At a glance
Price: 7499 EUR / 6999 GBP
YT’s Decoy is the brands do it all E-MTB. With 170mm of travel, a Shimano EP8 motor and mixed wheel size this bike is ready for anything.
About the brand
YT Industries is a German brand founded by Markus Flossman back in 2007. Fuelled by the goal to make high quality bikes affordable and accessible to everyone, the brand has been working hard over the years to deliver that promise. With ‘Good Time’s as their slogan and a downhill oriented mindset when designing their products, they have quickly become a big name in the world of off-road brands.
Their direct sales strategy through the website enables them to consequently win the ‘value for money’ game. Sometimes criticized for lack of customer service, YT went on a path to up their ante with the opening of ‘YT Mill’ stores in key places and doubling up on their customer service staff.
On the subject of sustainability and the environment, YT takes responsibility for getting their E-Bike batteries recycled. Once past their life cycle, you can send them back to their HQ. Sadly there are no mentions of efforts on reducing their carbon footprint, climate neutral production or supporting NGOs or trail advocacy groups.
The Decoy Core 4 MX is YT’s answer to big travel E-MTB’s. The frame is packed with features like the flip chip to adjust bb height and head angle, a custom YT battery to get the 540Wh of energy packed away efficiently in the downtube. There is downtube and chainstay protection to keep the bike silent, and an extra bearing seal to keep grit away from the bearings. Tidy cable routing and an integrated power switch in the top tube are the finishing details on the Decoy.
Geometry wise, YT offers 5 different sizes ranging from S to XXL giving you lots of choice to find a bike that matches your body. Sizing wise they do tend to be on the small side, the L size for example has a 449 reach. Make sure to double check or go for a test ride before you order. Head angle on the Decoy is set at 64,5 or 65 degrees depending on the flip chip setting. Not terribly slack for a bike with this amount of travel. The chainstay length is the same on all frame sizes, and sits at a longish 442mm.
The MX in the model name indicates the mixed wheel size on this bike. A larger 29’’ wheel up front to roll over the rough stuff, with a smaller 27,5’’ wheel in the rear to keep the bike playful and nimble.
Suspension on the YT is a virtual 4 bar linkage design aimed to be on the progressive side of things. The EP8 motor has 85nM of torque and is powered by a 540Wh battery. This is smaller than the more often specced 630Wh Shimano Battery, but also lighter and more compact. It can be charged in the frame with YT’s proprietary charger, or taken out of the frame by removing two bolts.
Spec wise, there is little left to write to Santa Claus for. Fox 38 Factory and Float X2 shocks are as bling as it gets, together with the full Shimano XT drivetrain. What stands out are the Sram Code RSC brakes, it puzzles me why they didn’t stick with XT 4 pistons for this build. The wheels are made up with high end Industry9 hubs laced onto the Crankbrothers Synthesis Alloy E-MTB rims. Grip is handled by Maxxis Assegai and Minion DHR EXO tires. All other parts are A brand spec too, Renthal bars, ODI grips and a SDG saddle. Only the dropper post is YT’s own postman offering 170mm of travel on the XL test ride.
Out on the trail
Setting up the Decoy took a little time, as there were several options to play with. I stuck with the low / slack flip chip position in the end and went for 35% sag front and rear, slightly more than recommended. I tried to keep tire pressure as low as possible, but sporting the EXO casing it was hard to keep it where I would like it to be without risking flats or bottoming out. I’d highly recommend adding some tire inserts for additional stability.
Climbing on the Decoy feels like it has quite a slack seat tube angle. Some adjustments on the saddle and moving your body weight slightly more forward balanced this out. This position does give you tons of traction on the rear wheel, making it a breeze to climb up some ridiculous techy steeps.
On the battery side of things, the 540Wh battery is not ideal. Depending on who you are riding with, you often have to either choose a lower support mode, or risk that you run out of juice before the end of the ride. We generally got about 1000-1200m of climbing out of it on Boost mode, while the Trail mode gave us about 1500m, which is still quite decent for the energy supplied. The lighter overall weight of the bike (22,9kg no pedals) does help with efficiency in the end.
Descending on the decoy is a lot of fun. Such a playful bike that really encourages you to jump, skip, skrrt and launch all day. The smaller rear wheel makes for awesome cornering in berms and tight corners. Boosting out of any turn is something that you did automatically too. The suspension does a great job of smoothing out the trail, while still having a lot of mid stroke support. Something some other brands struggle to achieve with their E-MTB’s. When the speeds increased or stuff started to get really steep, I did wish for a slightly slacker head angle every now and then.
The Decoy is an amazing ride. Playful, balanced and very well specced for the price point it is almost perfect out of the box. Only upgrades we could think of are tire inserts and a dropper with more travel for the taller people amongst us. The smaller battery makes a lighter bike, but if you’re a big person you might struggle to keep up with your friends. Keeping that in mind, the Decoy is an awesome looking well priced machine that suits the playful rider.
This review was in Issue 71 of IMB.For more information visit YT Industries
By Jarno HooglandJarno's life has revolved around two wheels ever since he swung a leg over his first BMX at age 4. After a BMX and DH racing career, he moved on to work for bike shops, distributors and brands before ending up in the editors seat at IMB. Based in the ultimate testing ground in the Swiss mountains, he runs his guiding operation and makes sure every IMB issue is filled with top notch content.