German direct-sales brand Propain set itself big goals when developing its new enduro bike, the Tyee. It wanted to create a true master of versatility, a bike that would break new ground for climbing and descending.
With six years of knowledge gained from the Tyee’s predecessor, the Hugene trail bike, and input from Propain’s World Cup downhill team, Propain cherry-picked the best riding characteristics to produce what it claims is the best bike it’s ever built.
Propain Tyee CF 29 2020 frame
While the 2020 Tyee has received a new look, and I must say it’s quite a looker, it’s still kept its enduro title and Propain Pro10 suspension platform, which is at the heart of all its bikes.
The main driver behind the update was to make the Tyee available with 29in wheels, something that wasn’t possible on the old design.
The Tyee is available in both carbon and aluminium, with 29in or 27.5in wheels and sports 160mm of travel. Those that loved the smaller wheels haven’t been abandoned with the new model.
The carbon frame I tested uses Propain’s ‘blend carbon’ design, where different sections of the frame are made up of different resin-impregnated (prepreg) carbon layers depending on requirements needed for strength, stiffness, impact resistance, stress direction, weight and flexibility.
Propain’s ‘blend carbon’ in raw finish. BikeRadar
Propain has included several neat touches to the frame that should make the life of a direct-sales customer a little easier. All the bearings are covered with an extra Propain Dirt-Shield to help prevent dirt, water and dust ingress. There’s also some hefty frame protection, which should minimise chain slap and impact damage.
Internal cables are routed through channels in the frame too, so installing them should be a breeze.
You can see the Tyee has a progressive leverage ratio, which makes it suitable for coil shocks. Propain Bikes
The Pro10 platform has received a subtle change over the previous model. Propain was happy with the leverage curve of the old model, and has integrated the previous model’s 30 per cent progression shock leverage rate into the new bike, but has increased the anti-squat from around 70 per cent to a little over 100 per cent.
Propain Tyee anti-squat curve. Propain Bikes
This should mean it does well at counteracting pedal bob, and the new shock location is said to provide better weight distribution.
Propain Tyee CF 29 2020 kit
I tested Propain’s Performance-spec kit, which is a pretty serious outfit with SRAM XO Eagle gears and top of the line Code RSC brakes with 200mm rotors.
The front-end benefited from a pair of 170mm RockShox Lyrik Ultimates and was matched with a Super Deluxe Coil Select+ rear shock.
The Tyee rolled on Stans Flow MK3 rims with Propain hubs and DT Swiss Competition spokes fitted with Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.35 EVO SS tyres for grip.
A Bike Yoke Revival seatpost took care of dropper duties and Sixpack finishing kit rounded out a very capable set up.
A hefty chainstay protector with noise minimising lugs helps keep the Tyee quiet. BikeRadar
I had no issues using any of this kit and it all worked flawlessly, as you would expect from such quality components.
The one issue I did have was the EVO protection on the tyres. It wasn’t quite strong enough to handle the sharp volcanic rocks on La Palma, where punctures among the testers were common.
Propain Tyee CF 29 2020 geometry
Propain has chosen geometry numbers that will mean a lot of people can get the best out of this bike. I rode the size medium which was a comfortable fit for me.
The reach numbers range from 451mm on the medium to 491mm on the extra-large. These are pretty decent reach numbers for most people to feel like there’s room to move around the bike.
However, with the sensible seat tube lengths, a lot people should be able to size up if they want to stretch out their reach – unless you’re a tall rider looking to do the same because the reach maxes out at 491mm.
The Tyee has your back when you let it go, but it won’t use up its travel unnecessarily. Hannah Bichay
The 77.1-degree head angle is the most progressive figure on the bike and sits you pretty centrally between the wheels when climbing and pedalling.
The 64.5-degree head angle is on-point for an enduro bike and should allow you to feel confident at speed and still negotiate tight turns easily. The same should hold true for the 445mm chainstays.
The 26mm bottom bracket drop makes for a useful compromise between avoiding pedal strikes and cornering stability.
Personally, I would like to see it a few millimetres lower, but that’s my preference for cornering performance over pedalling.
Head angle: 64.5 degrees
Seat angle: 77.1 degrees
Seat tube: 44cm
Top tube: 59.5cm
Head tube: 10.5cm
Bottom bracket drop: 2.6cm
Propain Tyee CF 29 2020 first ride impressions
I had a couple of days riding the Propain Tyee CF 29 on the volcanic island of La Palma in the Canaries to get some initial impressions on the 2020 model.
I rode the 29in wheeled version in a size medium, with Propain’s Performance spec fitted with a 450lb spring. For La Palma’s plentiful tyre shredding rocks, I set my tyres at 28psi on the rear and 25psi on the front.
The first thing you notice is how well this bike pedals, even with a coil shock I didn’t need to reach for the lockout lever when pedalling uphill.
This is the first enduro bike I haven’t resorted to firming up the suspension for any climbs or extended pedalling sections. Even when standing up on the pedals it behaves well with minimal bob.
Propain’s Pro10 suspension platform now sits inside the front triangle. BikeRadar
The upright seat tube also puts you in a comfortable position when the trails get steep, allowing you to keep weight on the front wheel while still having traction on the rear tyre.
If you’re coming from a trail bike and thinking about boosting your travel or prioritise pedalling for your enduro riding, the Tyee will make a good companion.
I think Propain has the geometry pretty dialled for a lot of riders to get the most out of this bike. The 64.5-degree head angle provided straight-line stability, while at the same time it was able to negotiate some of La Palma’s tightest turns without fuss. I never felt like I was getting pitched over the front either.
The 445mm chainstays are within my ‘goldilocks’ zone for a bike of this type – if there is such a thing. They helped keep the bike tracking straight over rough ground and off cambers, but still allowed me to throw the bike around when I wanted to get playful.
The reach numbers might restrict taller riders looking for a stretched-out ride, but with the sensible seat tube post lengths I could comfortably fit both the medium and large.
If I were taking the bike racing, I’d size up, but for a fun bike for shredding I’d jump on the medium.
The Tyee’s character lets you feel comfortable on the bike quickly. Hannah Bichay
For my 173cm / 5ft 8in height there was still enough room to move around without ever feeling cramped with the 451mm reach.
The bottom bracket could be a touch lower, if you really want to get the most out of this bike in the turns, but it strikes a balance between convenient pedalling over rocky ground and keeping weight low for confident cornering.
So, how does the bike descend? A priority for a bike with an enduro title.
The Tyee doesn’t give up its travel unnecessarily but keeps it in reserve for when it’s needed. That means the Tyee doesn’t offer a super-plush ride sensation. So if you like to feel your back wheel is glued to the floor, it might not give you what you’re after.
However, if you don’t want to feel like the suspension is stealing your energy and enjoy using it to help you pump, pop and flow down the trail, the Tyee could be great for you.
It doesn’t mean it feels like a short travel bike, it’s still got the reserves when you’re ploughing down nasty trails, so you don’t have to hold back, but it’s quite a different feeling to the Cube Stereo 170, for example.
You can pop and play around on the Tyee quite easily. Hannah Bichay
Overall, the Tyee provided a very stable and composed ride, and if you like your suspension well supported and can use that to your advantage on the trail, this bike will reward you.
Also, I haven’t come across a bike that pedals this well with 160mm of travel before.
Propain Tyee CF 29 2020 early verdict
The Tyee provides a brilliant pedalling platform for an enduro bike and handling characteristics that make riding it easy. It might not offer the supplest feeling suspension, but saves its travel for when its needed