Yeti 303R-DH - Review

Nov 10, 2009
by Jordan Holmes  
In the 303R-DH preview we gave you all of the information and facts about the 303R-DH, however we left you hanging when it came to information on how it rides. Looks and technology only come into play so much when you're looking into purchasing a bike, and most riders will find themselves asking other riders what they think of this bike or that bike. In order to skip you having to talk to your best friend's, sister's, boyfriend's dad who has an old Yeti, I am going to tell you exactly what my impressions of the Yeti 303R-DH were.

Video and details inside,In my time spent on the 303R-DH I have had more people ask me what I thought about it, what I think about the rail, and how I afforded this machine than any other test bike that I have had the opportunity to ride. My answer for the first question is simple, I never got a chance to ride the 303-DH, but Yeti's Zero Loss Technology seems really effective, and unique compared to other suspension systems. I'd go further to explain its cornering abilities, and how the eccentric shock mount allows me to adjust angles as well as lengths, and not affect the suspension's motion at all. A 'tunable beast out of a box' is what I would refer to it as, and finish by letting them know I've enjoyed every minute.

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When I first saw the 303R-DH I was excited with the fact I finally got to ride a Yeti. The rail suspension design is something that always struck me as different, but still very effective at providing a fixed shock rate. I always wondered what it would be like to ride, with such a 'high tech' design for such a 'low tech' machine, the bicycle. Don't get me wrong we have come a long way, but Yeti always struck me as slightly ahead of the game in the technology department. That being said when I first slung a leg over the 303R-DH I was pleasantly surprised by how at home it felt. The high single pivot design has proven itself effective in the aid of pedal bob in the past, and with sealed cartridge bearings at all the pivots, the suspension's motion felt flawless, and was accented by the Fox RC4 rear shock. My 303R-DH came pre-built in the 64.5 degree head tube option, the setting I wanted to try it in first. Once the seat height was adjusted correctly I felt comfortable right off the bat. The standover height was sufficient at 29.5 inches for my medium, wheelbase was slightly shorter at roughly 45.5 inches for that 'nimble' feeling, and the top tube length was spot on at 23.5 inches. After some minor tweaks component wise it was time to hit the trails.


The first ride on the 303R-DH for me was at one of the most physically demanding hills around, Whistler Bike Park. Now you may laugh, but doing run after run, jump after jump, stutter bumped out berm after another, your body gets beat, and your bike gets beat. But it's an awesome place to do testing, and tweaking due to its lift access, and vast trail network. After a couple setup runs I had the Fox 40 RC2 fork and the RC4 rear shock dialed in, and ready to roll. I like my suspension served light on the low speed compression, and medium on the high speed. I like my rebound medium, and my pre-load to be minor. The adjustability, and sensitivity of both dampers was effective in adjusting my suspension to exactly what I wanted. After getting my suspension setup the bike felt fast, and active. Yeti works a fair amount in conjunction with Fox Suspension and I honestly could tell. The 303R-DH performed flawlessly with the Fox RC4 rear shock, and the Fox 40 RC2 front fork. The Zero Loss system was effective at providing good ground contact, and control at speed, and it added a level of confidence. Whistler's notorious stutter bumps were eliminated by the minimal low speed compression, while the larger bumps, jumps, and drops were dampened well by the high speed compression. Everything felt inline, and dialed in, which is a nice feeling to have your first time on a bike. After a day of trail riding fun I left Whistler with a smile on my face.

Once I was back home and riding more often, more and more characteristics of the 303R-DH became evident. As stated earlier its high single pivot design helped it pedal well, and the adjustability of the suspension allowed me to adjust to a more pedal friendly setting if need be. It was noticeable that the 303R-DH was really good at cornering as well, and the tires accented its abilities. Its smaller wheelbase, and central weight design helps it tuck into corners well, and get good pop out of them. The Minion DH tires proved to be very effective in dry, and wet conditions. The Maxxis Minion tires have been known to be really effective tires in any condition and this test period gave them a chance to touch down on some varied terrain styles. The compound used on the Minion tire allowed me to run excessive pressure for the conditions, while the Super Tacky compound helped me stay rubber side down.

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Along the way many fellow riders brought up a good note, how does the rail work in muddy, or dust conditions? The rail system is constantly lubricated using a grease carriage, however grease is a great substance for dust to stick to, and mud tends to get everywhere. Not once during my whole test on the Yeti 303R-DH did I feel any restriction, or resistance from the rail system, period. With its central location on the frame, the rail was hidden from the elements for the most part. I never caught my pants, or even touched it with my body, or any garment that I could tell. It's compact and effective design kept the dirt out, the rail lubed, and the Yeti running perfect.

Through out my time spent on the 303R-DH it saw dry, wet, rocky, loamy, fast, and tight trails. It saw blown out berms, railed berms, raked berms, ladder jumps, dirt jumps, no jumps, and make shift jumps. During this time I tried as a rider to put myself in awkward situations, and put the bike in as many dodgy lines as possible too. This meant a couple good crashes, a couple close calls, but a whole lot of good memories. No matter where I took the Yeti it felt right at home, it felt like you were in control as a rider. The bike felt low slung and fast, but not too low to the ground. With the correct amount of sag adjusted you could be quick on the gun to pedal, or pumping as hard as you can into the same corner, and both situations would feel natural and effect you in a positive way.

I allowed a couple fellow testers to ride the 303R-DH to get a second opinion and many common thoughts were shared. First off, the Zero Loss Suspension System worked very well in conjunction with the shocks that were spec'd on the bike. Second, the eccentric shock mount proved to be very functional, and the bike rode great in all 3 settings, 64, 64.5, and 65. Each setting adjusted bottom bracket height accordingly as well, with a range of 13.85 to 14.35 inches. The last comment was usually more of a question, "Why does it have a steer tube mounted stem?". Many riders felt as Yeti is known to be a "racer's bike", it should have been spec'd with a direct mount stem. I was on the fence about this, as the steer tube option allowed for an amount of adjustment for bar height, however I cannot deny the fact that direct mount stems are nice, and it would have been my choice in this case.


The paint scheme on the 303R-DH looks fast, and bold. The paint is high gloss and deep, but not so resistant to scratches (we covered the frame in 3M). The rear triangle was coated in a black matte paint that was textured to the touch and tended to have a dirty appearance. It isn't the kind of paint you can wipe dirt off of, you really have to wash it. The bold Yeti graphics are prominent, but not oversized in relation to the top, and down tubes, and a subtle "Hand Built - Race Bred" decal is placed on the down tube for added flare. Nice touches in the graphics department include the single arrow on the lower paint split, and the Yeti man on the top tube.


There are a few things I want to note about my time spent on the 303R-DH before I wrap things up. When I got handed the bike a rule was made, no tail gate shuttles (this was the Editor's rule, not Yeti or Calgary Cycle). The 303R-DH has cables routed on the down tube portion of the bike, meaning that they could potentially get wrecked during a shuttle run. Would like to have seen different cable routing. The Fox RC4 rear shock was awesome, and performed flawlessly, however its high speed compression adjustment required you to use an Allen key to adjust it - tough if you are not rocking a pack on rides. And last but not least, on the drive side of the bike, where the seat stay portion of the rear triangle connects with the swing arm, the bolt wanted to back out. I tried lock tite, but it seemed to rattle loose during hard rides.

All the questions that I had in my head about how a Yeti rail bike rode, and how their unique suspension system worked have been answered in the time I spent on the 303R-DH. I was very pleased with the overall construction, appearance, and ride that it provided me with, and I would highly suggest the 303R-DH to anyone in the market for an active, adjustable, and reliable DH race bike. With a Canadian MSRP of $6300 the price tag is a little high, but I feel that the ride, and the overall construction and build of the 303R-DH is worth the money. For more information check out Yeti Cycles.com In Canada, check out Calgary Cycle.com for more info on all things Yeti. We'd like to thank them for providing the 303R-DH for this long term test.


91 Comments

  • + 12
 Yetis are soooo coool....
  • + 10
 i wish i could afford that
  • + 6
 the review seemed a bit biased or lacking in certain areas. would have liked to hear about how it handled hard braking, how heavy it was, and how those mavic crosslines held up.
  • + 1
 Welcome to Pinkbike. The reviews tend to be a bit on the biased side most of the time, due to the fact that most of what they write is fed to them by the PR departments of whatever company they're supposed to be "reviewing." The only honest reviews are the ones by the amateur riders like the Hope brakes review.
  • + 1
 We're also looking forward to a few articles from Seraph as he's got a wealth of knowledge and is rarely not willing to share it Smile That being said, we do appreciate everyone's feed back and try to improve upon items that we missed talking about or are lacking. Thanks.
  • + 1
 I'd be happy to share my knowledge from the 10 years I've been in the bike industry. All you need do is ask, my friend.
  • - 1
 lol 10 isnt that much.
  • - 1
 It is for someone my age.
  • - 2
 10 years....honestly?...stfu!
  • - 1
 Uh yes, 10 years. I started working in shops when I was 15.
  • + 3
 I've ridden a mates 303 and that thing an amazing piece of artwork in the shape of a bike. If the 303 is anything to go by, this lighter and cheaper version should be well worth the dough and they seem to be finding trails in many places so far.
  • + 2
 The way he rides he fully bounces the trail. Actually he's got more bounce than that song. That is the single worst hip hop song I've heard in ages. Wicked riding and wicked vid though. Puttin' that bike on the "someday" list! Smile
  • + 1
 Have a black medium with the 1.5 HT and King HS option on order. Sweet bike, sweet price, race proven. Can't sleep at night. It's not $6300 either but it does have the rc4 and fox 40...the current build is not the one pictured above nor the saint spec on the Yeti site.
  • + 6
 sweeeeeet
  • + 18
 I WANT ONE!
  • + 4
 one of the best bikes around
  • - 2
 if u want a large.. hit me up im puttin mine for sale soon!
  • + 0
 that looks SOOOO AWESOME!
  • + 8
 Hussefelt cranks? Ewww....
  • - 7
flag rideayeti (Nov 10, 2009 at 12:39) (Below Threshold)
 this is great bike but you need to replace the cranks bars and brakes like immidiatly btw mines for sale too. 3750 with upgrades
  • + 1
 is is me or does that guy ride really 'stiff' - its like hes making the bike do all the work, i know its an outstanding bike, but you gotta work too, use your arms and legs as suspension, that way youll be smoother and faster. sick video though!
  • + 1
 K wait... On the product section the price is MSRP like $2500.. and they're saying $6300... and now im being told otherwise again..

Does anyone know an actually price new on one of these?

Gorgeous bike.
  • + 1
 Got to yeticycles.com, the full build is $4500 U.S. and it is decent. Someone keeps mentioning "cracking" but he NEVER says where. I dunno...Some people...I guess they DO go faster in England....please...oh, they do? Oh...sorry, no offense!
  • + 1
 Acadian I haven't mentally complained about my 303r under braking in the rough. I remember it bothered me on my Yeti AS-X, Marin Team DH, and Kona Stab Primo. Don't remember it being a huge issue on the DHR.
  • + 1
 thats because the single pivot dhr (the square one in particular) was perfect lol
  • + 0
 I've gotta say, no offense to any of the parties involved of course, that it is still dissapointing to hear some basic things being overlooked in bike design. Hearing about the crappy paint, hard to clean swingarm, pivot (or whatever it was) coming loose, and stupid cable routing, it just reminds me of all the other flawed DH bikes I've owned. Do the race teams not come back to the factory and say "hey guys, bolts keep backing out, we need to fix that" or "the swingarm is really tough to clean!" Does anybody know of a manufacturer that makes a good, competitive DH frame that doesn't have these irritating problems?
  • + 1
 Unfortunately there are always going to be minor shortcomings on frames, mostly because everyone has different priorities when it comes to their own personal bikes. For instance, I am happy with my Blur 4X because the geometry is comfortable and the suspension works well for the riding that I do where I live. However, others might argue that they dislike the Blur 4X frame because of the poor tire clearance and lack of ISCG mounts.
  • + 1
 I agree, and I'm not saying that it needs to be absolutely perfect for "me", but it seems like everyone would be bothered by lousy paint, right? Also, I can understand a 4X frame not having huge tire clearance, because that type of bike wouldn't normally be used with big tires, but not having ISCG mounts? I thought 4X bikes always had chainguides? That's the sort of thing I'm talking about, what seem to be obvious and logical choices seem to get missed! I'm not saying this is a bad bike, but what manufacturers have made a frame with really solid paint, maybe built in chain slap pads, clever cable routing, easy to access rear axle bolts (I have an RMX, it's a pain), bearings that last etc...?
  • + 1
 I hear you, I'm just trying to spell it out a bit for those who don't get it.
  • - 1
 hey seraph, you trying to put 3" tires on your blur?
I'm glad we have such an expert to clarify all the things we don't get
  • + 2
 bigtard, I never said I was trying to put big tires on my Blur 4X. I run 2.2s and they're great. I have a co-worker who runs 2.5 Dissents on his 4X and there's barely enough room. I know you're mentally retarded, but please try to at least read my posts before commenting.
  • - 1
 Oh sorry, you're right. i didn't really read it that close. that's because most of what you write is bullshit. except for that proprietary spoke thing, that was good.
maybe he should run 4x tires on his 4x bike.
but then again if there's barely enough room, then that means there is room?
once again, thanks for spelling it out for me
Aw c'mon, you know i'm just nerd fishing
ha ha! got ya!
  • + 2
 I'm already thinking that explaining anything to you is a lost cause, but what the hell. I've always got time to be nice to the retards of Pinkbike.

I never said that he used his bike for 4X. Just because the bike is called the "Blur 4X" doesn't mean that's the only thing it's good for. Personally I use mine for XC/AM because it's got slightly more relaxed geometry than the Blur XC and is more heavily gusseted and a bit overbuilt, allowing it to withstand more abusive riding and aggressive handling (kind of like your mom).

There really is no such thing as a "4X tire" anyway.
  • + 5
 looks pretty sick
  • - 1
 aw, it finally comes down to a mom joke eh?
well i can't really dispute that, she is a stockier woman.
but she taught me to stand up against the injustices of the world. so here i am.
making sure stupid people don't get taken too seriously
so watch what you say
  • + 2
 Hey, thanks for picking a fight while we're trying to have a discussion here! How desperate for attention are you? Go away and let the adults talk - oh wait, you're 30. That's...sad.
  • + 0
 The aesthetics remind me of a Devinci Wilson (minus the more complicated linkage design of course). Personally I think the original 303 DH looked better, but it sure was heavy as hell.
  • + 1
 just wondering... but is it me or is that an old 40 on there? didnt know they made gray ones still. either way, sick bike for sure!
  • + 3
 Dear Santa 1. Yeti 303R-DH!!!!!!!!!
  • + 3
 i got the old 303 Smile there really nice to ride and throw around
  • + 2
 Jordan - Nice piece!
Tell me tho, how did the bike behave under hard braking?
  • + 2
 Acadian, Good question. Under hard braking the bike felt like many other DH bikes. It feels like it freezes most of the travel between your legs if you grab to much brake, but under proper modulation you can have great control. I found under high speed braking it felt like you were getting ahead of the bike a bit, but im sold that is suspension settings, and could eliminate that over time. Square edge hits are handled well. The forward driving shock is supple, so it soaks a large portion of any impact. All in all great bike!
  • - 8
flag rifrafi (Nov 10, 2009 at 8:47) (Below Threshold)
 very skitish under hard breaking it is a ingle pivot after all. the 303 on the other hand with its duel rails dissipated the braking energy very efectivly. massive shame they have discontinued it.


the yeti 303 was amazing but the front triangle was built by a monkey on acid. the RDH on the otherhand is 3/10 compared to the 303 10/10. on long rough decsents it works far better chainless. and the brake jack is awfull copared to the 303 wich has almost none. the front triangle is again very weak for 2009 i cracked mine within 6 weeks and i know another person who did the same, i cracked 3 303s 4months, 4weeks, 5weeks, and know of many more that have craked. they have also skimped on the quality of the rail car for the RDH as the sealing on mine never worked and the grease pumps staight out the front of it where as the 303s 2 lighter better quality rail cars worked perfectly for 6 months with 17 races. the rear end on the RDH is also very short and coupled with the fairly long front triangle makes for a very wierd feeling bike (not the most high speed stable bike). i am a prety smooth rider and hve not managed to crack any of my other bikes. in summeray if you want a decent single pivot light weight dh bike that is adjustable at a reasonable price with good build quality DO NOT get a yeti. get a moorewood or and orange or a commencal...

but who actualy cares what you think none of you can ever back up your snide comments, and all you ever seem to care about is how it looks and what colour a bike is.
  • + 1
 yeah the 303 was sweet. if you like tightening all the 150 miniature bolts every week. that shit was a joke, regardless of how well it may have rode
  • + 0
 Maybe you're a seraph lover? You seem intelligent, but you didn't realize seraph is mostly full of shit? he's always on here saying dumb stuff. i'm just trying to make sure nobody takes him too seriously. so leave us alone.
  • + 1
 Seriously, when have I said anything that was false? What is your f*cking problem? Get a life.
  • + 1
 Sick! One of the best looking out there! I love how you can adjust the geo easily! Wonder how it compares with an Evil Revolt or Commencal?
  • + 1
 He keeps mentioning Zero Loss but I thought that only applied to the old 303. Isn't the 303r a glorified single pivot?
  • + 1
 It is definitely a single pivot, unless there is a secret second pivot that is invisible.
  • + 1
 ew man i hate the look of the frame its a nice bike and all just no thats my opinion I'm into the street-ride bmx stuff
  • + 3
 one bad ass bike
  • + 1
 my bike for 2010 .Happy to see that I did not make a mistake to have chosen this bike!!!! : )))
  • + 0
 Look mint, break too often these days, i personally know a kid whos cracked 3x 303 DH's and 1x 303 RDH, because they would not give him another DH frame!! Avoid
  • + 1
 All within a 8 month period
  • - 9
flag rifrafi (Nov 10, 2009 at 8:45) (Below Threshold)
 That would be me...

the yeti 303 was amazing but the front triangle was built by a monkey on acid. the RDH on the otherhand is 3/10 compared to the 303 10/10. on long rough decsents it works far better chainless. and the brake jack is awfull copared to the 303 wich has almost none. the front triangle is again very weak for 2009 i cracked mine within 6 weeks and i know another person who did the same, i cracked 3 303s 4months, 4weeks, 5weeks, and know of many more that have craked. they have also skimped on the quality of the rail car for the RDH as the sealing on mine never worked and the grease pumps staight out the front of it where as the 303s 2 lighter better quality rail cars worked perfectly for 6 months with 17 races. the rear end on the RDH is also very short and coupled with the fairly long front triangle makes for a very wierd feeling bike (not the most high speed stable bike). i am a prety smooth rider and hve not managed to crack any of my other bikes. in summeray if you want a decent single pivot light weight dh bike that is adjustable at a reasonable price with good build quality DO NOT get a yeti. get a moorewood or and orange or a commencal...

but who actualy cares what you think none of you can ever back up your snide comments, and all you ever seem to care about is how it looks and what colour a bike is.
  • + 3
 Someone want to demonstrate he can copy and paste Smile ^^
  • - 1
 just making sure i get my point across
  • + 1
 tbh uve sed it enough.. and id still get one if i had the chance as it is a sweet bike and u just sound like ur either incredibly heavy/unsmooth or ur just being biased.. but idk.. its a sweet bike neways in my opinion.. oh and i forgot... all bikes can break....
  • + 1
 i weigh 70kg and am pretty smooth. yes all bikes can break but when i know of 12 303s in the the uk that have broken it begs the question. WTF Yeti????????????????
  • + 2
 unfortunately i know of many broken oranges, and even a few demos, unfortunately i have broken a few bikes myself, its just ive heard of many gd things bout yetis too so am not 100% sure that 12 303s broken is enough to warrant not buying one especially with their kind of customer service and reputation... I can def see ur point of view tho as when u personally see it it is more likely to stop u from getting one.. which is y i no longer really want nething to do with orange despite them being an incredibly good company..
  • + 1
 yetis uk customer servise is appaling. i dealt directly with the importer as at the begining of the year i was representing them on the uk race circuit. and after the 3rd one broke they where trying to get out of replacing, by saying i didnt know how to set up suspension, when i do the suspension service set up for the shop that i work at. and at races i always ask for setup advice from mojo/tf where available. the us custmer service isnt that great either as i tried to cut out evolution when the 4th broke [which we had to ring a lawyer to promt them to give me] so all in all another company that has gone down the drain if you ask me and most other people who race at even a fairly low standard. and for the amout of oranges produce a much smaller percentage of them brake than yetis raitio
  • + 1
 How much was that bike brand new
  • + 1
 Like the review, but its missing some info and seems biased....
  • + 0
 The yeti website showed an msrp of 2100$usd for the 1.5 headtube frame, that is an f-ing steal.
  • + 1
 goood ... but the grips lol they are crap for the bike
  • + 1
 i want onbe if i got this bike i would get out of bmx in a second
  • + 1
 would like to ride one. try it out for myself
  • + 1
 These bikes are so playful and fun!
  • + 1
 Looks amazing but, $6300 and it comes with hussefelt cranks?
  • + 2
 masterpiece
  • + 1
 WoW Razz
  • + 1
 beautiful
  • + 1
 so sexy
  • + 0
 eeee so sweet bike !!!
  • + 0
 Nice bike Smile
  • - 3
 These bikes are UGLY, Im sorry, maybe its the colors, I dunno, I just dont care for it.
  • + 4
 Go for performance first, color second?? I hate the color of my XC bike, but it rocks the trails... so screw it... A friend of mine just ordered one of these babies... I'm just stoked he and I are the same size... Now I just need to convice him to let me ride it! Wink
  • + 1
 I know, It prob rides great. I just dont like the look, at all. To each his own, I like my bike to be pleasing to the eye.
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