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  • Writer's pictureMo Awesome

YT Izzo vs ARI Delano Peak? (First Ride Impressions)

YT Izzo

The other day we had a chance to test out the YT Izzo, a 130mm trail bike offering from the direct to consumer brand YT. Anyone who has heard of YT most likely knows they are a bit more well known for their aggressive end of the spectrum offerings. Their downhill bike, the Tues, and their bigger enduro bike offering, the Capra, are seen at trailheads globally. YT bikes go downhill amazingly, utilizing a very active suspension design allowing the bikes to be stuck to the ground through tech. Inversely, this is also what had led to them never really feeling like the best climbers of tests. So when people kept telling me to test out the YT Izzo if I wanted to try out a fun trail bike, I was skeptical. How can a company that focuses so much on gravity make a proper short travel trail bike I would like? 

Our test would take place at their San Clemente demo facility. Even upon getting set up on the 130 mm Izzo at the HQ, I was told by the person setting up my bike that he hadn’t ridden the Izzo before because he doesn’t ride XC. They were serious about this short travel offering and I got a bit more excited for the test. On paper the Izzo dabbles into XC numbers, with slightly more travel than the Specialized 120mm Epic 8 and surprisingly the same head angle. However, feeling the weight of the Core 3 test build I had, as well as looking at the specs, I would not classify the Izzo as a proper XC bike, but rather a trail offering. 


The test loop consisted of a few trails at San Clemente single tracks, with lots of punchy climbs and loose high speed descents. The first thing I noticed while climbing on the Izzo is the sizing felt accurate. Normally with YT bikes, I tend to feel they run on the shorter side. I am 6’2 and the XL Izzo was actually the first YT bike I had ridden that felt like a proper XL with a very roomy reach. The other thing I noticed was the geo felt very on par with how I would like a trail bike to feel. The head angle was not too slack to where the wheel wanders on steeper climbs but at the same time slack enough to where I knew I would have a good time downhill. The seat angle felt plenty steep.

Suspension wise though, there still was a fairly noticeable amount of pedal bob out of the saddle. With it being a shorter travel bike, it wasn’t as much as the Capra, however I could tell traction was still at the front of focus for YT. This wasn’t always a bad thing as it gave the Izzo an advantage on technical climbs where I would want a bit more help traction wise, especially with the loose socal dirt. 


The downhills we rode that day all had similar characteristics. They were fast, loose, and somewhat unpredictable. Summer in SoCal means very loose conditions and pushing a 130mm trail bike to see if you can find its limits can be questionable. However the Izzo felt very at home at highspeeds. The suspension felt very YT, planted to the ground and somewhat silent. The bike itself also was very comfortable in tight twisty sections even with its slightly longer chainstay and wheels base to other bikes in this category. I would say the best way to describe the Izzo was a short travel enduro bike. 

There were a few times where drops came out of seemingly nowhere and never once did I question whether I had the right bike for the day. The Izzo feels like it has much more travel than it does on paper and like I mentioned, traction is never really an issue. One of the only negative things I saw on the downhills was actually from the spec Forecaster tires I was testing which never really fully gained my confidence. 

Overall geo wise I was very impressed with the Izzo, however at no point did I ever say to myself, this is an XC bike. The Izzo is very capable at what it does both downhill as well as up!

Should you buy the YT Izzo or the ARI Delano Peak?

Ari Delano Peak

Throughout the entire test the one bike that kept coming to mind was the ARI bikes Delano Peak, primarily because I had spent so much time on that platform and I would also consider that a trail bike. Both ARI and YT are direct to consumer brands, and both the Izzo and the Delano Peak seem to appeal to the trail users. Which should you go with? 

The Delano Peak definitely is the better pedaling bike out of the two. It has a better pedaling platform, much more of an acceleration feel out of the saddle, and slightly more playful feel out on the trails. The YT Izzo feels like it has more traction out on the trails from the suspension design and also a little more of a “enduro” feel even though its a short travel bike. 

So what is the right decision? I don’t think you can go wrong either way. For me personally, its tough to not go with the better pedaling bike especially in this travel category which is the Delano Peak. The Delano Peak also just got a bit of a travel bump without affecting the ride quality or geo, going from 135mm of travel to 142mm. Build wise I also think the Delano Peak on sale for $3599 with top of the line DVO suspension is a pretty tough deal to beat. 

With that being said, the YT Izzo would be a solid option as well, but I would go frame only to utilize a remote lockout suspension platform. I think the Izzo benefits from a remote lockout, especially with its more active suspension design, and I could see a lot of serious potential as a one bike quiver from the Izzo. 

Like I mentioned, you can't really go wrong either way, and the Izzo definitely was one of my favorite YT bikes I have tried yet! 


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