German direct-sales brand Propain might be a small company but it’s been growing and expanding over its relatively short history, and its Tyee enduro bike is getting an overhaul after six years.
The company’s philosophy is “building the best bike for us and our friends”, which seems apt considering that it was founded and driven by riders. While it may not be the most common brand you’ll see at the trails, it has a passionate following and is well embedded in the downhill scene under its racing programme, headed up by Ben Reid.
As well as downhill bikes, Propain has a full line-up of freeride, enduro, e-bikes and trail bikes, as well as a range of cool kids’ bikes, but it’s been its enduro bike, the Tyee, that has really allowed the company to grow.
Robert Krauss, one of Propain’s founders, told us: “We had the previous model for six years. That bike really made Propain happen. They’re great bikes. Every year we improved it a little bit. We improved the suspension system – added more mid-stroke support and progressivity, updated the geometry, removed the front derailleur and upgraded it to 27.5in wheels.”
However, to keep up with current market trends, Propain has gone back to the drawing board, and the new Tyee now comes with 29in wheels – something that wasn’t possible on the old design.
Propain Tyee frame
If you’re familiar with the Propain silhouette, you’ll know the bikes use Propain’s Pro10 suspension system, which places the shock behind the seat tube.
While this has worked for smaller wheeled bikes, Propain couldn’t build a 29er version of the Tyee without the chainstays becoming too long. So it has moved the shock inside the front triangle to achieve a more suitable chainstay length and seat tube angle.
In a bid to accommodate riders who enjoy smaller wheels, two versions of the Tyee frame are available: a 27.5in and a 29er. Both sizes sport 160mm of travel and come in carbon and aluminium.
Propain calls its frame construction ‘blend carbon’ and ‘blend alloy’, and explains that it uses “different resin-impregnated (prepreg) carbon layers combined in a unique blend that is best suited to the job at certain locations on the frame. Depending on the requirement of stiffness, flexibility, impact resistance, weight, strength or stress direction, different fibres and cloths are used”.
It’s cool to see this in the frame when looking at the raw carbon finish. It’s a similar situation with the aluminium frames. Various grades of the material are employed depending on the function needed.
A neat feature within the carbon frames is the internal cable channels, which should make installing cables a breeze by guiding them uninterrupted through the frame.
Another nice feature is Propain’s dirt shield bearing covers, which act as an additional cover to protect the Acros bearings from dirt and water ingress. This is something that those who ride in the mud and jet wash their bikes often will appreciate, and will hopefully mean that precious bearings should survive a little longer too.
The replaceable Propain-designed ISCG chainguide mounts are designed to protect the carbon frame and will break, similar to a mech hanger, to protect the more valuable carbon from hard impacts.
You’ll also find frame protection against impacts on the down tube and on the chainstays. The chainstay protector features a soft plastic in raised shapes to keep chain slap noise to a minimum.
Propain is claiming the frame weight for the aluminium Tyee is 3.7kg and 2.7kg for the carbon, both in size medium.
Last but not least, the new Tyee can easily accommodate a water bottle, even with the shock mounted inside the front triangle.
Propain Tyee suspension
At the heart of the Tyee is Propain’s Pro10 suspension system. This design features across all of Propain’s bikes and has 12 years of development behind it; using everything it’s learned from the previous Tyee, the design of its Hugene trail bike and extensive input from the downhill team.
After all of that development, Krauss and his team set about designing a platform to deliver a versatile enduro bike and arrived at a leverage curve they feel is perfect for the new Tyee, and the total progression of the shock leverage ratio has stayed at the same 30 per cent progression from the previous bike.
“After six years, we arrived at the leverage curve where no one complained anymore. It worked with air shocks and coil shocks. When we developed this bike, it was clear we tried to keep this curve as everyone was happy with it,” Krauss explained.
Pedalling efficiency seems like an important parameter for the team. The Tyee’s anti-squat sits a little above 100 per cent, increased from 70 per cent on the previous model, meaning it should cancel out most pedal-bob. (Note: we don’t have details about which gearing these figures relate to).
Propain Tyee geometry
Propain has done a solid job designing the geometry to cater for a wide range of people. It fits in with modern standards but isn’t pushing the boundary when it comes to radical design concepts.
The first thing to note is the reach number stops at 491mm.
While this isn’t short by any means, tall riders looking for a stretched-out reach may not be satisfied.
Otherwise, the reach numbers drop down in 20mm steps to 451mm on the size medium. With these jumps and sensible seat tube lengths, which climb from 440mm to 460mm to 480mm, riders should be able to fit on two sizes, depending on their preference.
The chainstay length remains the same at 445mm across all three sizes, and the 29in bike has a bottom bracket drop of 26mm.
When it comes to angles, Propain was smart to say the head angles and effective seat tube angles sit between a range, depending on what you spec on your build. The geometry chart states a fork with a 585mm axle to crown length to give guidance, but knowing different people will spec different forks and tyres, Propain says the head angle should fall between 64 and 65 degrees. This is pretty standard on modern enduro bikes.
Effective seat tube angle should fall between 77 and 78 degrees, which is on the steep side of seat angles and is probably the most aggressive geometry feature of the frame. A benefit of this is that it positions the rider centrally between the wheels when seated.
One thing to note is the 29in version is not available in a size small, and the 27.5in frame features no extra-large size.
Propain Tyee availability and pricing
Speccing the bike is where Propain does things a little differently. While it has three pre-set models with defined specs, you can also use its online configurator to custom build your ideal bike, depending on your budget – check out the Propain Tyee CF 29 pre-spec chart with prices here .
If you want to spend more on brakes but save on gears, for example, you can do that, or if you wish to run a high-end fork and mid-range shock that’s possible too. It’s a simple tool that lets you have complete control of what comes bolted to your bike from its spec options.
You can also choose frame colour, decal colour and head badge finish to make sure you get a bike that is specific to you.
All bikes are built to order at Propain HQ in Vogt, Germany and standard delivery times are around 25 days.
The first batch of Tyee bikes should be available to order online now and currently have a delivery time of approximately 35 days, but it’s best to check directly with Propain. Bikes should be available in the US at the end of the first quarter.
Depending on the configuration, the alloy version is priced between €2,399 and approx. €6,974.
The carbon version starts at €2,999 up to approx. €7,724. UK prices are calculated using the current exchange rate and worked out at the checkout.