2022 eMTB SHOOTOUT

YETI 160E T1 REVIEW

Video by Brian Niles / Treeline Cinematic
Photos by Dusten Ryen

For their first eMTB offering, Yeti Cycles looked to produce a machine that was purpose-built for the racetrack. Starting with a whole new Sixfinity 6-bar suspension platform, Yeti Cycles built a 160mm travel, 29” wheeled monster that may just be the fastest eBike out there – enter the Yeti 160E. Since the Yeti 160E has already been reviewed at length before arriving at our 4th Annual eMTB Shootout, we’re going to keep this write up a bit shorter and more focused on the ride impressions and who we think the ideal buyer of this bike might be. If you want to see the longer, full-length written review of the Yeti 160E, hit the link here and be sure to watch our full length eBike Shootout video to see what we think are the best eBikes on the market for 2022. Enough talk, let’s jump into our Yeti 160E review!

QUICK HITS

• 160mm Sixfinity Suspension
• HTA 64.5
• STA 78 (effective)
• REACH 480 (Large)

Price: $10,700 (C1) – $13,000 (T1 tested)
Website: Yeticycles.com

THE LAB

Dependable and controlled power is vital for long days on the racetrack, so for their enduro eMTB race machine, Yeti joined the majority of bikes in our test by opting to employ the services of the Shimano Steps EP8 motor system and 630Wh internal battery. This offers 85Nm of torque when mashing the pedals towards the finish line onboard the Yeti 160E. While we would love to see a larger capacity, battery offered for all-day boosting, the compromise of range and handling is one we can appreciate with the size they selected. A Shimano EM800 display ties in the full Shimano electrical aspect, ensuring a coherent and streamlined system overall.

Yeti 160E T1 Profile Shot - 2022 eMTB Shootout

Yeti’s 160E is one of the first “race specific” eMTB’s we’ve seen, designed to excel on the EWS-E circuit and it shows. The frame is offered in Yeti’s TURQ premium carbon fiber (as tested) or can be purchased with a slightly cheaper and heavier carbon fiber frame for those with shallower pockets (but still not kiddie pool shallow). For the 160E, Yeti designed a new linkage system called Sixfinity, which allowed them to package everything around the motor without compromising on the kinematics they desired. We did an in-depth interview with the brains behind this six-bar linkage design, and you can watch, or read it, here. Yeti’s Sixfinity system delivers 160mm of rear wheel travel as you may have guessed, which is paired with a 170mm fork and a set of 29” wheels. A neat feature Yeti added is the three-position leverage rate adjustment on the lower shock mount, which can modify the overall system progression between 25%-35% to change the feel through the stroke. We definitely like the 35% Plush and Poppy setting best.

The all singing, all dancing T1 spec tested features a high-quality build to match the eye watering $13k price tag, and tips the scales at 52.4 lbs. A Fox Factory 38 170mm fork leads the way, with a Float X2 controlling the Sixfinity rear end. The drivetrain is a full Shimano XT affair, and SRAM’s CODE RSC brakes slow the ship down. A DT Swiss EX1700 wheelset is wrapped in a Maxxis Assegai EXO+/DHR2 DD tire combo as standard. However, for the shootout we had Schwalbe on board as the official tire sponsor, allowing us to equip all enduro category bikes with their Magic Mary and Big Betty Super Gravity tire combination. This allowed us to eliminate a major differentiator in the feel of a bikes on the trail, as well as ensuring we could rely on the tires to deliver the grip and durability our testing demanded. Rounding out the specs are the Yeti own-brand carbon fiber handlebar that is held in place by a RaceFace Turbine R stem, and a RockShox Reverb AXS dropper suspending a WTB Silverado saddle.

Yeti 160E T1 Rear Stays - 2022 eMTB Shootout
Santa Cruz Bronson V4 CC Rear Triangle

Geometry on the 160E was selected by Yeti to offer the best balance of stability and agility to handle the typical tracks – climbing and descending – faced on the EWS-E circuit. This forms a balanced geometry which offered a nicely upright climbing position and a compact enough wheelbase to tackle the tight and technical trails well, while remaining confident and stable at high speed.

Yeti Cycles 160E T1 - 2022 eMTB Shootout

THE DIRT

Yeti might be the first brand to label an eMTB offering as a “race bike”, but our crew was in agreement. A race bike is exactly what they have delivered. That isn’t to say that you’re unable to ride the Yeti 160E outside of the tape, but the stand-out characteristic of the turquoise machine was its hunger and demand for speed. The Yeti 160E’s climbing prowess is impressive, thanks to a nicely centered seated position and good clearance which lets it winch up steep switchbacks and technical climbs posthaste. The race tune on the Shimano EP8 system provided an energetic pedaling assistance, which combined with a relatively firm pedaling platform to produce a rocket ship when cranking hard. The downside of this race tune was the reduced battery life, and the 160E sometimes hit the RED battery indicator before others. The nice thing with the EP8 system however is that you can easily toggle between two profiles for range and power management. Though the EP8 falls short of the grunt of the Specialized or Rocky Mountain motors, it has proved to be a solid and dependable performer with a more natural feeling assistance.

The race mindset continues to the descents, where the Yeti 160E has outstanding support and composure at speed, with the unanimous opinion across our testers that it was the fastest feeling bike on test. A fine geometry balance means it’s as happy flat out on wide open terrain as darting through tighter tree-lined runs, though the low stack height had some riders feeling uncomfortable on the steepest descents. The suspension platform offers exceptional control when riding flat out, however the 160E falters in slower paced, rough terrain. Even in the most progressive setting on the rear end, the initial stroke is firm, which produces an uncomfortable ride when you’re below a certain speed threshold, both when climbing and descending the hill. The Yeti 160E requires an attacking mindset in order to unlock its full potential and for that reason isn’t our top recommendation for riders looking for a relaxed and supple ride. If you’re looking to charge hard and ride fast however, few bikes can keep up when you give the 160E all you’ve got.

Yeti Cycles 160E T1 - 2022 eMTB Shootout

The Wolf’s Last Word

Yeti’s 160E is a thoroughbred race machine, which demands the throttle to be held wide open for the entirety of the ride. Riders who are prepared to push their limits will be rewarded with composure and control in buckets, but at low speeds, specifically on rough terrain there’s an uncomfortable level of feedback which can make casual riding uncomfortable both up and down the hill. If you’re a rider who wants to ride “full gas” every day it’s the pick of the test, but for riders who are seeking more comfort when riding in a more relaxed manner, you’re best to look elsewhere.

Price: $13,000
Weight: 52.4 lbs
Website: Yeticycles.com

VISIT YETI CYCLES TO GET YOURS!

YETI 160E T1 SPEC:

CHASSIS
Frame: TURQ series carbon | 160mm Sixfinity Suspension
Fork: Fox Factory 38 GRIP 2/170mm E-Tune
Shock: FOX FACTORY FLOAT X2

ELECTRONICS
Drive Unit: Shimano EP8
Battery: Shimano 630Wh Internal
Display/Switch: Shimano EM800

COCKPIT
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC 220/200
Shifter: Shimano XT
Handlebar: Yeti Carbon 35x800mm eBike
Stem: Race Face Turbine | 50mm
Saddle: WTB Silverado Custom
Seatpost: SRAM Reverb AXS | S: 125mm, M: 150mm, L/XL: 170mm

WHEELS
Wheels: DT SWISS EX1700 30MM

DRIVETRAIN
Cassette: Shimano XT, 10-51T
Cranks: Shimano EM900 34T 160mm
Derailleur: Shimano XT

Yeti 160E T1 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

We Dig

High speed confidence
Begs to go fast
Balanced geometry for enduro terrain
Gets better the harder you push
Did we mention it hauls ass?

We Don’t

Uncomfortable on rough terrain at slow speed
Needs to be ridden hard full-time
Low stack can be nervous in steeps

OUR 2022 eMTB SHOOTOUT WAS MADE POSSIBLE
THANKS TO THESE GREAT SPONSORS:

Yeti Cycles 160E T1 - 2022 eMTB Shootout

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