The New YT Izzo Trail Bike, In for Test

The term trail bike has almost become meaningless. In a way, it’s easier to define trail bikes by what they’re not designed to do — namely race cross-country or downhill — rather than what they can do, which is pretty much everything else. But “everything else” means different things to different riders depending on riding style and the local terrain, which maks “trail” the broadest category within mountain biking by a long shot.

A few months ago YT introduced the Izzo, a bike the brand describes as “a super light tool for classic trail riding” and “a true everyday mountain bike.” It’s a short-travel 29er, offering 130mm of suspension travel front and rear, and clearly the bike is designed to climb efficiently without sacrificing too much on the descents.

I’ll be testing the Pro build ($3,899 MSRP) which sits one notch above the entry-level Comp and two clicks below the Launch Edition.

The frame

All YT Izzo builds start with a carbon frame and a tried-and-true, four-bar suspension design. A flip chip offers high and low positions to dial in the geometry by half a degree.

Starting at the front, the Izzo has a 66° head tube angle, which can be steepened to 66.5° in high mode. The Izzo, like other recent bike releases, sees chain stay lengths shift based on frame size. The extra-large model I’m testing has 437mm chain stays, while smaller sizes sport shorter, 432mm stays. The idea is to provide a similar feel for riders across all the size range.

YT gave the Izzo a steep 77° seat tube angle (77.5° in high mode) to place the rider in a strong position on the climbs. The reach on my size XL is 492mm with a 1240mm wheelbase, and the bottom bracket drop can be set to 40mm or 35mm, depending on the position of the flip chip.

Cable management and routing on the Izzo is extensive. In addition to the usual dropper post, shifter cable, and brake hose tunnels, there’s also a guide for the included shock remote on the Pro build I’m testing. In places where cables momentarily emerge from the frame, slick guides and port covers keep everything tight and sealed.

A single set of bottle mounts is available in the front triangle, along with threaded bolts underneath the top tube for mounting a proper frame bag or tool. The frame itself appears to offer ample clearance for the included 2.35″ tires.

At the moment, the Izzo is only available in carbon, and yet somehow YT manages to keep the least expensive build priced a buck under $3,000.

Setup

Traditionally, one of the reasons big bike brands have resisted online sales is they’re afraid consumers won’t be willing or able to assemble a new bike correctly. But ask anyone who has unboxed a YT mountain bike and they’ll tell you it’s generally a great experience. In a way, it’s like having the bike shop come to you.

All of the packing material is sturdy and well-designed, and the included instructions are surprisingly clear and detailed. YT makes the process fun, splashing the letters RTFM across the cover of the instructions booklet and including decent-quality tools for assembly. I suspect that even if this were someone’s first bike, they would have no problem assembling and dialing in the Izzo using only the included tools and instructions.

My media test bike arrived with the tires pumped full of air and with fresh Muc-off sealant sloshing around inside them. (Consumer bikes typically ship with tubes installed.) How did I know the tires shipped with Muc-off inside? Well, on my first roll down the driveway I was sprayed with the pink goopy stuff through a 1cm gash in the front tire. A single tire plug has the rubber rolling as good as new.

A set of tubeless valves was included in the bike box, along with extra cable port plugs, steerer tube spacers, bolts, and various reflectors. Thankfully the reflectors and cassette “pie plate” were included in the box, rather than on the bike, saving me precious setup time.

Pro build

The YT Izzo Pro comes with a SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain and SRAM G2 RS brakes. A Fox Performance Elite 34 fork and shock handle suspension duties. The DT Swiss MT 1700 wheels feature a 30mm internal width rim which pairs well with tires in the 2.3- to 2.6-inch range. Speaking of tires, YT specs fast rolling, lightweight, 2.3-inch-wide Maxxis Forecaster tires with EXO casing front and rear.

In keeping with its short-travel persona, buyers will find 760mm bars and a 60mm stem (size XL) at the steering end. At the opposite end there is a YT-branded, SDG Radar saddle. There’s also a YT Postman dropper post, offering 170mm of travel on XL and XXL builds. Depending on the frame size, the included dropper post travel varies between 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, or 170mm.

One of the most surprising features on the Pro build is the addition of a grip-shift, rear shock lockout remote. It’s not unusual to see one of these on a race bike, but even then it’s often an aftermarket addition. This does limit grip choices when it’s time to put fresh rubber on the bars, but many riders may find this to be a convenient feature.

According to the YT website, the Izzo Pro (size small, without pedals or a bottle cage, but with tubes) weighs 27.3lbs. My XL actually weighs a smidge over 30lbs (30.04 to be exact) with pedals, but without tubes or a bottle holder.

Hit the trail

Now that I’ve shaken the Izzo down like a mob boss, it’s time to hit the trail. I’ll be riding the bike on my local trails where a lightweight, short-travel bike should excel, and I’ll also put in some long stage-race-like days in the mountains. Stay tuned for the full review.

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