YT pulls the wraps off 3 new Decoy e-bikes, where the top-of-the-range Core 5 gets Shimano Free Shift, the EP801 motor and costs £7,999.
Well it took a while, but at last YT has a new version of its Decoy e-bike out with the bigger 720Wh battery we’ve all been waiting for… and a couple of tricks up its down tube.
We first tested the new big battery bike in the spring for our E-bike of the Year test, but the 720Wh power pack was available as an upgrade only, for £899. Not bad value in e-bike battery terms, but still an extra expense we could all do without.
YT Decoy Core range need to know
- Three new Core bikes in the range, topping out at £8,000 for the Core 5, while the entry-level Core 1 is £5,000
- Core 5 and Core 3 get EP801 motor with 600W peak power, and new YT 720Wh battery pack
- Core 5 bike uses Shimano Di2 Free Shift drivetrain, and longer 230mm dropper
- YT Decoy has 165mm travel and 170mm fork across the ranges, mullet wheels, and carbon frames
- Big battery comes as standard on two of the three new Decoy models. The Core 5 and Core 3 bikes both come with a 720Wh battery, while the entry-level Core 1 uses the old 540Wh unit.
YT has also overhauled the Decoy motor, upgrading to the latest Shimano EP801 design for Core 5 and 3 models. This ups the peak power to 600W, matching that of its great rival Bosch and the Performance Line CX motor.
Meanwhile the Core 1 makes do with a Shimano EP6 motor, an entry level power unit launched alongside Shimano EP8 back in 2020, boasting the same 500W peak power output for a little more weight. The EP6 power unit weighs a claimed 3kg to EP801’s 2.7kg.
So far so essential to keeping the Decoy relevant. Afterall, this is one of the oldest e-bikes in circulation today, essentially using the same frame as it did at launch back in 2019.
Shimano pedal-free shifting
The Decoy Core 5 also get’s Shimano XT Di2 electronic shifting, complete with the latest Free Shift technology. In some regards the bike’s come full circle then, YT used Shimano Di2 wireless shifting at launch back in 2019 on the YT Decoy CF Pro Race we tested.
The tech has moved on in five years though, Free Shift lets you change gears without actually having to turn the pedals over, something bike tester Paul Burwell actually found useful when testing the system earlier in 2023. It doesn’t get Auto Shift With Manual Override though, which changes gear for you like SRAM’s new Powertrain Auto Shift technology does.
Just as an aside, we weighed that original Decoy in size XL at a lightweight 21kg back in 2019, while the new Core 5 bike is a claimed 23.7kg in size small. The frame hasn’t budged, so the weight increase is down to the components bolted onto it, with everything from the battery, fork, tyres and wheels all becoming bigger and more robust. The Fox Factory equipped Decoy CF Pro Race with carbon rims also cost a mere £6,000 back then, while the Core 5 is £7,999… oh how times have changed!
There’s one more significant change to the Decoy Core 1, 3, and 5 in 2023, and it’s the addition of Maxxis Double Down tyres, rather than EXO+. Good job YT, the bike was always far too fast and capable for thin walled tyres.
YT Decoy Core 5 £7,999
Top of the range, the Core 5 comes with the new 720Wh battery, Shimano EP801 motor and Ultra Modulus carbon fibre frame. It’s got 165mm travel via a Fox X2 Factory shock, and a 170mm Fox Factory 38 fork, uses Crankbrothers Synthesis aluminium mullet wheels with Industry Nine 1/1 hubs, and the claimed weight is 23.7kg in size small.
Shifting is via Shimano XT Di2 12speed with Free Shift, and it uses an XT Hyperglide+ cassette and chain. The bike gets SRAM Code RSC brakes with HS2 rotors, an SDG Bel Air V3 Max saddle, YT Postman V2 dropper post with 230mm drop on the biggest size, and a Renthal Apex stem and Fatbar cockpit. The bike comes in sizes M, L, XL and XXL.
YT Decoy Core 3 £5,999
The Core 3 uses the same EP801 motor and 720Wh battery as the Core 5, but it uses a cheaper and heavier carbon frame layup. The Fox suspension is lower tier too, still Fox, but you get a Performance level DHX coil shock and 38 fork, generating 165 and 170mm travel respectively.
Shimano takes care of the shifting duties, with 12speed SLX, and there’s a Renthal cockpit, YT Postman V2 dropper, Crankbrothers Synthesis wheelset, and SRAM Code R brakeset. Claimed weight is 24.7kg in size small.
YT Decoy Core 1 £4,999
At £5,000 the Core 1 is entry level, meaning it shares the Core 3 frame but not the big battery, with a 540Wh power pack. There’s no EP801 motor either, instead the bike uses a heavier EP6 unit, which actually looks good on paper, with the same 85Nm of torque.
Suspension is still 165mm and via RockShox’s Deluxe Coil, and there’s a RockShox Domain fork with 170mm travel. SRAM DB8 brakes, a Shimano Deore 12speed drivetrain, e*thirteen cockpit, Sunringle Duroc wheels and YT Postman V2 dropper round out the build. The claimed weight is 25.2kg in size small.
Keeping the Decoy relevant
When we tested the Decoy Core 4 in the summer it was affectionately dubbed the Decoy MK 1.35. It wasn’t a new bike then, more a slight tweak to add 35% more battery capacity to keep the bike in the range game.
The Core 5 and 3 aren’t really new bikes now either, but they do have a lot more going for them, with the addition of bigger batteries as standard and more power to soak up the juice. It’s sorely needed, there’s no place for a 540Wh on today’s e-bikes, and the Decoy was in danger of being left behind, both literally and figuratively by its rivals.