First launched in early 2014, the Capra was somewhat of a milestone for all-mountain bikes. It took the modern low, slack and long geometry formula and made it work on a 170mm bike. Since then the industry has exploded with capable do-it-all enduro machines. Does the Capra still put forward a claim as the most impressive of the lot?
The Capra sits on the burly end of the enduro bike spectrum with 165 mm of rear travel and a 170mm fork. The robust-looking carbon CF Comp frame matches the travel figures with big tubing, defined angles, and extra material in critical areas.
The geometry chart for the large frame makes for good reading with a 65 degree head angle, 430 mm chainstays, and a 1202 mm wheel base. The 443 mm reach means that taller riders will have to look to the longer aluminium model for a bit more room. Even then, my personal preference would see the Capra get a bit more stretch across the range.
YT Industries have embraced the availability of the Horst-Link suspension design to great advantage. In YT’s case they’ve developed what they call Virtual 4-Link (V4L). This design drives the Capra's 165 mm travel and promises good mid stroke support for pedaling while ramping up progressively to prevent a harsh bottom out.
The CF Comp features proven and reliable components. The bike is driven by a 1x system using a mix of SRAM X1 and Race Face components while SRAM’s sturdy Guide RS brakes paired with 200 mm rotors do well at slowing the bike.
For 2016, YT introduced RockShox’s Lyrik fork to the Capra range. Being our first time riding the fork, we were very impressed with the 170 mm model. While there is precious little to complain about with the Pike, the Lyrik is noticeably stiffer with excellent composure on rough rocky trails.
Testing this bike was my first experience on a pair of Maxxis High Roller II. I was immediately blown away by the immense grip and ability to absorb the nastiest of knocks. The only downside is that hauling the 2.4" inch tires up the mountain is not quite as pleasurable as hurtling down with them. I would also recommend converting them to tubeless, as they do fall victim to devil thorns.
It is not only the riding characteristics of the YT Industries bikes that get people excited. The pricing of their bikes (through a direct to market business model) is also a major contributor to their success. Although YT are being represented by a local company in South Africa, they are still offering the bikes direct to market and shunning retailers.
So what does this mean for pricing? With the weak Rand throwing bike pricing and our sense of value into turmoil, it would seem that the Capra prices are generally reasonable. The reviewed Capra CF Comp will set you back R78,900 which puts it in the ballpark for similar specced bikes. The range topping Capra CF Pro Race with top equipment including carbon rims appears to be well priced at R103,500. On the other end of the spectrum, the entry Capra AL goes for R49,900 with an aluminium frame, GX drive train and RockShox Yari fork.
On the trail
Getting a modern enduro bike set up can be somewhat daunting but the Capra was relatively easy to live with. The demo bike had been ridden previously and all we needed to do was set fork and shock sag to our weights. Jumping on the bike, it felt familiar and I’m sure riders of all levels will feel right at home on this bike.
Thanks to huge strives in suspension and geometry, modern bikes with 165 mm of travel and 65 degree head angles are expected to be respectable climbers. The Capra's V4L suspension design achieves this with great efficiency when climbing, making the Capra a comfortable climber. That being said, it is a big bike that leans more towards downhill riding than most enduro bikes. I recommend sitting back and enjoying the view as you chat to your mates about the happenings of your last descent. This way you will be set to climb up and down the mountain all day long.
Heading down the trails is a completely different experience. The bike is a no excuse trail brawler that thrives at ridiculous speeds on steep trails. I have never ridden a bike that compels you to continually go faster and push boundaries quite like the Capra does. The more I succumbed to the bike’s wishes, the further it amazed me with its agility. After a day of riding the Capra, you walk away with no doubts as to why you love mountain biking.
At this point, let me stick my hand up and acknowledge that I’m not the bravest rider on the mountain. On the Capra, however, I had renewed confidence. Obstacles that I had been eyeing out for months, I simply attempted with little hesitation on the Capra. This is testament to the bikes geometry and excellent suspension. The rear end is mind blowingly good at keeping traction and absorbing big impacts when you misjudge your ability, giving you the confidence to exceed your perceived limits.
Special mention needs to be made of the Capra's aerial abilities. It simply ate up the jumps. The Capra allows you to push into the jump and pop off the lip with little concern as it flew true more often than most bikes. It can also handle a heavy casing should you find yourself falling short.
The Capra is not a trail bike and can be a bit sluggish on trails with mild gradients where serious pedalling is required to keep up the necessary speed. While it is capable, the Capra is built for big mountain riding and not designed to excel in these areas, it's something worth considering when deciding on your own needs.
In the end
The YT Capra CF Comp exceeds expectations. It is an outstanding enduro bike that does its best to make riding downhill as fast and fun as ever. The Capra has a special ability to make the rider feel like a mountain biking god. Throw in all-day pedalling comfort and you have a great bike.
My only doubt is that the Capra may be too much bike for most South African trails. We simply do not have the steepness or big bike park features that our friends in Europe and the Americas enjoy. If you are considering the Capra as your only bike, this is a bike best suited for big hitters, be honest with your riding habits. That being said, who doesn’t enjoy a bit of excess in life? And, if it has to be a YT, there is always a Jeffsy.
- Framehigh modular carbonfiber frame, V4L Virtual 4-Link rear suspension, X12 (142x12mm) DT Swiss through axle
- SizeS / M / L
- ForkRockShox Lyrik RCT3
- ShockRockShox Monarch Plus RC3
- Travel Front/Rear170mm/165mm
- HeadsetAcros AIX-326
- CranksetRace Face Turbine
- Bottom BracketRace Face Pressfit 30 (73)
- Chain GuideE*Thirteen TRS+
- Rear DerailleurSRAM X1
- ShifterSRAM X1
- CassetteSRAM XG 1150
- ChainSRAM PC1130
- BrakesSRAM Guide RS
- DiscsSRAM Centerline (200)
- GripsSensus Disisdaboss
- TyresMaxxis High Roller II
- WheelsetE*Thirteen TRS+
- StemRace Face Atlas
- HandlebarRace Face Atlas (770)
- SeatpostRockShox Reverb Stealth
- SaddleSDG Duster YT Custom
- Claimed weight13.50 kg
- Retail PriceR78,900.00