YT Industries Capra Comp 1 review£2,950.00

Direct-sell enduro racer

BikeRadar score5/5

With its carbon frame and wishlist spec, the new Capra from German direct-sell hardcore bike specialist YT Industries offers incredible performance for the price – as long as you get the sizing right.

Frame and equipment: more bang for your buck

The Capra (it’s named after a breed of mountain goat) gets a broad-tubed carbon mainframe with a tapered head tube, multi-section down tube and an extra reinforcing bridge between the curved seat tube and down tube to keep steering and power inputs tight. A RockShox Monarch piggyback shock delivers 165mm (6.5in) of progressive travel via the V4L four-bar linkage suspension layout.

Gear cabling is internal but an external rear brake line means easy servicing. The front mech mount is removable and the e*thirteen chain guide mounts on to moulded ISCG tabs, while alloy chainstays and rubberised belly armour provide increased impact resistance.

The capra's carbon mainframe is cross-braced for extra stiffness but still impressively lightweight and fully loaded with all the essential features:
The capra's carbon mainframe is cross-braced for extra stiffness but still impressively lightweight and fully loaded with all the essential features:

The Capra's carbon mainframe is cross-braced for extra stiffness but still impressively lightweight

YT still claims an impressively light 2.4kg (5.3lb) weight for the complete frameset, and given that its claimed bike weight of 13.2kg (29.1lb) is absolutely bang-on, we’re inclined to believe the boast.

By cutting out the inevitable costs that national distributors and local shops have to add to stay afloat, YT can fit an outrageously good spec for a few hundred quid more than most brands would ask for the carbon frame alone.

RockShox provides its top-of-the-range Pike RCT3 fork, Monarch Plus RC3 shock and Reverb Stealth dropper post. Super-tight, monster hubbed e*thirteen wheels are wrapped in excellent Maxxis rubber, and the Avid four-pot brakes get power-magnifying 200mm rotors at both ends. Race Face provides the thick/thin-toothed crankset to drive the 11-speed SRAM gears, as well as the super-stiff 35mm diameter Atlas bar and stem.

The fact that YT highlights the spare gear hanger option on their website isn’t a sign of weakness (it’s a super-thick piece) – it’s a sign that its team are serious riders themselves who know that carrying a spare mount is a wise move.

Ride and handling: an impeccable balancing act

While outstanding kit value is definitely the bait that attracts most riders to YT, it’s the ride of the Capra that blew us away. Within a couple of stepdowns and corners of our first set-up ride, it was obvious the YT was something special. The overwhelming impression is of an incredibly well damped and quiet ride that still leaves all the essential feedback coming through, like the suspension equivalent of noise reducing headphones. With just a few tweaks of pressure and clicks of the RockShox dials, it delivers an impeccable balance of sensitivity and support that can easily be altered to different rider styles.

The progressive linkage stroke that gives the Capra the bite and feedback that’s so vital to its dramatic velocity means you’ll rarely hit full travel, and it’s certainly no trail-soaking comfort sponge. The way it tightens every corner, opens every exit and stays composed through the roughest rock sections is inspirational though. Add a dramatically low weight (considering its travel) to the super-precise feel from the frame, dampers and wheels, and this is a bike that loves to be thrown around or thrashed through the pedals. It climbs remarkably well too, with the same power neutrality that glues it through corners serving it well up steps and stutter rocks. With the dampers flicked into firmer settings it’ll happily chase XC bikes round flatter trails for hours on end too.

Equipped with a monarch plus rc3 rear shock, the capra delivers phenomenally damped downhill speed, but it's fast uphill too:
Equipped with a monarch plus rc3 rear shock, the capra delivers phenomenally damped downhill speed, but it's fast uphill too:

With a Monarch Plus RC3 rear shock, the Capra delivers phenomenally damped downhill speed, but it's fast uphill too

The result is a true all-mountain all-rounder that’s at least an equal to any other bike we’ve ridden on our test trails. If that sounds a bold claim for a new bike, then the fact it picked up four Strava descent segment personal records on trails we’ve ridden for years on our first 30-minute ride shows just how fast this bike can go. It continued to pick up more personal records throughout testing too, literally leaving the other bikes in the dust on the way to an increasingly inevitable perfect score.  

The only thing to watch is the sizing. With a top tube that’s only 580mm long, a super steep seat tube and 50mm stem, the medium Capra is very short and we’d have gone for a large (602mm) if we hadn’t been sharing the bike with smaller testers. The large is the biggest option available too, so if you’re proper tall you’re out in the cold. We’d also put a 180mm rotor on the rear, as the big 200mm disc can jerk the back end up into your butt if you pull the lever too hard.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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