Yeti ASR 7 – First Look

by Brian Mullin on March 10, 2010

Go to http://www.gramslightbikes.com/2010/08/yeti-asr-7-review.html for the full review!

I have gotten a couple of good rides on the Yeti ASR 7, and I am pleasantly surprised at some of its attributes. This bike liked to fly! The suspension just soaks up ugly terrain, and it softly flows down a trail like it’s floating on air. When climbing steep and/or rocky terrain, the rear end sticks like glue, and it climbs like a cross country bike, and not a 31.9 lb behemoth with 7 inches of suspension.

Components
The ASR 7 frame is made with a hydroformed 7005 aluminum tubeset. The tubes are huge with massive welds, making it a monstrous, stout and durable beast. The tapered headtube (1.125 to 1.5 inches) can be used with 160-180mm single crown forks, and was tested with the sweet Fox 36 TALAS RC2 (160mm). It uses a trick Carbon fiber Dog Bone link, which is attached to the top tube, and then in turn to the rear triangle and the Fox RP23 shock.

An E-type front derailer is used, and in a very innovative manner it’s attached directly to the swingarm, which aids greatly in more precise and efficient shifts, especially when considering it’s dealing with 7 inches of travel.

The drivetrain consists of a useful 2×9 system, which synergistically works with the front derailer. The bike was equipped with an entire Shimano group, including both derailers, cranks, cassette, brakes and shifters. The basic geometry has 16.9 inch chainstays, 13.8 inch bottom bracket height and a 67 degree head angle, which is much more along the lines of a cross country bike than a DH one. It also features an ISCG ’05 mount for a chainguide.

Impressions
On my first day, I started out riding some moderate singletrack, with a long and slow unrelenting climb. The ASR 7 sort of sluggishly plodded along (to be expected), and it was easy to tell this just wasn’t a place it felt very comfortable in. A combination of the 31.9 lb weight and the 7 inches of suspension, conspired to make it feel slow and not much of a spinner. When I got it up on a fire road, and got it rolling along in the big gears it became a different beast, and it spun with a lot more grace and ease. When I turned around to go down, it became a joy to ride. The steeper and rougher the terrain, the happier and more composed the ASR 7 became. On any type of switchback, you really had to have some room to roll the front end around, most likely due to the long wheelbase and slack head angle, but it became second nature after a bit, and felt a lot more like my 29er in that regard.

If you want to spin, you won’t have a grin, but do some slammin’ and you’ll be jammin

For a 31.9 lb bike, I was amazed how comfortable, controlled and useful it was for climbing steep, rocky and technical terrain. It had little pedal bob, and really stuck the rear end down, as long as the Fox RP23 shock had the ProPedal damping engaged. Take it out of ProPedal, and the rear just seemed to get confused and would lose its traction at inopportune moments. Consider the ProPedal setting traction control? On steep descents when you really pulled hard on the brakes you got some mild brake jack, but it was minor and somewhat rare.

I took it to the Lake Pueblo trails, and that is where it shined like a diamond. I could fly off mini jumps, which I usually scurry around and miss, and the bike did really well going off ledges, and drop offs, although you did need to be back behind the wheel more than I am used to. This bike screams (ok it didn’t really do that) for an adjustable seat post, since it likes the seat either low or high and not much in between. In fact, it already has a built in cable stop! I went down a trail that I really like (Lower Dog), and the ASR 7 made it seem so easy that I felt like I was cheating. It was a bit harder to steer the bike where I wanted, and it seemed slow to react (call it sluggish), so it lacked the laser like steering that I prefer. The bottom bracket was low for a bike with so much suspension, and I kept hitting my pedals while doing minor technical moves or dealing with rocky obstacles, and I found that extremely annoying? I would have preferred a tad taller BB height, even at the loss of some cornering control.

The brakes were fine, but I think a 203/180 set for the speeds you start to get on the bike would suit it nicely. This bike likes to roll up to Mach One speeds quickly, so it gets blazingly fast fairly regularly. The rear end of the bike is a stout puppy, and I could discern to slop nor flex. The beefy chainstays, large Carbon Dog Bone link and the 12mm x 135mm hub really holds the entire unit together.

I never felt any flex nor weakness from the Mavic Crossline Wheelset, but they’re greatly aided by the stout 12mm rear, along with the 36mm fork legs and front 20mm thru axle. Although the saddle seemed soft when prodded with a fingertip, I found it rather uncomfortable, especially along the nose section.

I was able easily tune the RP23 to my liking, and it gave an extremely plush ride, along with the full amount of travel. The TALAS took some effort to tune, but once I lowered the pressure and tweaked the high and low compression it started to provide better plushness. I still got a tad of fork dive (compensated with body english), and I was never able extract all the travel, but it still provided deep amounts of usable suspension. I started to use the adjustable travel (160-130-100) on the TALAS, and it was an excellent feature for climbing and doing technical moves. I did notice that I would sometimes forget to take it back out of the lowered position when I turned around to descend. Oops!

Conclusion
I have really enjoyed my outings with the ASR 7. It likes it steep, either up and down, the rockier and uglier the better. This bike floats down rocky terrain, ledges and just about anything you point it on. Get the bike onto the smoother single track climbs and descents, and it has some character flaws, but on double tracks, fire roads, or anywhere you can rip it open and get it hauling, it redeems itself. This bike likes to fly, I was hucking (ok 2-3 footers) stuff I had never even thought of going off, and I also noticed that my speed was increasing to a great degree, especially after getting more comfortable on the bike. It climbs steep and ugly terrain like a demon, and has excellent traction control as long as the ProPedal is engaged. The steering is a tad sluggish, and it needs some room to turn in tight quarters. With the proper sag set, the bottom bracket sits too low and pedal strikes can be frequent, especially in rocky terrain.

MSRP $4150 (+180 Chris King) – Frame with Freeride Kit
$2000 (frameset w/ RP23)

Freeride Kit:

  • Fork Fox 36 TALAS RC2 Tapered
  • Rear Shock Fox RP23
  • Headset Chris King
  • Crankset Shimano SLX 22/36/Bash
  • Front Der Shimano SLX e-type
  • Rear Der Shimano XTR Shadow
  • Shifters Shimano XT
  • Cassette Shimano SLX 11-34
  • Chain Shimano
  • Wheels Mavic CrossLine
  • Tires Schwalbe Fat Albert 2.4
  • Brakes Shimano XT
  • Handlebar Easton Monkey Lite DH
  • Stem Thomson X.4 70mm
  • Grips Yeti Lockon
  • Saddle SDG Ti Fly C
  • Seatpost Thomson Elite

Frame Specs:

  • Travel: 7.0″
  • Weight (Med): 7.50 lbs
  • Colors: Ano. Black, Turquoise, White
  • Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • Rear Shock: Fox RP23 or DHX Air 5.0 – 2.5″ stroke, 8.5″ eye-to-eye
  • Bottom Bracket: 73mm shell, 113mm spindle
  • Rear Wheel: 135mm x 12mm
  • Front Derailleur: E-Type Front Derailleur Compatible
  • Seatpost: 30.9mm

Frame Features:

  • Custom hydroformed 7005 alloy tube set
  • Replaceable derailleur hanger
  • Tapered 1.5 to 1.125″ Head Tube
  • Carbon Dog bone link
  • 160-203mm rotors
  • Cablestop for seat dropper
  • ISCG 05 mounts
  • Titanium hardware
  • Custom bolt-on cables guides to run full housing

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Soren Svendsen March 12, 2010 at 11:33 am

I can see you still ride your Fat Albert. Have you any additions to your former review ?
I very much agri with your view on Mountain King, Rubber Queen and the old Albert. I haven't tried the new Fat Albert yet and are very unsure which tyre to use this summer for another Alp crossing. Last time I rode Albert but now Mountain King 2.4 is my favorite tyre, except on slimy rocks.

Reply

Constantin March 26, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I'm drooling seeing this bike….
Looks sick!!

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet March 27, 2010 at 5:44 pm

It has been a pretty sick bike, and I am going to miss it when I take it back to Yeti. It rocks, and has been a pleasure flying around on rocky trails. I certainly have been riding a ton faster!

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet March 28, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Soren,

I would put the Rubber Queen on any bike! The RQ 2.2 UST or the very fat RQ 2.4 UST are my fave tires of late! Although the about to be released Maxxis Minion DHF 26×2.5 w/ Exo-Protection are pretty sweet.

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