YT's 29in trail ripper's got a twist-grip lockout remote - will it turn us on or wind us up?
First ride review of the YT Izzo full carbon 130mm travel 29er. YT’s 29in trail ripper’s got a twist-grip lockout remote – will it turn us on or wind us up?
YT Izzo need to know
- Izzo is a full carbon 29er trail bike with 130mm travel
- Fox Factory-level suspension and Transfer dropper post bring Kashima bling
- SRAM Twistloc Sprint remote places shock control in the palm of your hand
- Flip-chip design offers two geometry settings
- High-quality bearings and extra pivot sealing increase the time between service intervals
This probably sounds harsh, but when it comes to tech I’ve never considered YT an innovator. Sure, its ad campaigns are cutting edge, its bikes however, less so. It’s not one of the numerous imitators either, though. In my mind, YT is one of the very best iterators. Its real strength is its ability to take what already exists, then tweak it, make it better and deliver it at a much more affordable price.
Take the brand-new Izzo. How many 130mm-travel 29ers have gone before it? Lost count already? Me too. How about the inverted shock design and all of the advantages it offers for hardwiring a remote lockout through the down tube? Scott pioneered that. But for years we’ve been asking Scott for a ‘SingleLoc’ remote that just operates the rear shock and not the fork. YT has delivered.
Granted, I wasn’t convinced about the twist-grip RockShox Twistloc Sprint remote when I first rode the Izzo – concerned that twisting my hands or pulling on the bar to manoeuvre the bike would inadvertently engage the lockout. It didn’t. In fact, it’s a really neat design. Throttle the Twistloc Sprint remote and the grip section latches into place with the shock in the open setting. To lock the shock out, you simply press the button on the housing of the remote. It sounds counter-intuitive, which is probably why it took me 20 minutes to get my head around it, but not once did I lock out the shock by mistake while riding.
The inverted shock configuration has no impact on the function of the suspension, but it does offer an additional design advantage, namely that the upper link can be streamlined so it is less likely to knock on knees or catch shorts. And this is of critical importance to the Izzo design, because YT has elevated the linkage and shock to get the seatstays to run seamlessly into the top tube. It’s what gives the top tube of the Izzo its signature Samurai sword profile.
And like a Samurai sword, Izzo has been designed to be fast, agile and sharp. Unlike the sword however, Izzo isn’t forged from finest Japanese steel. Instead, YT use a carbon frame, where only the upper link is forged from aluminium. The specification of the Izzo Pro Race is sharply focused on weight saving too – the Fox 34 suspension fork and inline Float DPS shock slicing off precious grams. The end result is that the size large Pro version weighs a scant 12.68kg (27.95lb), and that’s with the new Thirstmaster 5000 (835ml) bottle fitted. In fact, the only red flag in the specification is the Maxxis Forekaster tyres – the only predictable thing about them being that they are going to wash out. So we’d instantly upgrade the front tyre to something with a more consistent edge profile.
The Izzo frame has a flip-chip in the shock link, even though it’s been designed strictly as a 29er. With the geometry set in the low position, the head angle measured a slack 65.9° and the wheelbase a generous a 1,210mm. YT retains the size-specific chainstay lengths first introduced on the YT Jeffsy, so the small to large frames get 432mm stays, while the XL and XXL both grow by 5mm to help balance handling with the longer front ends. And it is actually the front ends on YT’s latest bike that have grown the most, the XXL YT Izzo boasting a 513mm reach. Moving back to the centre of the bell curve, the size large is progressive without being radical, where the 60mm stem and 472mm reach should offer a good fit for anyone around 5ft 10in tall.
For once, our measured geometry actually matched YT’s numbers very closely, right down to available travel. Yes, the 334mm BB height in the low setting doesn’t sound that low, especially for a 130mm bike, but that’s in keeping with other YT bikes we’ve tested. The progressive nature of the YT suspension means you typically run a little more sag that normal, so the bike doesn’t feel as tall as the BB height suggests.
So the Izzo is a short-travel trail bike through and through, and given the specification, it’s clear that it has not been designed to serve double duty as a lightweight enduro rig. After all, YT already has the Jeffsy in its armoury for that. Big days in the saddle, where you earn your turns, are the Izzo’s forte. It’s fast when you get on the gas even with the shock in the open setting, but the addition of the remote shock lockout – which thankfully is more of a pedal platform than a true lockout – has proven time and time again to improve pedalling efficiency further. Light enough to cut through flowing singletrack, but with numbers that should give you the confidence to rip on any trail, the Izzo is as versatile as it is capable.