Some people need up to 9 bikes for all the different types of trails a mountain biker may encounter. Well that's just silly! How about one bike to rule them all. Enter the Yeti ASR-5 C. Take a 4.75lb carbon frame and add 5 inches of travel; making it lighter than most cross country race bikes and without batting an eye can serve duty as an all mountain trail crusher. You will float like an elf on steriods to the top and descend like a fire breathing dragon to the bottom. The only bug the engineers at Yeti have yet to work out is the boredom that comes when waiting for your riding buddies to catch up. Features: -Sizes: S, M, L, XL -Colors: Carbon/Turquoise, Carbon/White -Head Tube: Tapered (1.125"-1.5") -Suspension Linkage: Yeti Modified Single Pivot -Rear Shock: Fox CTD Adjust K+ (7.875"*2.0") -Tire Clearance: 26 x 2.5" -Front Travel: 120-140mm -Rear Travel: 127mm (5") -Rear Hub Spacing: 135x10 QR or upgrade 142x12(thru axle included) -Dropouts: Replaceable Derailleur Hanger
Strengths: Light, stiff, spot-on geometry means incredibly confident descending despite good climbing manners and mile-munching position.
Weaknesses: You can't have everything - doesn't love big out-of-the-saddle jumps like a well-tuned short-link bike, maybe not the best on square edged hits. Sharp angles on the rear triangle tubing invite chips. Heel clearance isn't great.
Because of the wheel size wars, some really great bikes that happen to be unfashionably shod seem to have fallen out of contention well before their time.
I bought an ASR5c in 2011, when 26in wheels were beginning to disappear from high-end shops in my marathon-mad hometown. The local Yeti dealer, clearly struggling to move anything with smaller wheels, and with a less than pure race orientation, now has a floor full of short-travel Scott and Rocky Mountain 29ers.
When racing, or training on the buff trails around my home, I like the crispness of a hard tail, and smooth rolling character of big wheels, but when things get chunkier this bike makes me grin and do stupid things.
It is long low and slack (relative to its travel) but still genuinely nimble, probably thanks to short chainstays and a low bottom bracket. It is also incredibly stiff, which means that the front end goes where you point it, and the back follows. When I first got on the bike (coming from and aluminium blur xc) I was shocked by how well it carves corners, and holds its line in places you really wouldn't expect it to. It is also incredibly stable at speed.
Pedalling is decent with the shock open, but I turn on pro-pedal for smoother climbs, where I would like a bit more snap.
On the very steepest climbs the front has a very slight tendency to lift or wander, but its easily controlled with a weight shift, and it is a small price to pay for what you get when you turn downhill.
It also doesn't dig into the loose stuff while climbing quite as well as a VPP bike and could probably be better on square hits. But this is nitpicking.
Yeti clearly had initial quality problems with the swing arm. Mine is the later, oversized version, which has been fine, but it doesn't have enough heel clearance for me, and my shoe would have worn right through the chain stay if it wasn't wrapped in old inner tubes.
The only other niggle is the absence of dropper-post routing. This bike screams for one, and its a pity to have to use cable ties.
So I feel bad for the ASR5c that it is so unfashionable despite striking such a brilliant balance between xc sharpness and trail confidence. 650B wheels would make no appreciable difference to its performance, but would probably lift sales, and might get Yeti to invest in a few tweaks to address its minor weaknesses, but when I am on it, all I am thinking about is how much I love it.
Bike Setup: Fairly trail oriented build: xtr/xt 1x10, 120mm fox FIT, rockshox reverb, nobby nics, i9/Flow wheels (heavy but confidence inspiring) Thompson stem, easton bars, etc.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 22, 2012
Strengths: I really love this bike, but my heart is torn. I've had it since August 2010 and when I was able to ride it, it was an awesome bike: super-efficient climber (especially in middle and big rings), very nimble for a 5" ride, descended with aplomb, all things considered. All of this overshadowed by the weaknesses; which I see is not very uncommon...
Weaknesses: Day one: excitement and love affair with bike shattered. First ride, terrain fairly normal for Tahoe...crack...drive side rear drop out snaps at the aluminum tab where hanger attaches perfectly central to where rear axle notch is. Kudos to my LBS and Yeti for having a new swing arm sent installed and bike riding again in less than a week.
Fast forward a little over a year: Finishing up a ride and coming back a flat dirt access road adjacent to RR tracks (i.e. flat, smooth and just spinning the big ring). Crack. Same exact thing. Again, new swing arm and back riding in a week. Supposedly with a 2012 swing arm, because there was some implicit recognition of a design issue. Great. This will be good.
Five months later: On another benign trail, finishing up and headed back to the car chatting with the wife as we spin the big ring...You guessed it. Here we go again.
As much as I loved that bike, I told the LBS to tell Yeti I don't want another AS-R-5. I was fortunate that when the failures occured, I had no serious consequences. But what about the next time I head to somewhere that there could be more serious consequences? You can't ride with doubt on your mind.
A month and half later, LBS works something out with Yeti to make things whole (thanks Yeti). Super. A Yeti that theoretically has no issues and all we have to do is place the order. Unfortunately, apparently there are some production issues. No commitment or even suggestion when new bike will be available.
So now I'm without my own ride for almost 3 months. HUGE kudos to an awesome LBS for hooking me up with demo bikes when I need one. But still, 3 months and counting with no end in sight? Oh well, hopefully the wait is worth it and I'll be able to come back and expound upon the glories of the new Yeti. I'm going to keep faith in the company...
Bike Setup: Mix of XTR and SRAM X.0. Mavic Crossmax STs. Fat Alberts. Thompson goodies. King headset.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 19, 2012
Strengths: This bike makes you want to go faster and faster. It feels super light when climbing and I'm amazed how quickly it ascends with very little effort. The front wheel feels so light so it pops over rocks very easily but the design of the bike keeps the front wheel on the ground no matter how steep the climb. I have Mavic CrossMax ST's with Rocket Ron's 2.25 on the front and Kenda Blue Grooves 2.1 on the back. Passing my friends on the uphills is so common now.
Weaknesses: Maybe its just me, but the bike doesn't feel as stable when going down technical descents. I'm learning to just trust the suspension more and to just go faster over certain drops and so far this bike has handled well.
Great bike. Meant for the aggressive cross-country rider willing to push his limits.
Strengths: I have the 2012 XT Race Package so mine's a bit more pricey. Super Light, Flicks wherever you point it to go on the trail. Still convinced of 26" wheels and this is a good one. Suspension is P-lush! Set it up very squishy so it takes some pretty big hits and it still climbs awesome! With ProPedal I experience very little to no pedal bob. The wide Carbon Fiber bars are stiff and were a bit hard to get used to, now I can't live without them! OEM was 2.25 Nobby Nic on Front and a 2.25 Racing Ralph on the rear. The Nobby Nic is amazing. Racing Ralph blew 1/2 slice within 500 feet of first ride. Schwalbe won't even return my call or emails. XT brakes with ICE Technology are the best brakes I have ever used. One finger braking from start to finish of my ride! Carbon Frame is stiff, stable, and totally predictable. Rear suspension is laterally stable, strong, and really supple. This is a great bike. I would buy it again.
Weaknesses: Cable routing is really bad, especially the rear hydraulic line. All cables and lines go down the front of the down tube (at least it protects the carbon). Lots of cable rub points to cover. Never had a bike with such a low bottom bracket. Have experienced a lot of pedal strikes, and had to reprogram my brain to deal with that. The bare minimum carbon has taken a couple of good rock hits. It's made me think twice about frames made of structural carbon alone.
Overall the bike is fantastic! With internal routed cables and hydraulic lines, this bike would be amazing.
I ride so much faster on this bike, that I had to up my game on picking better lines due to speed. Bottom bracket is low due to geometry, how ya going to fix that? It's part of why the bike rides so nice. This is a long term purchase for me. I believe overall I chose very well.
This bike is for the person who is a serious MTB'er, who loves the Cross Country Feel in an ALL Mountain Bike.
a Cross Country Rider
from Everett, WA USA
Date Reviewed: March 4, 2012
Strengths: Excellent cross country bike! Nimble and easy to manuever due to the light weight carbon frame. It is a huge improvement over my last bike, a Kona Dawg-Deluxe. The best thing about this bike is hill climbing. You will find yourself able to make climbs that you may previously have had to hike-a-bike.
Weaknesses: The swing arm that originally came on my 2010 Yeti ASR-5 Carbon bike cracked after only 10 rides!!! The only places that I rode the bike were: Pilchuck Tree Farm, Woodinville (outside the Red Hook Brewery) and Tolt MacDonald Park: Hardly the kind of places where you encounter serious technical riding!!! The swing arm cracked 2 weeks ago and I contacted Big Tree Bikes in Seattle about it and they did a magnificent job of contacting Yeti and getting me a replacement swing arm in less than a week's time. I was really dismayed that my swing arm cracked so easily and can't help but wonder why Yeti didn't manufacture a better product, especially considering the fact that they are a high end bike company. Also, I could have broken my neck on that bike if I hadn't noticed the crack before it became a problem. The only reason I saw it is because I clean my bike really well after each ride. Kudos to the guys at Big Tree Bikes, they are a great bike company to deal with and very knowledgeable about mountain biking.
An excellent bike to ride, if you don't have a problem with the swingarm!!!!
a Cross Country Rider
from San Carlos
Date Reviewed: February 7, 2012
Strengths: Amazingly stiff climber that stays rock solid until you start downhill and hit the rough. Not what you'd call a plush ride. But, softens up significantly and handles the big hits well. Perfect Bay Area bike, stiff for those steep firetrail climbs, then magically transforms to a trail bike for big rocky rutted nasty stuff. Go fast to make it loosen up. Head angle is on the slack side, but felt fine in the tight slow corners (fork was 140mm)
Weaknesses: No horst link or virtual pivot means brake jack. Relatively standard single pivot arc means it doesn't have that lively 'holy cow this thing is glued to the trail' feel. But, takes the big hits well and keeps the tire on the ground.
a Weekend Warrior
from SLC UT
Date Reviewed: December 21, 2011
Strengths: Great suspension, traction while climbing, and light weight.
Weaknesses: None yet.
The 575 was too soft and heavy. The ASR5C is the perfect balance of weight and suspension for me. I was able to stay on the bike in spots where I used to get off and push my Gary Fisher uphill. I haven't had it for very long but so far I'm very satisfied.
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher Sugar 3, Yeti 575
Bike Setup: X0 components, Mavic Crossmax ST wheels, Fox float 140, and Fox RP23.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 31, 2011
Strengths: Great ride. Stiff, responsive, pedals like the wind, skips over the rough stuff. It's a sporty ride not a plow machine. I really enjoy riding this bike. I truely love the thing, but...
Weaknesses: In 18 months the frame has failed 3 times. I get wind of early problems with Carbon and layup, but I have failed a "2nd gen" swingarm now also. 18 months owned, 6 months no bike due to brakeages. This is simply 100% BS. I ride flat fairly untechnical trails in Australia, and I make sure I don't send it due to fragile nature. I don't crash. It is not the rider. This will be my first and last Yeti. Massive disappointment. Thanks for the broken wallet wasted weekends away and heartache Yeti.
Yeti has no idea how to find a Taiwanese manufacture of Carbon clearly, or just blame their subcontractors for poor engineering.
Bike Setup: Build was pieced together. Stans rims, Hope ProIIIs, XT drivechain, XTR shifters, Thompson controls, Formula RX stopping power.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: January 23, 2011
Strengths: light, quick, responsive,tight
Weaknesses: gotta hold your line, no forgiveness, tight suspension
Like the responsive nature of bike, very quick and light. Suspension is built for XC not downhills as much. Rode for 1 year, trails like Kokepelli - Fruita to Moab. Took it down a ramped drop of 6 feet into a gully. I left the ramp about two feet before bottom, took header. Broke nose, broke helmet, broke frame at Stem and bottom tube. Wheel and fork were fine..............go figure. Not sure if Yeti will replace frame due to a defect in design but it should not have broken.
Bike Setup: 2010 ASR5C Fox 120,RP23,Schwabe 2.3 tires
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 30, 2010
Strengths: So stiff, very light, confidence inspiring handling, looks, did I mention its light?
I was a little hesitant upgrading from my Giant Trance (which I loved) to the ASR5C, I thought it would just feel like another 5in travel trail bike... how wrong I was! This bike leaves the trance for dead! It's got a fairly slack (for XC anyway) 68deg head angle which makes it stable on the fast stuff but still switchback friendly and nimble on the up's. Very balanced suspension front and back with fox f32 120 up front. It's so incredibly stiff laterally front and back (tapered head tube front and massive rear stays with 142x12 rear axle, even with standard 135 QR hub its stiff) that it's just so easy to flick the bike around corners, over jumps etc, combined with how light you can build this bike it makes it an absolute weapon for trail riding! It pedals very efficiently with pro pedal engaged (even on setting 1, slight bob without it engaged but nothing that'll waste your forward momentum) and is very supple on the descents with the shock fully open (thats how I like to ride mine). Frame details are amazing, it looks amazing in the sun with the raw carbon finish! Yeti call this the 'cheater bike' cause you can hang with the short travel XC bikes going up and hang with the longer travel bikes on the way down. In my experience this is very true... very versatile and hugely capable. It would make an extremely capable XC race bike (easy sub 10kg bike with 5in travel! overkill for XC racing?), makes an outstanding trail bike, great marathon/ 24hr bike, I'd stop short for using it for the really big rough stuff as thats what the 575 is for., it's alot of money but its worth every cent. A bike for those who love going fast uphill but don't want the compromise of a XC bike going down. All my riding buddies now hate me cause I have a Yeti :) :) :)
Bike Setup: Full XTR, Crossmax ST's, Forumla R1's, light weight bits and pieces = 10.2kg :)
from Sydney, Australia
Date Reviewed: November 18, 2010
Strengths: Climbs like a Mountain Goat, Descends very well, stiff, super light
Weaknesses: DT Swiss wheels arnt brilliant.
I love this bike, its climbs so well and descends like a 6 inch travel bike. Mine currently weighs in at about 11kg's and this could easily be less with some better wheels and few other bits and pieces. Rode a 110k Enduro on it last week and was getting plenty of looks from people. As the other reviewer said, the DT Swiss wheelset is pretty average and I will be upgrading that over Xmas as my present to myself.
Genuinly struggling to find a weakness with the bike.
Strengths: Very stiff frame. Flickable geometry. Light weight but solid. 15mm tapered front fork and 12mm rear axle are extremely stiff.
Weaknesses: The wheels are entry level. Setup takes some time and experimentation. Oh yeah, did I mention that the wheels are junk?
Well, I absolutely love this bike. Once you get the correct air pressure in the shocks, it is a freaking blast to ride. I have mine set on Pro Pedal 1 all the time, and this seems to be the best compromise for climbing, rolling singletrack, and still soft enough for descents.
The DT Swiss 1800 wheels are trash though. For this kind of dough I expected better. Had to true the rear wheel after 100 miles of mostly fire road riding. Both the front and rear squeak despite all attempts to clean/lube/adjust etc... My son's 1500 specialized hubs spin more freely. As soon as I can scrape up some more $$$ I'm going to upgrade these beasts. Not a lot of choices yet for the 12x142 but there should be some good options next year. Still for this price I really shouldn't have to be looking to upgrade. For that I'm knocking two chilis off the value rating. With a good set of wheels this bike should scream, so overall I'm giving it a five chili rating.