Hello YT Izzo

Earlier this week I took delivery of the brand new YT Izzo Pro in size XL. Here are my initial thoughts after about 6 hours doing my local well-trodden lockdown loops.

It’s pretty pretty in Ghostship Green.

It’s probably important to understand where I’m coming from to give context to thoughts. I’ve previously been riding a 2015 Kona Process 134, XL, with a 150mm Rockshox Pike – originally it came with a 140mm fork – so that slackened the head angle by a degree or so and shortened the 485mm reach. It also had some rather splendid 27.5″/650b Ibis 741 wheels which had 35mm internal width rims and weighed next to nothing – something like 1600 grams for the pair. Wrapped around those I had a 2.5″ Maxxis Minion DHF on the front and a High Roller II 2.4″ on the back with pressures around 20psi. Plenty of volume and grip.

I weigh 72kg and while I absolutely loved the Kona, I always felt it was a little bit overbuilt for me.

Onto the YT. First impressions. It looks lovely. The shape of the tubes and the size of them says stiffness. Not having had a carbon MTB before the tap of the tubes makes it sound fragile, a hollow sounding tap. My confidence needs to grow around this, but there’s a certain uneasiness – this has nothing to do with this particular bike, of course.

The top tube is really low as it reaches the seat tube. When pedalling my knees are higher than it which means, coupled with the dropper, there’s lots of room for manoeuvrability, something I’d grown accustomed to on the Kona and what I missed when riding any other bike. A big thumbs up from me on this aspect.

The Fox 34 looks quite small when viewed from the seated position – the top tube flares near the front into the large headtube junction making the fork look a bit flimsy. Only from that angle though, from everywhere else it looks just fine. And while some may be craving a 36 I find the 34 plenty stiff enough and well suited to this bike.

Flat profiled top tube is wide when viewed from the top.

Maxxis Forekaster tires, 2.35″. As I said above, I’m used to far more robust tyres. Before my first ride I set the rear up tubeless, put a Nukeproof ARD rim strip inside, and set the pressure to 20psi. I waited with the front as I well suspected I’d want something bigger. I wasn’t wrong. While the rear is perfectly fine and rolls fast with enough grip on all the climbs I’ve been up, the front doesn’t hook into things anywhere near as much as I’ve grown accustomed to – I’ve placed an order for a Minion DHF 2.5″.

Something a bit unique for a trail bike is the rear shock lockout switch. It’s a Rockshox twist thing controlling the Fox DPS shock. I’ve used it on the roads and at the top of gut-busting climbs as it starts to level out. I’m not sure I need it but I’ll reserve judgment. It’s early days and I’m not about to remove it until I’ve spent more time with it. It does cause a bit of an issue though. I like to hang my hands over the edge of my bars so like grips without an outer clamp as is fitted to this bike. The lockout twister limits grip choice. I’ll put up with it for now but I’ll need to make some changes at some point.

A few random things. Rear shock access is a little bit limited and I couldn’t confidently get the included shock pump attached without feeling I was crossing the threads. Luckily I had a DT Swiss pump with a shorter head that fits.

There seem to be a lot of cables at the front. It’s only one extra because of the lockout but I think it looks worse because they all seem a bit longer than they need to be. I’ll be shortening them over time. I can’t be having those flapping around.

A tangle of cables, I’ll shorten them in time.

The bars are 760mm. I’m used to 780 plus the extra bit of grip is more like 790mm. It feels a bit odd. I’ll probably replace them eventually.

Heel clearance is good. I’ve not felt my heels rubbing. I’m sure it’s happening a little bit it’s not like there’s any hinderance.

I’ve never read a review of a YT that didn’t mention replacing the seat. It’s a good looking SDG YT branded model and when I first sat on it I thought it felt good. Nicely supportive. Riding it is a different matter. It’s hard, super hard. Even my butterbean that has spent many hours in the saddle was asking for forgiveness; Back to my Ergon.

The position on the bike doesn’t feel dissimilar to my trusty Kona and I felt right at home on it immediately. The reach is slightly longer, the seat tube slightly steeper. I’ve been fettling the suspension a fair bit; I like it fairly squishy. 2 of the 3 fork tokens have been removed, and sag set to 30% front and rear. A bit more than the Fox recommendations. I’m still messing with pressures and rebound control but there’s plenty enough adjustability to dial it to my liking. Why don’t Fox anodise sag markings onto the stanchions like Rockshox do?

The Pinkbike review mentioned an issue with rear end stiffness, and various forums have been discussing it with some even cancelling their orders or dismissing the bike because of it, allegedly. Look, I’m not someone who’s pushing the boundaries of any bike that I ride. I’m just an average bloke who loves to ride and has a few (obscure) KOMs here and there, but I’m not noticing any stiffness issues. The chainstays are plenty deep enough. There is a brace around the main pivot and between the seatstays, and all the smaller pivots look chunky enough to take a hammering. If this is something that really concerns you I’d suggest you’re wanting a burlier bike closer to the enduro spectrum.

I made a tool mount out of an old bottle cage. There are bosses on the underside of the top tube.

With the bigger wheels I feel I’m able to carry my speed more and maintain flow. The suspension doesn’t feel bottomless like the Kona did, a bit more taught, with more of a focus on efficiency. I’ve been able to clear a few climbs that I’ve struggled with in the past. I like it. It’ll only get better as I refine it to my tastes.

We have clearance Clarence.

Pinkbike Review and Singletrack First Look for more information.

Published by deadlyhifi

I like bikes and punk rock. @deadlyhifi

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks for this personal review. Could you tell how is the bike uphill and downhill? Does it feel light and nimble?

    1. I was worried about the 29” wheels on more technical downhill but it hasn’t been a problem. With the low frame I’m really able to lean the bike without restriction to get it where I want to go. On fast downhill it feels stable, due to the wheelbase.

      Uphill it’s got a real spring in its step and I feel well positioned – there’s no front wheel lift on really steep stuff while I can still put weight on the rear to maintain grip.

      It feels light and nimble. A play bike when you want it to be yet capable of longer XC rides as well. A really good all rounder. I’m really pleased with it. I’ll do a follow up post at some point. Adding the Minion to the front made a big difference.

      1. Thank you! A follow up post will be great. I recently bought Izzo Comp, still waiting for it. I think that with some changes it can be a very good bike, for example wheels or NX group.

        My main concern was, after reading you, that the bike doesn’t shine uphill, as it YT claims, because of the low top tube and weight balance. I am coming from an Ibis Ripley LS that is a climbing beast, but just a correct downloader. With the Izzo I was looking for a very good climber with big descend aptitudes. Let’s see!

  2. Hi,
    nice bike, I really like it and thank you for the review. I am also considering buying I just don’t know which size to choose, whether L or XL. My inner seam is 90 cm. Do you have how much inner seam or how high do you carry the saddle in the middle of the handle to the top of the saddle?
    Enjoy
    Martin

    1. My seat height is 79cm – from centre of bb to top of seat in the middle. My inseam is 86cm. There’s scope for the seatpost to go down 3.5cm further.

      With the seatpost a bit higher for your 90cm inseam it’s still well within the min insert range. I’d suggest the XL.

      1. Thank you for your answer, YT service support also recommended an XL size and use a shorter stem.
        Any new driving insights? Do you already ride with DHF? Has the appearance of the wheel changed after the change of the front tire in terms of rolling support and pedaling uphill?

  3. Hi,
    I come from XC background. Currently own a Santa Cruz Highball size M. Noticed that the water bottle mount looks very close to the top tube. What bottle cage or system are you running? Do you think a standard water bottle cage will cause rubbing in the top tube when taking the bottle in and out? For example, do you think a Tacx Deva bottle cage could work?
    Thanks!

    1. I’ve just tried it with a 1 litre bottle and there’s enough room to manoeuvre it. Something on the tool mount would hinder it. If you are carrying a huge bottle then a side load cage would best. I mostly ride with a 600ml bottle; If I’m out for more then I’ll use a hydration pack.

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