YT Capra CF Comp review£2,836.00

Assured trail bomber comes up fractionally short

BikeRadar score4/5

The flawless performance of YT’s Capra enduro machine earned it a rare five stars from our testers when it first appeared on the scene. Two years on from its launch, its quality still shines bright but it can struggle to keep up with the latest longer, lighter, flat-out fast kids on the block.

Lyrik upgrade but unchanged frame

The carbon Capra frame is unchanged again this year so there’s no stretched-reach geometry or Boost axle spacing. While it comes in two colours and the 2.4kg weight is a significant if not spectacular 400g lower than the alloy version, there are only small, medium and large sizes.

RockShox' 170mm Lyrik delivers muscular, unflustered performance but contributes towards weight gain that means the Capra is a little less playful: RockShox' 170mm Lyrik delivers muscular, unflustered performance but contributes towards weight gain that means the Capra is a little less playful
RockShox' 170mm Lyrik delivers muscular, unflustered performance but contributes towards weight gain that means the Capra is a little less playful: RockShox' 170mm Lyrik delivers muscular, unflustered performance but contributes towards weight gain that means the Capra is a little less playful

RockShox' 170mm Lyrik delivers muscular, unflustered performance but contributes towards weight gain

YT has given this year’s CF Comp a 170mm (6.7in) travel RockShox Lyrik fork (last year’s had a 160mm/6.3in Pike) controlled through a heavy-duty Race Face Atlas cockpit. Race Face also provide the Turbine cranks, with e*thirteen adding the chain guide and broad, sturdy TRS+ wheels. SRAM supply the 1x11 gearing and Guide RS brakes with power-boosting 200mm rotors.

Plug and play brilliance

Straight-from-the-box brilliance has been the hallmark of all the RockShox-equipped Capras we’ve ridden – and this sample was no different. After setting the sag of the Monarch Plus shock and tweaking the rebound after the first run, the YT kinematics delivered a masterclass in how rear suspension should work.

Few suspension systems match the minimal set-up faff, maximum control balance of YT’s four-bar V4L setup: Few suspension systems match the minimal set-up faff, maximum control balance of YT’s four-bar V4L setup
Few suspension systems match the minimal set-up faff, maximum control balance of YT’s four-bar V4L setup: Few suspension systems match the minimal set-up faff, maximum control balance of YT’s four-bar V4L setup

Few suspension systems match the minimal set-up faff, maximum control balance of YT’s four-bar V4L setup

Despite excellent surface grip, pedalling is impressively stable and the Capra is perfectly poised to squeeze extra speed and tyre-ripping grip out of corners or amplify the drive from any downslope. It takes hits and landings with textbook control too, never choking or hanging up even on staccato boulder sections or big flat-faced strikes.

It doesn’t fart through its travel or get left wallowing when you’re trying to get back onto the power or hack it onto a hard line either. Really aggressive riders may want to flick the shock to ‘trail’ mode to keep it riding higher and firmer but we didn’t feel compelled to add any volume spacers.

It’s the same story with the Lyrik fork too, which delivers loads of compliant traction and a slam-proof return from the big stuff, but most of the time just an impeccably precise but never punishing midstroke, even as battering boulder lines faded away from us on off-camber turns.

A Race Face Atlas cockpit adds control grunt: A Race Face Atlas cockpit adds control grunt
A Race Face Atlas cockpit adds control grunt: A Race Face Atlas cockpit adds control grunt

A Race Face Atlas cockpit adds control grunt

It’s not just RockShox that deserves credit here either. Not only has YT got the linkage ratios right but the carbon layup of the Capra gives a superb rock-solid yet noticeably damped ride quality that syncs flawlessly with the suspension. The thick-walled fork legs, sturdy tyres on reasonably broad, chubby-hubbed wheels and solid cockpit pack some serious muscle onto the chassis in terms of line-holding strength and determination too.

Too much extra muscle, not enough reach

Right now you’re probably thinking the YT is steamrollering towards another perfect score. We’ve used the steamroller comparison deliberately though, because that added componentry and fork muscle has added 900g compared with the last Pike-equipped CF Comp we tested.

That has a noticeable effect when gravity assistance runs out, and left the Capra lagging fractionally in power play sections. Even on descents the big, slow-rolling tyres stop it carrying as much speed and dull the pop-and-hop edge that it used to love cutting up trails with.

The carbon frame looks and rides great – but it feels short by contemporary standards, and only small and medium riders can size up: The carbon frame looks and rides great – but it feels short by contemporary standards, and only small and medium riders can size up
The carbon frame looks and rides great – but it feels short by contemporary standards, and only small and medium riders can size up: The carbon frame looks and rides great – but it feels short by contemporary standards, and only small and medium riders can size up

The carbon frame looks and rides great – but it feels short by contemporary standards

While you can change tyres to inject some speed, the YT is, these days, also conspicuously short in reach compared with the very latest bikes. Even when awarding it a perfect score in 2014, we noted that the Capra's sizing was on the small side.

That’s not so much of an issue on slow ‘nip and tuck’ trails. But once things get fast, open and flowing, even the sorted suspension and chunky rubber can’t make it feel as naturally confident and hooked into the trail as you do aboard longer bikes. There’s no XL option – on this model at least – to add length by sizing up either.

This is by no means to suggest that YT is now dishing up a poor bike. But while we can’t fault the chassis and suspension dynamic, the bombproof build kit stifles responsiveness a little while the numbers ensure that the CF Comp literally comes up short in terms of flat-out confidence.

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

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: 45
  • 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 than 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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