Long Termers: Tom’s Yeti ASR5


Tom's treated himself to a new Yeti as a recovery present. He's been in the parts bin and built it up, so here are his first impressions.

Like Sim before me I have put my money where my mouth is and purchased this bike. Disclaimer here, before this bike I had a Yeti 575, and before that I couldn’t afford a bike of this calibre. Yeti’s always had a bit of special place in my heart from back in the John Tomac and Missy Giove (etc.) days.

I previously bought the 575 on a whim and came to love it. However, after my injury earlier this year I decided it would be a good time to sell it and purchase something with a bit of “future-proofing” about it. All this talk of tapered steerers and Syntace rear ends was starting to get to me. While I also knew the 575 was a getting a refresh with said standards the ASR5 jumped out at me because it was likely to be slightly more suited to the type of riding I do. I like to have two mountain bikes, a hardtail and a suspension bike, and each is a bit of an all-rounder trail bike. The ASR5 can lean towards the more hard hitting stuff if need be.

Despite the previous 575 being a medium and fitting me well I decided on a large just to give me that bit more breathing room. Even though I’m 6’1″ it seems to be all in the legs so I often go for a slightly smaller frame. I’m happy to say the choice of large, with a 24″ effective top-tube, was a good one.

The frame, as it should, has a high standard of finish, perfect welds everywhere and shiny head badge. All the cable guides are removable and there’re also guides for an adjustable seatpost cable. Out back the carbon swingarm is very chunky. There isn’t a “flex pivot” above the dropout as on the 575. Presumably the slightly reduced travel sees no need for it. And, oh yes, as the name suggests the travel is 5″. There’s also a nice built in rubber protecter to handle chain-slap, and the rear mech cable runs inside the swingarm to keep it all neat looking.

The majority of the parts I’ve put on it have come from Matt’s previous long termer (SC Blur) so were slightly used which certainly doesn’t bother me as I’ve always been a bit of a parts scavenger eyeing up good second hand deals. Gearing is handled by Shimano XT which I’m running as 1×9. The frame hasn’t got an ISCG mount but I’ve attached an MRP G2 chain device using an E-Thirteen retro-fittable mount, held in place by a Pace bottom bracket. As a nice little finishing touch I’ve put on those Middleburn cable oilers.

Brakes are my own Shimano XT that are quite a few years old now and just about still alive after many hose swaps and numerous bleeds. Rotors are Ashima Airotor 180/160mm.

Up front there’s a DT Swiss EXR150 15mm bolt through fork (again off Matt’s previous build) and it’s held in place by a Hope headset. Note the steerer isn’t tapered but uses Hope’s reducer cup. The headset standards are starting to get somewhat confusing these days but Hope has you covered for all eventualities and produces a handy leaflet detailing all the options.

Holding on to the steerer I’ve got Syncros bar and stem (80mm) that I’ve been running trouble free for a good year now – the bars being the carbon versions with a 710mm width.

And for my first foray into uppydowny seatpost land there’s a KS i900 with bar mount – which I’m really loving.

Wheel wise it’s a bit of a mis-match at the moment. Some Sun/Ringle Black Flag Expert landed in the office and I jumped on them sharpish. It wasn’t just the gold finish on the rims and the fact they were called Black Flag… honestly. As it turns out the front was a bit of an anomaly, despite what the website says, it was 9mm only. The proper version, adjustable to 15mm and 20mm hub is winging its way to me at some point. So, in the mean time I’ve got a WTB Stryker All-Mountain Race on the front. Donned onto the wheels are WTB Weirwolf 2.1 tires. For the moment I’ve left old fashioned tubes in there while everything gets sorted out despite full tubeless compatibility all round.

It weighs 29lbs all in. Not bad, but some room for improvement there.

Riding it

I’m still taking it fairly easy until I get the docs all clear after the injury so local riding and a day trip to Dalby is all it’s had. An important point is that the frame is designed around a 130-140mm fork. The DT Swiss is a 150mm. When I mentioned it to Stu from Evolution Imports (who bring Yeti into the UK) he had a sharp intake of breath and said that the boys at Yeti HQ are running 130mm and swear by it. Still I’m really enjoying the fork and available travel. The bike doesn’t feel too slack and I haven’t experienced ‘flip-flop’ on the climbs. In fact it climbs rather well, the front end feeling very grounded with less front end lift than I suffered on the 575 (of course this is the larger frame). Point it downhill and the relaxed front is a joy. It will be interesting to swap forks in the future for comparison, but for the moment it isn’t causing any unexpected behaviour.
On the smaller stutter bumps the rear feels ‘invisible’. In that you think nothing is happening but then you look down and the suspension’s working overtime. Hit a bigger bump and you know about it, in a good way – great trail feedback, which is very much how I like it.

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Bikes Long Termers