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You’ve probably noticed that when YT launches a new bike model, they seek design concepts and campaign ideas wherever they can find them. The Capra was introduced by the Goatman. Jeffsy was Christopher Walken’s new friend, and the Decoy went duck hunting with Vinnie Jones. In the case of the all-new IZZO, which was to be a pure trail bike, they looked to the land of the rising sun and found inspiration with the Samurai. The katana sword, with its sleek lines and deadly precision proved to be a great foundation to build the new trail bike concept on, which explains why you’ve been seeing Manga teasers and ads for the new bike by now. So what is IZZO all about then? Let’s dive in!

YT IZZO Highlights

  • Carbon frame only
  • 130 mm of travel front and rear
  • Internal cable routing
  • Chainstays are longer on XL and XXL
  • Single-sided hardware access (all frame linkage bolts on same side)
  • Rubber chainstay and seatstay guards
  • "Chainsuck plate" protects chainstay from chain damage
  • 3 build kits, all based on FOX 34/DPS, SRAM 1x12 transmission and G2 brakes
  • Water bottle compatible

Video Review

 

Initial Impressions

The last time YT tried to make a trail bike, they failed at the whole trail thing. The Jeffsy turned out to be more of a mini-enduro bike than anything else, despite offering decent pedaling capabilities and light weight. For proof, the whole Jeffsy range has been bumped to 150 or 160 mm of travel for 2020, leaving a gap in the line-up at the lower end of the travel scale. Enter the IZZO. Key numbers: 130 mm of travel front and rear, 66-degree head angle, 29-inch wheels, and just over 12 kgs for the size S in the Pro Race version.

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Aha! I hear you say. “What if I just put a longer fork and some meatier tires…” STOP RIGHT THERE. Remember how we said this is YT’s first trail bike? Well, they’ve really gone and made a trail bike this time. But before we jump into what the IZZO is, let’s get to what the IZZO is not. “Looks just like a ssss… bicycle?” The internet will say it looks like a Session (or maybe more of a Mondraker top line), but in truth, it looks like itself. You will notice the vertical shock, which is a first for YT. It leaves plenty of room for a big bottle. “Ah, so YT made a Smuggler. Gotcha.” No, they did not. Is there a FOX 36 on the IZZO? Minions? Nope. “Why is there no piggy-back on the shock?” You’re not really paying attention, are you? Actually, not only is there no piggy-back on the shock, there’s a REMOTE GRIP-TWIST LOCKOUT on the handlebar. NOW are you getting the picture? “OK, but, why’s there not a longer fork, stronger rims, DD casing and some bigger brakes…"

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OK then, so what IS the IZZO? The IZZO is made for anybody who loves to pedal, who likes to mix it up in varied terrain, who loves to go fast on a poppy bike. If you like to hunt for KOMs on the way up and still enjoy the way back down, this one could be for you. That all-day alpine adventure with 1000s of feet of climbing, epic views and rowdy trails? Perfect! Flowy singletrack where warp speed is just an extra pedal stroke away? Yep, that’s the one. Here are the 5 key things you need to know about the IZZO:

The IZZO only comes in carbon, at this point. With builds starting out at $3000 USD, YT feels that this market is particularly concerned with weight, and that it will be willing to pay for a lighter frame. Note that the frame has undergone the same in-house durability tests as the other bikes in the range.

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The geometry is modern, with a 66-degree headangle and generous reach numbers across the 5 sizes. The seat tube is slightly taller than on the Jeffsy, which makes sense for a trail bike – note that you may not be able to fit a super long dropper if you opt to size up. The chainstays are short and come in two different lengths depending on the frame size. There’s a flip chip to drop the BB and slacken the angles by 0.5 degrees.

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The build kits are all based around a FOX 34/DPS suspension package with 12-speed SRAM shifting and 4-pot G2 brakes. DT Swiss provides the wheels while the Maxxis Forecasters have EXO casing to deal with a little extra abuse. We tested the top of the line Pro Race which has all the bells and whistles, note that there is also a special launch edition with AXS parts and a one-off paint job, available in only 150 pieces in the US and EU web shops only – better hurry up if you want one of those!

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The frame is full of nice little details, from the cable routing to the addition of a small bolt to secure the top end of the chain stay protector, YT has taken another step forward when it comes to the general level of construction of the frame.

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With a vertical shock, the frame gains a lot of space for your water bottle. There are also two additional bosses under the top tube, presumably to mount a tool kit or some other frame-mounted accessory - no, a 2nd water bottle will not fit.

Geometry

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Specs and Pricing

The first bikes should be available at the end of April. Here are the different build levels that will be offered:

YT IZZO Launch Edition (limited to 150 pieces, US and Europe only) - $6499 USD / 12.0 kgs (size S, no pedals)

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YT IZZO Pro Race - $5299 USD / 12.1 kgs (size S, no pedals)

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YT IZZO Pro - $3899 USD / 12.6 kgs (size S, no pedals)

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YT IZZO Comp - $2999 USD / 13.2 kgs (size S, no pedals)

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On The Trail

With the current pandemic situation shutting down the traditional press camp, we were sent a bike to test just a few days before the launch. Note that current government restrictions regarding the workplace and social distancing were adhered to in the making of this video. Hopping on the IZZO for the first time, it didn’t take long for us to realize that this is indeed a pure trail bike. Pedal input is met with immediate acceleration, and that’s before you consider locking out the shock. Pedal bob is minimal and there is a feeling of efficiency to the whole package that really sets it apart from even the best pedaling all-mountain bikes out there. The seated position is comfortable and dynamic, thanks to the steep seat tube and generous reach. Going up is not the chore it usually is, and we surprised ourselves climbing steeper sections in taller gears than with any of the other bikes we usually ride here at Vital. The same pleasant surprise awaits when the trail levels out – mash the pedals and you’re rewarded with instant speed. Lock out the shock and you’re pretty much on a hardtail. Those flatter sections of trail really come alive with the IZZO, and it’s a nice feeling to know that speed is just a few pedal strokes away at any point in the ride.

Blasting turns and pumping the little bonus hits is so much more rewarding when it takes less effort, and that’s really our main take-away after the first few rides.

When the trail starts to point down the hill, the IZZO carries all that speed into the fun sections. The bike is poppy and playful, reacting instantly to rider input and going where you tell it to go. The suspension is tight but not uncomfortable, and the bike feels very solid and quiet. It doesn’t sag as much as an all-mountain bike which leaves you feeling like you sit a bit taller on the trail, and the 760 mm bars may feel narrow to you if you are used to something wider, but we started feeling more confident after just a few hours in the saddle. Blasting turns and pumping the little bonus hits is so much more rewarding when it takes less effort, and that’s really our main take-away after the first few rides. Enduro bikes are fun when it gets rowdy, but paring down the suspension travel has a lot of merit too. Many of those burlier lines will still be on with the IZZO, but you’ll need to be picking your way through them rather than plowing straight through. Speed and pedal power vs monster trucking the chunk, that is exactly the trade-off that YT’s designers are proposing with the IZZO, and they’ve stuck with their idea all the way to the finish line. Note that we have yet to drop the flip chip into the slacker setting, we’ll keep testing and get back to you on that one.

To conclude this first look, the IZZO is a departure from anything that YT has made previously. Rather than give in to temptation and over spec the frame, the bike as a whole is dedicated to what it was originally designed for: go fast and have fun, up, down, and across. And at that little game, it excels. Are we going to over-spec ours? Hmmmmm….some wider riser bars and maybe a beefier tire up front…just for testing, you know? We’ve got the bike for another couple of months, so be sure to check back in and catch our full review at some point down the line.

More information at: www.yt-industries.com.


View key specs, compare products, and rate the YT IZZO in the Vital MTB Product Guide.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 47 // Years Riding MTB: 15 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Video by Tal Rozow and Johan Hjord / Photos by Johan Hjord

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iceman2058 iceman2058 4/17/2020 5:58 AM

11 comments newest first

Johan, what size did you test ride? I'm 6' 1/2" and ordered a Large. I see we are almost the same height. I'm wondering if I should go XL to get a little longer wheel base and longer chainstay (added stability). And yes, I would also shorten stem on XL with 780 riser. If I keep the Large I probably won't change a thing. I'm not able to test ride so your opinion would help because we are roughly the same size. Thanks

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Hi!

I tested (and am still testing) an XL. I typically jump between L and XL when out testing bikes, while I tend to end up with L for my personal bikes back home - but that is all down to the types of trails I have access to close to home. A lot of our trails are a bit short, so to make up for that, people put in a lot of turns and don't necessarily go for big fast open sweeping sections like you often would find in areas with higher elevation. For me the answer to your question comes down to trails, riding style and personal preferences. If you see yourself munching miles and riding faster, more open trails on the descents, the XL excels at that little game. If you've got access to steeper terrain with more challenging turns and tight spaces to negotiate, the L should do the trick. I've been on the XL for a couple of months now, and I will say I'm coming around to it more and more...loving the extra room to move about and I'm still able to put the bike where I want it on drops and stuff. It's got a ton of pop so don't worry about that part in any size. I don't want to put ideas in your head but I feel like the intended purpose of this type of bike lends itself well to sizing up...

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"H to the IZZO V to the IZZA
Fo shizzle my nizzle use to dribble down in VA."
Jay Z approves.

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I haven't ridden the Ripley, so I can't comment on that one specifically. What I can say is that the IZZO climbs significantly better than any "all-mountain" bikes I've ridden. It's another level of power transfer, that feels way more direct, even with the shock open. If you make a scale between a proper full suspension XC bike and an all-mountain bike like an Orbea Occam or a Cannondale Habit for example, the IZZO feels somewhere in the middle but closer to the XC bike, if that makes sense. The tires are no doubt a big factor here (those Forecasters roll quick!), but also the short travel, geometry, and suspension tune.

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Silly me I see you are the tester and writer! Thanks a million for replying.

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Thanks for replying, that’s great. Makes sense. I was hoping one of the staff writers who recently tested the Ripley might also comment!!

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