At A Glance
The Decoy range from YT has been a popular choice amongst eBike enthusiasts ever since it was first released. The clue is in the name with the Decoy; the lines of the bike have been designed to disguise the fact it’s sporting a battery and engine. The Shimano E8000 drive unit is compact and hidden away, and the bespoke 540Wh battery isn’t as large as we see on some bikes. There's a good reason for this compact form, and we’ll get to that later.Buy Electric Bikes on
In terms of spec, the Pro is a full carbon frame with high-end components from Fox, Shimano and SRAM. Fox looks after the suspension with a Fox 36 Float Performance Elite EBike+ fork. The rear end is a virtual four-link design and sports the excellent Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite shock. Out front, you have 150mm of travel with 145mm on the rear.
The carbon frame is beautifully finished with internal cable routing and a chunky oversize rear triangle. Geometry is perhaps not the wildest in terms of numbers, but for a 29 trail bike, it’s about bang on. The flip chip allows you to tune it a little; in the low setting, the BB drop is 37mm, seat angle is 77°, and the head tube angle is 65.5°. In the high setting, you can raise the BB 6mm to 31mm and steepen the angles to 77.5° and 66°, respectively.
Drivetrain is a Shimano XT affair throughout, and this tried and trusted set-up doesn’t miss a beat. SRAM looks after the stopping with the excellent CODE RSC offering both reach and bite point adjustment. We’ve always been fans of the modular feel of these brakes, and they complement this bike perfectly.
The cockpit features the YT Postman seat post, perfect for when you just want to lick stamps and send it. Perhaps the only surprise is the E13 Plus handlebar, which is aluminium, and with all the carbon and top-end spec, the Pro features this is arguably the low point in the build.
The big hoops are a DT Swiss affair, specifically the H1700 Spline offering with Maxxis Minion DHR II tyres.
All in all, it’s an impressive package for not a huge chunk of your change. It’s worth noting the Pro has now been replaced by three Core models, the basic 2 retails at €5299, the 3 at €5999 and the 4 at €6999. Looking at the spec, the Core 4 is arguably closest to this Pro model, a testament to the increased prices we are seeing across the industry! The Pro version retailed for €5599.
On The Trail
The Decoy is all about the rider experience rather than large range numbers. The bespoke 540Wh battery sounds quite small compared to some of the other offerings out there, but there is a reason. The Decoy Pro 29 is light. That smaller battery and full carbon frame weighing in at 22.8kg, this gives the bike an impressive feel on the trails. I’ve ridden a lot of eBikes over the years, and this is the most normal bike like eBike I’ve ridden. It doesn’t feel heavy or hard to manoeuvre; it feels light and alive underneath you. If you leave Boost mode alone, you can get a pretty decent range too.
When I ride, I’m quite happy to put some effort in; I’m rarely out of Eco mode as I feel like I’m still earning my turns with just the edge taken off the climbs. I can easily get 70k of hilly terrain dealt with in eco mode with a few bursts of Trail mode to get through the most arduous bits.
If you go all out in Boost, that range drops considerably, around 30km, and you are done, although actually, I find Boost almost too much on a techy climb as it’s hard to keep traction. It’s great for a long boring fire road, and that’s about it. I often think this is a mountain bikers eBike, one where you are rewarded for putting a bit more effort in.
On the trails, it’s noticeably a 29er but still very easy to flick around and change direction. What I do love is the bike's ability to roll over just about every obstacle in the trail; the bigger wheels certainly inspire huge amounts of confidence, and while the travel is short by modern enduro standards, I’m yet to find a trail where the Decoy Pro 29 ever feels out of its depth.
While it isn’t the slackest or longest of bikes, it does feel lively on the trails across a mix of terrain. Uphill there is plenty of drive and traction; on the flats, it feels fast and nimble, and on the descents, it’s planted and stable.
Perhaps our only gripe is the incredibly low bottom bracket, which, while making the ride feel comfortable and stable, can leave you clanging pedals. The 165mm cranks could probably do with being 155mm, which currently you can’t buy as an aftermarket option from Shimano. Some super-thin pedals can shave a few mm, and some sensible timing of pedal strokes will help too.
Sleek, light, fast and exciting to ride, the YT Decoy Pro 29 is one of our favourite eBikes to ride. It feels pretty darn close to a “normal” bike with the added bonus of your own personal chairlift to the top of the hill. It might not have the biggest range, but with a bit of leg power and effort, you can keep up with the longer-range bikes and probably have more fun on the descents with a lighter, more nimble ride.
This review was in Issue 67 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.