The carbon-fiber version of a classic Yeti model embodies the brand’s racing spirit, and ignited our testers’ inner competitive fires.
Yeti ARC Carbon Race
Final Take: A dream race machine for cross-country fanatics.
The ARC is perhaps Yeti's most venerable model, with roots that trace back to 1992, when the sub-4-pound 'Alloy Racing Composite' frame was first introduced.
The ARC retains many of the characteristics that earned it a lightweight racing reputation more than two decades ago. At 2.6 pounds, the frame weighs a full pound less than the last alloy iteration. It now comes as a 29er in sizes medium through extra large or 27.5-inch wheels for extra small and small—a smart decision that ensures the best possible fit for a variety of riders.
This bike is fast, efficient and climbed up and over the repeated rock step-up ledges on Sedona's Llama and Templeton trails supremely well. The tires stuck tightly to the ground during the brief out-of-the-saddle bursts required to power up the repeated short, steep inclines. Wheel size was out-of-sight, out-of-mind while playing on slickrock and other trailside features.
Pedaling the super-stiff ARC is a reminder of what it's like to ride technical trails without the crutch of plush rear suspension. You have to be on your game to avoid getting bounced all over the trail like a rag doll. Riding this bike requires finesse and above-average handling skills to keep the rear end from skipping around and deflecting from the bike's line.
The Race's kit comes with an excellent selection of components: Shimano XT 2×10 drivetrain, Fox CTD 32 Kashima-coated 100 fork, XT brake levers, DT Swiss 350/XM wheels and a Thomson Elite seatpost. Our picky side would prefer routing for a dropper post and a tubeless or tubeless-ready wheel setup.
It is also available in an X01 build for the same price; a somewhat more affordable Enduro build for $3,400; or the XTR Pro for $6,500. –Nicole Formosa