Yeti 303 WC - Eurobike 2011

Sep 6, 2011
by Mike Levy  
Yeti 303WC

Yeti's 303 WC may be a new machine, but it is very clearly just an evolutionary step away from some of their previous designs. The new bike features a number of changes, including the addition of fork bumpers that are integrated into the frame and a tweaked rear suspension configuration - more on that below - but the gram counters will be jumping for joy to learn that Yeti has managed to remove nearly two pounds of material from the frame compared to the 303 RDH - a whopping number. How did they do it? The answer lies in the 303 WC's frame tubing that is drastically lighter than what Yeti has used for their past downhill bikes. All this means that Yeti will be discontinuing their well liked 303 RDH in favour of the new WC, a bike that has been in development for two full seasons now.

Yeti 303 WC details:

• Replaces the 303 RDH for 2012
• Rear wheel travel: 8.25"
• More linear, but steeper, shock rate for better small bump compliance and heavier bottom out resistance
• Vertical wheel path (303 RDH had curved path) via the single upright rail
• Frame weight: 9.9 lbs (303 RDH weighed 11.5 lbs)
• Scheduled for February production
• MSRP: $3000 USD


Yeti 303WC

Unlike the 303 RDH, who's horizontal rail controlled the suspension rate and a single main pivot determined the bike's wheel path, the 303 WC makes use of a vertical rail that dictates its axle path. The swingarm is mounted to a shuttle (left) that travels up and down on the rail as the bike goes through its travel, making for a vertical axle path that differs greatly from the 303 RDH's curved trajectory. Notice the shuttle's grease nipple that allows you to purge the bearings of any contaminates and fill it with new lubricant. The rail is bolted to the front of the bike's square shaped seat tube (right) via two bolts. While Yeti made no reference to it, they could conceivably use rails that are set at different angles to the seat tube in order to alter the 303 WC's wheel path, adding yet another tuning element to the bike.

Yeti 303WC

The bike's suspension uses two different design elements - the vertical rail and the linkage activated shock - that Yeti says allows them to tune the wheel path (controlled by the rail) and the suspension rate (controlled by the linkage) separately from each other. Yeti no longer mounts the Fox DHX RC4 to the upper link as seen on previous designs, with the rearward shock mount connected via a CNC'd extension on the new 303 WC. This piece effectively lengthens the shock, allowing it to be bolted in place where it would have otherwise been difficult to do, and helps to create a more linear and progressive stroke as per the team rider's requests. On the trail this translates to both more small bump compliance added bottom out resistance.

Yeti 303WC

Yeti has built this nifty main pivot cover on the non-drive side of the 303 WC that not only makes for smooth lines, but also keeps the mud buildup to a minimum and protects the bearing from the elements. The is the pivot that attaches the swingarm to the rail mounted shuttle, allowing it to both rotate on the sealed bearing pivot and also travel up and down vertically on the rail.

Yeti 303WC

The 303 WC frame and shock weigh in nearly two pounds lighter than what the 303 RDH was sitting at, 9.9 lbs versus 11.5 lbs. This difference certainly brings the new WC more in line on the scales with some of its competition, and it shouldn't be too difficult to have a completely built 303 WC sitting well under 40 lbs without having to resort to a questionable build. No, weight isn't everything, but there is no denying that it is a bonus to be able to put together a reasonably light bike that you know will last and stand up to some abuse throughout the season.

Yeti 303WC

Yeti has decided to make the smart move of using integrated fork bumpers on the new bike. This means that, unlike standard bumpers that are on the fork's stanchion tubes, these will always be in the correct position to protect the frame when the worst does happen, as well as making it easier for mechanics to slide the fork tubes out of the crowns without having to deal with troublesome bumpers. The front of the bike also sees a change to accept integrated headsets within its tapered head tube, letting you get those bars as low as you desire.

Yeti 303WC

There is a lot going on with the new 303 WC, but you can't forget about its iconic head tube badge.


Visit the Yeti website to see their entire lineup.


134 Comments

  • 44 5
 It doesnt look as good as the old 303 but 2 pounds of the frame...Thats impressive and its not even Carbon fibre
  • 24 60
flag gypsyonwheels (Sep 6, 2011 at 0:42) (Below Threshold)
 The bike is pure beauty but it being 11.5 Lbs its just amazing!! Oh and the price as well $3000 damn I think thats a good price for this bike! Big Grin
  • 37 1
 It's 9.9 lbs, the old one was 11,5.
  • 9 1
 Love them saying you could build one under 40lbs, my 2007 303 with a 15lb frame is under 40lbs with no real lightweight parts!
  • 3 11
flag alex-DH-life (Sep 6, 2011 at 3:20) (Below Threshold)
 It be funny to see the new SB 33 and the Yeti 303 WC next to each other
  • 36 8
 in mountain bikes nothing is a good price, i mean just compare it say dirt bikes and just look at how much more technology, engineering and stuff you get for your money, its stupidly marked up from cost price
  • 17 2
 @Downhill340
Dude are you kidding (i know, personal opinion and all) but this one looks sooooo nice, heaps better than the old one
  • 9 2
 a bit to black in my opinion ... but thats just me
  • 34 0
 only on Pinkbike could 1.6 lbs = "nearly two pounds"......keep it real
  • 5 0
 @ razor - that is for the frame only, not the complete bike.

@ chaz- my 08 303 frame, dhx with ti spring was 13 lbs, not sure where you are getting 15. and mine had a WC, ti spring, WTB hubs, gravity light cranks, tubeless, ti seat, xt components, and a dura ace ti cassette and i was BARELY sub 40.

i just hope this one doesn't dent upon itself like the 08's did, and if so i hope that YETI actually stands behind their product this time, because buying a WC level dh frame and having it flex to the point of bending under its own forces to only have YETI say "that's not a design flaw, we aren't going to do anything about it" is a bummer.
  • 1 0
 With alot of other bike companies mounting the rear shock lower in the frame I wonder how this compares. Being lighter will help that cause I guess.
  • 2 1
 Now I'm just worried about how a 13+ LB frame bents or flexes :L
  • 2 1
 Man... That means that for the same price I bought my Intense M9 frame 1 month ago, I could have bought this one instead!!!! Suiciiiiide
  • 1 0
 @Jasez Yeh just personal opinion I guess I find the older one more attracting.

If everyone liked the same bikes there would only be one bike manufacturer in the world.

I still love the look of it though
  • 4 0
 Meh stop complaining. I'd have it
  • 1 0
 meathooker, the 07 frame with regular shock and spring is around 6.7kg, the 08 was a little bit lighter, but had that issue with the top tube folding. yeti sent frame to the aerospace industry and no one could figure why they where doing it! they where a bit shit with warranty stuff then tbh, ams till struggling to get bearings for mine. check my build, just sub 40 i swear Smile
  • 5 1
 @ MrNottingham
Motorcycles are standing on decades of development. When you consider the innovation in bikes since 2000 against the innovation in motorcycles across the board bikes have motos beat. Plus you can't pay the bicycle engineers any less than the motorcycle engineers.
Consider the small time cycle manufacturers. They make rigs at the cheapest they can to compete and still their bikes cost more than the big brand name equivalent. They aren't inflating prices. It is just really expensive to go through the whole process.
Now I can believe that some stuff is inflated. Chains and plastic bash guards are super cheap to make once you own the machines to make them, but other parts are so expensive it levels out.
  • 1 0
 @bikounet, you really think this is that much, or even any better than an M9 that you are upset you bought the M9? You made an excellent choice, stand by it.
  • 2 0
 Holy shit, they totally copied the guys who invented the bike.
  • 2 1
 Sorry guys I said the wrong weight.
  • 1 0
 @ninjatarian I'm not really upset, that was my reaction on the moment, but when I think about it, my M9 works good so it doesn't matter... :d
  • 6 3
 Can we please stop talking about frame bump stops as though they're something new. Yeh they're a neat feature and nice to have on a bike, but they've been around for so long now on several different bikes, think its time to stop using them as a selling point...
  • 2 0
 Yeah, I remeber mtn cycle having them in like99ish.
  • 2 1
 well it is a pretty big deal considering all DH bikes should have them IMO because the rubber bumpers on the fork do nothing except save the paint but still dent your down tube and cause a weak spot in your frame. Not to mention this WHOLE article is talking about how the WC is different to the RDH so why wouldn't they mention them?
  • 1 2
 Ive had a few big crashes and I cant say ive ever put any dents in my downtube
  • 1 0
 ok, well for me I'd rather them be there and not need them instead of crashing and denting my downtube leading to stess on my headtube and stuck with a frame that won't be replaced under warranty... but hey that's just me, not wanting to spend more than I have to...
  • 3 0
 I'm ok with advertisment in web pages, but your's one of COC is totally abusive with no respect at all for your followers You guys are going the ebaum's way from a cool webpage to a void flash animated billboard with annoying pop ups Greed is a good way to ruin good efforts cheers
  • 3 0
 I have adblocker on firefox so I didn't even know there was an ad. Makes me glad to know i missed out.
  • 8 2
 Holy Cow My God thats sexy.
  • 4 0
 I'd be dubious of loosing 2 pounds on a yeti frame when they can't seem to stop them cracking as it is, mind you that could just be down to the welding
  • 2 0
 I like it. yeti's bikes are always nice. I remember I payed 2200 for my dh9 back in the day. Their designs of frames are always nice. And bumb stops are a nice feature.keep up the good work guys. I'm a yeti fan
  • 4 0
 Is it just me, or does that look VERY VERY NICE!!!
  • 1 0
 its an art + knowledge , relocate the LM guide to a very different location, meaning almost the entire design have to start from scratch ... mind blowing
  • 4 0
 Give it a month or two, and it will be carbon.
  • 3 1
 I see a lot of cracked frames in yetis future considering how many RDH frames I've seen with cracks in them but I could be wrong they might last
  • 1 0
 where do they crack??
  • 1 0
 Actually, Yeti have been testing this bike quite solidly for at least 2 years and have failed to crack a frame. This bike has all the refinements that have been tested out over those years.
  • 1 0
 I have a RDh and have never seen a crack on it, just scratches which all bikes get. It was the DH that got the birdbath things in the top tube up by the steer tube.
  • 4 4
 i really feel Yeti is wasting their time with that Rail suspension... I cant imagine how it must feel like in the mud. If you have a mechanic tuning and greasing your bike after every run, it probably isn't a problem but for the weekend warriors like myself, this system just isn't an option...
  • 6 0
 ... and you're not even from the sunny U.K Razz
  • 4 0
 It would be sweet to have a tech tuning your bike after every run. But greasing the rail after every ride....not run, is similar to lubing and cleaning your chain. Might be one extra step but its imo easier then cleaning and lubing a chain. And as for the mud, there are no troubles, its still silky smooth as the love guru would say.
  • 2 0
 It's just part of the regular maintenance for that frame, just like anyother bike that needs to be checked once in a while. It's in the same categorie as lubing your chain and doing a little fork rebuild AT LEAST once a season and checking everything on your bike to make sure it's all good. If people are too lazy to do so, I'd hate to see how badly beat up some bikes are.
  • 1 2
 Well guys, my bike has zero maintenance... the only thing of course is the fork once a season and the chain, every weekend like every other bike... I do not have to grease my pivots, ever. It seems to me that the rail, once crudded good must squeal and scratch no? Here in Bromont, Quebec, we have a fair share of muddy days, probably similar to the weather in the UK... Also, keep in mind that I have never seen one to compare with my truly silky smooth V3 so I'm guestimating here...
  • 1 3
 i wouldnt mind seeing how those rails last, a year or 2 down the track will you just have to replace the rail or will still be working smooth. id be thinking replacing something like that would probably have some ridiculously high price tag.
  • 3 0
 Your right I don't live in Quebec or the UK where conditions my be worse, but Ive raced multiple times in the pouring rain where one min into a race run your bike is ten lbs heavier. I also ride through the winter in snow and mud. Ive had the bike a year and a half and the rail is still perfect. In the winter I grease the rail every ride, the summer time id do it maybe every 3rd to 5th ride. And I do a yearly tear down and complete clean(not rebuild). I spend all this money on a bike, you bet I'm going to do regular maintenance. And as to this day my rail system is like new and running smoothly. Its never sqealed or scratched either within the conditions I have ran it threw. If the day comes when I have to replace the rail.....I would imagine it would be rather spendy, id probably just buy a new frame first though Smile .
  • 2 0
 I have the 2011 Yeti 303 rdh and have raced in terrible conditions and my rail is working amazingly. Sure at the end of a hard day's riding you need to take a minute and lube the rail but it is no big deal. It really disapoints me how everybody doubts Yeti's Linear Rail Technology but I can't change your opinion.
  • 2 0
 You know, we all used to think it was essential to run booties on our forks, too. It's amazing how far seal technology has come.
  • 1 1
 Amazing that people in the industry, that test bikes don't even know this:

Linear suspension means that the rate of change to the shock rate does not change. Progressive means the shock rate increases as you move through the travel.

You can have a perfectly linear and very progressive shock rate curve.
  • 1 1
 Wrong. A linear spring rate needs, for example, 100lb of force to compress the first inch, and an additional 100lb to compress every following inch. A progressive rate needs, for example, 100lb for the first inch, plus 120lb for the second, plus 140lb for the third, plus180lb for the forth, and so on.
  • 3 0
 You're confusing spring rate with suspension rate. Your definition of a linear "spring" and a progressive "spring" is correct but we are talking about suspension rates here. Go to Yeti's web site and they do a good job of explaining what most seem to be confused by.
  • 3 0
 I suppose it would help if I added that a 400# spring has a constant spring rate which is be definition linear. Your example of a progressive spring is a good example of a progressive non-linear spring. If the spring changed to + 160 rather than + 180 for the 4" it would be a good example of a progressive linear spring.
  • 2 0
 I stand (or rather, sit) corrected.
  • 4 1
 frames are getting more expensive by the year...its really a shame
  • 2 0
 I know, i wanted to buy a Norco Range 2600$ CND for the frame (aluminium) what the *&%, the same designed frame for women 1800$, i dot't get it, you can buy a full carbon frame for that price. Norco=$$$$$$.
  • 7 1
 Only the expensive frames are getting expensive. You can get really really nice frames for a lot less, even at MSRP. The new specialized status, demo alu, trek session alu, GIANT, the list goes on. There's tons of much cheaper bikes. This argument is getting tiresome as people keep looking at expensive bikes and saying they are expensive, no duh.
  • 7 2
 You pay more for hand made bikes, just like you do handmade anything else. Mass produced bikes will always be cheaper. Same with anything made overseas, by 12 year old kids.
  • 4 0
 I'm really sick of people thinking that overseas production means child labour. It doesn't. Period. It's ignorant.
  • 3 1
 Werd. Its cool to be proud buying American frames, but saying welders in Taiwan are kids or not up to par, just isnt fair.
  • 2 0
 well, im pretty sure knife in the dark was just kidding.
  • 7 0
 I was kidding, I know 12 year olds don't make bikes, they make shoes. As a generalization most products produced overseas, are cheaper, because of lax labor(or labour for you euros)and enviormental regulation. The second half of that pertains more to bikes than that of child labor.
  • 3 1
 "they make shoes" - I feel much better for my bike parts after you said it, was just on my way to the confessional, the visit will be a bit shorter. I will just confess the assumed number of women brutally raped in Congo in process of mining the particular bits of tin & gold for my IPhone

chzholidays.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/epic-fail-holiday-photos-only-one-week-until-labor-day-made-in-china-usa-hard-hat.jpg
  • 2 0
 Yup, It's nearly impossible to not somehow contribute to the exploitation of emerging and 3rd world countries. Gotta love globalization and "free trade".
  • 1 0
 the welders in taiwan are just as good as the welders in america, its only welding not space ship design.
  • 2 1
 yup, because lots of them are robots Big Grin
  • 2 1
 that bike's rear wheel does not have a vertical path, the upper link does not allow that to be possible, in order to be vertical itwould need to rails being parallel
  • 3 0
 It's not vertical, but it's really really close. What you're not seeing is that the a pivot on the rail starts at a higher level than the rear axl. As the wheel actuates around the pivot sliding up the rail (this would make a rearward wheel path alone) the swing link pulls the swing arm forward to compensate for rear ward travel and at the same time drives the shock. If you look at the graphic on yeti's website it's easier to understand.
  • 1 0
 that sounds about right, is not VERTICAL, it is almost, vertical.
  • 1 2
 This is ridiculous. Yeti comes out with a new bike frame every week. Not to mention last time yet "shaved a pound off the 303 frame weight" between the '08 and '09 model, the head tube cracked and folded because the weight savings came from removing gussets from the inside of the frame. Not impressed.
  • 1 0
 I have one on order for the mid of feb, GET IN, BANG TIDY!!! Counting the hours minutes, seconds HURRY UP!!!!!!!!! Get off my hose...
  • 2 0
 $3k Eek But still, sick.
  • 2 0
 Grips only!
  • 2 0
 the 25th anniversery one was £4200 for the frame, i like this cheaper one Smile
  • 2 1
 Does it come with a LIFE time warranty, it should at that price.
  • 1 0
 Yeah hope they say the lifetime of the frame is 5 years, haha.
  • 1 0
 Looks very nice. Does anyone know whether this will be made in Tiawan or the States???
  • 1 1
 Looks like I'll be getting a new frame this spring.. better get those orders in fast.. I guarantee these will be on a huge wait list.
  • 2 1
 "helps to create a more linear and progressive stroke" - Really ? Which is it, since it surely can't be both ?
  • 5 0
 It absolutely can be both... Linear just means it progresses at the same rate throughout the travel, as opposed to progressive non-linear bikes where the progression gets more (or less) drastic throughout the travel. Basically it means that the progression will be smooth and predictable, it wont all of a sudden go from soft to super stiff in the last 3 inches of travel or something.
  • 1 3
 Linear suspension means that the shock rate is the SAME throughout the travel. Progressive stroke means that the shock rate increases as you move through the travel. What is confusing is that when bike companies plot shock rate vs. travel the curve often looks like a straight line, which folks often misinterpret as a "linear" stroke. The wording in the article is a bit confusing.
  • 1 2
 ^ thanks Tim
  • 1 0
 How does the vertical shock bolt work? wouldnt it put a lot of stress just on that bolt and linkage?
  • 1 0
 nope, and they work like this

www.pinkbike.com/video/198806

Smile
  • 1 0
 very good looking bikes, I'm still a commencal fan, but they better have somewhere in whistler to demo it for a day! Big Grin
  • 1 0
 my new bike enough said i love my 303r and this takes what i love and makes it even better
  • 1 0
 Willing to trade my left ball for that.. Damn.. They get sleeker every generation..
  • 1 1
 The truth is, as said above, it resembles the Transition TR450
In any case, the bike is cannon!

Transition TR450: www.transitionbikes.com/images/TR450V1_1.jpg
  • 1 0
 I wish I could dump that much on just a frame right now... WOW!!!
  • 1 0
 for that kinda money it better be made in the states
  • 1 1
 i know they are completely different bikes, but that top tube makes me picture a nuke proof scalp
  • 1 1
 Dude you trippin. The top tube is completely different on the Scalp?!
  • 1 1
 you ve got nice crack on your hood Wink
  • 2 1
 Bike porn begins! Yeti is always became everyone's dream bike.. XD
  • 2 0
 Looks like a Yeti.
  • 1 0
 new style,and pivot settings
  • 1 0
 frame looks like an AM frame nice! + intergrated fork bumpers great
  • 1 0
 looks amazing, that machining on the linkage is fit
  • 1 0
 nice bike but Why not show the soda !!!?
  • 1 0
 I Heard its being Made in Tiawan.
  • 1 0
 Make a carbon one of these and you have the nicest dh bike ever
  • 1 0
 3K for complete bike? or just frameset?
  • 1 0
 The top tube ruins the bike IMO.
  • 2 1
 looks like a beefy Jamis BAM hahaha
  • 3 0
 I doubt the Yeti engineers picked a frame out of a Taiwanese catalog...while blindfolded.
  • 1 0
 Bollocks just brought the RDH! Sod 2lbs mine looks cooler!
  • 1 0
 greatest bike on the planet. so sweet
  • 1 1
 this or the GT fury in fluorescent yellow and blue... pleased leave a comment saying which one u guys like better
  • 2 2
 GT Fury by a landslide
  • 1 0
 oh, wait it's 3000 for just the frame ? nvm then GT it is :L
  • 1 0
 got word from Yeti and they haven't set a price for the 303WC frame yet!
  • 1 0
 Look's like it's pretty damn good! I like it!
  • 1 0
 awesome! available in "classic" yeti colors as well?
  • 1 0
 WC。。
  • 1 0
 Sign me up!
  • 1 0
 3000 for the frame?
  • 1 2
 to be honest i dont like it. dosent look like a yeti bike and way worse than the last few frame styles
  • 1 0
 I want one
  • 1 0
 Nope,,Anthony Messere
  • 1 0
 luvv that yeti logo!
  • 1 0
 love Yeti
  • 1 1
 nice frame...
  • 1 1
 oh, GOD!
  • 2 2
 ditch the slide bar!!!
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