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.