Let me cut to the chase...the 7 is the sickest bike I’ve ever ridden. The boys at YETI have been cooking this one up for awhile and they must have used some actual ground-up Bigfoot fur or something in this one. If you’re looking for the most travel you can get in a frame that you can pedal all day long, the 7 is for you. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a YETI guy. I’ve got a 575 and an ASX and i love ‘em both...for different reasons. The 575 is such a perfect all-day, every-day trail bike that can get up anything but can handle mach-speed descending over both buff and rock-riddled trail. The ASX doesn’t climb nearly as well, but is burlier to hit all the mental stuff that you might not want to ride on the 575. YETI’s long-anticipated ASR-7 is the perfect combination of the two.
I had a chance to ride the build that YETI will most likely be offering up from the factory. RP23 shock, Fox Float 36, SLX double (36-22), XT brakes and shifters, SLX front/XTR rear derailer, Mavic Crossline wheels, Easton Monkeylite XC bar, and some Thomson goodies sprinkled on top. On our scale...31.9 lbs!
Like every other YETI, the 7 is so beautifully designed and crafted. The white powdercoat is so sexy, the graphics are perfectly subtle and distinct, and the YETI badge looks great on the hulked-out head tube. The carbon dogbone is the burliest chunk of carbon i’ve ever seen. One of my favorite features is the dedicated seat-dropper cable-routing tab on the top tube. Honestly, you’d be foolish to consider this bike without running a Gravity-Dropper or Joplin post.
The 7 feels like a big burly bike when you first get on it. But with the RP23 flicked on, you can stomp on the pedals and get very little suspension bob. When the climbing gets steep, the rear end continues to stick to the ground beautifully. I felt like it climbed a bit “heavier” than it’s 32 lbs but that’s to be expected with it’s slack 66.8 seat tube and 67 head tube. My 575 is 32.5 lbs and climbs better than the 7, but i’ve got a Marzocchi 55 ETA that i can lower the travel which makes all the difference. For riding lots of steep climbs to get to the goods, I would consider a Talas or some other adjustable travel fork, but it’s not mandatory.
I chilled at the top to take in the view of snow-capped peaks on one side and Pacific Ocean on the other, then it was time for the fun stuff. It feels like a big meaty powder ski plowing through soft crud...effortless and confidence-inspiring. The shock rate felt smooth and predictable without bottoming in hard, rocky corners or off small hucks. On steep, fast sections i loved the stability and control, presumably from the perfect head angle and substantial wheelbase. Bottom line...the 7 let me pin it with confidence over stuff where my 575 starts to feel maxed-out.
I was impressed with the whole build kit too. Everything felt appropriately burly without being overkill. The XT brakes w/ 7” rotors were surprisingly adequate and the Float 36 is so buttery i wanna have popcorn with it. The SLX front derailer is set up to be able to trim so you don’t rub in the big-to-big combo which is nice. It takes a double push to get it from little to big ring though which is a little annoying. My only complaints were the shifters themselves...I think SRAM is unmatched. The other issue I had was I dropped the chain twice while descending. The frame has ISCG tabs so I would definitely run a chain guide or roller.
Seth at YETI tells me they’ll be shipping their first frames in May/June. I’m getting in line for one TODAY.
Words & photos by Justin Gresh
check out http://www.yeticycles.com/#/ourrides/ASR_7/WHITE/