Ed Hornsby test rides the full-suspension Yeti ASR 5 Carbon at Cannock Chase and gives both bike and trail top marks.
"A few weeks ago I was invited to try out some of the mountain bike trails in Cannock Chase with Drew, from the Whitwell store. I'm quite keen on cycling, and since selling my car, now cycle daily either to college, work or just to get out of the house and explore. Despite being well experienced at cycling on roads and trails, the cycling involved at Cannock Chase on the day was massively different to anything that I'd ever done before.
The first thing which surprised me was the location of the trails; having never visited Cannock Chase before, the sheer amount of forest cover and beautiful scenery was astounding, and knowing that somewhere hidden in this place was a purpose-built mountain bike trail was really quite exciting. When we arrived at the car park, I had the first proper look at the bike that I would be riding, which Drew had kindly brought along for me to test ride for the day, being that it was very unlikely that my day to day bike would have managed even the first section of the trails.
The bike I used was the Yeti ASR 5 Carbon. As my knowledge of bikes is extremely limited, the first things that I noticed was that the bike looked awesome, and also very expensive, which worried me just a tad. Thankfully Drew reassured me that it was very unlikely that I'd break it, as it was designed for just the sort of terrain we'd be biking on. Drew then set the bike up correctly for the track's terrain, which included setting the seat at the correct height for me, changing the stiffness of the suspension and making sure the tyres were at a low-ish pressure to aid grip. I was then shown how to work the gears and how to position myself correctly (something that I found very important for going over jumps).
When I first got on the bike for a little test ride around the car park, I was shocked to how much I could feel a difference between this bike and my own. For a start the brakes worked really well, stopping the bike dead if fully on. The gears also worked flawlessly, cleanly clicking into gear without delay, with no grinding or chain slipping or any of the symptoms I commonly experience with my own bike. Once I had more or less got the hang of riding the bike on the flat surface, it was now time to go onto the trail, which started off with relatively easy riding, though very different to what I was used to. One of the first things to ride over was a raised wooden platform taking the trail over more rough ground. Because of my relative inexperience I went over this part quite slowly, though after a few more minutes of riding, similar parts of the trail seemed to be much easier and faster.
The bike handled the terrain flawlessly, making even the roughest and most difficult bits comfortable and enjoyable, it seemed only to be my experience and technique which let me down on some parts. Some of the steep downhill sections required me to position myself on the bike correctly and maintain speed so that I wouldn't fall over the front of the handlebars, though on a few occasions I instinctively slowed right down and didn't shift my weight correctly, resulting in me slowly falling off and on one occasion coming off at full speed. Fortunately I didn't do any major damage to either me or the bike and was able to continue after catching my breath. After a few minutes following my big crash I was able to regain my confidence and pick up some more speed again, though was still trailing way behind Drew's usual pace, but fortunately he slowed down to guide me round the course and give me a heads up about any obstacles in my path (which was greatly appreciated!)
Despite having a few crashes and on some cases having to dismount the bike to get down the some of the really steep parts (like the Werewolf drop) it was altogether a really great experience, providing me with a insight into the world of mountain biking in which I had very little experience before. Going from cycling primarily on roads to using a full suspension mountain bike on terrain of this sort was definitely very challenging but nonetheless really fun and exciting, and I'd recommend the sport and also the Yeti ASR5 Carbon that I used to anyone after a thrilling and active cycling experience.
You can test ride this Yeti, and a wide range of top brand bikes, from any of our stores. And if you don't like locally, we'll post a demo bike out to you - for full info, see our Test Ride page.