The Propain Tyee CF was previously crowned our group test’s Best Buy. However, that was in size L and with 29″ wheels. We wanted to know how the bike would fare in size S, with 27.5″ wheels. Our test rider Antonia aka Toni takes stock after a full season of riding.
It’s well known that anticipation is the greatest joy, and at Propain, there’s tons of it. The fun starts the moment you place your order. Thanks to the online configurator, you can customize almost every detail of your dream bike. The Tyee enduro model on test offers 170 mm travel up front and 160 mm at the rear. It is optionally available with 27.5” and 29” wheels in sizes S–XL. However, size XL is exclusive to 29″ wheels and, conversely, size S to 27.5″ wheels. The bike is available with either a carbon and an aluminium frame, with the latter weighing around 1 kg more. Unlike its predecessor, Propain have now placed the shock in front of the seat tube where it’s no longer bombarded with dirt from the rear wheel. Nevertheless, the bike continues to rely on the proprietary PRO10 linkage with a virtual pivot point, and you can still fit a bottle cage in the front triangle. Unfortunately, the Tyee doesn’t have any additional mounting points for your tools or a spare tube. Propain rely on proven standards such as a threaded bottom bracket for easy servicing and maintenance. Unfortunately, the chainstay protector is made of very hard plastic and hardly dampens the chain. The cable routing under the bottom bracket isn’t ideal either, coming very close to the rear wheel. It repeatedly brushed the tire during our test and made an annoying noise. However, it never developed into anything more severe beyond that. Propain have confirmed that they’re aware of the issue and will improve both the cable routing and the frame protectors on future models.
The components of the Propain Tyee CF on test
Should you opt for the Propain Tyee, you’ll be faced with a myriad of choices. The most obvious are wheel size, frame size and frame material. While these three are relatively easy to answer, things get trickier with the components. Propain offer three pre-configured builds, but you can customize almost every detail of any build to suit your preferences. If you prefer, you can also configure the Tyee from the ground up, speccing the frame component by component with all the bits you’ve always dreamt of. Our Tyee CF came in at € 5,051. However, that gets you a high-end build that leaves nothing to be desired.
Top-end RockShox Ultimate suspension consisting of a Lyrik fork and a Super Deluxe shock? Check! Powerful SRAM CODE RSC brakes? Check! An X01 Eagle drivetrain with a 10–52 cassette? Check! The build is rounded off by high-quality Stans Flow MK3 wheels, Schwalbe tires – Magic Mary up front and a Big Betty on the rear – a BikeYoke REVIVE dropper post and a six-pack cockpit. However, we strongly recommend shortening the extremely wide 805 mm handlebar. Our 160 cm tall test rider cut it down to 770 mm. You won’t find a narrower model in the configurator.
The geometry of the Propain Tyee CF 27.5″ in detail
As already mentioned, Propain offer the 27.5″ Tyee in three sizes. With a rider measuring 160 cm, size S was an obvious choice. If you look at the geometry, it immediately seems well balanced, up to date and consistent. The reach is 431 mm, paired with a slack 64.5° head angle. The 76.6° seat tube angle positions you on the centre of the bike for the climbs. Our only peeve is the unnecessarily long 420 mm seat tube. If it were a little shorter, you could easily fit a 150 mm dropper post instead of the 125 model. The bottom bracket drops by 10.5 mm in relation to the axles, which should place you comfortably “in” the bike, and with 430 mm chainstays, the weight distribution between the front and rear triangle promises to be balanced.
|Top tube||575 mm||597 mm||620 mm|
|Seat tube||110 mm||120 mm||130 mm|
|BB Drop||10.5 mm||10.5 mm||10.5 mm|
|Chainstay||430 mm||430 mm||430 mm|
|Wheelbase||1182 mm||1206 mm||1230 mm|
|Reach||431 mm||451 mm||471 mm|
|Stack||602.5 mm||611.5 mm||620.5 mm|
The Propain Tyee on the trail
If we had to describe Propain Tyee in three words, it would be confident, fun, and fast. The moment you swing your leg over the bike, you’ll feel right at home. The riding position on the Tyee is centred, upright and comfortable. No matter how steep the climb, you never get the impression that you’re sitting too far over the back of the bike. The suspension is pleasantly efficient as you pedal uphill, and you can safely save yourself the effort of activating the hard-to-reach climb-switch on the shock. The Tyee masters technical climbs, offering a good mix of traction, efficiency, and predictable handling. Even if you’re winching yourself uphill at walking pace, the bike remains easy to control and goes exactly where you want. For an enduro bike, the Tyee is a great climber, and it allows you to reach the trailhead in a relaxed manner.
An enduro bike that climbs well is nice and all, but we’re a lot more interested in how it descends. We’re going to say it upfront, the Tyee is good at that too, but how does the bike do it? On the one hand, you’ve got balanced handling. As on the climbs, the Propain does just what you want it to on the descents. It implements steering input with immediacy. The weight distribution between the wheels is spot on, generating plenty of grip on both tires and keeping the front wheel easy to control even in open corners. What this all adds up to is predictable handling that instils the rider with confidence. Experienced riders will be able to let the rear slide out and drift while retaining full control. When things get steep, you feel perfectly integrated with the bike and full of confidence. The small wheels don’t put small riders at a disadvantage. On the contrary: after a few experiments with 29″ wheels, Toni is confident that a rider of her stature, measuring 160 cm, is better off with 27.5″ wheels on a long-travel bike. She found that the 29″ equivalent often felt too sluggish and difficult to control.
Since it’s so easy to control, the Tyee motivates you to push the limits – and sometimes to go beyond them.
As balanced as the geometry, so is the suspension of the Tyee. Bikes are often very plush but also sluggish, or they’re lively but nervous. The Tyee combines the best of both worlds. The rear end generates a lot of traction and control on rough descents, but it remains lively and offers lots of support on flowing trails. As such, the bike masters the balancing act between agility and composure, control and fun. The only instance where it didn’t perform as convincingly was on hard hits following in rapid succession. The rear end isn’t always able to recover fast enough, passing hits on to the rider. Some say that quiet bikes are faster than loud bikes. To get the Propain quiet, we recommend adding an extra layer of slapper tape to the chainstay protector as the stock version is too hard. Even after a season of abuse, the Tyee didn’t reveal any weaknesses. The bearings were still running smoothly, and there was no creaking or cracking to be heard.
The Propain Tyee convinced our test rider, Toni. After a full season of use, she came to love the enduro bike’s versatility. It climbs well, and thanks to its balanced handling and excellent suspension, it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face on every descent. The only things clouding the otherwise very positive impression are the slightly too long seat tube, the cable routing under the bottom bracket and the hard chainstay protector. However, none of these factors is a deal-breaker.
- balanced handling
- lots of fun yet stable and controlled
- good value and fully customisable
- unnecessarily long seat tube
- hard chainstay protector
- cable routing under the bottom bracket
More information: Manufacturer’s website
Words: Antonia Buckenlei Photos: Christoph Bayer