German direct-sales brand YT Industries was one of the first online-only bike companies to blow up big in the UK and is known for selling amazing value bikes with smart spec lists.
Its Decoy e-bike has 165mm travel with a 160mm fork, but you wouldn’t necessarily know that from riding it because it feels easy to chuck about, with progressive suspension that never wallows or sags too much under power.
YT Decoy CF Pro frame
The Decoy rocks a carbon chassis, which features high-modulus fibres in certain zones, and comes in five sizes.
A specially designed, semi-integrated battery bolts cleanly into its belly inside a huge down tube structure. This powers the Shimano E8000 drive unit that’s angled for better ground clearance. Interestingly, it was quite noisy, but I don’t know if this was just an unfortunate anomaly or down to the frame design.
The Decoy shares its V4L four-bar linkage design with YT’s ‘analogue’ Capra and Jeffsy. Its rear end feels supple but supportive, and uses a long-stroke Fox DPX2 piggyback shock with an EVOL air sleeve for greater sensitivity at the beginning of the stroke.
The geometry is reasonably long and slack, and the frame has a flip-chip that changes the head angle by half a degree and the already low bottom bracket height by 7mm. I started off in the slackest and lowest position, and left it there because the rider position felt perfect.
YT Decoy CF Pro kit
We’ve come to except exceptional kit for the money from YT, and the Decoy doesn’t disappoint.
The Fox 36 Performance Elite fork may not have the gold Kashima stanchion coating found on the brand’s Factory models, but still packs its top-tier GRIP2 damper. This gives a controlled and stable feel, as well as being super-supple.
The short 44mm fork offset helps the bike steer perfectly, in tandem with the 40mm stem and 65-degree head angle (low setting).
SRAM’s four-piston Code brakes have superb modulation. The e*thirteen wheels feel stiff and roll smoothly, and use e-specific rims. These differ in width as well as diameter (31mm internal front, 35mm rear), to best suit the 29 x 2.5in and 27.5 x 2.8in tyres.
YT Decoy CF Pro ride impressions
The Decoy is billed as a downhiller’s e-bike. It totally delivers on this, and not just by packing plenty of travel. In fact, despite the 165mm of rear bounce, the V4L suspension remains taut and efficient.
This, combined with the light, stiff carbon chassis, ensures the YT is very nimble for an e-enduro rig. The DH assurance stems from good angles, well-damped suspension and a low rider position, which work together to encourage attack-heavy riding.
With its mullet bike setup, the smaller back wheel cuts a tight arc through corners, which can make the front tyre understeer in the apex of the turn. I dropped one stem spacer to load the YT’s front tyre and never looked back.
The Decoy then has a balanced, ground-hugging feel, where rider weight is always centred and there’s never any danger of being pitched too far forward on steep tech, so you can hammer downhill with maximum confidence.
By ‘bouncing’ off the supportive suspension, you can change direction rapidly, and the Decoy’s ability to dart from side to side on the trail is addictive. One flipside of this tautness is that the bike can feel less comfortable than others over big hits and root webs.
This is likely down to the aggressively-damped DPX2 shock because I’ve ridden the top-tier Decoy with Float X2 shock and it’s exceptional in these situations. Also, I may have been charging hard on the YT because it encourages you to go a bit crazy.
Along with its downhill capability, the Decoy climbs admirably too. The saddle and cranks are well-positioned, and the mid-stroke is supportive. Add the fact that it eats up bendy singletrack without boring you, and it’s a brilliant all-rounder.
YT Decoy CF Pro geometry
- Seat angle: 76 degrees
- Head angle: 65 degrees
- Chainstay: 44.2cm / 17.4in
- Seat tube: 44.5cm / 17.52in
- Top tube: 61.1cm / 24.06in
- Bottom bracket height: 34.2cm / 13.46in
- Wheelbase: 1,222mm / 48.11in
- Reach: 45.5cm / 17.91in
How we tested
This bike was tested as part of a four-bike grouptest of power-assisted e-MTBs for £5,000 or less.
They’re all quality machines with the latest in battery/motor tech and geometry but which is worth your hard-earned cash? We put them to the test.
Bikes also tested:
|Available sizes||S, M, L, XL, XXL|
|Motor||Shimano STEPS E8000 motor and SMP|
|Tyres||Maxxis Minion DHF EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra 29x2.5in (f) and Minion DHR II EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra 27.5x2.8in (r)|
|Stem||Renthal Apex, 35mm|
|Shifter||Shimano Deore XT (1x11)|
|Seatpost||SDG Tellis, 150mm|
|Saddle||SDG Radar MTN|
|Rear shock||Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Deore XT|
|Headset||ACROS Knock Block|
|Brakes||SRAM Code RS four-piston, 200mm rotors|
|Handlebar||Renthal Fatbar 35, 800mm|
|Grips/Tape||ODI Elite Motion|
|Frame||Carbon fibre, 165mm (6.5in) travel|
|Fork||Fox 36 Float Performance Elite E-Bike, 160mm (6.3in) travel|
|Cranks||Shimano Deore XT, 34t|
|Cassette||e*thirteen TRS+, 9-46t|
|Wheels||e*thirteen e*spec+ (30/35mm) / e*thirteen triple-butted spokes|