken a beating after years of abuse. So, for over the past year I have been demoing various bikes in hopes of finding one that fits exactly what I need. After riding about 15 different bikes I concluded that the two that I like the most were the Yeti SB5 and the Santa Cruz Hightower (I rode it in the 27.5+ configuration). Here were my opinions of both bikes:


    • Hightower: Felt it was the better descender than the Yeti. This bike left me with a huge smile on my face after one of the longer descents on my local trails and was the only bike that I audibly yelled out on while riding (I'm usually a quiet biker). I also liked that it has a threaded bottom bracket and that it is compatible in various 27.5 sized tires and can accommodate 29 wheels. And Santa Cruz's reputation for making rock solid frames with lifetime warranties is another plus. My concerns with this bike were limited. It felt a little bit more "plow through the chunk" kind of bike than a "pick your line" bike which is what I'm used to, so maybe that?




    • SB5: I loved the way that this bike climbed. A lot of New England trails include techy singletrack climbs which I felt that this bike shined on. I loved that it felt more like what I'm used to as line choice was important, unlike Hightower. The bike also felt a a bit more poppy to me. My concerns are the maintenance requirements and how much it will cost me over the long run. Yeti seems like the BMW of the mountain biking world, great to drive but a lot of maintenance and long term costs. I'm also concerned that I am getting wrapped up in the Yeti brand machine. I gotta to admit that I love the way the brand looks. Bikes, clothing, accessories and even their own damn website is slick and attention grabbing.



    Now, due to my own indecisiveness, I can't seem to swing in one direction and could use some help from those of you who have more experience with one or both of these bikes. I'm looking at the Carbon Yeti (SLX/XT) at $4,700 and the Hightower S+ at $4,900.

    Any help is much appreciated. Thank you!
    You can run 2.8" tires front and rear on the SB5. Numerous people have already posted and given their feedback on this in the Yeti SB5 V2 thread. The switch infinity linkage itself is very robust and need very little maintenance other than greasing every 25-40 hours depending on your weather....rain, mud and what not.
    Colombia Stable
    18' Orbea Rallon
    16' Yeti SB4.5
    16' Devinci Troy
    USA Stable
    18' Trans Sentinel
    16' Yeti SB5.5
    19' Yeti SB100

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinnybex View Post
    You can run 2.8" tires front and rear on the SB5. Numerous people have already posted and given their feedback on this in the Yeti SB5 V2 thread. The switch infinity linkage itself is very robust and need very little maintenance other than greasing every 25-40 hours depending on your weather....rain, mud and what not.
    I was not expecting it to accept 2.8. I'll have to do a bit more research since the first thing I would change on the SB5 are the tires. Thank you for the advice, and thank you to everyone else who have replied.

  7. #7
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    Both great bikes. I would approach it from the point of whether I wanted a 29 or a 27.5 bike since they can both take up to 2.8 tires. Maintenance of the SI Link is really minimal and takes a few seconds to do. I wouldn't let that deter you from a Yeti if you really wanted one. The HT with 29 wheels will be more plush and plow over things. The Yeti with 27.5 will feel closer to your current ride and will feel more "racy" than the HT. Which felt best to you? At the end of the day, your opinion is the only one that matters and neither bike is bad, so no one here is going to say the other option is a big mistake.

    As for lifetime warranty, I don't really see that as a factor. How long is it going to be before you crash, or fall over lightly, on the new bike? After a couple of those frame breaks become a crash replacement issue instead of a warranty. Lifetime warranty on the carbon road bike? Absolutely. On a MTB? Seems optimistic to me.

  8. #8
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    Check on MTB Yum yum on youtube. He recently reviewed both bikes - albeit on his trails in Utah.

    FWIW, I think there are more sales on Santa Cruz, but the season for sales is coming to an end now that spring is on the horizon.

  9. #9
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    I have an SB5 as does my wife. We both love them, and I haven't found maintenance to be a problem....

    But, it seems to me that you want the Santa Cruz and only want to want the Yeti. I say go with the Santa Cruz.

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