The dropper was born, and progression was made. And now we have this – a…
The YT Decoy MX is now available with an optional bigger battery. Bigger battery + smaller rear wheel = E-greatness? Well, it wasn’t quite as straightforward as that…
- Brand: YT
- Product: Decoy MX Core 3
- Price: £5,999 with 540Wh battery, delivered, including all shipping costs and taxes (Price for 720Wh battery £899 + £6 postage)
- From: YT Industries
- Reviewed by: Benji for 2 months
YT Decoy MX Core 3 (with 504Wh battery)
Hang on. Didn’t we just review a YT Decoy? Well, yes we did. Back in May last year we reviewed the YT Decoy 29. And we loved it. So much so we put it in our 2022 Editor’s Choice round-up of the best bits of the year.
Why are we reviewing a Decoy again? Two reasons. 1) YT are now offering the Decoy with a bigger 720Wh battery and they asked us to have a go on it. And 2) we just really wanted to see what the mixed-wheel mullet MX version of the Decoy had to offer, if anything, over and above the full 29er Decoy.
The first thing the MX Decoy offers is more travel. 165mm of rear travel compared to the 145mm of 29 Decoy 29. And there’s a 170mm travel fork leading the charge compared to the 29’s 150mm fork.
There’s also some fairly significant geometry differences between the 29 and the MX Decoys. This is certainly not a bike that tries to offer the same geo on the mixed-wheel as found on the full-29.
Some of the geometry differences on the MX Decoy are welcome. I never say no to a slacker head angle for example. 64.5° is just better than 65.8°. But, to get straight to the heart of the matter here, most of the geometry changes didn’t suit me. The slacker seat angle and reduced reach (469mm on XL) were the two main issues I had with the Decoy MX.
I also just don’t really gel with short(er) chain stays. The MX’s chainstays are 442mm, compared to the 29’s 458mm. YMMV. And I will freely admit to just not really being used to the reduced BB drop of a 27.5in rear wheel. I quite like the improved pump-ability of trail features but I’m just ‘too 29’ to find the handling of a 27.5in rear wheel any better on corners etc.
The riding position of the MX was just a bit too rearward bias for me. I really missed the excellent balanced feel that the Decoy 29 offers. Now then. Some people will love this. Jumpy jibbers and such. For me though, it just wasn’t as good as the Decoy 29 on climbs (front wheel lifts were a common battle), or contours, or even downhill for that matter. I ride with my front tyre glued to the ground. I’m not overly convinced that MTBs should prioritised with ‘getting air’ or whatever. Yes, I am old.
The rearward-focussed riding position did also make it a bit trickier to get the rear suspension set up. I ended up running quite a lot of low speed compression dialled on to stop the bike wallowing. Which was fine for the most part but it does remove some traction-hoovering ability from the rear wheel (that already is losing out to grippier 29ers), which made it suffer on sketchy climbs as well as across rooty downhills.
In general though, I did manage to achieve the same level of pop out of the Decoy MX as I experienced on the Decoy 29. This was despite the the general increase in travel, changes to the back end’s kinematic and the differing geometry.
Then there are easily forgotten things like the wheels and the frame chassis. Both the frameset and the wheelset offered a nice, lively ride. Certainly stiff enough to the task of being an ebike but without any distracting ‘twang-back’ or jarring brittle harshness. Predictable. Muted. Efficient. The Decoy is a nice place to be for a few hours.
I did in fact end up putting the flip-chip into High mode (SHOCK! HORROR!). This gives a steeper 76° seat angle, and a slightly longer reach. The bike felt much more balanced. Sure, I missed the 64.5° head angle (now 65.8°) but I managed. It essentially felt a bit more like I was on a Decoy 29, albeit one a size too small!
As for the increased arse-clearance of a smaller rear wheel. Yep, that’s not a bad thing. Thing is, I’m tall enough to not really suffer from the dreaded 29er arse buzz very much. Shorter legged riders will appreciate/need the extra clearance more than I.
Having said that, the shorter reach of the MX Decoy is an issue. And/or the relatively tall seat tube length. If you get a size that affords you a decent amount of reach, you may find the seat tube a bit on the tall side. For example, I’d like the 489mm of the XXL but the XXL has a whopping 495mm seat tube length. Notta lotta droppa gonna fitta. By my maths (uh-oh) I’d be able to squeeze a 150mm dropper in there at most. Which kinda makes the extra arse clearance potential of the 27.5in rear wheel something of a moot point.
All in all, I’m being a bit hard on the Decoy MX because it is not a Decoy 29. Its sibling really does leave it in the shade. If you’re a smaller rider (but with long enough legs for the seat tube!) who #lovesbackwheel you could still keep the YT Decoy MX on your shortlist. But that’s a fairly small amount of audience. And I still think the seat tube is a bit lofty for those folks too.
To end on more of a positive note, the new optional extra 720Wh battery is a very welcome addition. The whole question of how much range you get out of an ebike system is subject to so many variables (rider weight, gradient, weather, power settings, tyres etc etc) that any definitive statement is unwise.
All I can say is that I only managed to empty the 720Wh battery once and that was after completing 40.3km and 1,100m of climbing… entirely on Boost mode. That ride was a whole load of fun. Quite mind-blowing really.
The YT Decoy MX is not a bad bike. Don;’t go cancelling any orders or sticking yours on eBay/Classifieds. It’s an okay ebike. Honestly. I enjoyed myself immensely on it. It’s hard not enjoy a full-power ebike with a decent amount of travel to it and a big eff-off battery. I certainly wouldn’t kick it out of bed (garage). It still has that fun poppy ride and great chassis feel to it. It’s just that the full 29er is by far the better bike. And any hardcore mixed-wheel fans may find that either the reach is too short and/or the seat tube a bit too long to fully unleash the mullet power.
p.s. I know this review isn’t supposed to be about the Decoy 29 (sorry!) but a YT Decoy 29 with a 720Wh battery in it sounds to me like the best ebike currently available.
YT Decoy MX Core 3 Specification
- Frame // Carbon, 165mm
- Shock // Fox Float X Performance Elite, 230x65mm
- Fork // Fox 36 Performance Elite Grip2 E-Bike+, 170mm, 51mm offset
- Wheels // Crankbrothers Synthesis Alloy E-MTB
- Front Tyre // Maxxis Assegai 26×2.5in
- Rear Tyre // Maxxis Minion DHR II 27.5×2.6in
- Chainset // Shimano EM600, 165mm
- Drivetrain // Shimano SLX 12-speed
- Brakes // SRAM Code R, 200/200mm rotors
- Stem // E13 Plus 35, 50mm
- Bars // E13 Plus 35, Aluminium, 780x35mm
- Grips // ODI Elite Motion V2.1
- Seatpost // YT Postman, 170mm
- Saddle // SDG Bel Air 3.0
- BB // Shimano
- Motor // Shimano EP8 85Nm
- Battery // 504Wh (optional 720Wh available)
- Size Tested // XL
- Sizes Available // S, M, L, XL, XXL
- Weight // 22.5kg
Geometry for our size XL test bike:
- Head angle // 64.5° (low)
- Effective seat angle // 75.5° (low)
- Seat tube length // 470mm
- Head tube length // 115mm
- Chainstay // 442mm
- Wheelbase // 1,259mm
- Effective top tube // 635mm
- BB height // F: 8mm BB drop (low), R: 16mm BB drop (low)
- Reach // 469mm
Members Only: Check out the full datasheet for the Decoy Core 3 MX
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