I think it's only fitting that for my 100th post I review one of the most recognizable and in my humble opinion one of the coolest mountain bikes of the mid 90s. The Yeti A.R.C.
Yeti team riders like Furtado, Deaton, Rockwell, Grewal, Giove just to name a few all scored major victories between 1992 and 1995 while racing on the A.R.C. and the A.R.C.-AS variants. Furtado winning the 90 XC worlds, the 92 DH worlds (Thanks for the correction Mike) along with numerous world cup stages along the way. Deaton won the 92 DH worlds on an A.R.C.-AS, Rockwell and Giove both got 3rds at the 93 worlds and it goes from there. In short you could not attend a big race even in the early 90s and not be overwhelmed by the team riding the bike with the turquoise dart up front and the thick letters A.R.C. in the back.
Riding this bike definitely makes you feel like you are in the traveling in the company of legends, even if your tired and fat ass can barely get up the hill.
This bike is nothing short of fantastic. For starters it's light, really light! Even by modern standards this ~24 lbs rig still fares very well today and there is still weight to be trimmed if I really wanted to. Light weigh and structural rigidity make the A.R.C. a prolific climber and enable very quick acceleration out of the corners on the downhills. But let's wait to talk about that. The relatively steep 71*head tube angle is another reason why the A.R.C. is such a good climber and also makes the bike very responsive. The 73* seat tube angle pushes the rider forward for good out of the saddle sprint capability while not compromising seated climbing efficiency. With the nose pointed down hill the bike feels very stable and easy to maneuver on fast and tight sections of singletrack. It feels very planted even at high speed and it's relatively easy to move around on in order to place more weigh over the front wheel in fast turns to dial out a bit of understeer or conversely to lean back and lock up the rear to induce oversteer. Even under full lock (not easy to do with the Graftons in my experience) the bike still felt very much under control and pointed in the right direction.
Killer view from the cockpit!!
As far as my bike goes it still needs a bit of dialing in. The UN91 bottom bracket needs to be replaced with a slightly longer unit as the cranks touch the chain stays under heavy load. The finicky Grafton brakes need some more dialing in to get the sort of crisp response I've gotten used to with the M900 units on the my Adroit. Aside from that the ride is fantastic, even with the crappy (by today's standards) Manitou 2 fork up front. This specific ARC is set up pretty much like Furtado or Grewal's bikes from back in the day. Like Juli I'm riding with a Smoke in the back and a Porc up front. Today, the smoke was a killer for traction but the Porc struggled for grip during the descent on the hard pack fire road of Brown mountain, it is pretty tired though. A short tune up tomorrow and I hope to get out for another ride at Palos Verdes to get into some tighter single track and more varied terrain.
All in all I'm still overwhelmed by the feelings riding this bike evokes. The classic gray/turquoise livery is second to none, the 3DV accents and fancy CNC bits make it that much cooler, and the ride... THE FANTASTIC RIDE!!!
With three more of these in the proverbial oven I may just have to start my own Yeti racing team... anyone want to try out??