Now that you’ve had your fill of specs and technical info, let’s get into the real reason you’re here — the ride. We went into this review doing our best to hold back preconceived notions, but it’s hard not to get excited about an e-bike that looks this good. We’re sure the brand’s image and aesthetics play a major factor, along with the price points, in YT’s success in such a competitive market.
The Decoy is the first factory-equipped Mullet we’ve ridden. Out on the trail, there is a measurable benefit to having the 29er upfront for rollover, and the 27.5 outback to improve agility. The Decoy’s chainstays and ultra-low bottom bracket make it incredibly stable on the trail. Thanks to those same long stays and short 165mm cranks, it also climbs well. While the bike does climb well, YT ships the Decoy with a conservative, econical tune in Trail and Eco modes. In the stock setting we noticed less assistance while climbing compared to other bikes in Trail and Eco modes. During our test period we logged into Shimano’s e-Tube app and adjusted the settings to offer more assistance in Trail and Eco modes. Something any customer can do. Increasing the power assistance will come at a slight penalty to the bike’s overall range however.
On most of our 1-2.5 hour test rides, range wasn’t a factor for our 165-190lb test riders. We spent many days in the Santa Monica Mountains outside of Los Angeles, putting some serious vert under our belts. We’d usually run out of free time before we ran out of battery. If you’re a free bird with lots of time to explore, weigh more than 190 pounds or live for the Boost, you may be counting down til the upgraded battery comes available.
The Shimano Steps E8000 is one of the oldest drivetrains on the market, but it still performs well. At this point in the game, we’d love to see changes to the motor’s weight, size, and display to keep up with Bosch and Specialized. We also wouldn’t mind a noise reduction either, although it is still quieter than the Yamaha system.
Out on the trail, the Decoy is actually a departure from the traditional YT feel. The engineers have done a great job making a comfortable and fun bike with the smoothest, most sensitive suspension we’ve ever felt on a YT. Their non-electric bikes, like the Tues, Jeffsy, and Capra have suspension feels on the slightly harsh but lively and poppy side. On the Decoy, the opposite is true. The YT Decoy is incredibly supple and handles square-edged obstacles much easier than their pedal-powered brethren. The downside is that the Decoy rides heavier than we expected. It’s less willing to pop and float around the trail than some of its competitors. Instead, its riding characteristics are more grounded and will reward riders who like to plow things over or stay seated for longer days in the saddle.
The bike instills confidence when plowing over chattery terrain or landing drops. Traction is excellent, and comfort is high. The 27.5 rear wheel had us grinning ear to ear when it came time to brake late and aggressively throw the handlebars over for a snappy corner. The 29-inch front wheel gobbled up the terrain and rolled smoothly over braking bumps and obstacles. However, the bike rode heavier than the best in class, and it was harder to pop off small rocks, roots, and other features that weren’t an issue on a couple other bikes. If you like to air sections of trail rather than plow them down, the tall stack height and soft rear end may cause you the same issues. Furthermore, the smaller battery is something that held us back when comparing this beauty to our category favorites like the Norco Sight VLT, Devinci DC, and Specialized Levo. Surprisingly, even the Mondraker Crafty R, which weighs as much as the YT Decoy, has a livelier feel and more pop to it.