YT IZZO CORE 4 REVIEW – A SHORT TRAVEL TRAIL BIKE WITH A GRAVITY ATTITUDE
The Izzo doesn’t care what you think
YT IZZO CORE 4 REVIEW
The Izzo is YT’s answer to the problem that some of the best rides and features should only be accessed by climbing without a shuttle, chairlift or battery. Their gravity and enduro bikes have been around for the better part of a decade, garnering a cult following of riders along the way. The YT Mob, as they’re sometimes known, are probably best known for smart and simple bike designs and component packages laden with value, all delivered with YT’s no-frills, direct-to-consumer buying experience. Their gravity bikes have garnered a reputation for progressive features and brass-tacks performance. However, when they designed the Izzo, they must have started with a blank slate. This short-travel bike takes some cues from the long-travel models that YT is known for, but has an entirely new set of design parameters: being light and efficient enough to be fun anywhere on the mountain, uphill or down.
The Izzo is YT’s shortest travel bike with 130mm of travel. It uses 29er wheels front and rear for all sizes, and comes in two distinct frame versions, depending on which model you choose. The Core 4 comes with a lighter, full UM carbon construction for both front and rear triangles. The more affordably spec’d Izzo models come with an aluminum rear end that gives the same geometry, travel and durability at a lower price point. The geometry is designed for trail riding of all types and caters to those who are willing to pedal to the top of the climbs rather than taking the chairlift or shuttle.
Nice amenities on the Izzo include selected internal cable routing to prevent rattling, and an included full-size water bottle with FidLock mount. It is still possible to use a standard cage with the included baseplate adapter. For bearing longevity, YT equips the Izzo with extra bearing seals to keep out the elements. To further keep things silent, the seat and chainstays are protected with molded TPE guards. To dial in the geometry, YT includes a flip chip in the lower shock mount that adjusts the geometry by .5 degrees and affects the bottom bracket height by a minuscule but noticeable 5mm. The Izzo is available in five sizes—from small to double extra large—and all YT bikes are sold direct through YT’s website.
The Core 4 comes to the trail with components that are on the high end, but still selected to keep the price point out of the stratosphere. If you want a no-holds-barred version of the Izzo, YT also makes the Uncaged version, which comes with a SRAM AXS suite, along with some other upgrades for an additional $1400.
Our test bike came equipped with some of our perennial favorite component specs, including a mechanical X01 drivetrain, DT Swiss 1501 carbon wheels with star ratchet hubs, and Fox Factory suspension front and rear. Braking duties are handled by SRAM G2 RSC brakes. The dropper post is a house-branded YT Postman, and the rest of the cockpit is a mix of Race Face components, including a carbon handlebar and machined Turbine stem. The Maxxis Forecaster 2.35 EXO tires are a middleweight choice, although the frame has plenty of clearance for larger tires if you prefer them.
The Izzo suspension design is a tried and true, four-bar Horst link design. It has a matched 130mm of travel front and rear, which is sprung and controlled with a top end Fox Factory fork and shock. The Fox 34 fork features their most adjustable GRIP2 damper, which allows the rider to finely tune and match the dynamic feeling rear suspension. After a few rides to sort the pressures and settings, we found the bike had a very nicely balanced feel. The climbing switch on this bike is quite low on the shock, which makes it difficult to reach on the fly. The bike doesn’t need it all that often, but like any active suspension design, it’s nice to firm it on the inevitable fire road climbs and occasional paved sections this bike will encounter.
YT has not made their name on climbing prowess. Still, when you build a bike for this category, it had better be able to ascend without assistance of a lift pass. We can certainly say this is the best climbing YT we’ve used yet and can hang with other “lightweight climby” bikes when the trail points up. The Izzo feels like a trail bike, but one that had things like weight savings and pedaling efficiency near the top of the designer’s wish list. The bike’s geometry has a steep and modern-feeling seat tube that puts the rider in a powerful pedaling position.
The shock’s pedal switch is located at the bottom end, making it a long reach to use it. Thankfully, we only felt the need for this on long fire road climbs. The Izzo’s suspension moves somewhat under pedaling, but can help to keep traction on loose and steep climbs. The trail mode is particularly helpful and supportive, and we found ourselves using this mode often on undulating terrain,
The component package makes the bike feel very lightweight for one that will deliver this much confidence on the way down. Knowing we had a ripping descent coming aboard this thing, we found ourselves fighting gravity with a smile on our faces.
The Izzo design takes cues from their gravity lineup and delivers a bike that handles with sharp confidence. The geometry gives stability at speed, while the handling feels quick enough to dissect your way down any rocky chute. The travel may not be ample, but the Izzo never leaves you feeling like it’s holding you back. With 20–25-percent sag and the rear shock set to open, the Izzo makes great use of its relatively short amount of travel. It feels active and able to gobble rocks, yet ramps up nicely on big hits to prevent bottoming. On small bumps, the suspension is active and connected. On bigger hits, the shock firms to prevent bottoming. This progressive suspension feel is reminiscent of the long-travel YT suspension bikes, although less pronounced-feeling on the Izzo. This bike has a slightly more linear feel that allows you to utilize the full travel more easily. At top speed, this bike is also nearly silent, aside from some mechanical chain sounds and tires thumping. The internal cable routing, chainstay protectors and finish quality make this bike descend without a rattle, a trait that will undoubtedly make you feel faster.
WHAT DID WE LOVE?
This is a truly balanced and capable-feeling trail bike geometry with cross-country weight. It comes with familiar and very effective suspension kinematics that can cater to any riding style. We especially appreciate the much-improved cable routing from previous YT designs that keeps the Izzo silent. The included FidLock bottle and perfectly executed seat and chainstay protectors are nice touches, too.
WHAT WOULD WE CHANGE?
Test riders felt the SRAM G2 brakes have an inconsistent bite and can feel grabby. The Maxxis Forecaster tires are an intermediate tread choice, and are light and grippy enough for a standard build meant to ride well anywhere this bike ships to. We don’t really hate them; however, we’d recommend you lean into whatever you want this bike to do with something either grippier or lighter with the second set.
YT didn’t “add a trail bike to complete the catalog” when they designed the Izzo. This bike has a unique character that feels like the gravity-minded guys at YT built a bike to have a blast when something that can climb efficiently is the best tool for the job. The handling takes no back seat and can handle the full gnar in the hands of a skilled pilot. And for them, along with everybody else looking for a fun and forgiving lightweight trail bike to get a little rowdy on the backside descent with, the Izzo holds its own.
WHEEL SIZE: 29″
SUSPENSION: 130mm (front/rear)
YT IZZO CORE 4
Weight: 27.5 pounds (without pedals)
Sizes: S,M,L (tested),XL
Frame tested: Carbon, Horst-link 4-bar, 130mm travel
Shock: Fox Float DPS Factory
Fork: Fox Float Factory 34 (130mm travel, 44mm offset)
Wheelset: DT Swiss XMC 1501 Spline (30mm inner width)
Tires: Maxxis Forecaster EXO Dual (29 x 2.35″)
Seatpost: YT Postman (150mm drop)
Saddle: SDG Bel Air 3.0
Handlebar: Race Face NEXT R (20mm rise, 780mm)
Stem: Race Face Turbine R (50mm)
Grips: ODI Elite Motion V2.1
Headset: Acros AZX
Brakes: SRAM G2RSC
Rotors: SRAM Centerline (200/180mm)
Rear derailleur: SRAM X01
Shifters: SRAM X01
Crankset: SRAM X01 Eagle
Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB PressFit
Cassette: SRAM X01 Eagle (10-52T)
Chain: SRAM Eagle 12-speed
Chainrings: SRAM (32-tooth)
Head tube angle: 66-66.5°
Reach: 472mm (18.6″)
Stack: 621mm (24.4″)
Effective seat tube angle: 77-77.5º
Bottom bracket height: 334mm (13.1″)
Chainstay length: 432mm (17″)