YT Izzo Pro Race
By Ed Thomsett

YT Industries

YT Industries: YT’s first short-travel bike, the Izzo Pro Race, is said to have been inspired by the beauty, efficiency and sharpness of the Samurai’s katana sword. Its sleek carbon frame certainly looks the part, and the brand’s direct-sale model allows it to undercut many rivals on price, especially lower down the range.

But with YT’s bikes not stocked in shops and few opportunities for a test ride, buyers will need to be confident it’s made a decent stab at things with this debut XC/trail bike. How does the new 130mm-travel, 29in-wheeled XC/trail weapon handle out on the trails? I find out.

YT Izzo Pro Race frame and geometry

The Izzo clearly shares the same DNA as its burlier counterparts in the German brand’s line-up, but in place of its usual Virtual 4-Link suspension, it sports a more traditional take on the four-bar linkage design, with a vertically- mounted shock and rocker link. Through testing, YT concluded that this gave the best balance of progression and pedalling efficiency for a light-climbing and fast-rolling trail bike. A RockShox TwistLoc Sprint handlebar remote lets you lock out the Fox shock on the fly. Harking back to the symbolism of the Samurai sword and that ‘fast, agile, sharp’ mantra for the bike, YT has sculpted the carbon fibre frame in crisp, angular lines.

Not only does the Izzo look slick, but its geometry is spot-on too. There are five sizes, topping out with a reach of 513mm on the XXL. The chainstays are fairly compact, at 432mm (S–L) or 437mm (XL–XXL). A linkage flip-chip gives half a degree of head angle adjustment (66–66.5 degrees) and the same for the seat angle (77–77.5 degrees). It also drops the bottom bracket (BB) from a low -35mm to a floor-scraping -40mm. These are aggressive numbers for a 130mm bike, but then YT was never going to make a sedentary mile-muncher.

YT Izzo Pro Race specifications

YT’s direct-to-consumer sales model means there are few compromises on this second-from-top Izzo. You get a top-end Fox 34 fork, Float DPS shock and Transfer dropper, all of which worked flawlessly, although I did find the 150mm post on the large bike a little short.

SRAM’s 12-speed X01 Eagle drives things forward and its G2 RSC brakes bring things to a halt, with a powerful 200/180mm rotor pairing. It’s not just the frame that’s carbon – the X01 cranks, DT Swiss XMC 1200 wheels and narrow Race Face Next bar are too. The Maxxis Forekaster tyres help the bike roll fast, but don’t offer much grip after a downpour.

YT Izzo Pro Race ride impressions

YT Industries

My impression every time I rode the Izzo was that it was egging me on to do things I shouldn’t. The geometry is largely to thank for this, and with its stable, low centre of gravity, I experienced none of the skittishness that a 12.37kg XC/trail bike could have. Swapping the 60mm stem for something shorter would have upped my confidence even more.

Riders of a more traditional XC leaning might find their cadence upset by the very low BB, but for me it just amplified the fun, apart from in very rocky terrain, where catching pedals was a definite consideration.

Thanks to the decent amount of anti-squat built into the suspension, the Izzo remains composed under power and cranks up the climbs with relative ease.

 

I used the TwistLoc for tarmac drags, but on dirt mostly rode with the damping left open; a firm pedalling platform would be more useful than a full lockout.

Finding a good suspension setup takes time. I found myself treading a fine line between running too much pressure, giving a harsh feel and sacrificing low-speed grip, and not pumping it up enough, and the back-end feeling wallowy in fast compressions or berms. Find the sweet spot, however, and the Izzo comes into its own. 

The suspension ramps up nicely and gives enough support for charging some pretty rough trails. Add this to the aggressive geometry and solid spec, and this is a bike that won’t hold you back from attacking or get weighed down when you’re racking up big kilometres.