For a brand as entrenched in the world of gravity racing and freeriding, it should have come as no surprise that YT's first foray into the trail bike market was going to leave its mark. Since its release last year, YT's Jeffsy 29
went on to win its fair share of fans, but YT were not oblivious to a simple fact; not everyone wants or needs a 29er.
Looking back, the Jeffsy 29's successes are hard to ignore, yet it very nearly wasn't to be with a 27.5" varient gracing the design studio walls long before 29" wheels were being touted as the wheel size of choice for their new trail bike platform. But after a fact-finding trip to the UK, the opportunity to do something unorthadox was too hard to pass.
Details• Intended use: trail riding
• Travel: 150mm & 160mm
• 27.5" wheels
• 12x148mm Boost rear (standard front)
• 66°- 67° adjustable head angle
• Carbon and alloy build options
• Six options in the range
• YT's Virtual 4-Link System
• Adjustable BB drop +/- 9mm
• External and internal cable routing
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• CF One weight: 29.04 lb (13.41kg), size large weighed
Influenced by what they witnessed on that trip (blame Steve Jones) they decided to defy categorization and make some noise with a rad 29er. Born in the UK and engineered in Germany, the Jeffsy 29 packed fun loving attributes into a balanced and easy to ride package and set the tone for YT's arrival on the trail bike scene. While the Jeffsy 29 did an amazing of job of introducing YT to a new demographic, while simultaneously converting many riders to the benefits of big wheels, it didn't appeal to everyone.
There is, of course, a large group of riders out there who are looking for a fun loving trail bike and who were put off by a lack of choice in the wheel size department from YT. It may come as no surprise that 29" wheels are not universally popular across the world so the arrival of the Jeffsy 27 was never far behind that of its larger sibling. And almost one year later, here it is.Frame Design
There's no escaping how similar the Jeffsy 27's frame is to the Jeffsy 29 and at a glance, it's easy to confuse the two especially as YT have deliberately homogenized the paint and graphics across both bike lines for 2017. Similarly, the layout of the proven Virtual 4-Link System (V4L), which is YT's take on the Horst Link system, directly follows on from the Jeffsy 29, but now runs a 230mm metric shock delivering 150mm of rear travel—10mm more than the 29er. While YT's engineering mastermind and CEO, Stefan Willared, confirmed that the metric sizing did little to boost suspension performance, the metric RockShox Deluxe shock did play a crucial part in the Jeffsy 27's development. Thanks to it's 'modified' behavior, dishing out enhanced sensitivity at the start, support at the sag point and stability as it ramps up towards the end (all YT's have progressive curves I may add), it ultimately defined how the Jeffsy 27's kinematics were achieved.
But all is not as it seems in the suspension department as there is a black sheep, or should I say a 'Liquid Metal' sheep, in this family. The all-singing and all-dancing, silver and black Fox equipped CF Pro Race option, sports 160mm of travel, front and rear. YT achieved this by increasing the shock stroke length on the custom Fox Float-X shock by 5mm, going from 60 to 65mm. Adding the 160mm travel Fox 34 Float Factory forks up front to balance things out, they also rake the head angle out by one degree, going from a more trail friendly 67 to a more aggressive 66-degrees.
This configuration will appeal to riders who regularly frequent portions of trail where a bit more travel and a slacker head angle wouldn't go amiss, yet a full-on enduro machine like YT's imitable Capra, would be equivalent to taking a gun to knife fight. Indeed, comparing the two bikes side-by-side reveals just how burly the Capra is and just how different these two bikes are with the Capra's hardware being a whopping 3mm bigger (which is significant) on average and that's just for starters. Adding this 160mm option within the Jeffsy 27 range was intended to help bridge the gap rather than blur the lines between an enduro bike and a rock-and-roll trail smasher like the Jeffsy 27.
With internal routing throughout, unlike the Jeffsy 29 which only catered for a dropper post and the portion of gear cable through the chainstay, the Jeffsy 27 strikes a more refined look. If you're still not sold on 1X drivetrains, there are two Jeffsy 27s with front derailleurs, one carbon, and one alloy option. While most of us have long since moved on from such setups, others haven't and believe it or not, there is still demand within this sector for bikes with a 2X system. Out back, the 12x148mm Boost enabled dropouts help with additional stiffness while similarly aiding in a clean chain line. A BB92 bottom bracket shell means you're still faced with a push-fit interface, but this smaller push-fit standard does, however, go some way to quash many of the issues which surround its larger sibling, the dreaded BB30.Geometry and Options
When comparing the Jeffsy 27's geometry to that of the 29, the reach numbers have grown, equating to an average extension of about 15mm across the size spectrum, which is a welcomed sight. The 67° head angle and 430mm chainstays also equate to a bike that's designed for pedaling and mile munching as much as it is slapping turns and popping jumps, although the slacker CF Pro Race does have a more appealing head angle, residing at 66°.
The 341mm BB height is also a nice touch and while some would say it could be lower, let's not forget this a trail bike and not an enduro bike and clearance is key, especially if you ride natural trails. While the headtube grows by a welcomed 10mm per size, so does the seattube height which grows by an average 40mm per size, which I think is excessive given that we have dropper posts like the RockShox Reverb for example, with travel options ranging from 100mm to 170mm. I'll touch on this later in the article, but aside from that, the Jeffsy 27 has some solid numbers in the geometry department.
With six bikes in the range sporting a variety of specifications and price points, the team at YT aimed to deliver six uncompromising packages for each bike. When asked if they could go even cheaper, they said it was possible, but at the cost of the riders experience as each component is carefully chosen to exceed expectations while also fulfilling budgetary criteria.
Prices - EUR / USD / CAD / GBP:
• CF Pro Race: €4499, $5599, $6999, £3799
• CF Pro: €3999, $4799, $5999, £3399
• CF One: €3599, $3999, $4999, £2899
• CF Two: €3399, $3999, $5099, £2899
• AL One: €2599, $2999, $3799, £2199
• AL Two: €2099, $2599, $3199, £1799
• CF Pro Race: Liquid Metal
• CF Pro: Coral Red / Rawe and Rawe / Jet Black
• CF One: Snow White / Rawe and Rawe / Jet Black
• CF Two: Snow White / Rawe and Rawe / Jet Black
• AL One: Jet Black / Coral Red
• AL Two: Jet Black / Snow White
The rugged hills above Malaga and the Spanish Costa del Sol would play host to the launch and throw a multitude of terrains in our path over the two days we were there. From the region's iconic loose and marble-like surfaces to Utah-like slick rock and good old Mediterranean hard pack. While the January weather behaved itself for one day, it didn't last, quickly being replaced by freezing temperatures that brought snow and rain to this mostly sun-kissed part of the world. While the weather did its best to dampen our spirits, the Jeffsy 27 did its best to do the opposite, picking up the "good times" mantle of every YT before it—these guys really do make fun bikes.
Settling on the RockShox sprung CF One, with its SRAM X1 drivetrain, Guide RS brakes, e*thirteen TRS wheels and Maxxis High Roller II rubber, the scene was set. Thanks to the simplicity of the RockShox dampers, initial set up was a breeze with only a little fine tuning required as the day progressed. Our first port of call, shuttling the trails of El Chorro to get a feel for the Jeffsy 27. From steep, loose, and off camber sections to mellow singletrack with undulations that were prime for creative interpretation, the Jeffsy 27's personality didn't take long to show its face.
Having ridden the Jeffsy 29, one of my only criticisms rested on the somewhat cramped reach numbers which thankfully haven't been brought to the Jeffsy 27. The extra room was a welcome addition, allowing for a quicker transition and a greater focus on the Jeffsy 27's other attributes. Dropping into one of the main trails at El Chorro, you're immediately into some rough chatter followed by a series of compressions that did little to throw off the Jeffsy's descending prowess. The unnecessarily high seattube was a minor issue, at least for myself, decreasing stand over and impeding my ability to man handle the bike in certain scenarios, but it was something I quickly adapted to.
Pointing the Jeffsy 27 down steep portions of trail and maintaining your line choice was similarly easy although the slacker 160mm travel CF Pro Race would have yielded greater stability in such scenarios. YT did a lot of testing before settling upon the 67-degree head angle and didn't want to go any slacker, potentially compromising the ride feel on less than gnarly trails. With El Chorro's trails giving us a taste of just about everything that the Jeffsy 27 was designed to handle, we decided to push the envelope and made our way to 'Happy Days', an iconic DH track nearby that's packed with loose, steep corners and sizeable hucks…
Dropping into Happy Days you're immediately into a series of tight banked corners loaded with loose stones that promote a heightened degree of conviction on the anchors and holding your line. As you progress down the hill, it's not long before you're staring down the barrel of some sizable drops and doubles. Taking the Jeffsy from a location and a series of environments it was designed for and to a track like Happy Days, which funnily enough was where I first rode YT's Tues DH bike back in 2015, would highlight its behavior in environments that pushed the limits. To say I was impressed is an understatement, as the Jeffsy 27 continued to prove how capable and indeed, versatile, it could be.
But this isn't a DH bike, and on day two it was time to pedal. Ditching the trucks, we climbed the mountain behind Happy Days to access a series of singletrack trails that would take us back into town. The drop in temperature and random (for Malaga) weather that followed made for an interesting day, but a day in the saddle would introduce us to a series of differing trails and climbs, with each one putting pay to any doubts that the Jeffsy 27 is anything but a superbly versatile machine. From flat out, rock-strewn trails to one of the gnarliest trails I've ever ridden in Malaga and back up again, the Jeffsy 27 proved to not only be the right tool for the job but one of the most fun in the toolbox.
|An adept climber and a fun loving descender, the Jeffsy 27 felt like the culmination of both the Jeffsy 29 and indeed, the Capra, when confronting a variety of wildly contrasting terrain types. While distinctions must be made between the Jeffsy 27 and the Capra, the versatility to tackle aggressive terrain will suit those of us who spend most of their time extracting the fun from the kind of trails where a Capra would be nothing short of overkill, but similarly, like to push personal boundaries from time to time. It's this very penchant for fun and creative interpretation of the trail that hit a chord for me and one I've felt before, most notably on just about every bike these guys make. It's not perfect, but at this price point, all six of them, YT have endeavored to produce a bike that gives way more than it gets, and in doing so will put a smile on your face. - Olly Forster|