In 2015, Germany’s YT Industries made waves in the U.S. mountain bike market when the brand brought its consumer-direct business model to the states. By selling online, YT keeps its prices significantly lower than brands that sell at brick-and-mortar stores. In recent years, the YT Tues DH bike garnered heaps of attention after being ridden to both the World Cup Downhill Championship and a Red Bull Rampage title. So when YT joined the trail bike game with its 140-millimeter-travel Jeffsy 29er, people paid attention.
The Jeffsy is available in five builds, ranging from $2,600 to $5,700. Our test bike shares the same full-carbon frame as the top-shelf CF Pro, and is decked out with a RockShox Pike RC3 fork, SRAM X1 11-speed shifter and rear derailleur, Sensus Lite grips, a 150-millimeter-drop RockShox Reverb post and DT Swiss M1700 wheels. YT's version of a four-bar Horst link suspension is called Virtual 4 Link and, like most suspension designs, the goal is to provide excellent small-bump sensitivity, ample mid-stroke support and a progressively ramping end stroke. With a 66.9-degree head angle and a 74.3-degree seat angle, the Jeffsy's geometry is ideal for aggressive descending. Those angles can be steepened by a hair under 1 degree by flipping the chip at the shock mount into the 'high' setting. The frame can't accept traditional water bottles, but YT does offer a smaller, pint-size bottle and Jeffsy-specific cage, both of which are add-ons during an online bike purchase.
The 140-mil trail bike category includes some of the most playful and versatile machines in the game, and the Jeffsy CF Comp 1 29er stood out in Arkansas as one of the most fun bikes of the bunch. We predominantly ran the suspension in the open settings and the Jeffsy felt snappy and agile, yet stable, on both technical uphill sections and high-speed descents. The comfortable cockpit, including a 760-mil-wide Race Face Turbine bar and 50-mil stem allowed us to weight the front end properly for hard cornering, yet keep our weight low over the front wheel during steep, punchy climbs. One tester commented that if this was the $4,600 version, how could the flagship CF Pro ride any better?
Q&A with Cam Zink, CEO – YT USA
Many brands share suspension design concepts. How does YT separate itself from other brands utilizing the Horst link?
Our platform, the V4L (Virtual 4 Link) utilizes the Horst Link, while mounting the shock to the seat stay instead of the swing link. With the V4L, YT was able to achieve extremely low leverage ratios, incredible progression throughout the stroke while making the shock incredibly tunable. It also provides the essentials of no brake jack, ideal pedal kickback and chain growth. With the V4L you can make a bottom of the line shock feel incredible and a decent shock feel like a factory set-up. It is the bread and butter of all YT bikes.
Are there any details/features on this bike that you think are particularly critical to its performance that might be easily overlooked by consumers at first glance?
Boost… but not what you're thinking. Boost was invented to accommodate plus size tires, but YT took it as an opportunity to shorten the chainstays with traditional aggressive sized tires while keeping a proper chainline. I like running a medium, as it has a shorter rear end than the large or XL. It's incredible.
With YT being a direct to consumer business without dealers, what concerns do you people have about customer service?
Our biggest asset at YT is our customer service. We see the direct connection to each customer as an opportunity to make a lifelong fan of the brand, and alleviating a disconnection that could come from a third-party interacting with the customers. We take pride in every interaction with our customers.