Yeti ASR 7 Review

26er Pro Reviews

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Reviewed by Brian Mullin http://www.gramslightbikes.com/

I tested a Demo Yeti ASR 7 this past winter for five weeks that was built with their Freeride Part kit, and I was amazed how comfortable, controlled and useful it was for climbing and riding steep, rocky and technical terrain. 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 32 lb behemoth with 7 inches of suspension. The ASR 7 is a cross country bike pretending to be an All Mountain, and vice versa.

Yeti ASR 7
ASR stands for Active Suspension Racing, and the 7 is for 178mm (7″) of rear travel. The Yeti ASR 7 comes in 4 sizes, small, medium, large and extra large and three colors, Black, Turquoise, and White. The aluminum frame uses an E-type front derailer, a 30.9mm seatpost, a tapered headtube, and has a 73mm bottom bracket. It comes standard with the Fox RP23 rear air shock, but can be upgraded to a DHX RC4, and can be purchased as a frameset or their Freeride kit.

Yeti saw the how the bike world was evolving a couple of years ago, and with their Colorado roots, a 7″ suspension bike that could be pedaled up and ripped down made perfect sense. The bike was originally created with various carbon rear triangles, including an asymmetric single chainstay, but things didn’t work out as they wanted, so they scrapped the carbon plans and went with aluminum.

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. In tube hydroforming (THF), the aluminum tubing is placed into a negative mold or die, and then under extremely high pressure, hydraulic fluid is pushed into the tubing, causing the aluminum to be pushed into the mold giving it the design specific shape and thickness. The two piece rear aluminum triangle, is comprised of a CNC-machined chainstay yoke and a seatstay bridge (with a cool Yeti name etched into it), which are connected together at the dropout pivot. Like the main frame, the welds are beefy, and the chainstays are pretty substantial (think Stonehenge). The rear axle is the typical All Mountain 135x12mm, which provides plenty of rigidity to the rear end.

The tapered headtube (1.125 to 1.5 inches) can be used with 160-180mm single crown forks, and was tested with the Fox 36 TALAS RC2 (160mm) fork. 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 (2.5″ x 8.5″ size). The Dog Bone helps with side-to-side flex on the swingarm, side loading onto the rear shock and is an integral part of the leverage ratio curve for the rear suspension system. Titanium hardware is used for most pivots, and the large cartridge bearings at the main pivot help with stiffness and stabilization of the suspension platform.

asr_dog

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. There is a small cutout in the seat tube just above the bottom bracket for the front derailer to roll into when the suspension deepens.

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The ASR 7 Freeride kit’s 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.

Freeride Kit (as tested):

  • Fork Fox 36 TALAS RC2 Tapered (an upgrade?)
  • Rear Shock Fox RP23
  • Headset Chris King (an upgrade)
  • 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

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Justin says:

    “Another issue which is not Yeti’s fault, is that the Fox RP23 rear shock with the High Volume sleeve bottoms out too easily”

    How ISN’T that their fault? They spec’d it with a certain sleeve and compression damping spec…

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Like many other bike manufacturers, they’re tied to Fox (for whatever reason), the larger stroke RP23′s all use the High Volume sleeve (as does most shock companies), the air sleeves are the source of the problems causing the need to run excessive air pressure, and they bottom out too easily. I think a volume reducer might help some? PUSH Industries is supposed to be doing this with the Rock Shock Monarch at some point in time? Yeti is sort of stuck with what Fox offers, price and design constraints left them with the XV RP23 8.5×2.5″ (Medium compression). I think Fox needs to do more design work on the RP23 for use on the 6+ to 7″ bikes, since it’s roots were more in less than 6″ bikes. I would love to try a coil on the rear, but the weight difference sort of puts a damper (pun) on it. Again, most of the shock companies have been rolling their research into the piggyback and coil systems for these type of bikes.

    Update: you can special order or swap out the sleeves if desired, but I am unsure if the change will solve the issue?

  • Ben says:

    I have an ASR7 and I am really struggling to put my finger on what makes this bike so slow to turn in tight situations. Do you have any thoughts?

  • Brian Mullin says:

    The tight situation issue is mostly due to the long wheelbase. The tall standover and long top tube also add to the issue. The long wheelbase does give additional stability, and the other’s aid in extra leverage. Rolling the bike around the tight stuff and using more body movements helps to get around in those situations.

  • loll says:

    Two things to note on this bike, it runs on the larger side.

    I usually ride a medium anything and it fits just right, with this bike, I was very comfortable on size small.

    I rode this back to back in a demo event with a VPP2, I felt that the single pivot design did not craw over uphill rock garden with the kind of traction I was getting on the VPP2. However, as the test rider in this article said, the magic of this bike is 7″ that can climb to the top pretty okay, and have a blast coming down. There are a few design out there that I thought climb better with more traction, but I think the Seven is a very respectable piece of equipment.

  • snowflake says:

    If Yeti is selling a frame with a shock then it still Yeti’s fault how that behaves. They designed a shock linkage and spec this shock. Clearly there are some solutions out there… Trek has their DRCV shock that is specifically designed to fix this. Santa Cruz and probably the DW-link bikes have their position-variable shock rates which can be optimized for an air shock.

  • snowflake says:

    \The long top tube is a bit of an old school layout, but I think it helps it climb better, and can offer a good deal of leverage, as does the tall standover height\

    How can tall standover height help you climb better or offer better leverage? Tall standover can be scary on technical climbs for obvious reasons…

  • Ben says:

    Snowflake, I definitely agree a tall standover can be scary on technical climbs. One thing I have been interested in understanding is how does this bike compare to a 29′er since they look to have growing specs.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Snowflake:
    1) Perhaps I need to re-phrase my review. I like a lot of sag in any of my bikes, but to keep the RP23 from bottoming out, I need to run pretty high pressure, and I lose my fave sag setting, meaning a bit firmer than I prefer. I have ridden the Mojo HD, and I have the same issue.

    2) A slight touch of the leg/knee offers quite a bit of leverage and control if done properly. Not sure how a tall standover is scary on techy anything? Do you straddle the top tube? In 25 years of riding some pretty sick stuff, I never hit the top tube (the saddle, yes). If I bail on techy stuff the bikes is already down (though I have had it roll back on me)

    Ben:
    The tall standover and long wheel base are very much along the lines of a 29er, offering some stability, better control, especially when railing corners, but tougher maneuvering in tight spots. However, the wheels aren’t even close. FYI: I own a Moots Mooto-XZ 29er (120mm)

  • Ecogeek says:

    \requiring a bit more room to maneuver in in tight spots\
    Surely you have the space you have. Cannot use ‘a bit more room’ that doesn’t exist.
    Rhetorical point.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Ecogeek: Thks, fixed…

  • Ben says:

    Thanks for the explanation guys. The trails I’m riding are really tight and the body work required to nail the seven through the corners is really exhausting. Anyway, I’m looking for a more pure XC bike and I want to make sure I don’t have the same issue with the next bike. Demos are really hard to come by in Singapore, so the bike will be bought without riding.

    One suspicion I had related to the fork angle at road (can’t remember the name of that right now) and height above ground of the head tube. Using basic sketches it looks to me that the bike might feel unstable in slow tight cornering situations.

  • Clayton says:

    Couple of questions: The Mavic wheels you say are tubeless but the website says they aren’t… did you mean that they convert nicely or ?

    How would an XT brake cause brakejack more than any other. I get that you didn’t like them but that didn’t make sense to me.

    Also, do you think the bike would ride better with a Fox 180 on it? That would raise the bb a little and help give you the effect as running more sag geo wise.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Clayton:
    The Mavic on the ASR7 that I tested had the Fat Alberts set up tubeless, though I didn’t mention it in the review?

    I have ridden the ASR7 with some other brakes, especially Magura Louise and the brake jack is very mild in comparison?

    I think the TALAS 180 would help the BB issue, I have only tested a RS 170, and didn’t like the increased head angle (might just be me), but the TALAS 180 would let you run 140 or 180?

  • Paul says:

    Hello
    Did you ride the bike with the RC4 shock ?
    I’m not much concerned about the weight, more about the climb ability
    and the pedal kickback with the RC4.
    How does the bike climb without pro pedal ?
    Thanks

  • Brian Mullin says:

    I haven’t used the RC4, so I can’t comment on it. The bike does climb w/o pro-pedal, it just seems to do a tad better with it, since it prevents a small amount of wallowing.

  • Shane says:

    I’m stuck between a 575 and the 7. I love the idea of the extra travel but honestly don’t know if I’ll ever actually use it. I’m riding a Stumpy 29er HT right now so if this bike is sized similar to a 29er it should be an easy transition…..right? Compared to the 575, how does it climb and what is the weight difference?

  • Jay says:

    this review is great, i just purchased a used 2010 Yeti ASR-7, took it out today and it ripped up the trails, i am more into cross county than down hill and i think this bike works great for both, deff a little on the heavy side but its totally worth it on the descend

  • Andres says:

    What are the differences between asr7 2010 and 2011 models? besides the paint job of course

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