YT Industries is a direct-sales brand that not everyone has heard of, but that's bound to change – it offers simply staggering value for money.
One glance at the Noton tells you that YT is not just bolting fancy kit to a mass-market frame either; this hydroformed, multi-butted chassis was designed in Germany before being created in the Far East.
Ride and handling: made for the jumps and being airborne
Bikeparks equipped with uplifts are a common feature across Germany, and the Noton is unashamedly built to take them on. With masses of standover clearance and a relatively short top tube – just 587mm on the medium size – it's aimed squarely at airborne antics and jump-line agility.
That does mean it feels a little cramped when you point it back uphill though, and it's not helped by the seat tube being interrupted by welded reinforcement halfway down, so you really need to choose whether you'll cut the post short enough to get it out of the way for descents or have enough length to put it up for climbs.
It has a hugely playful feel on the trails, with the light but tough DT Swiss wheels and excellent Maxxis High Roller II tyres (with mid-thickness sidewalls) helping greatly. Flat-out ploughing through rough sections can unsettle the bike however, and we had to run plenty of air pressure and a lot of compression damping to stop the rear end shooting through the travel a bit too freely.
YT's Noton is happiest taking on fast-carved berms and jumps, where it takes to the air like a clay pigeon, whipping last-second direction changes easily. It's less confident in a full-on ground war though.
Frame and equipment: plenty of bikepark-ready componentry
The frame gives 178mm of rear wheel travel thanks to its V4L four-bar suspension. The chainstay length is adjustable via neat chips the 142x12mm screw-in rear axle threads through. Up front, the seriously chunky toptube feeds into a tapered headset to house the 170mm travel fork.
The suspension is impressive for this sort of money. The RockShox Lyrik fork has the high- and low-speed compression adjustable RC2DH damper and Solo air spring, and that adds up to superb control and tuning potential. At the back, the RockShox Vivid Air R2C has rebound and compression adjustment, plus a unique anti-fade design to keep the damping consistent, even when the air spring heats the damping oil on extended, hard and fast runs.
The spec continues to startle, with four-piston Avid X0 Trail brakes giving power, control and plenty of adjustment. The 10-speed SRAM X9 drivetrain matches the single-ring Truvativ Descendant cranks (with a tough Press-Fit 30 axle), while the bashplate-equipped e*thirteen chainguide gives excellent security and protection against bent rings.
The 780mm wide Renthal bars are another treat, giving you masses of stiffly-assured leverage to force the bike through the turns and wrestle it through rock gardens.
Note: YT's bikes are priced and sold in Euros – the UK price listed here is based on exchange rate at the time of publishing. Customers from outside Europe should contact YT Industries via its website for prices and shipping costs.