The fickle Georgia winter weather decided to cooperate and offered up a gorgeous weekend for the Southeast Bike Expo, with highs reaching 60 degrees on the second day of the event.
Thanks to all the awesome exhibitors that showed up, we got the opportunity to ride some bikes that were truly beautiful as well. One of the bikes I got to try out was the Yeti ASR-5 Alloy, courtesy of the folks at the Shimano booth.
The ASR-5 is a trail bike with 5+” of travel and 26″ wheels. It’s compatible with either a 120 or a 140 mm fork, depending on how aggressive of a ride you want.
The Yeti was blinged out with Fox suspension front and rear, a full Shimano Deore XT drivetrain, XT brakes, and tubeless XT rims.
Right off the rack, the first thing I noticed about the Yeti is that it is a wheelie machine! All you have to do is lean back and tug on the bars and the front end lofts like there is no tomorrow. This made popping off rollers, floating off of drops, and wheelieing up on top of obstacles an absolute breeze!
But when I shifted my weight over the front end, the ASR-5 transformed into a super-stable trail bike that was eager to rail the berms, launch off drops, and bomb through the rock gardens and root webs with reckless abandon.
This machine just stuck to the trail: the suspension was active at all the right times, tracking the terrain and helping me maintain absolute control. The wheel and tire setup definitely helped with this: the low air pressure from the tubeless tires provided phenomenal traction. The bike was also set up with a pair of crazy-wide tires that looked to be at least 2.4′s, further adding to the impressive traction.
There was even one point where I came out of a blind corner and accidentally hit a chunky series of root drops a little off balance with way too much weight over the front end, but the suspension and geometry of the bike totally saved me–I felt like I just floated through it like it wasn’t even there.
As an excellent descender and an all-around gnar gobbler, the ASR-5 really surprised me on the climbs. It climbed really well, period–and very well for a 5″ travel dualie! The front end was easy to handle even on steep grunts, staying where I pointed it.
Since I was riding at the Georgia International Horse Park, I had no reason to get out of the saddle to climb, so I can’t speak to how the bike would ride in such circumstances. Of course, there are ProPedal and lockout options on the shock and fork, which I didn’t have time to mess with either. If you really had to get out of the saddle to climb, those would definitely come in handy.
My only gripe? 3 chainrings is just one too many…
This is the kind of bike that I was made to ride: a true do-it-all machine. Hopefully I’ll get to spend more time on an ASR-5 soon!