Electric Bike Action Bike Test: YT Industries Decoy Pro 29 Trail Bike

YT INDUSTRIES

DECOY PRO 29 TRAIL BIKE

YT stands for “young talent,” which is exactly what the Decoy is aimed at. While the Decoy itself isn’t that new, the Pro 29 is designed as a trail bike more than its predecessor. It’s based on the non-assist YT Capra, and uses that as a base with some tweaks on the Capra’s suspension kinematics. 

THE BIKE

This new bike is built on a carbon full-suspension frame that even uses carbon for the suspension linkage. The original Decoy had 165mm of travel front and rear, and this bike has bigger wheels and 20mm less travel. The Pro 29 has a slightly steeper head tube angle at 65.5 degrees.

Unique to the Decoy is its use of YT’s innovative Flip Chip mounting system that allows two different mount locations for the rear shock, allowing for added personalization. The suspension is provided by Fox, with a beefy Fox 36 Performance Elite fork up front that offers 150mm of travel and a Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite Evol shock in the rear that offers 145mm. 

THE PARTS

While the original Decoy was spec’d with an electronic Shimano Di2 drivetrain, the e-bike uses mechanical Shimano XT shifters, which drops a chunk of change off the bike’s price. They also swapped carbon rims for a pair of alloy rims from DT Swiss. All in all, that shaves over $1000 from the price of the original. 

The drivetrain of the Decoy 29 Pro is mechanical, featuring a Shimano DX derailleur and rear cassette.

 

Instead of staying with all-Shimano parts, YT chose SRAM Code RSC hydraulic disc brakes with impressive matching 200mm rotors. The SDG saddle sits atop a YT Postman dropper post that ranges from 125mm to 170mm of travel, depending on the frame size chosen.

YT has included a proprietary small bottle that fits above the motor. It’s virtually impossible to reach underneath the rear shock while riding, but it is, at least, a place to have some water. 

The cockpit and front end are very clean, with most cabling handled internally.

 

The online instructions include an exploded view that shows every possible replacement part, as well as a guide that indicates where to lubricate and where to use thread-locker. They really aim this bike at DIY mechanics, and their information is comprehensive and easy to follow.

THE MOTOR 

YT has chosen a trustworthy and powerful Shimano STEPS E8000 motor for this bike. Its power is user-customizable via the e-Tube app, something we usually recommend, as it only has three modes: Eco, Trail and Boost. Boost gives you the full beans, all 70 N/m of torque, which at times can feels like too much power. Eco is, well, eco, and its level of power is generally fine as is. Trail needs help, as we feel that the factory setting puts it barely above Eco, so we usually bump it up to closer to halfway between Eco and Boost to make it more livable.

For the battery, YT had Shimano make them a custom internal battery. Shimano’s traditional battery for the E8000 is 504 Wh, but YT coaxed Shimano into making them a 540 Wh battery made with 30 x 21700 cells. That extra bit of energy might make all the difference between being able to finish a ride under power or having to pedal home on your own power.

The Shimano display remains one of our favorites, as it is very small and is protected behind the handlebars next to the stem. It’s really bright and very easy to read in all conditions. The power button is underneath the forward part of the top tube, keeping it virtually hidden.

WHO IT’S MADE FOR

With its bigger wheels able to more forgivingly roll over obstacles on the trail, a slightly sharper front end for more precise steering and a more accessible price, YT has targeted the Decoy Pro 29 to all-mountain and trail riders. 

THE RIDE

YT Industries sells direct-to-consumer, and there’s not much to assemble after the bike arrives at your doorstep. It’s mostly just putting on the wheels and the handlebar into the stem. YT includes an exhaustive manual for assembly. 

Note how well-protected the motor is, the proprietary bottle cage and that massive 200mm rear brake rotor.

 

YT is known for their downhill prowess, and the Pro 29 doesn’t disappoint. Point it where you want it to go and it goes, no matter what speed you choose. If it starts going too fast, those easy-to-modulate big disc rotors ensure you can slow it down or stop on a dime.

We tried the Flip Chips both ways. In the lower position, they are pretty agile in tight singletracks, and in the upper position it actually raises the bottom bracket height slightly, reducing the possibility of pedal strikes. On fast descents, the geometry and suspension are unbelievably good. The longer wheelbase of this model versus the original make the bike really stable. We set the sag for the recommended 30 percent, which proved perfect for the ride. 

 

“YT is known for their downhill prowess, and the Pro 29 doesn’t disappoint.” 

 

The overall weight of the bike and good support from the E8000 system make for easy climbs, even without resorting to Boost mode, especially if you bump the Trail mode up a bit from the factory setting.

YT kept the entire drive system as Shimano, including the STePS E7000 motor.

 

Even with the slightly higher bottom bracket and short 165mm cranks, we did get more pedal strikes than we’d have liked. The rear end is longer than the previous Decoy, which we found actually better, as it centered our weight over the bike better.

The Maxxis DHR II tires offered excellent grip, and from soft stuff to rocky terrain bit into every surface well. YT spec’d two different compounds, choosing MaxxTerra for the rear and a softer MaxxGrip for
the front. 

Front suspension is handled by the very capable Fox 36 Performance Elite Float FiTGrip2 Evol rake.

 

After a long day of riding, test riders found the SDG saddle to be pretty uncomfortable. That’s the one thing we think we’d definitely swap out right away.

This is the flagship 29er e-MTB for YT. They also offer a base 29er with Rockshox Yari/Deluxe Select suspension for about $1000 less. 

THE VERDICT

YT has made an already good bike even better in this variation. It’s made for a different style of riding than the original, but we think they’ve chosen a truly good combination of geometry and components to make this the
sort of bike that riders may prefer
stock to any modifications. As an all-mountain bike, this new 29er Decoy is really good. 

Because of the direct-to-consumer model, you likely won’t find one to test ride, save for if you have a
friend who already has one. That certainly makes it a harder choice for some.

SPECS

YT DECOY PRO 29

Price: $6740

Motor: Shimano STEPS E8000

Battery: Shimano for YT, 540 Wh  

Charge time: 4–5 hours

Top speed: 25 kph

Range: 15–40 miles

Drive: Shimano Deore XT 1×12

Brakes: SRAM Code RSC 200/200mm

Controls: Shimano STEPS E7000

Fork: Fox 36 Performance Elite Float FiTGrip2 Evol rake 

Rear shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite Evol 

Frame: Carbon

Tires: Maxxis Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.40WT 3C MaxxGrip EXO TR front/DHR II 2.40WT 3C MaxxTerra EXO TR rear

Weight: 22.3 kilograms (medium, excluding pedals, tubeless)

Color Choice: Ghostship Green or Black Magic

Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL

www.yt-industries.com


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