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. The top tube length and wheelbase are long, and the standover is tall, especially in direct comparison to its competition.
The frame is well built, stout and tough, albeit it is slightly heavy. I never felt any sort of issue with the strength nor rigidity of the frame, as it just plowed through things like a jeep on steroids. I was very enamored with the rigidity of the rear end, and how stout it was, without any hint of flex, greatly aided by the stiff 12mm axle.
What is most amazing is how exceptional this bike climbs, something a 7 inch suspension beast usually doesn’t do well, it’s like a cross country bike had it genes injected into the All Mountain ASR 7. It spins great on fire roads and flat undulating singletrack, and climbs like a demon on rough terrain, such as rock gardens, ledges, stair steps, and anything that is mildly ugly. Where it dogs down a bit, is when it’s a grunt fest up on long steep smooth terrain. The ASR 7 sort of sluggishly plods along (to be expected), and it was easy to tell this just wasn’t a place it was 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, but it still was tolerable. Get it up on a fire road, and rolling along in the big gears it became a different beast, and it spun with a lot more grace and ease. Place the ASR 7 into anything remotely rocky, rooty and nefarious and it shined on climbs.
I got a great cross comparison of how it climbs when I did my favorite local trail appropriately named ‘Mule’ on the ASR 7 one day, and on my Ibis Mojo (5.5″) the next. On the long unrelenting climbs that were smooth, the 4 lb lighter Mojo just made me expend a lot less energy, due to the weight difference, and a bit less suspension wallowing. Whenever I encountered rough or jarring terrain, the Mojo would get bounced around and would lose momentum, and I had to wrestle the bike around losing energy, while the ASR 7 sort of breezed through things with without a whimper. On the smooth steeps the Mojo won by a mile, but if gnarly terrain was tossed in on a climb, the ASR 7 became the nicer partner, and the more ugly the terrain became, the better it performed. When it was time to go downhill, the ASR 7 was a pure champion, it was faster, smoother and a heck of a lot of fun.
Anytime you got into tight switchbacks on the ASR 7, you had to roll the front end around a bit more, and finesse it with more body English. The long wheel base and slow steering made it feel a lot more like 29er in the tight stuff. It was a tad more work and required more attentiveness, but I got used to it after a while, and I anticipated how to maneuver the bike. It was not a svelte princess in tight spots, but the oodles of suspension and uncompromising stability let you plow your way through things.
One glaring issue I had was the spacing in the rear chainstay yoke and seatstay for tires. It will not fit a 2.5 tire (even though Yeti states such on their website), since my fat Continental 2.4 Rubber Queen’s (2.43″ wide x 2.38″ tall) barely squeeze in, especially in regard to the height. I think they need to revisit the engineering blueprints, and add a bit more space for the rear tire. It doesn’t make much sense to have an All Mountain bike that can barely fit a fat 2.4″ tire? The first time I got it into mud, it got a bit clogged up, and the debris wore through my preplaced tape protection.
Another issue is that the Fox RP23 rear shock with the High Volume sleeve bottoms out too easily when I run the sag that fits my riding style (I like it squishy). To alleviate the bottoming out, you need to run some pretty hefty pressures (body weight x 30% = 190-200psi), and unfortunately it firms up the ride slightly and the shortens then sag. In my opinion, Fox and Rock Shox, need additional design work on their lightweight air shocks to work properly with the longer travel bikes.
Using the RP23 ProPedal really helps on fire roads, or anywhere you don’t want the rear suspension to wallow as much. It sometimes helps in technical and rocky terrain when climbing and maneuvering, since it stiffens up the shock and gives you some platform to work off. Consider the ProPedal a sort of traction control?
The bottom bracket height is a bit low, so you are going to hit pedals on occasion, but the lower BB really helps when running the berms, swooping through turns and general maneuverability. 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 (a deft touch with your leg does wonders for control). The medium frame that I tested felt a bit more like a medium/large frame (which no one makes any more), so it worked quite nicely for my 5’9″ stature, and of course my own personal taste. Caveat Emptor, it’s a big frame, and for some, a smaller than a normal size might work?
I took it to the Lake Pueblo South Shore trails, which consists of short steep gullies and chutes, a perfect place for an All Mountain bike and big Huevos, 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. This bike screams (ok it didn’t really do that) for an adjustable seat post, and 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 easy to track stand, and did surprisingly well in trial type maneuvers, though it did lack the laser like steering that my Mojo exemplifies (I am spoiled).