The ASR5 is constructionally similar to the existing 4in travel ASR – two models will be available with either a carbon fibre or aluminium front triangle. Both versions share a carbon fibre rear end. According to Yeti, the full-carbon ASR5 weighs 4.75lb while the aluminium one is 5.5lb – a substantial difference. The all-carbon frame is also claimed to be 30% stiffer in torsion, although as we’ve only ridden the carbon one it’s hard to say how much a difference that is in real life.
At the back, the carbon fibre swingarm has notably large-volume chainstays for stiffness. The seatstays are deliberately slimmed-down, as the bike relies on a hint of flex in the stays to allow the swingarm to match the radius of rotation of the upper link. Yeti has designed dropouts that can accommodate either a conventional 135mm rear hub or the new 142x10mm through-axle standard that features recesses on the inside of the dropouts into which the axle can locate for easier wheel fitting.
As well as the increased travel compared to the existing ASR, the ASR5 has slacker geometry. It’s supposed to have a 68° head angle with a 120mm travel Fox fork, although we measured the demo bike at 67. If that’s not relaxed enough for you, the frame is rated for a 140mm fork.
Out on the trail and there’s a lot to like. The ASR5 has the confident handling feel of a big bike but with considerably less heft and a livelier suspension performance. It’s not the most sophisticated rear suspension in the business in pedalling terms – use of the ProPedal lever on climbs was recommended by Yeti, which is something we’ve got used to doing without – but it sucks up trail imperfections of all scales with aplomb.
Yeti’s 575 is a popular bike in the UK, but it’s quite a lot of bike for a lot of the uses to which it’s put. With broadly similar geometry but a pound less weight in the frame, we suspect that a lot of people would be better served with an ASR5. You’d give up a bit of rear travel, but with a 140mm fork up front we suspect that the real-world differences in capability would be slight. Expect to see plenty of these on the trails when they reach the UK…