YT’s Capra CF was one of the most talked-about bikes of 2014 – a superb value and highly razz-able package that proved a hit with trail centre warriors and privateer enduro racers alike. Carbon fibre isn’t for everyone though and bumps the price up. The Capra AL brings an almost identical frame in alloy, and at an even more gobsmacking price. We couldn’t wait to throw a leg over this two-grand beauty.
Frame and equipment
The Capra AL’s hydroformed front end is bolted to aluminium chainstays and the same carbon seatstays used on the CF, with YT’s V4L four-bar suspension set-up delivering 165mm (6.5in) of rear wheel travel. A tapered head tube, 12x142mm rear axle and PF30 bottom bracket boost stiffness, cables can be routed internally or externally, and there are ISCG-05 chain guide tabs.
The AL 1 packs a similar punch to the carbon Capra, at an even lower price
The AL 1’s spec list wouldn’t disappoint on a bike at double or even triple the price, with top-end RockShox suspension units at both ends plus a Reverb Stealth dropper post, DT Swiss wheels and 1x11 SRAM X1 transmission. The quality even extends to the Race Face finishing kit, SDG saddle and ODI Sensus lock-on grips. If we’re being really picky, the SRAM Guide R brakes lack the Swinglink used on the pricier models and don’t feel quite as good as a result, but it’s still an amazing spec for the price.
Ride and handling
With limited time for testing, we threw the YT straight into some of the gnarliest trails we could bring ourselves to pedal to the top of. Like its wild goat namesake, the Capra makes light work of the climbs, considering its weight and 165mm (6.5in) of travel. There was no pedalling-induced nastiness going on with the suspension, just an easy spin in a comfy position. We never felt the need to fiddle with the compression damping lever on the Monarch Plus shock, leaving it to get on with smoothing out the trail as we clawed up some seriously steep inclines.
The Monarch Plus shock gives excellent support and control
The 580mm top tube on our medium bike gave enough reach and comfort for our 5ft 7in test rider, but we were left pining for a bit more length in the front end to increase stability on descents, simply because the Capra is capable of being ridden so fast. The slack 65-degree head angle and low bottom bracket give plenty of confidence.
Get the saddle dropped and the AL 1 up to attacking speed, and it feels more like a lightweight, easy to manoeuvre downhill rig than a trail bike. There’s a huge amount of support from the shock and unquestionable predictability from the back end, and this is matched by the Solo Air Pike fork up front.
Though the Capra will certainly handle anything a trail centre can throw at it with ease, it’s on harsher, bigger terrain that the AL 1 really shines.
Shipping and Package costs:
Bike Box: €20
Shipping: Within EU €60 / US$79 (Hawaii / Alaska US$289) / AU$200