There are still two versions of the Decoy, where the mixed wheel size option now carries the MX tag and still boasts 170/165mm travel
When we first tested the YT Decoy Shred back in the February issue for mbr’s Best Electric Mountain Bike of the Year 2021, we were pretty confident that it wouldn’t be long before YT switched from the older Shimano E8000 motor to the lighter, more compact EP8 unit. Well, less than six months later, YT has done just that, while bringing the Decoy range in line with the Core nomenclature, which runs from the entry-level Core 2 to the flagship Core 4 tested here.
While the names and motors have changed, the geometry and sizing remain the same. For riders favouring bigger wheels, models, specs and prices are mirrored across the Decoy 29er range, where the geometry is more trail-focused and travel is reduced to 150/145mm.
And while on the subject of pricing, YT’s headline prices include VAT but currently do not include UK customs, shipping and import taxes. So while the Decoy MX Core 4 is listed at £6,999.99, the actual landed price is £7,292.82.
YT Industries Decoy MX review
Another thing that we were pretty confident about was that switching to EP8 wouldn’t bring about a sea change in the performance of the Decoy. Yes, increasing the amount of torque from 70Nm to 85Nm is apparent on the steepest climbs, but it doesn’t make the Decoy any faster out of the blocks. And while the more compact motor does increase ground clearance, useful in the low geometry setting, there’s also a lot more noise from the motor when coasting as you can now hear the freewheel rattle when the motor is not engaged. On the plus side, with reduced resistance the EP8 motor allows you to ride further on the single charge of the custom 540Wh battery and it’s also quieter than the old E8 000 motor when pedaling.
But what about the weight saving? With its compact magnesium casing, the EP8 motor is over 300g lighter than the E8000 unit it replaces. So given that the battery capacity hasn’t changed, the Decoy MX Core 4 should be lighter than the Decoy Elite that it supersedes right? Not so. The new bike is actually 15og heavier as YT has swapped the carbon Crankbrotehrs Synthesis E11 rims for alloy ones, and dropped the Fox Transfer Factory post for its in-house Postman dropper. And while these changes do not hamper the performance of the Decoy MX Core 4 in any way, they are bitter pills to swallow given that the price has also increased by £500.
Eagle-eyed readers will no doubt have spotted the e-bike branding on the beefy Fox 38 fork. This indicates that the fork has a different damping circuit, with less low-speed compression and more high-speed than the standard 38. Regardless of the internals, the 170mm-travel 38 Factory chassis remains unchanged, so you still have the bleed ports on the back of the lowers for eliminating excess pressure build-up and a floating 15mm axle that allows you to align the lowers and minimise friction. Great standalone features that, taken together, offer a buttery-smooth suspension response.
Thankfully YT’s V4L rear suspension, combined with the Fox X2 Factory shock, had no issue keeping up with the fork. The four-bar linkage design is progressive, supple and has plenty of support so the Decoy rides flat and stable, while seamlessly ironing out the smallest creases in the trail. And even though the Decoy has a lot of travel at its disposal, the bike doesn’t get bogged down so it never feels sluggish or heavy to manoeuvre. Would it be even better with a coil shock? Well, the 10-rated Decoy Shred from our E-Bike of the Year test pretty much answers that question.
One subtle change to the specification on the Decoy that’s driven by performance rather than price is the switch from a 2.8in Maxxis Minion DHR II rear tyre to a narrower, lower-volume 2.6in version. The move offers a sharper edge for carving turns, while allowing the rear tyre to better slice through soft muddy conditions and find traction. And given how sensitive the rear suspension on the Decoy is, there’s no obvious reduction in comfort or grip on hard-packed trails. If anything, the narrower rear tyre gives the rider more feedback about what’s happening below.
So other than the changes to the specification that we outlined earlier, the rest of the build kit on the top-tier Decoy remains the same. Actually, that’s not entirely true as YT has finally ditched the SDG Radar saddle for the more comfortable Bel Air 3.0. Now it just needs some fatter grips than the ODI lock-ons to provide more cushioning.
Before we get down to brass tacks, we need to discuss sizing. YT offers the Decoy MX in five sizes, small through to XXL. In the past we’ve tested size large and XL Decoys depending on availability and could happily ride either size. That said, the 472mm reach on the XL Decoy is more in keeping with most other brands’ size large, so if you find yourself between sizes we recommend upsizing, providing the seat tube height isn’t too tall.
With that cleared up, there’s very little that we can say about the Decoy that we’ve not said before, because bar the updated motor, it’s essentially the same bike. It’s incredibly easy to ride fast, it’s easy on the eye and even if it’s not as easy on your wallet as it used to be, it still represents great value for money. Yes, the Decoy lags behind other brands in battery capacity, but YT has never been one to follow the herd and the option of a spare battery means the Decoy MX Core 4 is no lame duck.
As the YT Decoy approaches its third birthday, surprisingly little has changed. Predictably, the motor has been updated to the latest Shimano EP8 design, and while some aspects of the specification have changed to help offset rising prices, in essence it’s the same bike. Proof, then, that the Decoy is no plastic imitation design to lure you away from your hard-earned cash. In fact, the full carbon frame is impressively sleek, the suspension is sublime and the handling flatters riders of all skill levels and abilities. So what more could you want from an e-bike? Extended range? Simply get a second battery.