Yeti ASR-AL 09 Review – Part 2 The Ride

This post was written about 3 years ago when I’d owned the Yeti for a few months. I’ve left it as-is for now as I’ll write an update after a bit more riding on a lot more varied terrain…

I’ve been riding a hardtail (almost rigid) bike with rim canti brakes for as long as I can remember so moving to a “modern” bike was always going to be a revelation.
My expectations on riding a full sus bike after donkeys years on a Team Marin were that it would bob under pedalling and the flex wouldn’t allow it to climb as well, and this was re-enforced by a spin on a friends Marin Mount Vision. Then I test rode the Yeti and how wrong I was. The ASR uses a Fox RP32 rear shock with propedal which addresses the bobbing and over steep technical climbs, the suspension has allowed me to ride sections I was never able to clear on the Team Marin. (I’ve since cleaned those sections on a HT so it may have been a mental barrier)
My views on disc brakes were that they were overly complex, heavier and I didn’t need the additional stopping power as a decent set of rim brakes and years of experience meant I could go just as fast. Wrong again.

The Ride
Part of the reason that I haven’t upgraded my bike before was that the Team Marin felt like an extension of myself when riding. Getting this feel of doing rather than having to think, hasn’t been easy with the ASR and I’m still a fair way off the same feeling after 5 months of riding (I wrote this review a while ago and things have changed – future post material)

I’ve had to adjust my riding style in a number of areas. I used to have to be out of the saddle a lot, using my arms and legs to reduce the pain. Now though, unless the shocks are locked out you need to sit down, and keep sat down. Thankfully the position of the rear shock means it’s easy to drop my arm down to flick propedal on and off as it’s just below the top tube. Other full-sus designs have the shock in a vertical position nearer the BB so you have to lean down which makes you less stable, and subsequently less willing to use it.
It’s much harder to fly down decents on the Marin as there are times when the shaking means you just can’t see, so I’ve gradually got used to the fact that I can let the bike go. This is a mindset change as I don’t get as much practise on fast and rocky descents living in Warwick and I’ve become much more of a wimp as I’ve gotten older.
Having decent brakes mean I push things a lot more as I have the added confidence of knowing I can stop at the last moment if I need to.

The geometry is quite different to what I’ve been used to as the retro Marin has the old-school stretched out racing position but it hasn’t taken long to adjust to a more ‘modern’ riding position. I now have the dilemma of getting a shorter stem for the Marin to bring them to a similar position.

I notice the suspension on a number of places during a regular ride. One section goes across a field where the ripples are such that I can’t maintain a decent pace on the Marin, yet the Yeti lessens the serious nature of it so I can keep the speed up. As mentioned earlier technical climbs are easier with the rear wheel gripping rather than skipping. Other than that I think I feel less tired due to being able to sit for more of the ride but without a recent direct comparison it’s hard to say for sure.

So I’m now at the stage of having done around 400miles or so on it and here’s where my thoughts are :

General Plus points
I can ride stuff I couldn’t before – one steep section with a large root now causes no issues – same with some steps on a bridge.
I have much more confidence descending and know I can gain a lot more with practice.
I’ve got my biking mojo back big time. No matter what the weather I love riding and even the cleaning.
It’s not ruined climbing, indeed it’s enhanced it with no rear wheel skipping on rocks and roots.
Did I mention it was turquoise ?

General Negative points
I haven’t properly ridden the Team Marin since.
It’s going to need servicing that I can’t do myself – the shock and forks will need to go away every so often.

Ongoing things
I’ve still not really sorted out or played with the suspension. I’ve read how to do it but the only thing I’ve looked at is the propedal setting. It was all so new to me that no changes really made a noticable difference but after adding more air recently the ride felt bouncy so I’m probably at the stage where I need to sort it. I’d like to try running locked out all the time with a low threshold as this could be good for my ingrained way of riding.
The bars are really wide and on twisty singletrack I tend to run wide. I’m tempted to narrow them and add bar ends but I’ll give it the winter to try and see if I can adjust.

The biggest single positive thing about this bike is that I ride more and with a huge grin as well. Getting out and riding is what it’s all about no matter what the bike or how much/little travel it has.

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