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: Steve Behr
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: Steve Behr
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.