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Review: 2015 ASR Carbon Blurs Lines

When Yeti left the XC full-suspension market, they moved into the trail and enduro scene with unique and heralded suspension designs. The SB66 led to the SB95, which then led them to the new ASR6 and ASR5 enduro bikes. All the while, the XC crowd remained on the outside looking in. Now, Yeti has welcomed the Lycra-clad crowd with the new ASR Carbon XC/Trail platform.

Yeti ASRc X01 Features:

  • High-modulus carbon frameset
  • Modified single-pivot suspension with 102mm travel
  • Carbon fiber suspension linkage
  • Enduro max bearings on pivot points
  • Chainslap and downtube guards
  • Stealth dropper post cable routing
  • Internal routing for shifter
  • Two water bottle mounts
  • SRAM X01/X1 drivetrain
  • Shimano XT brakes
  • Stan’s Crest wheelset
  • XS and S rolls on 27.5"" wheels
  • M, L and XL roll on 29"" wheels
  • Colors: Turquoise or Black
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs (you read that right)
  • Price: £5199 (X01 kit complete - as tested)

Lightweight Rocket

When Yeti decided to re-enter the full-suspension cross country market, they did so with surgical precision. With two newfangled suspension designs at their disposal, they instead opted for their proven single pivot design — a design that has been a Yeti staple for as long as I can remember. The result is a classic Yeti feel in a svelte package.

With just 102mm of rear wheel travel, it’s a challenge to make it both efficient and fun at the same time, but Yeti firmly believes the ASRc is a capable XC weapon with the soul of an enduro machine. My testing has proven that largely to be true.

The test build I’ve been riding is the £5199 full X01 kit. Honestly, this build has about everything anyone could ever want — 1×11 drivetrain, carbon bars, capable tubeless wheels — all in a wicked-light 23.6 lb package. What’s amazing about the weight of the X01 trim is that it doesn’t feature nutty expensive components. Every part is trail-worthy for years of performance — not purpose-built just for XC racing. My guess is that this will be the most popular component spec in the ASRc.

Impecable Trail Manners

With epic fall singletrack at my disposal, the ASRc has been pretty much locked-and-loaded on the back of my Subaru and ridden every day since arriving. Partly because the impending winter snow and cold was looming, but mostly because I just couldn’t get enough of it. Compared to the Tallboy CC, the ASR Carbon is a similar bike in many ways, but differs in the approach.

Since the ASRc uses a modified single-pivot suspension design, it relies more on the shock to provide much of the ride characteristics. I settled in on a little more sag than may be recommended (about 35-40%) and found it to be extremely smooth and efficient in all conditions in both Trail and Descend modes. Most of the time, I left the Fox Float CTD in Trail mode. This made for the best of all worlds, in my experience. I could climb with the most traction and efficiency and descend quite smoothly.

At such a light weight and with the efficient suspension design, the ASR Carbon has proven fast on rolling climbs and mixed uphill/downhill tracks. Particularly, the suspension begs to be pushed hard. Standing climbs on low-angle pitches ate up vert in a jiffy and helped me knock off some longstanding PR’s. Many full-suspension bikes don’t perform well while standing and sprinting — the ASRc is not one of those. For rolling climbs, I relished the bike’s ability to respond when standing and sprinting.

I did notice a little more tire spinning than I’d like on loose, steeper terrain, but with rolling climbs this bike simply flies both in and out of the saddle. And, even without a negative rise stem, the short head tube enabled a low riding position and wander-free climbing. Handling was responsive and predictable at all speeds too.

Additionally, the low bottom bracket did require careful maneuvering in rocky terrain to avoid pedal strikes. In fact, I destroyed one of my trusty Crank Brothers Candy pedals pedaling through a rock-filled corner.

Descends on Trails

As mentioned, compared to the Santa Cruz Tallboy, the Yeti ASR Carbon is noticeably less plush. Don’t get me wrong, it absorbs trail chatter really well, but the VPP design is something of a wonder in that regard. While the ASRc may not be quite as plush, it makes up for it in absolute descending confidence and flick-ability.

Yeti has perfected the geometry required for fun-ness and that prowess is on full display with this bike. It blurs categories in ways only a Yeti can.

On rough, technical terrain, the ASRc holds a line with confidence. I have been able to plow through rough stuff carrying more speed than I thought possible. While it may not be the plushest ride in the category, it plows through anything and holds a line like glue. On fast, smooth descents, this bike simply whips around and responds in droves just blowing through the rough stuff.

Let me clarify that while the ASR Carbon may not be the cushiest ride on rough terrain, it does a darn fine job of maintaining the right balance between terrain absorption and responsiveness.

Even when pushed hard, I couldn’t faze this bike. Handling remained superb with all the classic Yeti goodness shining through with every sweeping turn, rock garden and winding singletrack I rode. Airtime is just as fun as I thoroughly enjoyed this bike on the local flow trails.

While the Shimano XT brakes are decidedly on/off in nature, I appreciated the ability to make pinpoint direction changes. Stopping on a dime, I could always re-direct my line with ease. The remaining parts spec has performed flawlessly without so much as a hiccup. Like I always say, invisible parts are the best — they just plain work.

A note on size: I’ve been riding the Medium frame. At 5' 10? that puts me right on the border between sizes. When that’s the case, I typically prefer to size down for a more nimble ride and that has worked well here.

The Good

  • Unbelievably light (23.6 lbs, as shown with a 4.2 lb frame)
  • Delivers “point it” confidence
  • Corners on rails
  • Lateral stiffness results in instant response
  • Awesome platform for standing sprints
  • Simple, durable suspension design
  • Super-efficient climber
  • X01 kit is the perfect match
  • Shimano XT brakes have tons of power
  • Excellent mix of brand name bits
  • Handling feels natural at all speeds — loves to go fast

The Bad

  • Rear suspension not as smooth as other suspension designs
  • XT brakes are pretty much on/off with little modulation
  • A standard water bottle just barely fits with a side-mount cage (but it fits)
  • Low bottom bracket requires careful pedaling in rocky terrain.

The Bottom Line: Yeti ASRc

The all-new ASRc is a boss on the trails. I’ll echo the sentiments of other riders in that this bike blurs lines between XC and trail. I like to call this kind of bike a pure mountain bike’s mountain bike. I’d have no problems riding this bike day-in and day-out on every type of terrain — all while grinning from ear-to-ear. Yup, it’s that good.

If you have enjoyed this article, check ut more great reviews at Feed the Habit "

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