Staff Rides: Matt Wragg's Workhorse YT Decoy 29

Jan 27, 2022
by Matt Wragg  
St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.



STAFF RIDES

Matt Wragg's YT Decoy 29



This bike is like a big, shaggy dog. I’m not sure YT’s marketing department will be too excited about that description, but it works for me. Its on-trail manners lean towards smash rather than finesse, it’s always ready to go and it always puts a smile on my face.

I’m not going to go down the “Why do I ride my eMTB most?” line here. I enjoy it. What more do you need to know? The Decoy 29 has been in my stable since last April, and I have notched up around 1,500km in that time - further than I have ridden any of my MTBs in a year during the past decade.

Decoy Details

• Intended use: riding
• Travel: 155mm rear / 160mm fork
• Wheel size: 29"
• Reach: 462mm
• 65° head angle, 458mm chainstays
yt-industries.com


St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.


Why This Bike?

First off, I wanted a full 29. Mullet bikes are probably great, and in the name of curiosity I have the bits to try this as a mullet at some point, but I want my main wheels all in 29-inch.

Since 27.5" wheels and Boost hubs started infiltrating the market in 2014 or so my parts store has been in chaos. It is only in the last year or so I have got back to a point where all of my wife's and my bikes finally run the same axle diameter, axle width, and rim diameters again. When I break something, I want to grab a wheel off another bike and keep riding, not spend my life trying to marry one part to another from the ever-expanding web of ‘standards’. I want to pop the front tire on the back when it starts to wear down. So, 29.


Geometry

Surprisingly for a brand with such a wild image, the Decoy is a fairly moderate bike. This large has a stated 462mm reach, which is short by today's standards, especially for a large, but at 5'9' / 1.75m it fits me so well. I have run bikes from 409-485mm reaches in the last few years and this is a sweet spot for me.

Beyond that, I knew the chainstays were suitably long. I spent the summer on a 435mm-chainstayed enduro bike and spent the entire time bitching about it. I wouldn’t want to go below a 440mm chainstay on any of my bikes anymore, and I still don’t understand the people who claim not to be able to manual these bikes. It was only looking through the geometry charts for this article that I discovered that this bike has a 458mm chainstay, some 8mm longer than I expected. Yet thanks to the bar height and riding position (which YT do a great job of out of the box), it has always popped quite pleasingly and we don't want for tight corners here in the South of France.

It has a head angle. I think it’s 65-ish, but I honestly don’t care. The BB was nice and low out of the box, with maybe one or two too many pedal strikes in the low setting. It definitely has a seattube angle and all the other measurements, but the fact is that the bike just feels like it fits me really well.


St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.
A Shimano E8000 paired with a 540Wh battery sit inside the frame.


What About the Motor and Battery?

The bike runs on the older Shimano E8000 motor and a 540Wh custom battery, which is just fine. Yes, the EP8 and the Bosch G4 are newer, sexier motors, but if you’re riding for yourself, how much does that matter? My wife has been running an EP8-equipped bike and you can definitely see the gains running side-by-side. That said, I don’t think it’s worth changing the bike just for the newer motor, the E8000 is still a decent bit of kit.

The advantage this bike has over Shimano-powered bikes with standard batteries is the firmware. On standard bikes, Shimano’s firmware holds onto the last 20% of the battery, I believe to save battery to power lights. YT has a far more focused view of how this bike will be ridden and strip this out. This means you get a fair bit more range than on a stock 504Wh Shimano battery. Weighing 70kg, I can get around 1,000m climbing in Boost, plenty for an hour clearing my head after work. If I drop the power down a little, around 1,500m is doable in Trail, enough for 2-3 hours of fun.


St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.

St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.
St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.

St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Up front is a 160mm Fox 38 with a GRIP2 damper, and a Marzocchi CR2 coil with a 400lb spring handles the rear end.


Suspension

For the first six months with this bike, I ran the stock suspension, which only changed when my wife was no longer using the Marzocchi CR2 coil I bought her for our roadtrip. It is a 65mm stroke shock, rather than the 60mm-stroke stock DPX2, which bumps the travel to somewhere around the 155mm mark (although don’t expect YT to be too happy you did this if you need to warranty your bike).

Having spent several years trying to get my bikes perfect, this shock was a bit of a departure for me. Arriving with a generic tune, it went on with the spring my wife was running (400lb) and I fiddled with the preload and LSC a little. It just works. When I took the bike to a DH track, I could start to see the edges. But for everyday riding around where we live, I get comfort and can still throw the bike around when I want to. It may not be tuned to win an EWS, but I don't need that level of performance to have fun. I should probably buy a fancier spring for it, I may even give a progressive-wound spring a try as the frame is a shade less progressive than I would prefer with the coil. We’ll see.

The longer-stroke shock changed the balance of the bike and the stock 150mm 36 started to feel a little under-gunned. I planned to pop a 160mm air shaft in there, but Fed Ex managed to lose it somewhere between the UK and here. Fortunately, as you do, I had a 160mm 38 going spare, so that went on instead. From the box the bike came with a big 10mm+ topcap/spacer, so to keep the cockpit constant for climbing I took that out and slammed the stem.

The 38 is a very, very impressive fork in this Factory GRIP2 guise, as my colleagues have said many times, but I can’t help thinking that I don’t need that much fork. The stock 36 was stiff enough for my 70kg weight, and I don’t think another 10mm of travel will change that. If this were a regular bike I would probably keep the 38 on, but for my eMTB, I keep coming back to the fact that lower weight = more range, ie. more fun, although maybe having a big, impractical fork is exactly how this bike should be built...


St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.

St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.
St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.

St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.
The bike rolls on a set of DT Swiss HX1501 wheels shod with Schwalbe Magic Mary and Big Betty, both in a SuperGravity casing.


Wheels and Tires

When I wrote about living with an eMTB long-term, back in 2017, I described wheels as “semi-disposable.” DT Swiss have proved me wrong on that front. The HX1501s on this bike run on utterly dependable 240 hubs and a reinforced version of the rim that won our product of the year last year. In honesty, I’m not sure how many bikes these wheels have been on - it is certainly the second bike they have graced, it could well be more.

Switching rear tires from a Schwalbe Eddy Current to the Big Betty was a revelation last year. Maybe the Eddy Current is ahead of its time, but for me, the rubber is too hard, even if their life is fantastic. The Big Betty looks similar enough, but uses a slightly softer rubber that brakes well, breaks away predictably, and still lasts impressively - I got around 1,200 km from my first rear tire this year. On the front is an ever-dependable Magic Mary. Both are in SuperGravity casing as I firmly believe that the fastest tire is rarely the lightest, but the one with air still inside it.

Inside is an Effetto Mariposa tire saver strip and their Vegelatex fluid. After interviewing Nico Vouilloz last year about his bike setup, I decided to give the low pressures he runs a go - I’m down to 19 psi up front and 21 psi in the back. Friends I rode with were freaked out by such low pressures, but I think they could be pushed further. I’m not the most assiduous at checking tire pressures before a ride, so I have likely ridden at even lower pressures. I mostly ride without tubes or a pump, and the only times I have had to limp home are when I have let the pressures drop too far or the sealant has gone off, usually after about 6 months of neglect.


St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.

St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.

St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.
St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.

St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.

St Laurent de Touet France 2021. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Brakes are an XTR/XT 4-piston combo, pedals are XT, contact points are Ergon and a Renthal cockpit finishes the bike off.


Other Parts

The XTR/XT 4 piston brake combo came about after a minor mishap with the stock Codes, but it has been interesting to run SRAM and Shimano back-to-back after several years on Formula. Shimano handle the rest of the transmission - the bike arrived with a full XT group - although when the derailleur met a rock I popped a Deore one on there instead. Shimano also provides the pedals with these XTs. Originally I was running the current generation of pedal on this bike, but I went steaming into another large rock with them and these older pedals were waiting in the parts box.

Cockpit is a Renthal Fatbar Carbon (780mm/30mm) and Apex stem (40mm). In the future, I am debating as to which Renthal bar I would run. In the past, the Fatbar was perfect for me, but they upped it to 800mm in the last few years. That means that when I cut it back to 780mm it is a touch stiffer than the previous generation. The dilemma is whether to sacrifice another 20mm of width to go with the 760mm Fatbar Lite, which should be more comfortable and a touch lighter.

Ergon provides the contact points. This carbon-railed Team SM saddle is another item that has been with me through multiple bikes. Grips are their GD1s, not the current version. I actually have a box of the newer Evo grips here with me and they are better grips, but these still feel so good that they will stay on while there is life left in them.

YT’s in-house Postman dropper has been fine - it made a fun sliding noise when it was new that I rather miss. I know the cool kids are all running long-drop posts now, but I seem to have missed that party and I have never felt like a 150mm post has held me back. The frame-specific water bottle holds about enough for my shorter spins, and I should take a backpack for the longer ones anyway. And finally, a PB Marsh Guard to finish it all off.


How's It Ride?

Have you ever had a bike that just clicked from the first ride? For me, the Decoy did that. I have always preferred support over comfort from my suspension, so the poppy, direct nature of the bike really works for me. Even if I then put on the coil for extra comfort and the bigger fork for more smash. While that makes it a slightly different beast from what you can buy off the shelf, it doesn't feel like it has compromised the maneuverability that made me appreciate this bike from the beginning. When I have had a stressful day I want a bike that I can just grab and go - and for me, that is this bike.

In fact, I like this bike so much, I have convinced YT to let me hold onto it for the next two years. The plan is to check back in about this bike and look at how eMTBs really are to live with, in the long term. For instance, what is the service life of one of these batteries? How do the motors hold up? If there is anything you'd particularly like to know about living with an eMTB, please let me know in the comments








135 Comments

  • 157 2
 That's the cutest water bottle ever. I just want to cuddle it and tell it everything is going to be alright.
  • 25 1
 It’s like a water bottle ... but smaller
  • 14 1
 The bottle is bigger than it looks - it's surprisingly broad and holds something like a half litre, which is fine for short rides.
  • 72 2
 @mattwragg: "is bigger than it looks - it's surprisingly broad" ...thats what he said
  • 18 7
 Who hydrates on eRides?
  • 6 2
 I instantly scrolled down for the water bottle joke after seeing the title picture... Not disappointed to find it as the top comment
  • 1 4
 @mtbforlife4: You're two hours behind @stuggidavid with that joke.
  • 10 1
 What is this....? A water bottle for ants?!
  • 3 1
 Just make sure you stop before reaching for it, before you know it, your finger gets squeezed in between the coils of the shock.
  • 10 0
 That's not a water bottle. It's a sippy cup.
  • 4 0
 sipmaster 2000
  • 2 0
 Oil for the motor?
  • 2 0
 @kcj801: A $50 sippy cup
  • 2 0
 @mtbforlife4: Too funny! Thank you for a fantastic laugh this Friday!
  • 50 0
 A nice one, i like the Bomber damper.
...is the micro bottle for water or for chainlube?
  • 11 2
 The bottle is an ok size, actually, bigger than it looks
  • 64 0
 @mattwragg: thats what i am always saying
  • 9 1
 @mattwragg:
That’s what she said…
  • 1 0
 @stuggidavid: Hahaha, somebody had to.
  • 2 0
 @stuggidavid: actually, that's what he hopes that she says, but never does
  • 33 1
 I really enjoyed your writing. And your lack of obsession with frame numbers. It fits, it works, it is fun. I think sometimes we might just take this pastime a tad too seriously for what it actually is.
  • 7 0
 Thanks. Although I would suggest caution about reading too much into my disregard for numbers - I have spent many years obsessing over them and I can relax more now because I have a fairly clear idea in my head of what shape I would like my bikes to be. Except seattube angles, I find it really hard to care about them at all.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: Kind of curious to see you thoughts on the seattube angle. Seeing how the Decoy's SA would be considered "too slack" by most of today's standards.
  • 12 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: As I say, I find it hard to care. I've had steeper bikes and I personally feel the whole subject is a bit oversold.
  • 2 2
 @mattwragg: I agree Matt, reach matters for going down but I fail to get the fuss about seat angle, even though mine is relatively steep. I remember that piece you wrote on wheelbase vs head angle, and obviously you've gone with that here.

I'm with you on tyre pressure too, with better casings or inserts. I need to keep a close eye on pressures though.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: Especially with ebikes its not that big of an issue.
  • 12 0
 I like the "Why this bike" part of the article. Thank you to just say how it is, with all these kind of different parts. It is a mess!!! And I absolutly agree. Our family is biking for years. ( The girls only like bike parks...chair lift and so on..; ) )
But to keep four bikes kind of the same, parts wise, is not an easy thing during kids growing up and you don't and can't just buy all the stuff, new every half a yera because the grow up and need good performance. It is not only the parts, but also the different tools you need to keep everything in shape.
  • 15 3
 Matt's choices always seem practical, pragmatic and about riding your bike.
  • 1 0
 Cheers!
  • 8 0
 I'd like to know how the battery life degrades over the next couple of years for sure. You say it's enough for about 1000m climbing in Boost mode right now, would be great to see how that changes over time.
  • 6 0
 Yep, I have been talking to YT about that exact topic. They tell me there should only be drop off after 500 charges, but I don't know enough about batteries to fully understand the implications... I can say that after 9 months it seems ok so far, but I'll come back to this later.
  • 5 0
 @mattwragg: thanks! As it's a proprietary battery it will be educational to know if replacements will be available a couple of years down the line too.
  • 6 0
 @mattwragg: I'm riding one of the first Decoys for more than 2.5 years now. The battery still is fine. Unfortunately the motor has thrown error E010 now, which is not that unusual for the E8000... But if it is not older than 3 years Shimano replaces by warranty. YT is taking care.

Besides this I'm absolutely happy with my Decoy. I'm changing my setup from 29" with Trust Shout to 27.5" with Zocchi Z1 coil depending on riding style. Rear 27.5" using a good old Vivid Air. Tyres 2.4 to 2.8".

Good times!
  • 1 0
 @secondtimeuser: There are currently batteries available on the site. At least from the US side of things.
  • 3 0
 @Mullet-Bullet: "currently" being the critical point. If these things are going to have long term viability (particularly in the second hand market) then replacement batteries need to be available for years even after model discontinuation. I'm baffled there isn't more battery standardisation across the industry because then the bike manufacturers are more off the hook for holding on to spares.
  • 8 3
 @secondtimeuser: Let's just do the basic math, assuming the manufacturer estimates are in the ballpark. So 500 charge cycles at about 25 miles per charge is 12,500 miles. Let's knock it down to 10,000 miles for the sake of being conservative. How many people are riding over 1,000 miles of trails per year? Not a lot I'm guessing, but even at that average, that gets you to 10 years of battery life before ANY degradation starts happening. And after that, you can still use the bike, since the degradation should be relatively slow. Now, how many 10 year old bikes are you seeing on the trails? Not a ton in my neck of the woods.

So while I agree, that it's an issue, it's hardly catastrophic for the class. And I'm sure as it keeps developing, more standardization will come into play. So it seems like mostly a minor annoyance down the road, than a deal breaker to me.
  • 6 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: their 500 charge cycles will involve a lot of ideal cases, best battery care practice and a good dose of assumption. Will be interesting to get some real world data and have it reasonably well documented is all.

Though from most reports it seems the motors are the major weak point on almost all ebikes, so maybe after care several years after purchase of the motor is the main talking point?
  • 4 0
 @secondtimeuser: Yeah, I think real world data rules the day here. I am curious to see how they'll hold up. Honestly my ebike commuter has seen battery life degradation after about 2,000 miles but the range is still perfectly usable for my commute. Also, the tech it uses is obviously older and cheaper than the new stuff.

As far as motors being the weak point, yeah I think that's fair. I was actually on a ride yesterday with a guy on a Decoy and his motor crapped out. Though tbf, he hacked the damn thing to get rid of the top speed limit Smile
  • 3 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: which motor brands currently allow 3rd party servicing and reconditioned replacements? Someone told me Shimano aren’t keen on letting other people service theirs.

I think to keep a current ebike going for 5-10 years is going to require proper motor servicing or a reconditioned one.
  • 2 0
 @CustardCountry: no idea, about the others but apparently Shimano sucks on this front. And obviously no YT dealers around to handle it. Definitely something to research for direct sale eMTBs.
  • 1 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: yeah, currently I’m thinking something like a Whyte with the Bosch motor as I believe you can get them serviced 3rd party (I could be wrong). But as we’d need one for me and the wife (which is about £10k minimum) imll not be getting one soon.
  • 1 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: If the bike does last that long... by then they'll have replacement batteries available at 1/3 the weight with 3x the range.
  • 2 0
 @CustardCountry: pinkbike and other bike websites need to do more long term and reliability testing with ebikes. There are issues and differences between the range of the batteries. 500wh isn't always 500wh when the battery is from a different manufacturer. Also many motors fail and or your out of warranty this gets really expensive.
  • 8 1
 I love the lack of justification for riding an eMTB. Ride bit because it's rad! As a fellow middle of the road height guy (I'm 5'10") absolutely agree on mid 460ish being the goldilock-reach. Can get into 470s with a shorter stem, but I generally feel like modern sizing is getting absolutely absurd. YT have really nailed their geo with bikes like Jeffsy and Decoy. Nothing that jumps off the page, but they're bikes that just work for mountain biking.
  • 5 0
 I was lucky enough to grab a Decoy Core 2 MX, ordered in July and received in October. The bike is insane, very good handling and very fun to ride. The geometry indeed is more on the conservative side but the V4L that YT is using performs very good on technical trails. The bike came with SRAM Rs brakes and I switched to Xt (personal preference) next upgrade will be the shock, I like coil feeling more. I would like to see a long term review.
  • 3 0
 Currently running a coil on my MX 2, 100% worth it!
  • 9 1
 The first bottle built into a bicycle, not a bicycle built around the bottle.
  • 5 1
 More companies should do this. The classic plastic bidon has been around since the 1950s yet we still design our bikes around them 70 years later
  • 2 1
 Well maybe that's because that's the most convenient and ergonomic shape for a bottle, plus you can get one anywhere in the world very easily and quickly from the nearest shop that doesn't need to have anything to do with bikes, let alone a specific brand.

I know some people get bent out of shape about designing bikes to fit bottles (Aston comes to mind), but I'm genuinely baffled why.

Why - other than unique look and marketing - would we need any other frame layouts than the basic vertical shock or low shock (a'la SC, Range, Giga) that have plenty of space in the frame, can be adapted to whatever system you want: 4-bar horst link, 4 bar short link, 6-bar (like DW6), linkage driven SP, high pivot, you name it, and allow for all the tinkering with curves, leverages, AS, AR etc.? Where's the compromise here?

Does this YT's bog-standard horst link actually work better than any other bike's bog-standard horst link just because of that funny bottle?

What can really make our suspension better at this point is shock technology, not weird frame layouts straight outta the late 90s (not saying that's what YT does but that would be one reason to ditch standard bottles).

Whether you personally use it or not, the ability to put a standard bottle in a frame is objectively adding convenience while arguments against seem to be rather perceived.
  • 4 0
 If you ever decide to go with a longer dropper, a OneUp v2.1 with 210 mm of travel can be fully slammed into the Large Decoy frame. At least it can on my 2019 frame and I’m assuming they haven’t changed the seat tube length.
  • 1 0
 I'm a huge fan of the One Up posts - i have them on my Spark and my Spicy - but I would probably only look at them if something happened to my Postman.
  • 2 0
 Nice, I live nearby and mostly ride a meta power, I agree it's nice to just a have a solid bike that can handle a lot of terrain in a short one hour burst or a huge outting with a bit more effort.

I have not been so lucky with DT Swiss as my m1700 rims got annihilated in around 6 months (rebuilding with a more solid rim) and a big Betty wears out in a handful of summer epics (200-300km) although I run them to the ground over 1000km by which time they are slicks...
  • 3 0
 To be fair m1700 use the midprice AM rims (I love mine on a 14kg hardtail) but these use e-bike HX 531 rims as far as I can see, heavier but re-enforced with an extra 30kg weight capacity, definitely work a look.
  • 1 0
 @Caza1232: yeah I'm definitely partially at fault, but pricing and availability were a huge factor in the purchase last year! I went with an ex511 as replacement. Hopefully won't have to upgrade to hx531 for a couple seasons...
  • 2 0
 Two things there. Firstly, @Caza1232 is right that yours are AM rims, rather than heavy duty like me. Also there are multiple versions of the 1700s as DT updated them last year. In the past they had two rims - the 1501s with the EX471/EX511 rims and a lower spec version with pinned eyeleted rims (although I can't remember exactly which rims the 1700/1900s had), which I don't believe are quite as good.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: ah good info, indeed mine were eyeleted rims, didn't realise how soft the rim was going to be. Put a huge dent in them on the first ride around Blausasc. Hoping the ex511 hold up longer.
  • 1 0
 @Mugen: Rocks around Blausasc? Shit, you must have been trying to manage that. Wink I am on the HX531, I think, which is an EX511 with a reinforced rim bed, so I would be shocked if you weren't fine.
  • 2 0
 I’ve been on the disabled list since last March so either ebike or no bike. 2800 miles before the ice and snow set in. Swapped tires and chain as wear items, saddle and grips for preference. I climb shit I would never consider before. Makes me want a class 3 for transport.
  • 2 0
 I'm on the same train as you. Regarding a class 3 for transport, I did just that this year. I ordered a Zinn trail mtb with a class 3 motor. Now my commute, errands, and even trail rides are always an amazing blazing adventure. Recommend highly.
  • 1 0
 I have a Cube cargo bike and I'd love to go faster for long journeys, it's a shame they can't do some geofence wizardry to have bikes automatically switch between 25km/h in town and 45km/h out in the country.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: How heavily is ebike compliance enforced in Europe? Because in the US, it's not enforced like....at all.
  • 2 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: I don't really know, but if you have an accident going 45km/h on the flat (waaaaay more likely in a busy city), expect the police to throw the book at you.
  • 2 2
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: It is quite heavily enforced. All data is stored in the drive unit and will be pulled, in any event, that it might be useful: Warranty, Crashes, etc. If there is any sign of the bike supporting above 25km/h, you lose the warranty, and will at least be partly held accountable in case of an accident. Plus, the CE conformity is immediately void, and this means the original manufacturer can not be held responsible for any parts of the bike.
This also is the same for some other parts of the bike, like suspension, brakes, tyres, and gearing.
The bike gets its "CE conform" badge in the original configuration with the parts specced when it's delivered to the customer.
You're not allowed to diverge from the original tyre size (in mm), or use suspension with different travel as this would alter the geometry. Brake rotors have to stay the same size (at least in the rear) and the motor will produce error codes if the gears are different from what's specced in the firmware.
You may, though, use components with a different spec, if these should be used in a different model of the same bike.
For example, the DECOY Mullet bike is sold with an air shock and a coil shock. This means you can swap between air and coil as you like, but you will have to stick to the original length and travel of the rear shock.
That is why @mattwragg said that YT will most likely not be happy about the suspension swap he did, as the coil shock has 5mm more travel than originally specced.

Of course, you can do all that, if you like. It's all possible from a technical POV. But you will have to deal with the consequences, once things go south.
  • 15 10
 BUH BRUH IST A MOTUR BYKE
  • 1 0
 I’d be curious to know how the drive train and other wear and tear items hold up long term with the extra motor assist power and added weight or would it be the same as a normal pedal bike?

Also, will the motor have wear and tear items inside it that require replacing over time or need to send for service, etc.?

Thx
  • 2 1
 My brother and I have 3 years on Decoys. The higher than normal wear items I have found are tires. Tires last 50% as long in my opinion. We run Assegai DD casing Max grip front and rear, so they are not the longest lasting tires anyway.
  • 4 1
 Drivetrains aren't so different to a regular bike, they wear a little faster, but SRAM stopped putting OE customers on steel EX1 cassettes and now has them on standard cassettes... but I'll keep this in mind when I check in.

The motors are sealed units because of the strict legal restrictions around these class 1 bikes. I'd imagine if you start opening them there is a whole world of hacking they want/need to discourage. Remember that by being in class 1 these bikes are allowed on cycle lanes with regular bikes, something that adds much value for urban users.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg
How is the clearance with the 65mm shock stroke on the low setting? I have the same bike in XL and I have checked a 65mm shock on the low position and the seat tube is dangerously close to the rear triangle at full compression...

I guess you had the 36 ebike specific, if yes do you notice a difference in stiffness compared to the regular 36? Is it really below a 38?

Cheers !
  • 1 0
 I don't know what to say, I checked mine and it passed. That said, all bikes are built to tolerances, so there is always the possibility that it won't work on one bike to the next, especially for a mod like this that the manufacturer would probably discourage.

I don't know which 36 I have, there is an ebike one with a reinfirced chassis and one with a regular chassis but heavier damper tune and I can never tell them apart. At the end of the day, I was talking to Martin Maes about Fox forks last summer and he chooses the 36 usually, so I reasoned that it may be an ebike, but he's going a bit faster than me. Wink
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg:

Thanks for the answer
yes might be a tolerance thing, or the bike size. It passes on mine but with like 2mm left between the two carbon parts so I was thinking might be risky if the frame deforms a little under compression.
The original fork on the decoy 29 was the ebike one with the thicker stanchions and the fox34 air shaft. I haven't tried the other models so I can't compare but I am really happy with mine, just bleed the grip2 after 1.5years and feels great again !
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg what is it about the short chainstays? I’ve got a bike in order with very short stays, mostly because there was no other bike that fit my checklist and was available (maybe next year, Spire) and that’s the one thing I’m worried about. I’m kinda used to them from my current bike, but that’s a lot shorter package to begin with.

Have you found any way to deal with it?
  • 1 1
 The thing I notice most is on the exit to corners, you have less traction at the rear and wants to break away. For me, it meant I had to delay my exit a touch, kinda wait for the rear to compose itself, while with longer stays I could be more earlier and more aggressive coming out. Unfortunately it is one of the elements you can do the least about, you can sometimes get a mm or two with offset bushings, but nothing dramatic.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: thanks for the response. Guess it’s just something I’ll have to deal with then.

The alternative would have been to get a mullet, but there are the same factors you mentioned, having to get two rear wheels relaced, can’t use the same tires etc.
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: wtf... It's the opposite for me, short chainstays equal lack of grip in the front
  • 1 2
 @Simzesun: short chainstays you should be running a lower front anyway.
The weird thing with long chainstays is effective front axle is further way so when you turn, the bike will tend to push and understeer - chainstays have to be matched with BB height and trail/front centre.
Look at the marin alpine 2021/22, its short CS, slack asf but turns on a dime, I can quite often turn too much an the wheel will fold under because of the front grip.
  • 1 0
 @Simzesun: Yep. Body position/setup. I'd guess that your riding position is relatively far back on the bike, which is a direction I started going in this summer to get stability at the rear, hence lack of front grip.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: what if I need to have my bar at this height because I ride steeps ?
It's a lot of work to get around the bike and move my weight.
That's why my future bike will have longer chainstays
  • 1 0
 @noideamtber: I did not get the part where with long chainstays the front is further away, that does not make sense to me sorry.
  • 1 0
 @Simzesun: A few years ago, when I first moved onto a longer bike (a Mondraker Foxy in 2014), I had to spend quite a long adaptation period with the bike to teach myself to ride more forwards on the bike as I struggled for front end grip. It felt really unnatural and aggressive at first, but since then I have consistently ridden further forwards on the bike and my experience with short CS is quite different to yours. That said, you already know the easier solution. Wink
  • 3 0
 someone at pinkbike that appreciates ebikes, perhaps let him do the reviews rather than hearing from dudes that clearly don't like them.
  • 1 0
 Except I cannot and do not review bikes for commercial reasons. Wink
  • 1 0
 I hope someone at YT is reading this article. I would buy the YT Decoy 29 in a heartbeat if it had a 160 fork and coil shock. Or at least a shock with a piggyback reservoir. Current Decoy 29er set up is under forked and spec’s with a cross country shock. I demoed this bike and it fits perfectly, but the suspension is easily overwhelmed. 160/150-155 would be a sweet spot for an all mountain 29er.
  • 2 0
 Carbon railed Ergon? Where’d you get that from? I’m running a standard SM-Enduro - most comfortable saddle I’ve used but heavy.
  • 4 1
 Ergon. Wink I'm not sure if they ever went into production, but you're right, they're really comfortable.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: Surely you know someone who could make it happen…?

Ergon - please take the carbon railed SM-Enduro into production!
  • 2 0
 @philstone: Ha, I emailed my guy about getting some more last week, no idea if he'll tell me to bugger off, mind. If you wanted a lighter saddle the ti-railed version is nice, in an oil slick-y way.
  • 6 2
 Bad Azz!!! still the best looking ebike by a mile......
  • 5 1
 • Intended use: riding , erm
  • 2 0
 I've been buying my bikes all wrong!
  • 3 0
 Two years seems like forever in e bike years. I wonder how they’ll compare in 15 years.
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg Running the same bike, incredibly fun. Got it for my wife originally, now I’ve adopted it. Been wanting to try the 65mm shock. No issues?
  • 3 0
 Mine doesn't touch at full compression, but I could check before I fitted it which I'd strongly recommend doing.
  • 1 1
 Funny, I ride the same bike same size! I'm 170 cm tall and with the dropper fully in it fits perfectly. I also did install the Bomber coil and boosted the fork to 160mm. Did you know that an ebike 36 needs a 34 air shaft? The thick stanchions are much stiffer therefore.
I run it in the high setting though. Somehow the suspension feels better in high and pedal clearance is imporant on tech uphill for me.
  • 2 0
 I do love pics of a bike in battle spec, not polished to show-room standards
  • 1 0
 Why do companies put stroke restrictors on rear shocks?
As far as I can work out, it's absolutely pointless, especially on eBikes
  • 1 0
 Hey... what's wrong with a 435mm chainstay on a 460, 470, or even 480mm reach bike? Just curious. Not getting enough traction at the front, even on a relatively smaller bike?
  • 1 0
 The issue for me is traction at the back. My first big bike was a Mondraker Foxy (480 reach/430 CS) and I struggled to weight the front, so I taught myself to ride further forwards on the bike. So last summer when I got on my 465/435 bike I struggled for traction on the rear - coming out of a corner I had to change my timing compared to this bike, it felt like I had to wait a fraction longer in each corner for the rear to stabilise to I could push out of the corner, if I tried the earlier, more aggressive, timing from the long CS bike it would break away when I pushed. And you need to appreciate the context of short CS, they were essential when bikes were shorter - you should remember that a 2013 Nukeproof Mega had a 435mm reach in XL.
  • 1 1
 @mattwragg: There are many factors influencing rear traction, but with a shorter chainstay you get more weight on the rear tire, which means more traction. This is a basic principle, but who knows, maybe a longer chainstay flexes more, giving you more traction in some situations. When I rode the Nukeproof Mega with its 450mm chainstays what I noticed was less traction at the rear. Then with the 440mm chainstays of the YT Capra the effect seemed lessened, and now I'm quite satisfied with the 435mm of the Rallon. It's one of the reasons why I got it, and it's an XL. Although I must say, I did some measurements and the reach is a bit less than claimed, and the chainstays are a bit longer than claimed. Maybe that's the reason why sometimes riders get impressions that might be due to characteristics that are the opposite of what they think, but this chainstay thing is also funny because sometimes people say that they are getting less traction at the front because the chainstays are too small (which in principle might be correct), but then there others saying that they get less traction at the rear, which is contradictory, because you can't get less traction at both ends from a single geometry change. Might be a psychological confirmation effect...
  • 2 0
 Curios to hear your thoughts on running full 27.5” or mullet
  • 1 0
 Tried going back to full 27.5 a couple of years ago, kinda sucked after full 29 so not bothered since.
  • 3 0
 Got the same bike, P29. Slapped a 27.5 50 mm rear wheel with 2.8 Eddy Currents, flipped Chip high and it measures same BB height. Less buzzing for sure
  • 2 0
 @promdi: I found that kinda setup too heavy - I ran it on a previous bike and was a bit disappointed by it, I can have more fun with a lighter wheel.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: what didn’t you like about it? I’m coming from a 27.5” bike. I just bought a Levo sl but was gonna try running 27.5” since my only experience on 29’s was over 5 years ago and I wasn’t a fan of the wheel flex and everything
  • 2 0
 @Pinemtn: Many things, but what I like most with 29 is that because the BB can be lower in relation to the axles, you feel deeper in the bike which I love. Not sure about wheel flex, but I can imagine that from a few years before everyone got their wheels to a good level. Honestly, if you're happy with 27.5, stick with it. But 29 with good wheels is definitely worth playing with if you have the chance.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: I got the rim at PB buy n sell and at that time it was the only one available(was hoping 35 or 40 if there was) I got it second hand and good deal! Until now the non ebike specific hub still holding up.
  • 1 0
 @promdi: Dude, if you're happy with it, enjoy!
  • 3 1
 OneUp carbon bar could be a good shout if you're after a compliant bar
  • 1 0
 I can't say I have tried their bars, and they are 800-odd too, but in general the Renthal get compliance right, in my opinion, and I'm splitting hairs.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: From what I understand the OneUps are a particularly compliant carbon bar. Even cut down I would imagine it would be on the more compliant side of things
  • 1 0
 @tom666: So I am told, but Renthal have always talked about compliance, they were talking about it back in 2011/12, and around then I can't think of anyone else who was thinking like that.
  • 1 0
 You must have got the best postman out there, both of mine are terrible and ive already fired one of them.
  • 1 0
 You are mean! You told the postman "Send It!"
  • 2 0
 It's not a water bottle. It's a sippy cup.
  • 1 0
 Do you miss your formulas?
  • 2 0
 I love what Formula do and definitely will run their brakes again, but I think it was good for me to try some other brands again.
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: Everyone wants to know Shimano or Sram brakes? LoL They're just different and I bet personal preference plays into it. Good no non-sense writeup!
  • 2 0
 @betorac: I also wanted the SRAM-Shimano-Formula comparison, haha! Also @mattwragg - I would try running the 760 bars. I’m also 5 foot 9 and have run 780-790 for years and recently went narrower to 760. Noticing major benefits in my ability to lean the bike onto the side knobs during cornering. It feels a lot more effortless and I think my corner speed has increased. Cutting the bars down in 5 or 10mm increments helped me transition to the narrower bar without too much of a learning curve.
  • 1 0
 @eblackwell: I'm 5'8" and just went from 780 to 760. Felt much better pushing, pulling, and weighting the front tire. Corners and weaving between trees more fun! I think companies rightly put on wider bars but people don't bother to cut them down to their size or preference.
  • 1 0
 @betorac: Totally agree. I think I sort of had a set bar width in mind from ~5 years ago when riding shorter reach bikes (wider bar makes your reach feel a bit longer and makes you feel 'stronger' and more stable in a straight line) and then carried it over as bikes grew without realizing I didn't need that extra stability and that I was losing out on some maneuverability as a result.
  • 2 1
 540w the battery. gime more please
  • 1 0
 I like to watch clean bikes for bike check! @mattwragg
HAHA
  • 1 0
 the Marzocchi CR2 coil is 230 x 65mm??
want to copy-paste Smile
  • 1 0
 It is, you can even buy the 230x60 or 230x62.5 and just cut the plastic spacer. It is a 10seconds job, had to do that already due to availability issue.
  • 1 0
 @Brodybro29: Yes, but whatever you do, do not scratch the shaft while cutting or the shock is a paperweight.
  • 1 1
 Sooo…..a carbon e-bike is more environmentally friendly that the average steel hardtail…..whoaa, my mind is blown!
  • 6 7
 OOO OOO PINKBIKE GUY lovin the ebike world. welcome to the clun.. its a fun oneSmile
  • 13 1
 Errr, you're a few years off - I've been playing with ebikes since 2015.
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: touché, i stand corrected, thanks for adding me to the club.. wahhhooooo
  • 1 1
 whats the 0-60 running at?
  • 2 4
 what an ugly lil water bottle
  • 1 0
 In Austria we also name it „Flachmann“ Big Grin
  • 2 0
 not when there's vodka in it
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