The ARC is a bike that has been iconic in Yeti's line for years. First making its debut in 1991 as a collaboration with Easton, the bike was half the weight of its competitors. Thanks to the use of ProTaper tubing the frame weighed a then-scant 3.2 pounds. The ARC, along with the ARC AS and ARC AS LT made up a very successful platform in the young years of mountain biking, ridden to many victories under Juli Furtado, Missy Giove, John Tomac, and other legends of the glory days.
A couple weeks ago, we saw Yeti bring back the ARC as a limited anniversary edition hardtail. Only 100 of the uniquely painted bikes were available. The bike, however, was an entirely new frame, modernized from the last iteration with aggressive geometry and a build kit more suited to take on long backcountry rides, or a weekend of bikepacking, than it was to toe up to the starting line of a cross-country race. Unsurprisingly, the ARC is now going to be a production bike for Yeti, available in a number of builds on one TURQ frame.
Smooth lines and cool colors, the anniversary edition combines classic Yeti colors with modern carbon technology.
The ARC frame is Yeti's only hardtail, with a carbon frame that's designed around a 130mm fork. That gives it a 67° head angle, 76° seat tube angle, 433mm chainstays, and a 445mm reach in size the size medium. The Turq carbon frame weighs 2.82 lbs.
Builds range in price from $3,500 USD for the C1 up to $9,900 for the "Anniversary Edition" that's sure to put a cavity in your wallet. The TURQ frame alone sells $1,900 USD. The complete bike, in size medium, with the T2 build I've been riding weighs 24.5 lbs and sells for $5,600 USD. All frames are covered by Yeti's no-B.S. lifetime warranty. More info on the bike and warranty can be found, here
When I first saw the 35th Anniversary edition of the ARC I thought, "Well, that's cool, but there's no way in hell it makes sense to pay that much for a hardtail that's likely to be a second bike for many to a full-suspension trail bike." A few days later when I found out I had an inline model of the bike en route, I was pleased to learn that it was a much more reasonable $5,600, which is still really damn expensive considering you can get a really good full-suspension bike for under $3,000, and
that there were even more reasonably priced options. Now, I'm not calling it cheap or affordable...but I also don't say that about the Tesla Model 3 as I drive past the dealership and think how it's nice to see there's something more reasonable than the pricier cars on the lot.Ride Impressions
For that $5,600 you get a 24.5lb hardtail that's pretty dialed right from the start. A Fox Factory 34 fork, DT wheels, and a SRAM X01 drivetrain, along with a 175mm Fox Transfer seatpost. I only have a few rides on the ARC at this point so these impressions are just that, impressions. In no way does this constitute a full review of the bike. Then again, this is a hardtail and there's not all that much going on, so it's pretty easy to quickly get a feel for things.
Pedaling and climbing, the bike's 76° seat tube angle puts me, with my long legs and 73.5cm saddle height, in a comfortable-yet-aggressive position headed uphill. This is a bit steeper than many other hardtails I've ridden as of late and many hardtails currently available. The Santa Cruz Chameleon sits at 72.8° and the Specialized Fuse 29 at 74°, for comparison.
Descending, the ARC is balanced and easy to ride on a variety of terrain. Flowy trails were, of course, its specialty, but more rugged and technical terrain was surprisingly easy to negotiate. The wide and aggressive 2.6" tread no doubt played a large role in this and the bike, as a complete package it's clearly well thought out.
There were even a couple hours clocked with the bike loaded down with a bag full of beverages and snacks and it proved to be an excellent tool in carrying supplies down some pretty technical trails and into the woods for an afternoon of swimming and souvenir sunburns.
So far, the ARC is shaping up to be a jack of many trades and one of the more versatile and enjoyable bikes I've ridden lately.