For the dedicated Yeti fans, the wait has been long and it has been painful. However, reasons aside, the wait is now finally over as Yeti have pulled the curtain back on their brand new full-carbon race hardtail, aptly called the ARC Carbon. Released at the 2013 Sea Otter event in California along with the carbon iteration of the SB95, the new ARC-C has been causing quite the stir on websites and online forums from around the world not just for its technical features, but also because it has to be one of the most drop-dead gorgeous frames on the market right now.
Despite the bombshell only dropping a couple of weeks ago, the first ARC Carbons have started to roll into the Aussie warehouse over the past few days. We managed to capture one in the wild to get a closer look and for you to get your drool on. If you’re after the nitty-gritty details, we’ve already outlined all the frame specifications and technical features on the new ARC, which you can check out in our original post here.
Moar Carbon for your diet
As the name suggests, the ARC Carbon elects to use the illustrious material for about 95% of the frame, in order to create a superlight package that barely tips the scales at 1.2kg. That shaves off over 600 grams from the Big Top hardtail, which uses an alloy front triangle with a carbon rear triangle, making the ARC the top choice for competitive types and those chasing a lightweight race bike. For your reference, the 2×10 XT Build that you see here tips the scales at 10kg on the nose for the Medium size, with Tubeless Ready 2.25″ Schwalbe Racing Ralphs, a 710mm Easton Haven Carbon low-rise handlebar, Yeti Lock-On grips and Stans ZTR Crest rims. We’ve also had the chance to check out a Large ARC Carbon built up with a SRAM XX1 drivetrain and Avid X0 brakes, which came out at 9.6kg. There’s alloy inserts in the headtube to guide in the press-fit headset, 4 bottle cage bolts and a threaded alloy BB shell, but that’s the only metal you’ll find on this smooth looker. Another key difference between the existing Big Top hardtail and the new ARC-C is that the Big Top fits 29er wheels only. One of our favourite features of the ARC-C is that the larger sizes (Medium, Large & X-Large) all come with 29″ wheels, whereas the smaller sizes (Small & X-Small) come with 650B wheels. That way, Yeti don’t have to compromise on geometry with the smaller frames in order to get the fit right, as the mid-sized 650B wheels can fit into a smaller frame package. Yeti is one of the first big brands to do this, and for us it makes perfect sense in building a fast race bike that can fit riders of all sizes and not just those over 5’9″.
Speaking of geometry, Yeti have taken what they learnt with the Big Top and have gently massaged a few numbers for the ARC Carbon to improve its handling. Both frames share a 70-degree head tube angle on the Medium size as well as snappy 17.1″ long chainstays, but the ARC-C uses a longer effective top tube length that grows the overall wheelbase slightly. This encourages the use of a shorter stem to create the same overall reach as the Big Top, but with quicker steering and a touch more stability too. Bottom bracket height remains the same at 12″ tall (w/100mm travel fork), but there’s more standover clearance on the ARC-C due to a low-slung top tube, which combined with a slightly shorter headtube allows for a compact-feeling bike.
Stenciled graphics on the top tube showcase the carbon weave beneath.
While many brands are jumping onto the BB30 and press-fit bottom bracket bandwagon, Yeti have stuck to their guns on the ARC-C with a standard 73mm wide English threaded bottom bracket. According to reports from a few different brands we have spoken to, it seems that the pressfit system is losing favour on mountain bikes due to durability issues and creaking. A threaded bottom bracket is more expensive in the manufacturing process, but it does make bottom bracket installation and removal far easier than a press-fit system. In Yeti’s case, it also means that you can fit a bottom bracket mounted chain device on the ARC-C, or alternatively use their clever ISCG adapter if you want a slick 1×10 setup.
You will also notice in the above photo just how massive the bottom bracket area is on the ARC-C, with a flared seat tube meeting the bulbous bottom bracket junction. Instead of a conventional clamp-style front derailleur, Yeti have specced an upper direct mount design that means the seat tube does not have to remain round through it’s length, allowing the designers to maximise stiffness in this crucial area. As with other Yeti models that utilise an upper direct mount front derailleur, a small alloy plate can be swapped in if you decide front derailleurs belong in the past, so you’re not left with an unsightly hole in your frame.
Like all modern Yeti mountain bike frames, the new hardtail elects for a Shimano 142x12mm thru-axle out the back. Unlike the Big Top however, the ARC-C uses dedicated 142x12mm dropouts, with no facility to swap out to a 135x10mm system. That may have a few racer boys complaining that they can’t use their current lightweight racing hoops, but we figure that if you’re about to drop over $2.5k on a frame, chances are you’ll be wanting to dress it up with a fresh new wheelset too. The main advantage of the closed dropout is of course stiffness, but it also means Yeti’s engineers have had more freedom in designing the distinctive ‘Looptail’ rear triangle, which receives some serious shaping through the chainstay where it flows seamlessly into the seatstay.
As with most carbon hardtails currently on the market, the rear disc brake calliper sits inside the rear triangle, providing a very neat look and also allowing further freedom in the design of the seat stay assembly. With a 160mm rear rotor, the brake calliper mounts directly to the frame with no adapters necessary. You can also fit up to a 185mm diameter rotor if you’re power hungry.
While the new SB95 Carbon also features internal cable routing, the ARC-C reverses the setup with internal routing through the front triangle for both derailleurs. The rear disc brake hose remains external and is anchored along the base of the downtube, making for a far easier installation process.
A removable plug at the base of the downtube is where the gear cables emerge, ensuring that the clean lines of the carbon frame are not interrupted. Given how popular the new XX1 drivetrain is, it also means that you’re not left with ugly unused cable stops all over the frame for riders who will be running a single-ring setup.
In the above photo you’ll be able to see both the threaded bottom bracket as well as the black alloy ring on the driveside that hides the spline for mounting the ISCG adapter. A chunky yoke for the chainstay and BB junction gives way to a very thin profile for the driveside chainstay that maximises tyre and chainring clearance. This area highlights just how important carbon fiber construction can be in frame design, as it allows Yeti to create a short rear triangle without sacrificing too much tyre clearance.
The short and stubby headtube hides a discreetly internal Cane Creek headset, which features a 1.5″ sealed bearing on the bottom and a 1 1/8″ sealed bearing up top. The ‘Zero Stack’ headset allows for a low cockpit height without compromising setup or fit and also means that you can fit up to 120mm of fork travel without kicking back the angles too much. The stock bikes will come with 100mm Fox forks, but the option is there to go longer if your riding demands it.
Sure it took Yeti a long time to bring out their first carbon hardtail, but we reckon it was well worth the wait. There are a lot of neat design features that have gone into the ARC-C that make it worthy of the Yeti name, and while it’s clear that the lightweight and responsive carbon frame will make this a great choice for the privateer racer, not everyone jumping aboard will be strictly chasing chequered flags. The stout tapered headtube and rear thru-axle combined with the capability of accepting a dropper post, ISCG tabs and up to 120mm of travel, will also make it a worthy choice for trail riders wanting a superlight package that can take them to remote locations to climb the steepest ascents, before blasting their way down endless spiralling singletrack.
We’re certainly looking forward to spending some saddle time on the ARC-C, so keep an eye out for further information on the carbon turquoise beauty.
RRP: $2625 (frame only)
Complete Bikes RRP: $5600 – $7700