YT Capra 27 CF Pro first ride review£3,999.00

Direct-sale descent destroyer

YT’s highly popular, much-praised and top-value Capra enduro bike has been back to the drawing board for 2018. And, from the minds of the German designers, a burly bruiser has emerged.

YT Capra 27 CF Pro specifications

  • Sizes: S, M, L*, XL, XXL
  • Frame: Carbon fibre, 170mm (6.7in) travel
  • Fork: Fox 36 Float Performance Elite, 170mm (6.7in) travel
  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Performance Elite
  • Cranks: Race Face Next R
  • Cassette: e*thirteen TRS+
  • Chain: Shimano CN-HG601-11
  • Chain Guide: e*thirteen TRS+
  • Rear Derailleure: Shimano XTR
  • Shifters: Shimano XTR
  • Wheelset: e*thirteen TRS+ wheels
  • Tyres: e*thirteen TRSr (f) and TRS+ (r) 27.5x2.35in tyres
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
  • Bar: Race Face Turbine R, 800mm
  • Stem: Race Face Turbine R, 40mm
  • Seatpost: Fox Transfer Performance Elite 150mm dropper
  • Saddle: SDG Fly Mtn
  • Weight: 13.8kg (30.4lb), large size without pedals

YT Capra 27 CF Pro frame

The new Capra is longer and sleeker-looking, with more progressive suspension
The new Capra is longer and sleeker-looking, with more progressive suspension

The new Capra follows the same basic layout as its predecessor. By finessing the swooping curves and edges of the carbon frame, YT has created a chunky yet elegant-looking bike. The V4L four-bar suspension platform remains, but tweaks have upped the travel to 170mm and made the rear end feel more progressive.

Previous sizing issues have been addressed head on, with YT not only lengthening reach measurements across the range but adding XL and XXL sizes too (neither of which were available in carbon last year). On my Large test bike, the 460mm reach felt well-matched to the 435mm chainstays. A slack 65-degree head angle and substantial 11mm of bottom-bracket drop allude to the Capra’s descending intentions, while a (steeper than last year) 76-degree seat angle acknowledges the need for climbing ability too.

The sleekness of the frame is followed through in the detailing, with the cables routed internally and held in place by clamps at the exit ports. There are rubber bungs where they enter the frame, but these are prone to sliding out of position. Protecting the carbon are a neat down tube guard, rubber strips on the driveside chainstay and a chain-suck plate behind the chainring.

YT Capra 27 CF Pro kit

Fox’s Float X2 is a good shock, but I didn’t get on with the stock tune on the Capra
Fox’s Float X2 is a good shock, but I didn’t get on with the stock tune on the Capra

This Pro model is second-from-top in the line-up and comes with a parts selection that’s a bit ‘pick and mix’ in feel. Fox take care of suspension duties with a 36 fork and Float X2 shock from their second-tier Performance Elite range. E*thirteen supply the wheels, tyres, cassette and chain guide, while Race Face provide the cranks and cockpit. Shimano’s top-drawer XTR kit completes the drivetrain, but its rivals SRAM take care of braking.

The 32t chainring and 9-46t cassette gave a good spread of gears, and I was impressed by the smooth shifting of the XTR mech. While Race Face’s stiff but light Next R carbon cranks add some bling, I wasn’t sold on the Turbine bar — its alloy construction and 35mm clamp made for quite a harsh-feeling front end.

The Code RSC brakes delivered predictable, well-modulated power. E*thirteen’s TRS tyres provided good grip, but the widely spaced tread and soft compound made them slow on hardpack. The square-shouldered profile gave a distinctive feel, too, with the edges digging in and letting go at very defined points.

YT Capra 27 CF Pro ride

With geometry that ticks all the right boxes and no weird quirks or boundary-pushing numbers, it didn’t take me long to feel at home on the Capra. I did wish YT hadn’t cut the steerer tube so short on my test bike’s fork, though.

With no option to add spacers, I had to settle for riding with the front end a good 20mm lower than I’d have liked.

I also struggled with the shock tune, which didn’t have enough high-speed rebound damping for my tastes, leaving the bike feeling unsettled on rough, chattery terrain and limiting how confident I was to really let things go. With only low-speed rebound being externally adjustable on the Performance Elite X2, there was little I could do.

With geometry that ticks all the right boxes and no weird quirks or boundary-pushing numbers, it didn’t take long to feel at home on the Capra
With geometry that ticks all the right boxes and no weird quirks or boundary-pushing numbers, it didn’t take long to feel at home on the Capra

I was glad of the shock’s two-position ‘climb switch’, because the Capra’s downhill leanings don’t make it the speediest ascender and the suspension bobs somewhat until you activate the pedalling platform.

Despite the revised linkage promising more progression, I still found it necessary to add volume spacers to the shock, to achieve the desired sag without bottoming out on bigger hits.

With two additional spacers fitted in the shock (four in total), I could really throw the Capra around, and the more I attacked, the better it responded. It did feel frustrating to have something as simple as a few clicks of rebound separating me from a truly confidence-inspiring ride, though.

YT Capra 27 CF Pro early verdict

If the shock tune suits (or you get it tweaked), this beast is fast and surefooted on the wildest trails

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Related Articles

Back to top