The Capra has been an enduro staple since it first hit the scene back in 2014, where it impressed us instantly. Just how will it fare three years on though?
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Part of the Capra’s appeal is its angles. They were ahead of their time back in 2014 and, even by today's ever demanding standards, remain right up there with the best of them. That’s not to say I can’t get picky about other measurements here though. Still, there’s no getting away from the slack 64.3-degree head angle and relatively low 342mm bottom bracket height, which certainly help when it comes to stability at speed.
The seat tube angle isn’t exactly slack at just under 75 degrees, which means it climbs with enough panache and efficiency to be pedalled around on all day missions — though it’s worth toggling the low-speed compression lever on the shock to keep things that bit more efficient.
When it comes to sizing though, the Capra isn’t as long as many of its modern counterparts. My large bike boasts a reach of 443mm, which comes up pretty short compared to much of the competition and in my experience this translates to a bike that’ll feel pretty good for those between 5ft 8in–5ft 10in, while anyone around the 6ft mark will need to go for the XL frame option.
Sizing aside for a minute though, what the Capra does do particularly well is deliver the 165mm of rear wheel travel in a very controlled manner via its V4L suspension platform and RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 HV rear shock, but more about that later.
Cable routing is a mix of internal and external routing while the bottom bracket used is a press fit number and although many brands have made the full switch over to the Boost axle standard, the Capra remains 12x142mm at the rear.
Direct sell brands generally mean there’s never any fear when it comes to delivering on value for money and the story is no different with the AL Comp. Though the Lyrik RC might not boast quite as much in terms of adjustment as the pricier RCT3 version, it still gets the same very impressive Charger Damper and Solo Air spring that we’re big fans of.
Equally, the DT Swiss wheels and Maxxis rubber deliver on weight, reliability and predictability when it counts and are welcome additions considering the price here. You also get the formidable RockShox Reverb Stealth post and SRAM Guide RS brakes, which are likely to win folk over instantly and have always scored well when being tested individually.
YT Capra AL Comp ride
If there were ever any worries that the Capra had lost some of its shine, there shouldn’t be. I still revel in the fact that it’s one of the most straight forward bikes to set up. There’s no tweaking needed or fettling to find the suspension sweet spot. This thing simply oozes an enviable level of balance from the get go. Set the sag and things just feel right straight from the off, which is always a plus.
There’s plenty of support through the rear suspension too, which adds liveliness and feedback to the ride that’s both engaging and rewarding as you feel your way down the trail, lofting over obstacles with relative ease. The stable, composed manner it exudes coupled with the slack angles and low bottom bracket lets you drive hard through tyre ripping corners and clatter through wheel deep braking bumps with masses of control and a reassuring amount of progression.
Importantly, things still remain playful and agile when carving from line to line or launching off lips and skipping up and over trail features. Some of that playfulness stems from the shorter sizing of course, though it’s still an impressive performer when the terrain does start to really deteriorate. That said, a few more millimetres in terms of reach would certainly be a welcome addition.
While the tyre compound might not be the fancier 3C compound, the firmer rubber and EXO casing still more than held its own even on the loose, gravel covered trails of Punta Ala. It’s a similar story across the rest of the component list too where it’s hard to really pick fault with much of the kit. OK, not all our testers were completely sold on the shape of the Race Face bar or the diameter of the Sensus grips, though there isn’t much to pick holes in when you consider the price and value we’re dealing with here.
Overall then, the Capra remains a formidable beast on the hill with poise and balance through the dampers and a shape that encourages you to push hard when it counts. A touch more reach across the sizes would be welcome though, especially for taller riders.