YT's much-heralded Capra has undergone an extensive revision for 2018, reemerging with more travel, increased standover clearance, and an updated suspension layout. But that's not all – a 29”-wheeled model has been added into the mix, with up to 170mm of travel. The bike has morphed from an all-mountain machine into something even more formidable, although YT took steps to make sure that it could still be pedaled back up to the top for another run.
In addition to being able to choose between two wheel sizes, there will both carbon and aluminum versions of the new Capra, with prices ranging from $2,500 to $3,000 USD for the alloy models, and from $3,700 to $5,200 for the full carbon models.
YT Capra Details
• Intended use: enduro / freeride / DH
• Wheel size: 27.5" or 29"
• Rear wheel travel: 170 or 160mm (29"), 180 or 170mm (27.5")
• Aluminum and carbon frame options
• Boost hub spacing
• PF92 bottom bracket
• Sizes: S - XXL (27.5"), M-XXL (29")
• Price: $2,500 - $5,200 USD
The Capra's standover height and seat tube lengths have both been reduced, although there's still no spot to hold a water bottle.
In addition to the increased travel, and the addition of a 29" version, the Capra frame received a number of other significant updates. The derailleur, brake, and dropper post housing are all now hidden inside the frame, where there are tubes to prevent it from rattling around and causing an unwanted ruckus. Previously, all Capra models had alloy chainstays, but the carbon frames now have carbon chainstays. There's a chainstay protector to keep chainslap to a minimum, and a color-matched frame protector on the downtube to ward off rock strikes.
Wait, How Much Travel Does the New Capra Have?
It seems like a very straightforward question, but the answer is, “It depends.” The first factor is what wheel size you're referring to. The Capra 29 CF Pro Race uses a 230x65mm shock to deliver 170mm of rear travel, making it one of the longest travel 29ers currently on the market. The other 29” models use a 230 x 60mm shock, which results in 160mm of rear travel.
For the 27.5” models, the Capra 27 CF Pro Race has 180mm of travel, while the remaining models have 170mm of travel, again due to the use of a slightly shorter stroke shock.
Capra 27 CF Pro Race Geometry
Capra 29 CF Pro Race Geometry
Even after four years on the market the Capra's geometry was still fairly up-to-date, but there were a few areas that were in need of some modification. The first was the reach, which has been increased by 12-15mm on all sizes. An XXL size has also been added in for both wheel sizes – sizes run from S-XXL for the 27.5” bike, and from M-XXL for the 29er. The largest two sizes also get slightly longer chainstays than their smaller counterparts in order to preserve the balance of the bike, a tactic that we're seeing more and more companies begin to adopt.
Both bikes have head angles around the 65-degree mark, although the 29er does have a flip chip that can be used to steepen things up by half a degree. That flip chip is the easiest way to tell which wheel size a bike has – from a distance it's tricky to tell the difference between the 27.5” and 29” models.
What Size Should I Ride?
The new Capra has a low enough standover height and seat tube length that riders should be able to fit on multiple sizes – it's more a matter of picking the reach number that you feel comfortable with rather than being forced into one pre-determined size. At 5'11” I was able to fit both the size large and the extra large 29er without running into any issues, although I'd probably choose the large for my riding style and typical trails.
The Capra's leverage ratio and amount of end-stroke ramp up have both been reduced compared to the previous model.
The Capra still uses a Horst Link suspension design (YT call it Virtual 4 Link), but the rocker link position now takes a cue from the Jeffsy's playbook and extends behind the seat tube. YT also took steps to create a lower leverage ratio – according to Stefan Willard, YT's CTO, that lower ratio allows riders to run less pressure and creates a more sensitive beginning stroke. The amount of end-stroke ramp-up has also been reduced by approximately 8% to allow riders to make the most out of the available travel. Want that 8% back? There's room to add in volume spacers to the rear shock in order to fine-tune the amount of ramp up.
YT reinforced the area on each side of the head tube in order to make it dual-crown compatible.
Can I Run a Dual Crown Fork?
With all that travel, questions about running a dual crown fork will inevitably come up. After all, just imagine what that 170mm 29er would look like with a 180mm dual crown up front... The good news is that YT was thinking ahead, and the frames are dual crown compatible - they tested them to the same standards as their Tues downhill bike. There's an area of reinforced carbon on each side of the headtube that's designed to withstand the impacts that can occur when fork bumpers hit the frame.
Where previous models had alloy chainstays, the new bikes are carbon from tip to tail, although there are still full aluminum versions available.
All the housing is internally routed through the front triangle, emerging briefly from ports in the seat tube.
Frame Options / Build Kits
There's a heavy dose of e*thirteen's cassettes, tires, and wheels throughout the lineup.
The Capra's paint scheme and general parts spec are the same for both wheel sizes, although the 27.5" version of the CF Pro comes with a Fox Float X2, while the 29" version has a Fox DPX2. One interesting spec choice is the decision to pair a Shimano rear derailleur with e*thirteen's 9-46 tooth 11-speed cassette for the entire lineup - there's no SRAM Eagle to be seen.
Capra CF Pro Race
Capra CF Pro
Capra AL Comp
I've been spending a lot of my time on 29ers lately, so I snagged the big wheeled Capra for two days of riding under the California sun, a welcome respite from the heavy rain that was falling on my home trails in Washington.
The first day's ride consisted of a mix of rocky, chunky, higher speed portions of trail, interspersed with steeper, smoother bits of twisty singletrack. The Capra has a definite need for speed, and it felt like I was only scratching the surface of its potential – I can see it being extremely well suited to bike park usage, or anywhere with room to really let it run. That's not to say it can't handle tighter, slower speed sections of trail – it can – it's just that you get the feeling that it's straining at the reins on mellower terrain.
A trip to SkyPark at Santa's Village was the next day's destination, a smattering of flowy trails that begin and end in a North Pole-themed park located in the San Bernardino National Forest. I typically associate bike parks with chairlifts, but this particular park is a little different (to say the least), and returning to the top after a lap requires a meandering, smooth pedal up a designated climbing trail. The Capra pedals well with the shock fully open, especially for a bike with 170mm of travel, but I still found myself flipping the Float X2's blue dial into the firmer mode to firm things up a little. Spinning up that smooth grade was the only real climbing I got in aboard the Capra; until I spend some more time on one I can't really comment on how it handles on more challenging ascents.
The trails at SkyPark weren't overly technical or steep, but there were enough fun-sized jumps and berms to stay entertained for a few hours. The new Capra hasn't lost anything in the jumping department – there's a supportive platform to push into for that extra 'pop' off the lip of a jump, and a nice ramp up when it comes time to come in for a landing. Yes, it's a big bike, but it has an energetic nature that makes it an entertaining ride even when the trail isn't completely full of wheel-swallowing holes and giant boulders. Of course, the typical caveat that accompanies any sort of 'first ride' applies here as well - two days on the Capra wasn't nearly enough to really dive into the nuances of its handling; stay tuned for a long-term review later this year once we put some rougher and rowdier miles in on one.
Call it what you will - freeride, park, mini-DH, Super Enduro - but no matter the name, it seems as if a resurgence of longer travel mountain bikes is underway. For riders who regularly find themselves seeking out gnarly, technical trails, and who alternate between riding chairlifts, shuttling, and pedaling, the return of the long travel trail smasher will be a welcome one.