PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
Words by Henry Quinney, photography by Tom Richards
Yeti are known for their trail and enduro bikes. Yes, they’ve had plenty of successful results and well-received bikes on either end of the gravity spectrum, but in recent years they seem to be putting more and more of their time and effort into bikes that are meant to go both up and down. In fact, when they announced they were halting their World Cup downhill problem there was a notable concern for their young, and newly crowned junior world champion downhiller, Richie Rude, and what on earth he was going to do. Well, in hindsight I think he’s got by and made a good fist of things...
This, however, is the brand’s first eMTB and it looks very different to the brand's revered Switch Infinity equipped trail and enduro bikes. So, why the change? And how does this thing ride on the trail?
• Travel: 160mm rear / 170mm front
• Wheel size: 29"
• Head angle: 64.5°
• Seat tube angle: 78°
• Reach: 480mm (lrg)
• Chainstay length: 446mm (size L)
• Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
• Weight: 51.6lb / 23.40kg
• Price: $12,700 USD
Although the Yeti 160E has a 64.5 degree head angle and a 480mm reach, it’s one of the less radical bikes we have on test. It seems to blend both progressive and tried-and-tested attributes into one bike. It’s got an amply steep 78 degree seat tube angle and substantial 446mm chainstays. At 450mm the seat tube is verging on being too long for a new 2022 bike. It does at least offer a long insertion depth, though.
The bike uses a Shimano EP8 motor. Three of the four e-bikes on this field test use this same motor. In terms of battery size, the Yeti and the Commencal are both the same with a 630 Wh battery. Both are larger than the half-way-house Specialized Kenevo SL, and are somewhat outgunned by the potential 900 Wh on offer by the Norco’s largest battery option.
The Sixfinity suspension system, which has been developed for several years behind the scenes, is similar to the Switch Infinity system in that the lower link switches directions as the bike cycles through its travel.
The six bar suspension system has three different chips, but it’s not to tweak your geometry. There are 25, 30 and 35% flip chip options to help riders fine tune the progressivity of the suspension. Changing these chips will have a small impact on travel at around 2mm. Now, that’s
how you do flip chips.
At the sag point, anti squat values are around 100%. There is only 8.6% change across the spread of the cassette at sag - which is important as that’s where we spend most of our time pedaling the bike. This is relevant as on an eMTB you can often be turning bigger gears and muscling up climbs that you normally wouldn’t. As you hit what Yeti refer to as the inflection point, where the lower link changes direction, anti-squat values drop off massively, in order to improve the feel of the suspension on those bigger hits.
The bike uses an anti-rise value of around 70% that is relatively flat throughout the travel. They did this in a bid to preserve geometry while also striking a balance with all out braking traction.
I really like this bike for the clean routing that is able to house left hand rear brakes with ease. I don’t know proportionally how many riders this will affect but either way it’s a nice touch. Yeti also offer their own bars to try and neaten up the cables.
There is plenty of room for a large water bottle on most sizes. That said, small frame users aren’t so fortunate and will have to use a particular bottle from Yeti. There is no mixed wheeled option. However, Yeti say that they're not adverse to people mulleting their bikes.
There are three levels of the 160E. There will be the C in two flavours, one with carbon wheels and one without, for $10,100 and $11,000 respectively.
Then there will be the T model. Again, in two options. We tested the $12,700 model. If that is not quite rich enough for your blood there is a $13,600 model which features carbon wheels.
The build options do have some nice features across the board though. For instance, 220mm rotors on all models make so much sense on an e-bike. Although, the EXO+ front tyre does leave me a little confused and think it's a slightly strange option. I mean, the bike literally comes with a motor, let's not sweat a few grams. I really do like the 160mm cranks and think it's a great spec choice. They’re going to provide more clearance and let you climb even techier climbs with one less thing to worry about. I also like the AXS dropper with one less cable.
Ultimately, it is a huge chunk of cash for this bike and, in the highest build option, costs nearly as much as two Commencals. It’s going to have to be a lot of bike to get anywhere near justifying that. So how does it fare?Climbing
Of the bikes on test, I spent the most time climbing the Commencal and the Yeti. Whilst the Commencal got the job done, it didn’t generate the same level of grip or support as the Yeti. You can leave the 160E’s climb switch open and either churn it out in eco or point and shoot in a higher mode and it’s amazing what it will get you up. If this was my bike, I’d run it open all the time.
At 23.4 kg it’s the lightest Shimano equipped e-bike on test but I wouldn’t say it was the weight that made the difference. The Sixfinity, silly name aside, really is a great system and it’s something that left me thoroughly impressed. Out the saddle and with the motor whirring there is grip galore. It provides very consistent anti-squat values across the whole cassette, which is good for hard charging on an e-bike.
The platform of the suspension really does manage to balance the needs of a modern mountain bike remarkably well, motor or not. The Yeti is a bike that tackles climbs with a great amount of poise and control. Its suspension combines sensitivity and support in a great all-round climbing package.
That Sixfinitiy suspension design shines on the descents as well. Other companies have often made claims about offering the kind of performance this system does, but they often don’t really hold water or aren’t quite there.
This system does genuinely give a great blend of small bump and mid-stroke support. My only complaint would be that it is in danger of outperforming the head angle, and fast. The bike tracks really well and follows and hugs the contours of the ground. It isn’t a plow, and the anti-rise value keeps the suspension working well when hard on the brakes.
The problem is that something that has so much weight behind the steering axis such as an eMTB can often feel at risk of the back wanting to overtake the front as you charge through the rough stuff. If it was slacker, and the front center longer, I feel that it would negate this problem and feel more secure. This is also somewhat exacerbated by the suspension riding higher in its travel with not an astoundingly high anti-rise value - in all most other instances this is great, but in this one situation it would be nice to have the bike hunker down a little. It’s a great system, but on steep trails it just feels like it yearns for more stability. I think to make the most of this system it would be great to see it on a bike with more aggressive geometry.
It’s got a very different feeling to something like the Commencal. See, I’m not against bikes dipping into their stroke a little more as you apply the brakes but often if that’s the case I want something that is slacker - bikes like that can brutalise choppy terrain and I think the two ideas can play nicely with one another. The suspension system the Yeti has is in keeping with its ever so slightly more conservative head angle.
That said, I took this bike down the fastest, roughest trails I could find where you’re just about doing everything you can to slow up for turns. If that isn’t something you might find yourself doing then having the slackest bike may well not be your priority. And that’s okay, we all enjoy different types of riding, after all. The Yeti's geometry isn't a particularly daunting proposition and in some ways I wonder if that was a deliberate choice.
For something that tracks so well the bottom out resistance is very impressive. Deliberately hucking to flat or overshooting jumps didn’t faze the Yeti. Admittedly, in the days of testing, we had here at Sun Peaks, I prioritised knowing one setting very well rather than experimenting with each chip orientation. I think it’s great to offer that level of tuning to the end-user but I was actually very happy in the middle setting. Maybe going to a higher level of progression could have helped me get into the stroke by running a lower spring rate over rougher or steeper terrain but all in all, I enjoyed the characteristics the suspension offered, it was the head angle that I would love to change.
1/10, try again.
The Rise is fantastic. Rides pretty much like a normal MTB but let’s you go longer, faster, harder. Self-shuttling is a dream. So are long days out. I love mine.
Lol, so true.
For that money, someone could buy a used SUV with hitch/rack, a lightly used trail bike, a dirt bike, and have money left over…
which is exactly what smart people do. not saying Yet-E owners are dumb but I have met some dipsht doctors and shtty dentists in my day.
indeed... just trolling with the established but generic narrative. I know plenty of yeti owners, ebike owners, and both. you can also do it all for much less.
This is how capitalism works, companies price their products and people either buy them or they don't based on perceived value, not cost. Comparing the price of this Yeti to a used analog trail bike is like comparing a new Ferrari to a used Toyota. They will never, ever be cross shopped.
People who buy these bikes want a certain level of of customer service, finish quality, perceived value, exclusivity etc. This gets into the time value of money and how people value their spare time. Someone that makes $250/hr looks at things significantly differently compared someone that makes $25/hr.
I am not saying that the Yeti is a great value compared to a Commencal, just that it is an entirely different demographic buying them. Coming on here complaining about pricing of a Yeti is tilting at windmills.
$14k bike hanging off your new Land Rover Discovery? What if you get rear-ended? Or if it gets stolen? There's a lot of capital to be tied up in such a "simple" asset like a bicycle, nowadays...
2) A lot of folks work hard and can spend the cash how they like [I work hard but do not earn enough!] - jealousy is a poor trait.
….but yes, I could also buy a used Honda Africa Twin and a very nice mtb for the price of the cheapest.
Most of us don't peddle bikes. Yeti peddles bikes.
Or is it you're?
Also, slack/long bikes become extra fun and just as nimble when you can carry extra speed. This thing is long travel AND has a motor...carrying a bit of extra speed should be no problem, so why recycle geometry from the 2018 SB150?
I would lean towards the 10% if the rest is connector trails and access to get to the harder stuff.
Anyone with the money for this bike can slap a 180 Zeb or 38 on it, no problem. I'm
Guessing most people who buy a $12,000 E-bike are not 100% DH focused all the time. Let's face it, most people who buy this bike won't be in their 20's and 30's.
And guess what, if you guys stop demanding completely geometry overhauls every season from bike manufacturers and you decide your happy with existing bike designs... THEN you can start to demand price reductions instead. Bikes like this would cost half as much if they didn't have to launch a complete redesign within 2 years to stay relevant. With such a short life cycle we're paying for a massive amount of R&D for these bikes on top of the cost of materials.
This ebike costs about the same
Not a fat lot. The name?
But yeah, for 13k$… rather than this Yeti, I’d buy a Panda (diesel 4x4, mid 90s if possible), a trailer, and a Commencal Meta. Move my trailer rack onto the Panda, and use my van to take all of to a nice little camp spot somewhere west of Cuneo.
if you are into useless money spending.. then it is a good set-up as well. It goes hand in hand with this new 2018 model year yeti electric.
You should be building statues and shrines to honor the dentists who do buy $10k bikes so that the used market, upon which you rely entirely to ride bikes, stays stocked up.
Gotta say, they drew the rear triangle nicely, how the "link" thing completes the triangle in a parallel line to the down tube.
i feel like either im much poorer than i think, either all the emtbs are for the wealthy elite or something.
My view is that a 5k bike today has everything you could possibly need, beyond that it's either saving a few grams (get fitter) or giving a pro-level ride that most of us can't really appreciate.
When you look at it that way it’s not that expensive of a hobby compared to a lot of things.
but also at 5k i dont think you get an ebike that has everything youd want. you can barely get a good mtb for 5k, granted that its in stock.
the bike i made in 2019 for 5k is now worth 10k.. (ht2, eagle xx1, dt carbon hoops, guide ultimate, oneup droppy, lyrik ultimate/superdeluxe)
I don't really understand the logic behind adding more suspension and a motor, and then choosing geometry that favors more moderate speeds. This thing should have no problem racing uphill and accelerating on the downs, including out of corners. Slack bikes have a tendency to "come alive" when carrying just a little extra speed - why not go for modern?
Donald: "then theyre expensive, put em back"
YETI: Oh, let’s take one of the most dependable suspension designs and add a ton more pivots with zero benefits!!! The dentist will love it…… Hey, don’t forget the overprice the shit out of it so people know it’s good.
How does it compare to the Lapierre?
Is anyone else wondering how they test the motors for hotrodding in the EWS-E?
I would call that a FAIL by Yeti then
Almost pushed the button ("no, I push the button!") on the top shelf Commencal a few months ago, but decided not to for two reasons: e-bikes are still not legal in the trail I want to use it on, and the seatpost issue I had with a Meta AM (can't insert the post all the way down). The first one will be fixed soon, but the second one is a deal-killer for me if I can't get low enough when descending. Anybody own the Meta Power in a small and confirm the seatpost issue for me?
That said, I’m a Yeti fanman. They consistently make quality stuff that works well for me, a non-hucker. I will always run this bike in the eco-mode and get 100 miles in a charge. I would gladly change to a moter/battery with 1/2 the power and capacity in trade for the weight loss. My Levo SL is such a bike, but it’s not the quality of a Yeti. Yes, guess I’m blinded!
Interested to find out more about how Henry managed to get 'in' SunPeaks. I can understand, 'going to' or 'here at'..... but IN Sun Peaks ? Just HOW ?
(Ooops another freudian slip...)
As a current ebiker, this is fuken offensive to me. Not that I've ever looked at a Yeti before anyway, but still...
Everyone who are bitching about the prices - this is top of the line bike with AXS XTR and other vessels what price you expect?
There plenty of e-bikes that cost 2 times less
Lucky who can buy it in 2024!!!
B) thats a bit spendy
Wasn't this a major argument coming from manufacturers when e-bikes were beginning to hit the market? Isn't it still? These things are just getting ridiculous in several ways. Do they really believe this kind of pricing and rapid obsolescence is sustainable? Or are we secretly just trying to push more people into trying moto with these prices, because why not, we are already convincing them this is how much it costs and in some places access is equally as restricted.
Let me ease your mind about two points mentioned. One, a fire extinguisher probably won’t put out a battery fire. In Philly they needed something like 13 fire trucks for one tesla…. So no need to worry about 13K$ ebikes with a fire extinguisher, won’t change diddly. Two the risk of an ebike fire on the tarmac is identical to the risk of a ebike fire in the woods. Three, when you spot an ebike out there in the wild there is a high probability that it will pass you by with great speed and be waaaay further down the trail when the fire starts!
Also, I'm not all that worried about brand new top of the line bikes, but the rules have to be the same for a $13k yeti as something hacked together in a basement (which I have seen on the trails).
It's definitely a real concern and I've even seen cops out enforcing it, although not enough.
I know a place that would gladly host a field test if you are interested...
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