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 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 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 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.
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.