YT Industries – from Forcheim in Germany - have transformed themselves from a grassroots company set up in 2007 to offer the beginner rider a great value product, into one of the major players in the modern marketplace. Their initial growth, fuelled by dirt jump and freerider success from the likes of Andreau Lacondeguy and the late Kelly McGarry, has transferred quickly to enduro and more recently to the trail riding category. The Jeffsy first entered their range as a versatile 140mm 29er, and 2017 sees a smaller wheeled sibling added to the range. Here we check out the top-shelf Jeffsy CF Pro Race 27.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

From their infancy, YT have run on a consumer-direct model. After consulting the reasonably basic sizing information my large test bike arrived from YT in a box to rule them all within a few weeks. Generally, test bikes are collected from whichever dealer is closest and assembled by their team. But this time the job of assembling the Jeffsy was mine – and, surprisingly, it was a piece of cake. Some serious design has gone into the way the bike fits into the internal space of the box, so that all you need to do is put the wheels in, fit the handlebar to the stem and add some sealant in the tyres. Unless you run full-Euro you’ll also need to switch the brake lines across to front-right, making the out-of-the-box cable routing a little messier than YT intended. All up, the job of getting the Jeffsy together took no more than 20 minutes, and I was surprised to find the gears shifted perfectly and the brakes were already bedded in before it originally went in the box!

When up and rolling, the CF Pro Race 27 is a badass looking bike. The silver and orange on matte black is highlighted further by the stealthed out parts mix of high-end bits. A SRAM X01 shifter and rear mech form the basis of the drivetrain, supported by RaceFace Next SL cranks and an E*Thirteen TRS+ cassette. Fox Factory suspension is at both ends with Float X rear and a 34 Float up front pulled out to 160mm, something I’d not seen before. E*Thirteen carbon TRS wheelset and rubber keeps it all rolling and SRAM Guide Ultimate brakes make sure it slows down. A Renthal 35mm cockpit, including Fatbar Carbon, helps you stay in control with a Reverb Stealth dropper post out back. All this for under eight grand.

Despite being marketed under a trail heading, the Jeffsy 27 boasts 160mm of travel front and rear, only 10 millimetres less than their enduro-focused Capra model, but in a much less burly overall package. With a headtube angle only a degree steeper than the Capra at 66 degrees (adjustable to 66.5 via a flip chip), low bottom bracket and 435mm stays, the Jeffsy really does seem like it wants to descend. So I was curious about the all round capability of this new trail machine.

TAKING TO THE TRAIL

There are some bikes that you get on and you know they are going to be fun. During the course of my regular working week I get to spend a fair bit of time messing around in the street on some seriously nice bikes and some of them just smack you in the face and yell ‘LETS GO RIDING!’ This Jeffsy is definitely that kind of bike. Playing around manualling and hopping while setting up suspension, the Jeffsy has an initially agility that defies its 160mm of travel. With its lightweight parts kit, and the visually smaller Fox 34 up front, it’s easy to feel like you’re on a much shorter travel bike. Rolling out onto the first, flowing downhill part of the trail, the Jeffsy’s strengths were immediately evident. An extremely confident, stable descender, it ate up braking bumps, roots and stones and held that speed comfortably through the deep berms that make up the entry to our test trail. The super slack head angle, and resulting rearward rider weight bias, allows for a very relaxed upper body - and guiding the Pro Race 27 through the rough was fast and fun.

With the speed oriented angles, though, I did find that on occasion the Fox 34 was a little flexy. There was zero issue with steering, or deflection from larger trail obstacles. But, as stated earlier, I have never seen a 34 extended to 160mm and there was a noticeable amount of fore-aft flex in that thing through repeated, choppy hits. I also found that with the flip chip in the lower position, I clipped cranks a lot. I am generally of the opinion that clipping cranks is about technique, not geometry, and it’s something that I rarely do. With the Jeffsy set low it was a once-every-five-minutes experience - even sometimes when I thought I was on flat ground a small rock would pop out and say hi. According to YT’s geometry chart, flipping the chip in the lower shock mount raises the bottom bracket by 7mm and while I didn’t grab a tape and measure, it did make a substantial difference and the hollow carbon Next SL cranks breathed a sigh of relief.

The switch to steeper and higher also had a positive effect on the way the bike climbed. In the lower mode, regardless of which setting the Float X rear shock was in, the Jeffsy seemed to struggle. That rearward weight bias that made descending a ridiculous amount of fun put rider weight in a weird spot for negotiating even mildly challenging climbs - and it was hard to avoid snagging pedals. In the taller mode the difference was huge and it kind of felt like the bike had a blindfold removed. It’s funny the difference that a few millimetres of bottom bracket drop and a half a degree in angles makes, but the Pro Race 27 really started to live up to its trail designation. As a four bar linkage, the rear end was never going to be the most efficient pedaller, especially without some of the engineered shock technology of other brands using similar designs. But with the shock in ‘trail’ or ‘climb’ it did a satisfactory job of getting me back to the top of the hills where the real fun, and the Jeffsy’s real strengths, were waiting.

OUR TAKE

Overall, the Jeffsy is pretty great. With its lighter kit and intended use I can’t help but feel it might be more fun in a 140mm package. That said, if your riding style is descending-focused and you want the forgiveness of a bigger bike without the strength and weight that comes with a full blown enduro setup, then the Pro Race 27 may be worth a look. Well, a click anyway.

ESSENTIALS

BRAND YT Industries
MODEL Jeffsy CF Pro Race 27
RRP $7799
WEIGHT 12.4KG
FROM au.yt-industries.com