The YT IZZO is the start of a new era for the German direct to consumer brand. It’s been developed from the ground up with a new frame and linkage design and it’s aimed at a group of riders that YT haven’t addressed before: trail riders who wana cover much ground and have less demanding trails. But what is the IZZO capable of, is it a boring cross country bike or does YT’s gravity DNA shine through?

YT IZZO Pro Race | 130/130 mm | 29” | 12.5 kg (Size L) | € 5,299| Manufacturer’s website

„Fast, agile, sharp”, these are the words with which YT promote the brand new IZZO. The design of the bike, especially the top tube and the seat stays, were inspired by the shape of a Samurai sword. On the trail, the bike promises to be fast, agile and precise – just like a Samurai. The name IZZO is derived from the German “is’so,” which means as much as “that’s the way it is,” making a bold statement, full of self-confidence. This bike is made for those who don’t happen to have to a huge mountain range at their doorstep but still want to have as much fun on the trails as possible and also for those who want to cover long distances. But that’s enough of the bike’s marketing – on to the important stuff.

Probably the biggest innovation on the IZZO is the position of the shock. Instead of lying horizontally, the shock is positioned standing upright, which frees up space in the frame.

The new YT IZZO in detail

The new IZZO still features some of YT’s typical design features and is easily recognisable as such, but the design of the rear end is entirely new with 130 mm travel front and rear. The shock is now positioned upright instead of lying horizontally in the frame. Together with the pivot point near the BB, this gives you a classic four-bar linkage, which YT use on all of their full-suspension bikes. The position of the shock leaves enough room for a large 835 ml Thirstmaster 5000 water bottle in the front triangle as well as an additional mounting point for a tube or mini-tool. The new IZZO will initially only be available as a carbon version with 29” wheels. YT see the large wheels as the perfect choice for the bike’s intended use. A lot of attention has been paid to details such as the cable routing and the frame protectors, making a high-quality impression.

The most important facts of the IZZO at a glance:

  • Travel 130/130 mm
  • Wheel size 29″
  • Rear-end four-bar horst-link
  • Available sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Frame material carbon fibre
  • Weight 12.5 kg (Pro Race in L)
  • Price from €2,999
The shock is positioned vertically in the frame and YT have integrated a flip-chip in the rocker link to adjust the geometry
The ribbed chainstay protector is designed to effectively dampen chain-slap
Along with the specially developed 835 ml Thirstmaster 5000 water bottle, the front triangle can also accommodate a spare tube
The internally routed cables now get clamped down at the top port – the annoying rubber plugs that kept coming loose are a thing of the past.
The rubber plugs sit securely in the frame and didn’t slip out on our test bike

The new YT IZZO features a remote lockout on the handlebar

It’s a unique feature these days and a first for YT, but all IZZO models come standard with a RockShox Twist Loc remote. It allows you to lock out the rear shock remotely via the handlebar. The system also works with FOX shocks and should make the IZZO even quicker. Although the rear linkage has been designed in such a way that it performs very efficiently even without being locked out or stiffened, locking out the rear shock is even better for fast sprints or monotonous climbs on paved surfaces. We’ll go into more depth about how the system performs and whether it’s necessary a little later.

All IZZO models come with the slender RockShox TwistLoc lever as standard. Simply push the button to lock out the shock and twist the lever to open it.
A FOX shock controlled by a RockShox remote – it works great and is part of YT’s standard spec.
The TwistLoc remote and dropper post lever pair well. During the test, not once did we accidentally lock out the shock while using the dropper post.

The YT IZZO is not intended to be a short-travel enduro bike

It would have been easy to simply take the components of the JEFFSY trail bike, which we’ve reviewed previously, and mount them to a slightly lighter frame with less travel, as many brands do, says Chris Hilton, product manager at YT. But then the bike would weigh almost as much as a bike with more travel. However, the aim in developing the IZZO was to create a significantly lighter, more agile and faster bike. For this reason, YT deliberately rely on lighter components such as a FOX 34 fork, light tires, a 760 mm handlebar and many other components that save weight. Out of the box, the IZZO is aimed at riders for whom the JEFFSY is too much bike for their riding style. Of course, there is nothing to stop you from pimping the IZZO to suit your own preferences, equipping it with a set of grippy, robust MTB tires – that is exactly what we did during the course of our review.

YT deliberately chose not to build the IZZO like a mini-enduro bike, speccing it a 60 mm stem with 760 mm handlebars
Where are the knobbly’s? The light and fast-rolling MAXXIS Forecaster tires emphasise the intentions of the IZZO. But they don’t do the bike justice. We swapped them out for a MAXXIS MINION DHF up front and a Dissector on the rear

Three standard IZZO models and a limited edition for the launch

YT are offering the new IZZO in three standard models, the Comp, Pro and Pro Race. They’re also offering a special Launch Edition, limited to 150 bikes worldwide. The models are very similar. They all come with FOX suspension: a 34 fork and a DPS shock. Stopping is taken care of by SRAM G2 brakes and they’re all specced with a SRAM Eagle drivetrain. For the wheels, YT rely on DT Swiss products, except for the Launch Edition. All bikes come with a RockShox TwistLoc remote mounted to a Race Face cockpit.

The YT IZZO offers 130 mm travel front and rear, controlled by FOX suspension across the range
All IZZO models are specced with SRAM G2 brakes …
…and a SRAM Eagle 12-speed drivetrain.
YT choose to rely on DT Swiss’ lightweight XMC 1200 wheelset for the €5,299 PRO RACE model
Of course, the IZZO comes with a dropper post as standard. Frame size S is specced with 100 mm dropper, size M with a 125 mm version, size L relies on a 150 mm model and sizes XL and XXL feature on a 170 mm dropper.

The entry-level €2,999 IZZO COMP is specced with a FOX 34 FLOAT Rhythm fork, a SRAM NX/GX Eagle drivetrain and G2-R brakes. The €5,299 IZZO PRO RACE, as tested, features FOX Factory suspension, G2 RSC brakes and lightweight DT Swiss XMC 1200 carbon wheels. Filling the gap between them is the IZZO PRO for €3,899. All IZZO models are available in the discreet black colour pictured here. The COMP and PRO models are each available in one other colour: dune grey for the COMP and ghostship green for the PRO.

A detailed overview of all the IZZO models:

YT Izzo Launch Edition € – 6,499

Fork FOX 34 Float Factory 130 mm
Rear shock FOX Float DPS Factory 130 mm
Seatpost SRAM Reverb AXS 100/125/150/170 mm
Brakes SRAM G2 Ultimate 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 AXS 1×12
Stem E13 Plus 50 mm
Handlebar E13 Plus Race Carbon 760 mm
Wheels E13 XCX Race 29″
Tires E13 Optimus 2.4″


YT Izzo Pro Race € – 5,299

Fork FOX 34 Float Factory 130 mm
Rear shock FOX Float DPS Factory 130 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory 100/125/150/175 mm
Brakes SRAM G2 RSC 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 1×12
Stem Race Face Turbine R 50 mm
Handlebar Race Face Next 760 mm
Wheels DT Swiss XMC 1200 29″
Tires MAXXIS Forecaster 2.35″


YT Izzo Pro – € 3,899

Fork FOX 34 Float Performance Elite 130 mm
Rear shock FOX Float DPS Performance Elite 130 mm
Seatpost YT Postman 100/125/150/170 mm
Brakes SRAM G2 RS 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX 1×12
Stem Race Face Turbine R 50 mm
Handlebar Race Face Turbine R 760 mm
Wheels DT Swiss M 1700 29″
Tires MAXXIS Forecaster 2.35″


YT Izzo Comp – € 2.999

Fork FOX 34 Float Rhythm 130 mm
Rear shock FOX Float DPS Performance Elite 130 mm
Seatpost YT Postman 100/125/150/170 mm
Brakes SRAM G2 R 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM NX 1×12
Stem Race Face Aeffect 50 mm
Handlebar Race Face Aeffect 760 mm
Wheels DT Swiss M 1900 29″
Tires MAXXIS Forecaster 2.35″

Five sizes and balanced geometry for the IZZO

As with the componentry, the geometry of the IZZO was never intended to be as radical as possible. Instead, YT’s concept aims to successfully combine composure and agility, with a particular focus on balanced handling. The IZZO is available in a total of five sizes from S–XXL. Compared to the JEFFSY, the seat tube lengths of the IZZO are somewhat longer overall, but they’re still short enough to accommodate long dropper posts. The IZZO also features a flip-chip, allowing you to adjust the geometry by 0.5° and changing the bottom bracket height by 5 mm. The reach in size L is 472 mm and therefore fully on-trend. The 66° head angle is rather conservative and, on paper, the 77° seat tube angle is pleasantly steep. The chainstay length on sizes S-L is only 432 mm, growing by 5 mm on sizes XL and XXL to 437 mm.

The geometry at a glance:

Sizes S M L XL XXL
Top tube 566 mm 591 mm 616 mm 641 mm 666 mm
Seat tube length 400 mm 425 mm 450 mm 475 mm 500 mm
Head tube length 95 mm 105 mm 115 mm 130 mm 140 mm
Head tube angle 66°/66.5° 66°/66.5° 66°/66.5° 66°/66.5° 66°/66.5°
Seat tube angle 77°/77.5° 77°/77.5° 77°/77.5° 77°/77.5° 77°/77.5°
BB Drop 40/35 mm 40/35 mm 40/35 mm 40/35 mm 40/35 mm
Wheelbase 1158 mm 1183 mm 1209 mm 1240 mm 1265 mm
Reach 429 mm 450 mm 472 mm 492 mm 513 mm
Stack 603 mm 612 mm 621 mm 635 mm 644 mm

The YT IZZO PRO RACE on the trail
Efficiency and playful handling

Unfortunately, YT was forced to cancel the planned launch due to the corona crisis and supplied us with a test bike several weeks before the official release date instead. This gave us the opportunity to test the bike very extensively and with different riders. We rode the bike on our home trails in the foothills of the Alps. From steep and rough to super flowing and flat, we rode it all. From all-day epics to short after-work rides – the IZZO had to prove itself in every situation.

Before heading out, we encountered the first small problem: the shock in the IZZO isn’t accessible with every shock pump

Setting up the IZZO for the first time, we encountered a problem with some of our shock pumps as the position of the shock and the straight down tube don’t accommodate all models. Pumps with a big head don’t fit. If you don’t feel like buying a new pump, you can resort to an adapter if necessary. The remaining setup was quick and easy. We chose 30% sag for the rear and set the fork up at the higher end of the recommended spectrum for our weight.

Uphill with a smile – the IZZO climbs really well!

The riding position on the YT IZZO is slightly stretched with the saddle mounted centrally and the seat tube angle is very suitable for flat trails. However, it feels slacker than the specified 77° on steep climbs, so we pushed the saddle all the way forward. Speaking of the saddle, none of our testers get along with the heavily slanted sides of the SDG Radar, regardless of the bike we test it on. We would have liked a more comfortable model, especially on a bike designed to tackle long distances. Otherwise, the IZZO is an excellent climber. Even with the shock open, the rear end hardly bobs while offering plenty of traction and lots of comfort. As soon as you lock out the shock, the rear end is lifted up out of its sag, placing you even more centrally on the bike and it just wants to sprint. The fast-rolling MAXXIS Forecaster tires deliver a convincing performance on the climbs, but they offer little grip even in dry and hard-packed conditions.

With the shock locked out, the IZZO feels super quick and efficient!

If you’re expecting a super progressive trail bike that prefers taking on enduro trails on the descents, you’ll be disappointed with the IZZO. On the contrary, YT have created a very predictable and easy-to-ride bike, which is a lot of fun to ride even at slower speeds and down moderate gradients. The suspension is astonishingly sensitive off the top for its 130 mm travel and it doesn’t get overwhelmed by hard compressions or landings. The only time we would have liked more traction was on quick, successive hits and medium blows as you’ll encounter over roots. In these incidences, you’ll quickly notice that you’ve only got 130 mm travel to work with. On fast impacts, you can also hear a rattling of the chain and the Fidloc bottle. However, the rear suspension offers a lot of support, inviting you to pop off obstacles, and it doesn’t mind if you mess up or overshoot the landing.

With the stock tires, the IZZO does resemble a Samurai sword, albeit a very dull one. Upgrading is mandatory!

To even begin exploiting the IZZO’s full potential on the descents, we strongly recommend replacing the MAXXIS Forecaster tires. Although they roll fast, they offer little cornering grip and, on top of that, they don’t hold their line well or provide enough braking traction. Instead, we fitted a MAXXIS Minion DHF and a Dissector, each in 2.35” width. Sure, this combo doesn’t roll as fast, but it’s a lot more capable. The 760 mm handlebar initially feels unusual for enduro riders who are used to 780 mm bars, but it suits the bike’s character and range of applications. However, we would have liked a wider model for sizes XL and XXL – after all, you can always shorten it. The IZZO changes direction very easily and feels nicely balanced. Whether tight switch-backs or long open corners, the IZZO delivers with its light-footed character and predictable handling. However, when the trails get rougher and steeper, the IZZO will let you know that it’s time to scrub off some speed, though it never feels overwhelmed. On long descents, our heavier test riders struggled with noticeable fading on the rear brake – upgrading to a 200mm rotor is worthwhile.

Compressions and hard blows don’t upset the IZZO as the rear end offers just the right amount of progression.
The IZZO is a lot of fun on shaped trails…
…goading you to get it up on the rear wheel.

How does the new YT IZZO compare to Norco Optic?

YT IZZO oder doch Norco Optic? Diese Frage werden sich sicher einige mögliche Kunden stellen.

Admittedly, when we heard that YT would be launching a short-travel trail bike, we immediately thought of the Norco Optic which we tested in our recent trail bike group test with 15 other bikes. However, the IZZO is far less aggressive than the Canadian brand’s bike. This already becomes evident when considering the weight, with a difference of around 1.2 kg between the Optic and the IZZO. The riding position on the Norco is more central and the suspension is more capable on the descents. The IZZO, on the other hand, is more efficient, with handling that is easier and more predictable. While the Optic demands an active riding style to unlock its full potential, everyone can have fun on the IZZO from the get-go. For a detailed comparison of the two bikes, you’ll have to wait for the next issue of ENDURO on our app. Of course, it’s all free and digital as always. If you haven’t heard of our app yet, click here for more information.

That smile doesn’t lie: we had a lot of fun with the new YT IZZO

Conclusion

If you thought the IZZO was YT’s take on a mini enduro bike, you’re mistaken. On the contrary, the German direct to consumer brand has created a fast and efficient trail bike that climbs excellently and is a lot of fun on descents and on flat and moderate trails. If you like it rough, you’re better off reaching for the JEFFSY or CAPRA. The IZZO is made for trail riders who enjoy long days in the saddle and are looking for an efficient yet versatile bike.

Tops

  • efficient yet comfortable
  • fun and balanced handling
  • high-quality frame
  • a lot of downhill potential with some upgrades

Flops

  • tires are quickly overwhelmed
  • handlebar may be too narrow
  • the bottle and chain rattles
  • undersized brake rotor

For more information, visit the YT homepage.

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer

About the author

Christoph Bayer

When work doesn't feel like work, then you've probably done everything right. Luckily, that’s exactly what Christoph did. He loves biking and the tech talk surrounding it (to the detriment of his girlfriend Toni), photography and travelling the world. He has been with ENDURO almost from the start and as editor-in-chief, he's responsible for making ENDURO the most progressive and exciting magazine in the industry. Of course, he still writes a lot of content himself, reviews almost 100 bikes a year and rides his bike almost every day. The alpine trails around his hometown serve as the perfect testing grounds. He doesn't have a classic 9 to 5 routine – sometimes he's in the office, sometimes he'll take his laptop to sit in the garden and sometimes you'll even find him working remotely from his van parked at one the best riding spots in the world. For Christoph, work-life boundaries are fluid and he likes it that way.