Summer has already reared its beautiful head in the Roaring Fork Valley, and one of the few benefits of a lackluster snow year and above-average temperatures is that you can take your mountain bike out of storage just a wee bit earlier this year. Diehards have been hitting up trails in Carbondale, Fruita and Moab for more than a month already, and the upper valley finally seems poised to join the ranks as the Hunter Creek loop and adjacent trails are just about ready to roll (absent a few downed trees).
And what’s the best tool for the job? Without question, it’s the Yeti AS-R 5 Carbon. Yetis have long been popular around these parts, and the 2012 AS-R 5 proves exactly why. At 4.74 lbs., the carbon frame is lighter than most of the cross-country bikes on the market, but its five inches of travel is beefy enough to make it a true all-mountain rig. But climbing is this bike’s forte, and it lived up to its reputation by making the ride up Struggler seem more like the Mill Street hill.
Here are some stats: high modulus, carbon fiber front and rear triangle; tapered head tube; compatible with 140 mm or 120 mm forks; internal cable routing on swing arm; bolt-on cable guides throughout frame; and optional dropouts for 135 or 142 mm by 12 mm quick release.
The AS-R 5 is often compared to the Yeti 575, but the two are very different bikes. The AS-R 5 rides more like a souped-up cross-country bike, likened to a sports car suspension. This stiffer mid stroke suspension creates an efficient ride whether going uphill or downhill, where you feel the trail undulations and curves underneath you more. In contrast, the 575 has a very plush feeling in the mid-stroke, designed to smooth out the trail and provide a comfortable ride in rocky and adverse conditions. But honestly, you couldn’t go wrong with either. All I know is that from the moment I mounted my Yeti, I vowed never to hop on my old bike again.
Get Your Own:
Ute City Cycles in Aspen
231 East Main St., 970-920-3325
Starting at: $3,500