The new Yeti ASR 5 Alloy comes hot on the heels of its full-carbon bigger brother, with a cheaper pricetag and hard-hitting alloy construction.
Ride & handling: Lightweight trail-tamer
The minute you swing a leg over a Yeti there’s always a special feeling and the ASR 5 is no exception. Like eating out at a Michelin-starred restaurant with Megan Fox, there’s a sneaking suspicion that this could be as good as it gets.
And it is good, bloody good. In terms of climbing this is one of the best 5in bikes in the game. It’s stiff, responsive and comfortable. Technical ascents are a breeze. On the descents the ASR5 alloy forces you to ride it, but in a fantastic way. It doesn’t ﬂatten trails, it skips through them. The bike is light and accurate without ever feeling twitchy or skittish, largely thanks to that slack head angle.
Once you get past that stiffer mid-travel it’s quickly apparent that the Yeti doesn’t mind hitting corners hard either. In fact, running the suspension with slightly more sag than normal brings a whole new edge to the ASR5’s game and turns a competent descender into a head-buzzingly brilliant trail-tamer.
There are limits though, and it’s easy to get carried away on the ASR5. If Alpine descents are your thing then the excellent 575 might be more your cup of tea but for pure trail centre fun and £800 worth of carbon ﬁbre change in our pockets we know which we would choose.
Frame: 5in-travel boutique dream machine
The new ASR 5 is designed with versatility in mind. First and foremost it’s a trail bike, but its carbon back end and 2.5kg (5.5lb) frame weight (the full-carbon is 0.34kg – 12oz – lighter) result in a bike that won’t mind the odd race or enduro either.
The Fox RP23 rear shock is tuned to stay slightly stiffer in its mid-stroke to allow the ASR 5 to feel nimble and to stop it bogging down. To keep things equally stiff up front the head tube is tapered and there are interchangeable dropouts out back.
The bottom bracket is low, at 13in, and the ASR5 gets a relaxed 68-degree head angle. The detail is superb, with titanium hardware and ‘Yeti’ embossed rubber frame-savers on the cabling. The rear mech cable is also routed through the chainstay to keep things neat and tidy.
Equipment: Quality kit from Shimano, Easton and Thomson
Buying a Yeti is a bit like buying a Ferrari – you don’t scrimp on the extras. Our Race model came custom decked out with almost telepathic Shimano XT/XTR shifting and power-packed XT brakes. The Easton and Thomson steering combo is excellent too.
The bars are wide and the stem is short enough to inspire a bit of aggression but they never detract from climbing efforts. We reckon that this spec is exactly right for the ASR5 Alloy – it’s neither a full-on fragile racehead nor is it a heavy-handed trail hooligan and it works brilliantly as a result.