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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…

Bottom Line

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!

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# Comments

  • maddslacker

    The ASR 5 and 7 as well as the 575 are all over the trails out here, for obvious reasons. And yes, they climb really well too.

  • GoldenGoose

    Sweet ride. I have loved the aesthetics of the ASR’s front triangle since they started using the more hydroformed top tube shapes a couple years back. One of the best looking bikes out there. Always heard they perform well too.

  • fleetwood

    Gnar gobbler…I like that. I don’t see as many Yeti’s on the trails here, but there are a few around. I’d live to take one for a spin.

    Do you remember what the tires were? They look pretty beefy.

  • skibum

    As a very happy owner of both a 575 and a Seven, I would love to add a Five to complete my stable. I test rode one and was similarly impressed. The thing leaps forward like a spooked kitty and hugs the trail exceptionally well. Even with 5″, it is decidedly more cross-country than my other rides, which would be great for those days I’m not in the big gnar–even though I’m sure it could handle that as well if need be.

  • stumpyfsr

    I’ve rented ASR-7 in Moab for two days and noticed same things: wheelie is soooo easy, but when rode Porcupine had only a smile clearing all those drops and rocks. And it does climb Slickrock too. I’d buy ASR-5 though – more suitable for Midwest.
    Thanks, mtbgreg1, for a great review.

  • mtbgreg1

    @fleetwood, sorry, I should have taken more extensive notes on the componentry. I do know that the tires were pretty gnarly, looked to be roughly 2.4’s, and were set up tubeless with a pretty low pressure. That definitely helped increase the traction.

  • trek7k

    Like any good MTB company with a Colorado heritage, Yeti likes to point out their bikes are designed with big descents AND big climbs in mind (you can’t avoid either in Colorado unless you ride the lifts all the time). So yeah, if you ride in big mountains, this is gonna be a good bike.

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