Video: Yeti Shares The Development Story Behind the 160E

Oct 29, 2021
by Yeti Cycles  


RACING AND COMPETITION HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE CORNERSTONE OF PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AT YETI CYCLES.

We often find ourselves chasing speed and thinking about how to make our riders faster, rather than chasing the latest industry fad. So when it came to developing an e-MTB it wasn’t quite as simple as slapping a motor on and calling it good. That would have been easier, but it wouldn't have allowed us to create a bike that addresses the unique challenges and opportunities an e-MTB presents. 

Racing. Why racing? The first reason is that we’re  pretty competitive and love to stand on top of the podium. The second is the race track doesn't lie. It takes a skilled pilot and dialed product to go fast. We always test our new technology under our racers - 303 technology, Switch or Switch Infinity. As Stretch says, “If we can build a bike that performs in the most challenging conditions for the best athletes in the world then we’re going to be successful.” 

Putting a motor on a bike is the easy part. Getting it to perform like we want – that part is tricky. Where does the motor go? How about Switch Infinity? Greater acceleration. More mass. More torque. How can a 50 lb bike ride light? How do we optimize for all of this?


Classics

Testing tools


We started with figuring out a way to optimize the kinematics of the 160E to provide racers the fastest e-MTB with confidence inspiring traction up and down the track. An e-MTB is in a unique position on the spectrum of 2-wheeled vehicles where the bike is assisted but is still pedaled, meaning we had to carefully consider the balance between traction and added power. The added mass and increased acceleration an e-MTB provides are two of the biggest differences between an analog pedal bike and an e-MTB. Those two items greatly affect the amount of traction you have at any given time.


Checking pressure
Checking travel

Test Mule

Test Mule
Test Mule

Production Yeti 160E


The earliest e-MTB alloy mule we made five years ago was a crude but effective proof of concept. We cobbled it together with tube sets from our SB95 and SB66 and integrated a new six-bar suspension setup into the frame. By today’s standards, the geometry was tight and steep, not nearly as progressive as we would have liked. And it was heavy. Very heavy. But it worked.

In our early testing, we realized there was the need to dial in small bump compliance and traction for uphill pedaling v. downhill traction on fast descent and under hard braking. We deliberately scaled back both anti-squat and anti-rise values to strike the ideal balance between pedaling efficiency and traction. This made the 160E composed, predictable and fast.


Testing

Testing


So, how did we solve for all of this? We spent years running pivot point location numbers, shock tuning options and a new 6-bar linkage system through super-bike engi’Nerd minds and big computers to find the best combination out there. What Stretch and the team landed on is a system we call, Sixfinity. A true 6-bar linkage system where the wheel and brake are mounted to the seat stay, meaning that the wheel path, and therefore the key dynamic responses are controlled by all six linkages of the bike, allowing both anti-squat and anti-rise figures to be uniquely tuned to the exact ride characteristics we wanted.


The 160E is a confidence inspiring bike at an entirely new level. It’s a race bike that you can haul ass on. A bike that you can brake hard and late into corners because of how composed, active, and intuitive the suspension handles. It’s 5+ years of hard work. It took time for us to make time and we think we got this one right.


Click here to learn more about the Yeti 160E and our Sixfinty technology.

Sports Team Manager testing the 160E Proto
Sports Team Manager testing the 160E Proto

160E testing pit setup


Jubal Davis testing the 160E

Jared Graves testing the 160E

Jared Graves riding the race team 160E
Jared Graves testing the Yeti 160E

Jared Graves and cable cam

Yeti 160E Headtube Badge


Posted In:
eMTB Videos Yeti



71 Comments

  • 82 1
 So good to see Graves healthy and fit after all he went trough - ride on Jared, f*** cancer!
  • 23 11
 I truly can't understand the ebike hate. We take shuttles up a mountain, we ride chair lifts, we make every effort to make our bikes more efficient and more power in equal more forward momentum. Put a low power motor on a bike and people lose their shit. So odd.
  • 7 3
 Completely agree, I recall the XC'er hating on shutter folks. It's kinda like skiers and snowboarders from the 90's.
  • 1 0
 I mostly agree with this. I do think if more bikes were like the Orbea Rise or Levo SL, I think we'd see more non e-MTBers getting behind it. The power difference between Levo and Levo SL is pretty massive!
  • 2 0
 @pedalingbobby: Maybe that is why I have this opinion. The only ebikes I've owned and ridden are the Levo SL and orbea Rise. I guess if I had one of the higher powered ones I may feel differently.
  • 1 0
 I have nothing against ebikes that don't have a throttle. I get right pissed off when I see a guy booting it up a trail on his fat-tire ebike without so much as pretending to pedal. At that point, it's a motorcycle and in my humble opinion, people riding a motorcycle on the trails I've helped build for bikers and hikers over the last 20 years can quite honestly go to hell.
  • 1 0
 @cueTIP: can't argue with that. I use the throttle as my cutoff for acceptable ebike.
  • 7 0
 Always cool to get some backstory on product development but I'm more interested in the location of the "secret test track", I've got my suspects around the front range. obviously there'a apex, but i doubt they'd be out there testing the mule and that doesn't look like anything around Golden, probably further up I-70 hmmmm
  • 1 0
 Me too!
  • 1 0
 The test track in the video looks like White Ranch to me.
  • 1 0
 looks like left hand canyon, outside of boulder
  • 1 0
 @reindeln: That's kinda what I was thinking too
  • 1 0
 @bajazac: I don't get up there often enough to know
  • 3 0
 It’s def green mtn, or Limon.
  • 3 0
 @borisimobike: SHHHHHHHHHH! We agreed not to tell anyone about the trails in Limon!
  • 2 0
 @reindeln: Limon is sick, true coloRADo
  • 2 1
 @bajazac: pretty ballsy for a major company to post a ride in an area where ebikes still aren’t allowed. The motos (and ebikes) will be allowed back but not yet…although I can’t remember the last time I rode there and didn’t see an ebike…
  • 34 28
 That's nice but it seems so pointless to come up with an intricate suspension system for an e-bike. Might as well just stick a single pivot on, who cares about a tiny bit of efficiency. Now for unmotorized bikes, yeah I'm all for it and I'm sure that suspension layout will trickle down.
  • 2 0
 Yeh - if I'm not mistaken it's the consistent anti-squat (pedal bob) thru all the gears that makes this bike unique compared to a single pivot. Ebikes are going to use more of the gear range on the climbs (I assume - they're faster), so the effect is inherently more pronounced on an ebike (or maybe if you're Nino Schurter?). Knowing how the bike will behave no matter the gear might help in techy climbs. But I'll likely never own one, so I guess in the end it doesn't really matter to me. Yeh.
  • 9 0
 Having a motor does not prevent or absolve frame designers from making a better or worse suspension design, it just changes how you go about it. My take away from the video is that they are not focused on tuning for efficiency (your point stands, don't need it) but traction and compliance. Gotta take advantage of the extra watts you know.
  • 21 8
 Ebikes are those things that don't care about all IMPORTANT things on Bikes:

Weight
Ebike take:
Who cares! Just put it in Turbo

Pedal efficiency
ebike take:
who cares! Just put it in Turbo

Too tired
Ebike take: "who cares! Just put it in Turbo."
  • 8 0
 They mentioned in the review that the traction was second to none with their pointless intricate suspension. You're comment is like saying "It's a motorbike, it doesn't need great suspension cos it's got a motor"
  • 4 6
 @iduckett: that is literally impossible, doesn't matter how many links, even infinity..
The antisquat is a travel position dependent curve that is offset by a constant from gear position.

The fact yeti shows no actual comparison graphs etc shows it's a bunch of the usual bullshit.
  • 1 0
 @Bahh: Dunno, just reiterating what I heard about it. Maybe go talk to them!
  • 8 2
 As much as I dislike the whole e-MTB movement—especially seeing legacy companies like Yeti get involved—I think is safe to say this isn’t a fad anymore.

Also, of all the e-MTBs out there, this is probably the best looking one.

Any yes, my dentist does ride a Yeti.
  • 6 29
flag rivercitycycles (Oct 29, 2021 at 12:11) (Below Threshold)
 Why don’t Yeti just put the money into developing a true dirt bike! So does UCI have a cheat bike class?
  • 8 4
 If you just came here to rip on ebikes and make dentist jokes, by all means, have at it. But also watch the vid just for some of the cool museum pieces they show off too.
  • 6 0
 Do you think it sounds like dental drill on the way uphill?
  • 1 0
 Dr's orders
  • 5 0
 Awesome bike, great story.
  • 1 0
 Good to see that Yeti has fixed the cable clamping and chain stay protection.
I whished at least the chain stay and down tube protection would have been updated in the 2022 line up, but nope, you keep dragging behind, guys Frown Not acceptable for the price point !!!

On a side note: I wonder if six-finity will replace switch infinity long term. Not sure about weight and maintenance effort.
  • 1 0
 I think the main reason they researched six-finity is because there is no room for the switch infinity on an e-MTB due to the engine. I for one, hope they stick to the switch for their regular bikes, as I like the pivot-less rear bridge.
  • 8 2
 It’s an eBike lol
  • 4 1
 That silver is a great resemblance of the color of extracted fillings.
  • 1 2
 This is all some interesting marketing-speak:

"In our early testing, we realized there was the need to dial in small bump compliance and traction for uphill pedaling v. downhill traction on fast descent and under hard braking. We deliberately scaled back both anti-squat and anti-rise values to strike the ideal balance between pedaling efficiency and traction. This made the 160E composed, predictable and fast.

So, how did we solve for all of this? We spent years running pivot point location numbers, shock tuning options and a new 6-bar linkage system through super-bike engi’Nerd minds and big computers to find the best combination out there. What Stretch and the team landed on is a system we call, Sixfinity. A true 6-bar linkage system where the wheel and brake are mounted to the seat stay, meaning that the wheel path, and therefore the key dynamic responses are controlled by all six linkages of the bike, allowing both anti-squat and anti-rise figures to be uniquely tuned to the exact ride characteristics we wanted."

I'm assuming they thought the bike needed more traction for climbing?

The bike is "uniquely tuned", but how?

Not enough details to explain it all and make it fully understandable as to how it specifically performs different.
  • 3 0
 Pretty easily the best looking ebike.
  • 2 0
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=kflQnATdn2Q why you shouldn`t hate on ebikes
  • 2 0
 hauling ass and braking late is exactly what I want to do
  • 2 0
 Fantastic bike… nice push foreword
  • 2 1
 I was there when I saw the AL test mule.....but alas only available in CF. Hard pass.
  • 2 1
 Have you owned literally any yeti aluminum bike? Crackosaurasrex's the lot of them.
Actually so were the SB6 carbon come to think of it.
  • 2 2
 Bearings are a pain in the back side. It looks like an experiment of trying to fit as many bearing as possible on a bike frame. A simpler approach would be much better.
  • 1 2
 Moar links, moar bearings, more betterer, should have called it infinity^2.

Another ebike with too much power and too big battery, missing the point. It's not pedal assist if you can put out 250w or more.
  • 9 11
 ... and we thought, huh, these things are catching on and we're missing out on $$$!, Sooo we got a bike and stuck a motor on it, (dropped the infinity link, 'cos that wouldn't fit) lobbed a battery in it and...tada!
  • 15 15
 Real story:

Hey doctors, dentists and tribe member applicants, how would you like a motor with all those shocks!
  • 8 4
 2014 called and wants their stall ass joke back.
  • 5 1
 @jason3559: Doesn't work, people who buy this bike weren't riding in 2014.
  • 2 1
 Let's see how many pivots can we use.
  • 7 6
 Yeti: Looks at profit margin,
Yeti: Nuff Said $$$
  • 4 0
 Says every damn bike company with or coming out with and ebike...zero exceptions. Yeti isn't unique here. In all honesty, If people are buying them....zero problem with any bike company making money while the margins are still there. I don't own and ebike so I don't care either way.
  • 6 16
flag rivercitycycles (Oct 29, 2021 at 12:20) (Below Threshold)
 Why put pedals on a downhill cheat bike? Just put pegs and call it weight savings!
  • 3 1
 GAME CHANGER!
  • 1 0
 Yes having this bike under you is literally the only thing standing between you, joe blow and being Jared Graves. That's it, it's all you need to do.
  • 1 0
 Someone should make a comparison of this and SC Bullit.
  • 3 2
 Both overpriced, slightly above average performance for both, both kinda ugly.
  • 1 0
 I don't know why but I love the look of that bar in the rear suspension.
  • 1 2
 Yes I enjoy climbing slowly up mountains..what's the rush..ebikes are like dogs..super annoying just like there owners.. haha
  • 1 1
 I just came for the comments Smile It's the bike nice?...Yes.....Do I will buy an Ebike?...Nope
  • 1 0
 Really interesting. Nah just kidding, haven't read it.
  • 1 1
 The battery cavity is nicely done. Pun intended.
  • 1 0
 Where 303
  • 1 1
 Make a DH bike instead of this e-shit
  • 4 0
 Children, never post when drunk.
  • 6 6
 no one cares
  • 1 3
 Its a high tech upside down dw link
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