If one brand comes to mind when we think about dedication to the craft of developing mountain bikes to win races, it’s Yeti Cycles. Since the inception of our beloved sport, Yeti has pioneered countless designs and innovations for their Factory racers with the simple goal of being the fastest. From the Yeti-Lawwill Quadrilateral DH bike, to their linear rail technology or the most recent Switch Infinity design. Yeti has always recycled input from their racers back into product development. A brief jaunt down memory lane sees legendary names such as John Tomac, Missy Giove, Miles Rockwell, Jill Kitner, Aaron Gwin and most recently Richie Rude, all piloting Yeti bikes to countless championships. Now, the legacy continues. As one of the few brands yet to dive into the e-bike segment, it should come as no surprise that Yeti has been busy behind closed doors creating their own electric assisted machine. Always driven by the pursuit of winning races at the highest level, today Yeti has introduced their all-new 160E eMTB along with their new E-specific Sixfinity suspension design. Aimed at maximizing the added power, weight and demands associated with an e-biking, the 160E challenges preconceived notions of how an e-bike should track and handle.
As with all Yeti bikes, the 160E was always intended to be a race bike first and foremost and was developed with feedback from their factory racers. Staying true to their roots, the 160E made its debut between the tape last weekend at the EWS-E Crans-Montana race under factory riders Jared Graves, Shawn Neer and Jubal Davis.
Yeti 160E Highlights
- TURQ Series full carbon frame
- 29-inch wheels
- 160mm (6.30-inches) of rear wheel travel // 170mm (6.75-inches) fork travel
- Sixfinity suspension design
- Adjustable leverage rate
- 64.5-degree head tube angle
- 78-degree effective seat tube angle
- 446mm chainstay length
- Uninterrupted seat tube
- Internally routed cables with secure ports
- Ribbed chainstay protector
- 630 Wh Shimano Battery (semi-integrated for off the bike charging)
- 85Nm Shimano STEPS EP8 motor
- Shimano XT drivetrain with XTR cranks
- E-Tuned FOX 38 Factory GRIP 2 fork
- Yeti in-house tuned FOX Factory Float X2 shock
- Proprietary Yeti eMTB specific carbon handlebar
- RockShox Reverb AXS dropper
- SRAM Code RSC brakes
- 29x2.5-inch Maxxis Assegai EXO+ MaxxTerra front tire
- 29x2.4-inch Maxxis DHR II Double Down rear tire
- DT Swiss EX1700 wheelset
- Custom OneUp chain guide
- Boost 148x12mm rear spacing
- SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger
- Sizes: small, medium, large, X-large (for riders from: 5' 1" to 6' 7")
- Measured weight as tested (size large, no pedals): 50 lbs (22.6 kg)
- MSRP $12,700 USD
What Took Yeti So Long To Make An eMTB?
Some might consider Yeti being off the back with the debut of their first eMTB coming in 2021. However, Yeti spent the last six years developing the 160E. The eMTB landscape is ever-evolving and the past few years have seen many motor and battery advancements along with changing expectations from consumers. This long period of development gave Yeti the freedom to observe and choose specific qualities and technologies they wanted to be included on the 160E. The classic "measure twice, cut once" mentality.
Sixfinity Suspension Platform
One of the biggest challenges Yeti faced when designing the 160E was packaging the linkage and motor assembly together in a way that was optimized around 160mm of travel with a 29-inch rear wheel. Achieving this and maintaining desired geometry and suspension kinematics is what led Yeti to the development of their E-exclusive Sixfinity suspension platform. Sixfinity uses a six bar linkage design with a lower link that switches directions as the suspension progresses through its travel. By using a six bar layout, Yeti was able fine tune the wheel path of the 160E with specific anti-squat and anti-rise values intended to complement the additional speed and weight tacked on by the motor and battery. The design also provides a stiff and supportive chassis to manage the overall mass of the 160E.
The magic of the Sixfinity design is the lower Switch link. As the suspension progresses through its travel, the Switch link first rotates upward until it reaches an inflection point. Once past this point, the link switches direction and rotates downward until bottom out. The motion of the Switch link should look very familiar as it does share a similar motion to Yeti's Switch Infinity suspension platform. During the initial upward rotation, the 160E maintains a high anti-squat value for a smooth and supported pedaling platform. Once the link reaches its inflection point and begins rotating downward anti-squat drops off in a progressive nature. This allows the suspension to be active and free from chain forces once deeper in the travel when you are typically not pedaling.
As you can see in the graph above, anti-squat remains around 100% near sag. Yeti intentionally lowered the anti-squat on the 160E because pedaling efficiency is not as important when you have the assistance of a motor. Instead, the added acceleration and pedaling speeds riders experience when seated on an eMTB warrant a more active suspension for improved traction. Anti-squat also remains consistent across the entire cassette range. With traditional mountain bikes, most riders spend time pedaling in their largest gears making high anti-squat values important in that range of the cassette. With an e-bike, a greater range of gears are used when seated and pedaling. With only a 9% change in anti-squat across the entire cassette range at sag, the suspension remains consistent and supported regardless of gear choice. Lastly, Sixfinity maintains a higher anti-squat value across a wider range of wheel travel as opposed to just at a single sag point. The idea here is that riders rarely remain at sag when pedaling so anti-squat is better optimized around a broader range of travel for an efficient pedaling platform.
To help manage the added weight of the 160E, Yeti chose to tune anti-rise to only 65% at sag. A lower magnitude compared to their mountain bikes, the goal was to achieve a balance between traction and consistent geometry while under braking. Anti-rise also remains constant across the entire travel range, only deviating by 8%. This was done to create a predictable and consistent bike that handles similarly throughout travel.
Adjustable Leverage Rate
The Sixfinity suspension design allows the leverage rate progression of the 160E to be altered without affecting geometry, anti-squat or anti-rise. By changing the position of a flip chip found at the lower shock mount, riders can choose between three leverage rate settings to fine tune shock performance. The only change this adjustment does cause is a 2mm difference in travel between each setting. Yeti ships the 160E in the neutral, 30% position that they say offers the most balanced ride. Changing to the 35% leverage rate progression setting offers a more plush and forgiving ride experience while changing to the 25% setting offers a more supported and efficient platform.
Shimano EP8 Drive System
The 160E would just be a heavy mountain bike without some electric assist, right? Yeti chose to equip the 160E with Shimano’s newest EP8 motor system. Released the end of last year, the EP8 motor is smaller, lighter and more powerful than its predecessor, offering 85Nm of smoothly delivered torque. Updated motor internals help reduce overall drag while motor lag once you stop pedaling has been improved for a quicker cut out time than before. Shimano shaved 5mm off the height of the EP8 motor for better ground clearance and 160E is specced with stout, 160mm cranks to limit ground strikes. Our favorite update Shimano made with the new EP8 motor is allowing the system to turn on with pedal pressure engaged. Anyone who rode the previous STEPS E8000 system has spent time taking their feet off the pedals so the system will start up without an error code displayed.
The EP8 system also features an updated full color display and new EM-800 assist remote that takes cues from the cheaper and more popular STEPS E7000 remote. The 160E uses Shimano’s larger 630Wh battery that is semi-integrated into the frame and removable via a 4mm allen key. On the non-drive side can be found a charging port for easy on bike charging as well. It’s worth noting Yeti is using a stock Shimano battery so that riders globally who purchase a 160E will have access to battery service or assistance via their local Shimano Service Center.
The Shimano EP8 system can be customized and fine tuned per rider preference by connecting to Shimano’s E-TUBE Project app. Two ride profiles can be created for the EP8 motor with power output, support level and sensitivity all adjusted individually for Eco, Trail and Boost modes. Riders can then toggled between the two profiles via the onboard display. Within the app riders can also perform system updates, check battery health and configure onboard display modes. Lastly, Shimano’s E-TUBE Ride app can be used during rides to display real time data, view maps and record routes that can then be uploaded to Strava.
160E Frame Details
The 160E is an impressively thought out machine. Beginning with the frame material itself, Yeti chose to use their TURQ series carbon. The more expensive of the two carbon options Yeti offers, the highest quality carbon fiber is used to reduce weight and strike a balance between frame stiffness and compliance. Throughout the linkage, floating collet axles as well as pivot pinch bolts are used to extend bearing life and ensure proper tolerances. All cables are routed internally and run along a tray between the battery and frame before entering the rear swingarm which is tube-in-tube guided. At the entrance and exit of internal routing holes can be found modular cable ports that clamp shifter housing, brake lines and display wires securely in place. Riders who choose to run wireless components can swap out the cable ports for plugs with only rear brake line holes. Chain slap is managed by a ribbed chainstay protector as well as a molded seatstay protector. Yeti’s effort to limit any noise is impressive to say the least. There is even a custom OneUp chain guide that has a hole for the derailleur housing to route through to limit any chain interference or noise.
Other frame details include an uninterrupted seat tube allowing for long travel dropper compatibility. On the back of the seat tube can be found a nifty mud fender to keep debris from wedging itself between the frame and Switch link. For sizes medium through X-large a standard water bottle will fit on the 160E while size small can accommodate Yeti’s “hot lap” bottle. At the rear of the 160E, Yeti chose to use SRAM’s Universal Derailleur Hanger. We are stoked to see another brand new bike come specced with the universal hanger which should make replacement simpler for those without a local Yeti dealer. Lastly, there is a shock drain hole on the side of the trough found below the lower shock eyelet mount.
The 160E is made up of very familiar and modern geometry numbers with the longer, lower trend ringing the most true. Across all sizes, the head tube angle is 64.5-degrees, effective seat angle is 78-degrees and chainstay length is 446mm. The bottom bracket height is also intentionally higher, coming in at 350mm. This was done by Yeti to help counter the extra weight and low hung motor on the 160E. The lack of size specific chainstay lengths is worth noting for riders choosing a small or X-large frame as the rear end may feel long or short relative to reach. Lastly, there are no geometry adjustments present on the 160E.
160E Build Kits
The 160E is launching with two build kits and two color ways to choose from. Both builds feature the same TURQ series carbon fiber frame with Sixfinity suspension technology as well as Shimano’s EP8 assist system. Yeti also in-house tunes the FOX Float X2 air shocks found on both builds. A pretty rad operation that allows Yeti to tune shocks in conjunction with the leverage rate and anti-squat values of their bikes.
The C1 TURQ Series kit is the least expensive 160E option and retails for $10,100 USD. Riders can choose to upgrade to carbon wheels which bumps the price up to $11,000 USD. The C1 build kit is highlighted by an E-tuned FOX 38 Performance Elite fork, FOX Float Performance X2 shock, DT Swiss E1900 wheels, Shimano SLX drivetrain, SRAM Code R brakes, OneUp dropper, 2.5-inch Maxxis Assegai EXO+ MaxxTerra front tire, 2.4-inch Maxxis DHR II Double Down rear tire and a OneUp chain guide.
We tested the T1 TURQ Series kit which is the most expensive 160E option and retails for $12,700 USD. Riders can again choose to upgrade to carbon wheels which bumps the price up to $13,600 USD. The T1 build kit is highlighted by an E-tuned FOX 38 Factory Grip 2 fork, FOX Factory Float X2 shock, DT Swiss E1700 wheels, Shimano XT drivetrain, Shimano XTR cranks, SRAM Code RSC brakes, RockShox AXS Reverb dropper, 2.5-inch Maxxis Assegai EXO+ MaxxTerra front tire, 2.4-inch Maxxis DHR II Double Down rear tire and a OneUp chain guide.
Yeti Thermoplastic Carbon Handlebar
As if a new e-bike and suspension design wasn’t already enough, Yeti has also developed their own e-specific carbon handlebar specifically for the 160E. Using thermoplastic carbon fiber molding techniques, the handlebar was designed to fight harsh vibrations at high speed by dissipating energy that would otherwise transfer to the rider.
The handlebar features internal routing to connect the assist remote to the display for added cockpit simplicity. Stock width comes in at 800mm with a weight of 250 grams. Lastly, all material sourcing and manufacturing of the handlebar is conducted entirely in the United States.
On The Trail
Ride time on our 160E test bike began with attending a multi-day Yeti press camp in Crested Butte, Colorado. With picturesque backdrops in every direction, Crested Butte is a spectacular area with miles of world class, high altitude trails. Topping out at over 12,000-feet on a few occasions, we were very thankful to have some electric assist pulling us up ascents. The majority of trails ridden during press camp were direct fire road climbs that transitioned to motorcycle trails with rutted, blown-out sections. On the descents, we were treated to fantastic trails that began with high alpine single track where we easily averaged over 20 mph. Upon diving into the trees we were greeted with classic Colorado boulder fields and loose over hard pack conditions. None of the trails we rode were terribly steep but the technicality remained high from the speed at which features were ridden. Plenty of puckering ensued as we blew past trees faster than we should have.
Overall, Crested Butte trails were considerably more mentality taxing compared to our sweeping, smooth trails found back home in Boise, Idaho. While not the roughest terrain in existence, Boise does offer endless whooped out moto trails with countless deep compressions to challenge your grip strength. During summer, conditions are dry, sandy and loose which made for fun times managing the speed and weight of the 160E. We also spent a day filming at Jug Mountain. A few hours north of Boise, Jug is a 500-foot tall hill that can be lapped in about 15-minutes on an e-bike. With a mix of flowy berm trails and periodic rock features scattered throughout, there is plenty to keep you on your toes.
The 160E is hands down one of the most capable and fun full size e-bikes we have ridden when pointed downhill. We had a hard time finding terrain gnarly enough to overpower the abilities of the bike and were constantly hooting and hollering as we blazed down the trail. We tested a size large 160E which has a roomy 480mm reach. This size was perfect for our preferences as the extra cockpit space left us in a neutral position with our body weight pressed into the bike. From this position, we could easily shift our weight and lean the 160E into corners or get off the back in steep sections.
Stability and precise tracking are standout descending characteristics of the 160E. With less anti-rise across the whole range of travel, the suspension remains very active under braking. We found this to be exceptionally important as having the rear tire dig into the dirt as we grabbed a handful of brakes was crucial to slowing down the 50-pound 160E. At the same time, with anti-rise remaining mostly constant across the whole travel range, geometry was preserved throughout deep compressions for a consistent, predictable feel. This was most noticeable when bombing down whooped out motorcycle trails with repetitive high speed compressions. In these situations, 160E did an impressive job remaining level without any sensation of bucking or diving. Some of the stability we experienced can also be credited to the low-hung weight of Shimano’s EP8 motor. This isn’t a phenomenon unique to the 160E, but is one of our favorite e-bike characteristics that makes staying planted to the ground a breeze when descents get hectic.
The 160E was also very impressive when it came to ease of maneuverability. This characteristic was most noticeable when adjusting lines and setting up high for a corner, as well as when riding bermy flow trails. Our expectations are low when it comes to tossing a heavy e-bike around as slapping corners and whipping jumps usually isn’t their forte. However, despite having a decently long 446mm chainstay length, the 160E continuously shattered our preconceived notions of how snappy an e-bike can ride. Many corners were harmed during testing and we are not sorry about the roost that was thrown. When jumping, there is no doubt a lag in response to move the weight of the 160E around. It is an e-bike, after all. However, we were blown away how well we could dice up our local intermediate flow trails. We dare use the term jibbing, but a few manuals and bar turns were thrown down on the 160E. Despite the lively and maneuverable demeanor of the 160E on machine built flow, it still showed its size and weight when tackling sharp switch back corners. The slightly steeper 64.5-degree head tube angle didn’t help it’s cause as oftentimes we found ourselves tucking the front wheel as the weight of the bike would push us wide exiting tight turns.
Leverage Rate Configuration
We initially rode the 160E in the stock 30% leverage rate configuration which provided a supported and balanced ride. We found ourselves remaining around mid-stroke with a nice platform to press against without cycling through the suspension too quickly. This was best suited for mellower trails where rolling speed was a priority. We chose to spend the majority of our testing in the 35% leverage rate configuration as this provided the smoothest ride in rough terrain. With more leverage comes a more plush suspension platform and we definitely cycled through travel more often in the 35% setting. This was perfect for taking the harshness off of large, high-speed compressions and provided a more forgiving suspension platform. Combined, these characteristics made it easier to keep the 160E in control. Another benefit of riding in the 35% configuration was an improvement in the lively demeanor of the 160E. All of the popular words such as snappy, poppy and active come to mind but out on the trail we simply had more fun. As mentioned above, the maneuverability of the 160E was impressive and the 35% configuration compounded in making the bike exceptionally agile without diminishing stability.
When pedaling, the 160E offers up an insane amount of traction. We’ve always felt that traction reigns supreme on an e-bike since the additional power and torque overpower any efficiency lost at the pedals. By Yeti lowering the anti-squat of the 160E, the Sixfinity suspension remained incredibly active when in the saddle. This was awesome for motoring up tricky ascents as all we had to do was keep the cranks spinning to maintain traction for constant forward momentum. The only downside of having less anti-squat was more pedal bob. Again, the motor easily made up for any lost pedaling efficiency. However, for those who require a firm pedaling platform to get the most out of their pedal strokes, the 160E is going to bounce you around more than a standard mountain bike.
Another awesome feature of the 160E when climbing was how consistent traction remained regardless of gear choice. We definitely find ourselves riding in a wider range of gears going uphill on an e-bike because of the motor assist. Yeti’s choice to keep anti-squat consistently high across the whole cassette range makes all the sense in the world to us when applied to an e-bike. Lastly, outside of Yeti’s efforts to maximize traction when climbing on the 160E, the steeper, 78-degree effective seat tube angle kept our weight more shifted over the front wheel. With so much extra power making it possible to attack aggressive climbs we appreciated being forward to limit any front wheel lifting.
Shimano EP8 Motor and Battery Life
Plenty of praise has been given to Shimano’s EP8 system and we were excited to see the 160E built around the updated motor and control components. Right off the bat, the gradual assistance of motor torque was a standout characteristic that kept the 160E from feeling too twitchy or jumpy while climbing. This was especially appreciated on rocky and technical climbs where half pedal strokes were required to avoid pedal strikes. With 85Nm of torque up for grabs, not once did we feel underpowered approaching an ascent. In most cases, we ran out of skills to tackle a tough ascent prior to the EP8 motor lacking enough juice to take us to the top. When we did stop pedaling, we loved the improved motor cut out response time of the EP8 system. With Shimano’s previous STEPS E8000 system, we would often pedal into sections and end up with too much speed from the added assistance once we had stopped pedaling. The updated lag time kept us from coming into steep sections or corners too hot and blowing off the trail.
The range of the 630Wh Shimano battery was perfect for the rides we conducted during our testing on the 160E. On average, with a full charge our range was 110-miles on Eco, 55-miles on Trail and 35 miles on Boost. Our typical ride consisted of a 20-mile loop with 4,500-feet of climbing and we averaged two bars of battery life at the end. While there are of course larger batteries available, they do come with a higher weight penalty. We feel Yeti’s battery choice was perfect to keep the weight of the 160E manageable but still give riders a full size e-bike capable of covering plenty of ground. The worst attribute of Shimano’s EP8 system is the humming noise the motor makes when assisting power as well as the knocking noise made when not under chain tension. When pedaling, the motor is noticeably louder than other popular motors and can become obnoxious if you pay it too much attention. The knocking noise from the motor internals when coasting downhill is aggressive to say the least and the only noise you hear when descending. Considering all the efforts Yeti made to soundproof the frame of the 160E, it’s truly disappointing to still end up with a loud machine. While Shimano’s E-TUBE Project app is simple to use with plenty of useful features on offer, we honestly did not use the two rider profile feature very much. The stock configuration offered a nice balance of assistance between each mode and did not leave us craving more or less power for any given mode. The one use we did find for the second rider profile was adjusting all modes to provide more assistance for days where we were exceptionally fatigued. When used with a heart rate monitor to gauge our input, we were able to let the motor provide more assistance across the board to target a lower heart rate zone.
T1 Build Kit
FOX Factory Suspension
FOX’s E-tuned 38 Factory fork and Factory Float X2 both performed flawlessly during our testing, enhancing both the descending and climbing performance of the 160E. This performance was highlighted by ample amounts of mid-stroke support to manage the heavier weight. The stiff chassis of the Factory 38 fork allowed for mindless rock plowing and helped keep the front end planted in corners without getting jolted off line. Helping keep the fork supported during compressions was FOX’s e-bike specific E-tune. The E-tune simply uses a firmer compression damping tune with added air spring progression when compared to their standard mountain bike tune. This added support was especially noticeable under heaving braking as the 160E rarely dove forward and maintained a level composure.
Similarly to the Factory 38 fork, the Factory Float X2 air shock was very supple for initial stroke compliance but was highlighted by mid-stroke support. Yeti conducts their own in-house shock tuning to curate each shock around their specific suspension designs and kinematics. With the 160E, we found that the Float X2 shock truly worked in unison with the anti-squat and anti-rise goals of the Sixfinity platform. The shock was always very active off the top but would quickly ramp up deeper into the stroke. This support was most useful when pressing our weight into the 160E to pump features and maintain speed. Lastly, we’ve praised the tunability of FOX’s Factory level suspension before and we will do it again. The ability to externally adjust both high and low-speed rebound and compression leaves riders with endless tweaking to best match personal preferences and terrain.
DT Swiss EX1700 Wheels
During our testing in both Colorado and at home in Boise, we held on tight through countless wheel ending rock impacts. To our surprise, each time the DT Swiss EX1700 rims pushed through with no dents, hops or wobbles to show. With a standard 30mm internal width, the rims provided a wide base for our Maxxis tires to sit into keeping tire roll to a minimum and maximizing tire volume for improved traction. While only built around DT Swiss’ mid-range 350 hubs, we never felt the hubs were holding back the rolling speed of the 160E. We actually enjoyed how silent the rear hub was when coasting due to only having 36-points of engagement. There is no doubt an added demand put on wheels when riding a heavy e-bike and we applaud DT Swiss for developing an enduro wheelset capable of managing the extra demands of e-bike riding.
Cockpit Component Incompatibility
One of the small downsides to Yeti’s 160E T1 build kit is the incompatibility of mounting Shimano and SRAM components together on the handlebar. Yes, we are aware some brands do make adaptors to mount Shimano shifters to SRAM brakes. However, Yeti does not spec the 160E as such. Due to the inability to use SRAM's matchmaker mounts or Shimano’s I-SPEC mounts, we did have to run the XT shifter in-bore the Code RSC rear brake lever. This meant that when going to shift we had to angle our wrist to reach the paddles with our thumb. The alternate option, running the shifter mounted between the brake lever and grips, left the shifter paddles digging into our thumb. We know this is a solvable issue, however for a $12,700 USD e-bike, it’s small details like this that can become frustrating.
200mm vs 220mm Rear Rotor
The 160E comes specced with SRAM’s Centerline rotors with a 220mm front rotor and 200mm rear rotor. A very common spec to help slow down heavy, full size e-bikes. However, with 220mm rotors in existence, we would happily opt for a 220mm rear rotor on the 160E. We can’t remember the last time we wished our brakes stopped us less quickly and this is especially true when dropping anchor on an e-bike. This could be a broader topic on why smaller rear rotors are specced to begin with as most riders use more rear brake than front. Regardless, down the road we would happily opt for a larger rear rotor on the 160E to help manage heat and brake fade on those exceptionally demanding descents.
What's the Bottom Line?
Yeti’s first go at an e-bike is impressive to say the least. Another perfect example of Yeti leaning on their racing roots to develop a winning bike for us average riders to enjoy. Their all-new Sixfinity suspension design boasts incredible stability descending while traction climbing is prioritized. With extensively tuned anti-squat and anti-rise values, the 160E truly works in unison with its heavier weight and added assistance. Shimano’s EP8 motor system provides manageable power at the pedals while the larger battery capacity allows for longer adventures to be achieved or ‘just one more lap’ to be banged out. With a component spec that is right on par for any abuse you can put the 160E through, the only questions riders need to consider is: do your trails warrant the need for a long travel, race ready e-bike?
For more information on Yeti's 160E and their entire lineup of bikes, head over to www.yeticycles.com.
View key specs, compare bikes, and rate the Yeti 160E in the Vital MTB Product Guide.
About The Tester
Jason Schroeder - Age: 26 // Years Riding MTB: 15 // Height: 6' (182cm) // Weight: 168-pounds (76.2kg)
A once-upon-a-time World Cup downhill racer turned desk jockey, Jason has spent years within the bicycle industry from both sides of the tape. A fan of all day adventures in the saddle or flowing around a bowl at the skatepark, he doesn't discriminate from any form of two wheel riding. Originally a SoCal native now residing in Boise, Idaho, you can find Jason camped out in his van most weekends at any given trailhead in the greater Pacific NorthWest.