After fine-tuning their enduro sled, the Tyee, over the past years, it came time for Propain to take a serious look at the platform and introduce some major improvements. Influenced by their experiences with its predecessors, and their first 29er - the Hugene - along with valuable input from their World Cup downhill team, they cherry-picked the most favorable features and ride characteristics to form the 2020 Tyee. Not wanting to compromise in any way, the new Tyee is available in 29” and 27.5” versions, each with a dedicated frame.
To give you a little insight about the small company's dedication and enthusiasm of their employees, their CEO, Robert Krauss, is the one responsible for drawing up the new Tyee, and most of the other bikes in Propain's history. Part of Propain's design process includes a kick-off meeting before the start of each new project, where everyone from the company - all avid bikers themselves - is invited to provide input as to what direction the final new product should head and what features should be integrated.
Tyee CF Details
• Wheel size: 29" or 27.5"
• Rear wheel travel: 160mm
• Blend carbon frame
• 64.5° head angle
• Chainstays: 445mm (29"), 430mm (27.5")
• Frame weight (w/o shock): 2,700g (size M)
• 12 x 148mm rear spacing
• Sizes: M-XL
• Colors: Bad Mint, Mars Red Dark, Raw Carbon
• Price: from €2,999 to €7,724Tyee AL Details
• Blend Aluminum frame
• Frame weight (w/o shock): 3,700g (size M)
• Sizes: S-L
• Colors: Mars Red, Petrol, Raw
• Price: from €2,399 to €6,974
The Tyee is available in carbon or aluminum for both 29” and 27.5” versions. Propain use their Blend Carbon process, which makes use of various carbon materials with different properties that are best suited for the job at certain locations of the frame. Depending on the requirements of stiffness, flexibility, impact resistance, weight, strength or stress direction, different fibers and cloths are used and combined to create a unique blend.
Using a similar process for aluminum with their Blend Alloy concept, different alloys are combined in a single frame. Propain uses at least three different alloys on a frame, with the tubes usually being made from a more fatigue-resistant material than forged or CNC-machined parts. Parts that don’t need to be welded together, like links and axles, are usually made out of 7075 T6 aluminum, which offers very high strength, but is difficult to weld.
Weight for the size M carbon frame comes to 2,700g without shock, 3,700g for the aluminum version.
Both aluminum and carbon feature internal cable routing, but the carbon variant is also equipped with internal cable routing channels, making it very simple to route the cables and eliminating possible noises from cables hitting the frame walls.
The frame also features a threaded bottom bracket. Propain has developed its own system for attaching ISCG mounts, sliding an ISCG adapter onto a counter-piece of the CF's aluminum bottom bracket insert or respectively the AL's bottom bracket tube. That way, if a bash guard is mounted, impact forces are spread over a larger area, protecting the frame. Also, if the mounts get damaged they can easily be replaced. Propain used their own test bench during the development process of their frames, putting them under a load of 500,000 cycles, tested beyond their prescribed standards for performance, load and durability. The Tyee enduro model is listed in category five for unrestricted bike park approval.
Even though the older model had a guard protecting the shaft of the rear shock from rear tire spray, many people are going to appreciate the fact that the shock now sits tucked away inside the main frame triangle. There is still enough space for a bottle cage mount inside that triangle.
A new down tube guard and chainstay guard has been formed for the Tyee. The chainstay guard features soft hollow ribs to reduce noise from chain slap. Acros bearings are additionally protected by Propain Dirt Shields, an extra seal on top of the industrial bearings to shield them from dust, water, and dirt.
With three frame colors for each tire size to choose from and multiple decal options using plotted vinyl foil (with new chrome colorway added to an already broad range), you can tweak the Tyee's appearance to your liking. Frame color Mars Red Dark and Petrol are new, with Carbon Raw's glossy clear coat showing the various layers of the Blend Carbon structure. The Raw aluminum style is now treated with a special coating, featuring a matte finish. Geometry 29" Tyee27.5" Tyee
There are three frame sizes available for both the 27.5” and 29” models, although the smaller wheels are available from S to L, the bigger wheels from M to XL sizes. Most measurements between 29” and 27.5” differ only slightly.
A steep 77.1 degree seat tube angle supports the bike’s climbing capabilities. The head angle measures 64.5-degrees for all versions. Both the 29" and 27.5" versions use forks with 42mm offset and 170mm of travel.
The reach is modern but not overly aggressive by today’s standards, measuring 431mm at size S and moving 20mm up for every size, all the way to 491mm for a size XL.
Steer tube length is 15 mm shorter on the big-wheeled models for comparable frame sizes. Understandably, stack is still about 20mm taller for the 29” bikes. Also, the chainstay length sits at 445mm for the 29” version, and since Propain moved the shock in front of the seat tube, they were able to shorten them to 430mm on the 27.5” models.Suspension Design
Twelve years ago, the foundation for the PRO10 suspension concept was laid, a virtual pivot layout with two counter-rotating links, activating a floating shock from both sides. The new Tyee features the latest evolution of that PRO10 system, locating the shock within the main triangle of the frame, compared to sitting in between the rear wheel and seat tube on the previous version, and provides 160mm of rear wheel travel.
As far as kinematics go, Propain has been constantly optimizing the ratio of the rear suspension over the years to get to the point where they feel they have reached the ideal progression curve. Therefore, they chose not to make any changes to it in their latest edition.
Starting at a high ratio for improved small-bump-sensitivity and with strong digression (delivering high progression at the rear end) towards the second half of the travel, the system is designed to withstand a proper beating and work well with air and coil shocks alike.
Although the leverage ratio is still the same, Propain was able to raise the anti-squat values from 70 to an average of about 110%, aiding its pedaling efficiency. Specifications
Every bike in Propain's lineup is completely customizable. However, there are some predefined packages available that can be fine-tuned. With their online configurator, multiple frame and decal colors, suspension elements, components, and even handlebar heights and stem lengths are on the menu, making it possible to tune the bike to your personal preference. The online order system has been completely revamped as well.
The aluminum versions of the Tyee start at €2,399 and go up to €6,974; carbon models start at €2,999 and go all the way to €7,724.
You can order the new Tyee as of now in their online-order shop, with a regular delivery time of about 35 working days. Propain is also working hard on making their bikes available for the North American market during Q1 of 2020.
At 168 cm tall, I could have chosen to ride a 27.5" S or M size, or medium 29" model. I opted for a 29” size M with air shocks, allowing me to fine-tune the suspension during my rides. Personally, I wouldn't want to ride a bike with less than a reach of 450mm anymore, if I have the option, so I would have also picked the medium 27.5" version. The seat tube lengths could be a tad shorter, as they might limit some people running dropper posts with longer drop, depending on their inseam, as well as limiting the option to step up to a bigger frame size a bit, in case they are looking for a longer reach.
My medium 29er test bike with the Performance spec package, which includes a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate, Super Deluxe Ultimate Air rear shock, aluminum wheels and mostly aluminum parts - had a total weight of 14.65kg (32.3 lb) with pedals.
With shuttles acting as our main source of getting up the mountains, climbing time aboard the new Tyee was limited. That limited time, however, was very informative, as it involved crawling up an uncomfortably steep paved section, some challenging and rather loose singletrack uphill, as well as mellow fire roads interspersed with hardpack and deep sand sections alike. As it turned out, the Tyee 29 with turned out to be an excellent climber.
Equipped with air shock, there was no noticeable unwanted wallowing from the suspension, thanks probably in part to the anti-squat value around 110 percent. Even when pushing harder out of the saddle it didn't feel as if your shock was replaced with a bowl of Jello. Overall, the 29"r version accepted changes in speed willingly (leading to the assumption that the 27.5 option would even excel in this category) and the bike always felt lighter than its weight on the scale would suggest, not that this value is bad at all for a 170/160mm bike of this caliber.
I‘ve never ridden the Tyee‘s predecessor, but keeping the suspension kinematics and leverage ratio the same sure was a wise decision. The rear end’s progressive nature allows for running the bike with either a coil or air shock, seemingly without negative side effects... At least, I didn’t hear any of my colleagues that were running a coil shock complain.
I am a big fan of bikes that ramp up steadily throughout the mid- and end-stroke in order to maintain support at higher speeds and during bigger impacts from drops or jumps. Even though the O-ring on the Tyee's rear shock indicated that I used full or almost full travel throughout my runs regularly with my setup at about 33 percent, it never once gave me the feeling that I‘d gone beyond the suspension‘s capability. Drops to flat, rolling hard into g-outs after a steep roller or simply slamming into rocks, which we encountered plenty on our runs in La Palma, never made me think twice about the rear end‘s functionality. Apart from that, while soaking hits up thoroughly, the suspension always delivered proper feedback to the ground, making it easy to pop off lips or other obstacles along the way.
It remained composed at higher speeds, and pushing the bike into corners is a blast. WIth the predominately loose surface on our trip I found myself flicking the rear end into tight corners more often in those two days than in the past two months of my riding. The rear end might not be quite as stiff as the old one, but it’s a tune that most of the testers at Propain preferred, reducing chatter slightly in rough sections. The nicely slack head angle of 64.5 degrees might suggest that the steering would be on the slow side, but the Tyee follows rider input quickly and willingly. For a rather big bike with 29" wheels the new Tyee felt very lively and rather playful.
It's the sum of all parts that makes a good bike great, and it's hard to find anything missing from the new Tyee, especiaully since there's an option for both 29" and 27.5" fans in carbon and aluminum. The seat tube could be a bit shorter for a wider selection of frame sizes or dropper posts, depending on rider height, but for many riders that's not going to be much of an issue. In the end, the new Tyee just lets you do your thing over a very broad range of riding conditions and speeds and doesn't feel like a dead weight on the way up the hill. And isn't that exactly what enduro is all about?