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  1. #1
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    philosophical question on stem length for SB-66

    Yeti puts a 75mm stem on their SB-66 kits. They must think that's a good compromise between climbing and downhill handling.

    In most trail reviews I've read, the reviewer immediately replaces this with a 50mm stem (and wider bars). That includes reviews of the SB-66 and most other trail/all-mtn bikes. Obviously stem length is a personal preference, but this short-stem-love thing seems like a trend to me.

    So either manufacturers like Yeti are off base with their stock stem length, or reviewers as a group are more gravity oriented than the target consumer for these bikes. Anyone have thoughts on this? Thanks for sharing.

  2. #2
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    you've summed up my thoughts perfectly tbf....

  3. #3
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    I have been on a SB66 for a year and a few months and I'm sold on the long TT/short stem/wide bars philosophy. I have been a fan of wider bars for a while and prior to the SB, it was tough to achieve a good all-around position with a stem shorter than 75-90mm. So I would compromise on the fit to gain the control benefit of the wider bars with a short stem. I'm firmly in the medium size range and went from a 70mm stem on my previous bike to a 50mm on the SB with the result being a better all-around fit. With regards to what Yeti specs in their build kit, 75mm is probably the longest stem you would want to run on a SB66 whereas another bike company would likely spec a 90mm stem. The fact that a lot of people (myself included) opt for a shorter stem than standard doesn't mean that no one will run the 75mm, but I can tell you that no one will be running a 90+mm stem on a SB unless they bought a size too small.

  4. #4
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    philosophical question on stem length for SB-66

    I plan on going with a 50mm minimum. I've got a 60 on now (med, I'm 5'-8 or 9), and I find it too long. (Only one ride in...)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogboy View Post
    With regards to what Yeti specs in their build kit, 75mm is probably the longest stem you would want to run on a SB66
    Thanks Dogboy, I don't doubt that 50mm is better for you. But why would Yeti spec the longest stem anyone would want? Why not spec something in the middle?

    I'm having a hard time with the idea that the Yeti folks are good enough engineers to produce a great AM frame, but don't realize 75mm is at the extreme end of what works.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by barcolounger View Post
    Thanks Dogboy, I don't doubt that 50mm is better for you. But why would Yeti spec the longest stem anyone would want? Why not spec something in the middle?

    I'm having a hard time with the idea that the Yeti folks are good enough engineers to produce a great AM frame, but don't realize 75mm is at the extreme end of what works.
    The stem length they spec is still within the pretty narrow spectrum of appropriate lengths (50-80mm IMHO), so I don't see an issue.

  7. #7
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    Interesting timing for this thread - Mine came with a 70 and I just ordered a 50. I'm 6'0 riding a L and it felt a little long when decending with the stock 70.

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    I think some people choose stem length to optimize bike fit. And others choose a particular length to improve certain handling characteristics at the expense of other handing characteristics. I was thinking about the second category when I started this thread.

    The world would seem more in balance if, occasionally, a reviewer claimed the stock stem on some AM bike was too *short*.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by barcolounger View Post
    I think some people choose stem length to optimize bike fit. And others choose a particular length to improve certain handling characteristics at the expense of other handing characteristics. I was thinking about the second category when I started this thread.

    The world would seem more in balance if, occasionally, a reviewer claimed the stock stem on some AM bike was too *short*.
    I agree with this 100%. Most bikes out there are not optimized for fit with a short stem, so the result is usually a compromise. One thing I always remind myself of with regards to mountain bikes is that almost everything is a compromise - tire choice, wheel size, suspension design, bike setup. There is no such thing as best/optimal/perfect, you just have to figure out what your strengths are and what works for you and go with the bike that best suits that criteria.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by barcolounger View Post
    So either manufacturers like Yeti are off base with their stock stem length, or reviewers as a group are more gravity oriented than the target consumer for these bikes. Anyone have thoughts on this? Thanks for sharing.
    Quote Originally Posted by barcolounger View Post
    I'm having a hard time with the idea that the Yeti folks are good enough engineers to produce a great AM frame, but don't realize 75mm is at the extreme end of what works.
    Guys-

    I *wish* we could just engineer the best setup possible and then take it straight to market, but you have to remember that there is always an element of marketing at play with any consumer good.

    Most of us at Yeti ride with 50-60mm stems on our 66's, because we feel it handles better that way. But consider this: how many other trail/AM bikes use that short of a stem? Super short stems are usually reserved for DH and FR bikes, and we were afraid that the 66 would immediately be pigeon-holed into those category by shops and customers who didn't take the time to educate themselves on the versatility of the bike.

    If you've ever ridden the 66, you'll probably agree that the suspension and geometry make it one of the best do-it-all bikes on the market. People like yourselves who take the opportunity to participate on message boards and do research on their bikes understand that sometimes you have to think outside the box to make a revolutionary product, and the 66 is a perfect example of that. Unfortunately, educated consumers like yourselves make up a very small percentage of the cycling market, and we need to cater to our entire customer base - both the super knowledgeable enthusiasts and the less savvy masses.

    At the end of the day, a shop should be able to swap out a short stem for +/- $20, so we felt like speccing a 70mm stem on the 66 was a good tradeoff - while not ideal in terms of handling, it was easy to change and helped open up this model to a much wider consumer base.

    Once you step back and take a look at the big picture, I hope this all makes sense.

    JP
    Yeti Cycles// Ride Driven

    Please Email rather than PM: johnp AT yeticycles DOT com

  11. #11
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    I have an xc bike and went from a 100mm stem to 50mm to get a better fit. I know I am a noob but I didn't notice a change in handling.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by John P. View Post
    Guys-



    At the end of the day, a shop should be able to swap out a short stem for +/- $20,

    JP
    Understand the importance of marketing influences, however after you've ridden the bike for a season to really know what you want you can't really expect LBS to swap out a stem for $20. A new Thompson like the stock is more like $90 mail order and then you have the cost of a torque wrench if you don't already have one and want to install just exactly perfect. Just sayin...

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    I run a 50 on mine (M) and it's great.

    I'm surprised that Yeti would think the "masses" are going to buy a Yeti without studying first. Lots of dough for a premium machine should make them think a lot before buying.
    The real masses would drool for a while and then move on to Walmart etc...

  14. #14
    Int'l Sales Mgr. - Yeti
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueallah View Post
    Understand the importance of marketing influences, however after you've ridden the bike for a season to really know what you want you can't really expect LBS to swap out a stem for $20. A new Thompson like the stock is more like $90 mail order and then you have the cost of a torque wrench if you don't already have one and want to install just exactly perfect. Just sayin...
    The hope from all mfr's is that people will get on the bike, and with the help of a trained salesperson at the shop, be able to tell pretty quickly whether the bike fits as-is. Regarding the torque wrench, the shop you buy the stem from should have that kind of equipment to do the install for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by chksix View Post
    I run a 50 on mine (M) and it's great.

    I'm surprised that Yeti would think the "masses" are going to buy a Yeti without studying first.
    You'd be surprised. Lots of impulse buyers.

    Guys-

    I'm just trying to shed some light on our decision-making process for you all. Very sorry if it's not the info you want to hear or you have some disagreements with my/our logic.

    JP
    Yeti Cycles// Ride Driven

    Please Email rather than PM: johnp AT yeticycles DOT com

  15. #15
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    My bank account would be in real trouble with a well-stocked Yeti store nearby.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by John P. View Post
    T
    Guys-

    I'm just trying to shed some light on our decision-making process for you all. Very sorry if it's not the info you want to hear or you have some disagreements with my/our logic.

    JP
    The honesty is refreshing, John. Thanks for not blowing a bunch of smoke up our collective asses.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bart.taylor.sucks View Post
    The honesty is refreshing, John. Thanks for not blowing a bunch of smoke up our collective asses.
    +1 to that

    John, in this refreshing spirit of truth and reconciliation, what other components on my stock SB-66 enduro+ would a knowledgeable buyer (like a Yeti employee) swap out? I don't mean upgrade, I mean comparable cost parts that improve the bike but would have been harder to sell.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by barcolounger View Post
    +1 to that

    John, in this refreshing spirit of truth and reconciliation, what other components on my stock SB-66 enduro+ would a knowledgeable buyer (like a Yeti employee) swap out? I don't mean upgrade, I mean comparable cost parts that improve the bike but would have been harder to sell.
    Honestly, there's not a lot we'd change on most of these kits unless we were willing to spend more money. Most of our product spec is the result of several dudes who ride a TON sitting down and discussing the parts that go into each kit, so this tends to lead to a pretty well-specced kit on most models.

    Some of the guys who ride without gloves like to swap out the grips for something easier on the hands, but most guys ride builds that are pretty close to stock (full disclosure - I ride a 36 Talas and Crossmax SX's on my 66, but only because I got both for a huge discount).

    One thing I've always thought would make a good upgrade over the Truvativ bar in the enduro kits is a Race Face Ride bar - it's 30mm wider and roughly the same price at retail. Also, we made the switch from the Nobby Nic tires that probably came on your Enduro Plus bike to Maxxis Ardents because we felt like they had better grip and a longer lifespan.

    Hope this helps.

    JP
    Yeti Cycles// Ride Driven

    Please Email rather than PM: johnp AT yeticycles DOT com

  19. #19
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    I built my SB-66 (custom build) back in August 2011 with a Fox 32 FIT 150RLC, Thomson 70mm stem and Easton Haven carbon bars (711mm).

    That build was a ripper for forcing you into a very aggressive position speed-wise.

    I've since spent a lot of time on it with a Bos Deville 160mm fork (65.9deg HA) and shortening the stem to a 55mm Haven. I then went wider on the bar to a 750mm Easton Havoc.

    The last change was to go to a Havoc 35mm stem and the first time out on that setup I giggled. Seriously.

    Up until now I don't think I got the short stem wide bar thing.

    I'm 6'2" on a Large. My next change is to head back in the other direction, with the fox fork back on (or possibly a Deville 140 that I currently have on another bike) 55mm stem and the 711mm bar. Looking to get back around a 67 degree head angle but mostly just in the interests of validating the 35mm stem setup by reversing it out.

    The other area I get the most scope for tweaking the bike is tyre choice. I'm liking a aggressive tyre up front matched to something big volume but fast at the back.

    I love that these bikes are so versatile.

  20. #20
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    I've got the "international" kit with some upgrades. Biggest bonus (in my opinion) is the 36 float. It came with lots of RaceFace bits, one of which was a beautiful Turbine stem (60mm), but it's too long for me. I"m a shade under 5-9 on a medium, and would like to get a shorter stem. Unfortunately, RF doesn't make a shorter Turbine, so I'm investigating my options stem-wise.

    I'm also a little surprised that they don't offer at least one kit with a dropper. I suppose they are a very "personal preference" type of component... Would be hard to put on something that a large proportion of the market would say "WTF???" to... Unless it were a KS LEV (if it were for me...) Still shopping for a dropper... not sure which direction to go.

    Anyhoo, I'm coming off an '06 Iron Horse MKIII with an absurdly tight cockpit (or so it seems now that I've ridden the 66). I feel like I would benefit from a slightly tighter cockpit on the 66. I've got a lot of room for adjustment, but debating between a 50mm and a whole-hog move to a 35mm.

  21. #21
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    I took the big ring off the triple before mine left the shop and replaced it with a bash guard. I can't imagine that large ring lasting more than 3 rides in rocky terrain (my favourite and local conditions) and of course short stem 50 mm haven, with wide chromag osx bar fits me better than any other mountain bike ive ever had
    it tied the room together man!

  22. #22
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    This is a great thread.
    I'm one of those who believe -- mainly by experience -- that stem length is absolutely crucial.
    There's a movement that argues stem length is so crucial that you pick your stem first and size your top tube around that, rather than the other way around.
    I think Yeti is a real leader in the short stem department, with their longer than average top tubes. Mondraker, with their zero stem, is another, but that's really radical.
    I started mountain biking with a 90mm stem and honestly felt that in sketchy areas I was always on the verge of going OTB. I moved to 70mm and the improvement was HUGE. That feeling (with just 20mm) completely went away.
    Now I'm on a 55mm and I absouletly swear by it. I'd never go longer. Not only is it way, way more confidence inspiring but you can manual with total ease. And climbing has not been the least bit hindered.
    BTW, I'm 5' 8" on medium ASR 5C, which has a top tube of 23.7" Most other brands' mediums would be a good 1/2 inch shorter.

  23. #23
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    @jon123.. i'm 6 2" and ride a large asr-5 with a hope 70mm stem. im thinking of trying a 50mm stem for the reason you say, the top tube length. ive also got a spesh blacklite command post which has got a layback so pushing me further away also..

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueallah View Post
    Understand the importance of marketing influences, however after you've ridden the bike for a season to really know what you want you can't really expect LBS to swap out a stem for $20. A new Thompson like the stock is more like $90 mail order and then you have the cost of a torque wrench if you don't already have one and want to install just exactly perfect. Just sayin...
    You may be taking this a bit too seriously.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by smellurfingers View Post
    You may be taking this a bit too seriously.
    Not at all. ;-)

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