2022 eMTB SHOOTOUT

YT DECOY MX CORE 3 2022 eMTB Review

Video by Brian Niles / Treeline Cinematic
Photos by Dusten Ryen

The YT Decoy MX eMTB is Young Talent Industries’ hard-hitting mullet eBike. The Decoy MX sports 165mm of rear travel with 170mm up front and geometry capable of navigating some fast and fun downhills. YT Industries supplied us with a size Large Decoy MX Core 3, their mid-level build, to put to the test in Knoxville, Tennessee, during our 2022 eMTB Shootout. After ten days of relentless hammering on the full spectrum of trails during our shootout, it’s time for us to share our impressions on the latest eMTB Enduro machine to come out of the YT bike oven.

QUICK HITS

• 165mm V4L Horst Link Suspension
• 540Wh Battery
• HTA 64.5
• STA 76 (effective)
• REACH 449 (Large)

Price: $5,999 (Core 2) – $7,999 (Core 4)
Website: YT-industries.com

THE LAB

In order to fully perform a YT’s Decoy MX review, we took the bike to the lab to look at its parts. The bike is the longer legged, heavier hitting eBike out of the two eMTB offerings in the YT lineup. YT bills the Decoy MX as a gravity-oriented bike that’s as happy in the bike park as on gnarly natural enduro tracks. A Shimano EP8 motor is fitted to the frame with 165mm of rear travel delivered by YT’s signature V4L Horst Link suspension setup, to offer a self-shuttle rig that should be able to tackle all but the gnarliest of descents.

YT Decoy MX Core 3 Profile Shot - 2022 eMTB Shootout

YT also offers the Decoy as a shorter travel (145mm) all mountain 29er for those who want more of a do-it-all trail eBike. Depending on your preference or budget, the YT Decoy MX is offered in an Ultra Modulus carbon fiber frame for selected premium models, or the Carbon/Alloy hybrid frame as tested, with a carbon fiber front triangle mated to an aluminum alloy rear end.

Regardless of the model, the power is provided by the Shimano EP8 system, delivering 85Nm of torque to the rear wheel and 250W of power that can be customized with the E-TUBE PROJECT app. YT developed their own battery to obtain as much power from their design space as possible. They fitted 30 cells into the slimline downtube, offering 540Wh of capacity to power the Shimano motor. The battery is bolted into the frame to reduce the chance of coming loose and can be charged either on or off the bike. The power button is recessed into the underside of the top tube to create a clean look while protecting it from damage.

The frames feature a flip chip in the lower shock mount to offer two positions for the geometry. There’s an extra seal on the frame pivots to increase water resistance and dirt ingress, and the headset is molded into the carbon fiber front triangle to optimize the weight. The cable routing is mostly internal, save for a portion between the seat tube and seatstays, and features guide tubes in the rear end and a foam wrap in the front end to save weight.

YT Decoy MX Core 3 Rear Stays - 2022 eMTB Shootout

YT focused on making the Decoy as damage resistant as possible by equipping it with custom formed PA66 plastic protectors for the battery in the downtube and the Shimano EP8 motor’s magnesium casing. They also added generous rubber chainstay and seatstay protectors to keep the rear end quiet and safe from chain damage. There’s a “blocklock” headset in place to prevent the fork from contacting the frame, but YT went a step further with the integration of a protector on the downtube to offer a failsafe in case the headset breaks, to ensure the frame cannot be harmed by contact with the fork crown in a crash.

For the Decoy MX, YT Industries currently offers three standard “Core” builds, from the $5,999 Core 2 to the $7,999 Core 4, as well as two limited edition “Uncaged” builds with the $6,999 Elite or the $7,499 Uncaged 9. The Decoy MX Core 3 tested retails at $6,999. A Fox suspension package is fitted in Performance Elite guise, with a 38 170mm fork with Grip2 damper leading the charge and a Float X two position rear shock controlling the 165mm travel rear end. Shimano provides an SLX drivetrain and their EM600 cranks in a 160mm length. These short cranks are a great touch to improve the technical climbing capabilities, and we hope that more bike companies continue to follow suit.

SRAM’s CODE R brakes are called upon for stopping duties with a pair of 200mm Centerline rotors and could be a point of upgrade for heavier or downhill-biased riders wanting more power. The cockpit is an all-alloy E13 Plus 35 affair, with a 50mm long stem and 35mm rise bar. An SDG Bel Air 3.0 saddles sits atop a YT Postman dropper post, with a 150mm length fitted to our large frame. Rounding out the specs are the CrankBrothers Synthesis Alloy MX wheelset that feature front and rear specific rims, which are wrapped in a Maxxis Assegai/DHR2 tire combination as standard.

YT Decoy MX Core 3 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

YT specs an EXO casing front tire and EXO+ casing rear tire on the Decoy MX, which we’d look to change out instantly, so we were thankful that we had Schwalbe on board as the official tire sponsor of the 2022 eMTB shootout. We were able to equip the Decoy MX with the same Schwalbe Magic Mary/Big Betty SuperGravity tire combination as the rest of our Enduro category test bikes. This allowed us to keep the feel consistent between each bike in order to remove one major variable in the performance of each bike, and to ensure we had a tire combination we could trust when pushing the bikes to the limit.

The flip chip in the lower shock mount offers half a degree of head angle and seat angle adjustment and an 8mm change in bottom bracket height. With the 160mm cranks fitted, and a reasonable BB height in the low setting, we kept the Decoy in the lower and slacker mode for the duration of the test to offer as much poise and stability as possible. YT offers the Decoy MX in sizes small through to XXL, to fit riders from 5’1”-6’7”. With most of our testers at 5’10” – 6’1”, we were supplied with the size large frame. The geometry numbers across the size range in this low mode share a 64.5-degree head angle, 75.5-degree seat angle, 442mm chainstay length and 24mm bb drop. The large size tested is considerably shorter than the common numbers on 2022 eMTB’s, with a 449mm reach and 633mm stack. The wheelbase therefore adds up to a very compact 1,235mm, which made quite a profound effect on the handling of the bike, which we’ll get onto next.

Santa Cruz Bronson V4 CC Rear Triangle

Most of the geometry figures on the YT Decoy are quite average in the Enduro eMTB world, however their sizing structure is different to most and so their large frame size sports a short 449mm reach that creates a very compact wheelbase. Contrary to many bikes being released where we find ourselves sizing down from the typical large size we would ride, we think we would have been better served by the XL YT Decoy MX.

YT Decoy MX Core 3 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

THE DIRT

It’s been a few years since we’ve ridden a YT Decoy and we were quite excited to this one for some head-to-head testing. As of right now, the Decoy MX sported the smallest battery in the shootout and as you’d expect, it was regularly the bike that was dead first. We’ve pretty much settled on 720Wh (or thereabouts) as the ideal size for our weight, terrain and amount of free time we have to ride.

Moving beyond our range anxiety woes, the YT Decoy MX is a pretty solid climber and does a fine job spinning out the miles. The reach on our size large is much closer to many size medium bikes currently on the market and so our riders found themselves a bit cramped on some longer fire road climbs or big days in the saddle. Most of the bikes tested in size large had reach numbers in the 470-485mm range, as an average, but the YT sits well under that at 449. Only the size medium Scott Ranson eRide with it’s 440mm reach was shorter.

YT Decoy MX Core 3 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

Despite the short reach we found the YT Decoy MX was a capable climber as well, although some riders may prefer the High mode for some added pedal and bottom bracket clearance. YT has done a great job with the suspension tune on the Decoy as it nicely blends comfort, traction and big hit capabilities. Depending on your weight and how hard you’re pushing, you may find yourself wanting to add some volume reducers to increase progression, but we found the compromise was reasonable for the price and spec. We’d love to ride this bike with a Fox X2 shock as it would likely unlock another level of confidence when attacking the downhills.

As it sits in the current spec, the YT Decoy MX Core 3 presents a pretty solid value to the performance package and I don’t think any of the parts held us back from pushing this bike. Still, when it compares to the even more affordable Scott Ransom eRide, the YT Decoy isn’t quite as composed or confident. This could have something to do with the relatively short chainstays of the Decoy. Compared to the Scott’s nearly 20mm longer stays and 20mm longer wheelbase, our riders felt the YT Decoy would get a bit nervous at high speeds and gnarly DH trails and would instead feel much more comfortable at play speeds where jumps, side hits and playful riding styles reign supreme. Perhaps sizing up to the XL would have given us a bit more confidence to open up the Decoy however, as the suspension platform seemed to handle the hits pretty well.

YT Decoy MX Core 3 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

The Wolf’s Last Word

Overall, the YT Decoy MX is a solid all-around bike. On the negative side, two major talking points for our crew are the sizing and small battery capacity. One of which can be remedied by sizing up, and the other…may have a fix coming in the not-so-distant future. When it comes to the performance of the YT Decoy, we really don’t have anything to complain about. It is a fun bike all around, it shreds corners, likes to jump, has a comfortable and well-rounded suspension tune and looks good too. YT really did a good job of making a bike feel both supple and planted without feeling dead or hard to play on.

That being said, for our full yt decoy mx core 3 review, when compared to some other bikes in the roundup it didn’t quite have us smiling as big in all varieties of trail the way a couple other bikes did. More specifically, when compared to the Scott Ransom eRide, which retails for $1,500 less, it’s tough not to take anyone who was looking at a YT Decoy and point them towards the Scott. Especially since YT was once the brand known for being an absolute killer value when it came to spec. If you are a diehard YT fan or you just really like the fit, finish and numbers the Decoy MX offer, then you’ll certainly not be disappointed in your purchase. We all enjoyed riding and had a great time on the YT Decoy MX during our test time in Knoxville, Tennessee. Plus, we have to give YT kudos for building a bike that stayed quiet and tight where many others rattled themselves loose, not too shabby YT.

If you’d like to see how it compares to other bikes in our 2022 eMTB Shootout, visit this page.

Price: $6,999
Weight: 51 lbs.
Website: YT-Industries.com

VISIT YT INDUSTRIES TO GET YOURS!

YT DECOY MX CORE 3 SPEC:

CHASSIS
Frame: Carbon/Alloy Hybrid; 165mm
Fork: Fox 38 29 Float Performance Elite | 170mm
Shock: Fox Float X Performance Elite | 2-pos | 230x65mm

ELECTRONICS
Motor: Shimano Steps EP8 | 85 Nm
Battery: SMP YT Custom | Removable | 540Wh
Display: Shimano E7000

COCKPIT
Brakes: SRAM Code R, 200F/R Centreline rotors
Bar: E13 PLUS 35 | rise: 35mm | width: 800mm | clamp: 35mm
Stem: E13 PLUS 35 | length: 50mm
Seatpost: YT Postman | S/M:125mm | L: 150mm | XL/XXL:170mm
Saddle: SDG Bel Air 3.0

WHEELS
Wheels: Crank Brothers Synthesis Alloy | 6 Bolt

DRIVETRAIN
Cassette: Shimano SLX M7100 | 10-51T | 12spd
Cranks: Shimano EM600 | 160mm
Shifter: Shimano SLX M7100 | 12spd
Derailleur: Shimano SLX M7100 | 12spd

YT Decoy MX Core 3 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

We Dig

Fun and well-rounded ride
Suspension tune overall
Looks good
Reliable! Stayed tight and quiet
Wheel spec
Balanced angles (HT and ST)
Short, snappy rear end

We Don’t

Sizing
200mm rotor spec
Motor felt underpowered
Small battery
Fell back on chunky DH tracks

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

YT Decoy MX Core 3 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

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