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By Singletrack.com Test Crew
When it came to the AS-R Carbon’s cousin, the five-inch travel AS-R 5 Carbon, the discussion took a similar path. The five-inch Yeti handled much like the Yeti XC rig, but just slightly more stable and slower — with the emphasis on slightly slower.
The impressive thing is that out of the bikes tested, the AS-R 5 Carbon gained the least weight in growing by an inch of travel. The weight penalty is only .33 lbs for the bigger bike (24.83lb size-large test bike). At least part of the weight difference between the other high-end, five-inch bike we tested, the Trek Fuel EX 9.8 which weighed 25.75lbs, can be attributed to the ASR 5 Carbon’s relatively simple suspension platform.
And again, this is where the discussion turned when it came to the AS-R 5 Carbon. Like its shorter-travel cousin, the five-inch bike liked to live in the mid-stroke of the travel.
Our cross-country racer in the group raved about the bike’s efficiency and stiffness. She said that with the ProPedal lockout engaged, she could power up the climbs as if she was on her cross-country bike.
And in similar fashion to its shorter-travel cousin, the AS-R 5 Carbon tended to feel as if it came up just a hair short of using its full travel, when set up with correct sag. And again, whether or not riders liked that depended on their preferences. Those who liked a tighter, more cross-country feel loved it, but those who prefer silky suspension weren’t as content.
“It feels like it ramps up too much at the end to be fully effective and bottomless,” said a tester, “but on the top end it doesn’t react well to the smaller hits. Plus, it feels like it hangs up under braking and on square-edged bumps.”
On the plus side, the AS-R 5 Carbon’s geometry makes it a stable rig on descents. But just how much the suspension was helping made the bike a “tough nut to crack,” one tester said.
“The front end was amazing — nice and stiff, but the rear sagged. It reminded me of a downhill bike,” a tester said. “I wanted more usable travel.”
So, if we wanted a solid cross-over rig, which one of the two tested Yetis would we go with? The four-inch AS-R Carbon feels faster and stiffer and very racy, but if you’re looking for the comfort of an all-day rig, you won’t be as happy with the more limited suspension feel on that bike.
So for our needs, we’d go with the AS-R 5 Carbon. The five-inch rig handles and climbs like a cross-country bike yet is only .33lbs heavier, and it still bombs downhill with more stability. In fact, it’s fully a pound lighter than the next lightest five-inch bike in the test group.
It’s beautiful to behold with a gorgeous carbon frame and massive boxed chainstays. It’s screaming “speed” even when standing still.