‘It’s not about the bike,’ as Lance Armstrong famously once said…and I can confirm this myself with empirical evidence.
I was looking forward to testing the new Yeti ASR Carbon. A bike designed to be light enough to garner the difference between 2nd and getting on the top of the podium in XC races. In fact, in my local bike shop (www.crosstrax.co.uk) it felt ridiculously light when I attempted my usual tried and tested test for lightness: can I pick it up with my little finger? And yes, the answer was absolutely, it was bloomin’ ‘eck, tie it down before it drifts off up to the ceiling, light!
I could see why the design guys at Yeti, and all leading manufacturers for that matter, are pushing the carbon dream. This material is super strong yet light, and easier to manipulate to accommodate chosen suspension designs, angles and standover height (with no need for the CNC’d section from previous models). I was looking forward to swinging a leg over it in anger, ready to see if it propelled me quicker than I am able to go on my aluminium ASR-SL.
Out on one of the Crosstrax test loops, it was ever so noticeably stiffer than my aluminium version, took up speed slightly quicker and it was also just that bit lighter so that I was able to get up steps on a particular sections of the trail that foxes me on the aluminium version. It also descended the singletrack like it was on rails. Overall, I could see that it would be an advantage out on an XC course. Even if the advantage was only a few seconds, it would be the difference between places on the result sheet.
But, very quickly into the test loop I remembered something very fundamental in this speed occasion test. Me! For you see, there’s a difference between how I perceive myself in my head (as a super fit XC whippet no less) and the actual current reality: I’m still dreadfully unfit and a few stone too heavy…so, on a not particularly tortuous climb I had to get off and walk…as a result, I also ended up pushing the carbon dream, literally!
So what’s the moral of this story? Want a super spendy XC bike? Go for it, but it will only make a difference to your results if you get fit enough to do the bike the justice it deserves!
Thanks to all at Crosstrax and Evolution for the trial of the bike.