PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
YT Capra 29
Words by Henry Quinney, photography by Tom Richards
The third generation of the Capra was launched earlier this year, returning to YT's lineup with updated geometry, a mixed wheel or a 29" version, and improved water bottle holding capabilities.
It's a good looking bike, with an asymmetrical frame design that gives it a clean silhouette and a striking appearance. The bike uses the brand’s V4L suspension to deliver 165mm of rear travel via a four bar layout.
The new all-new Capra takes on some adjustments over previous versions to help it keep in line with expectations of a modern enduro bike.
• Travel: 165mm rear / 170mm front
• Wheel size: 29" (there is a MX version also)
• Head angle: 64.2/64.5°
• Seat tube angle: 77.6/77.9°
• Reach: 467mm (lrg)
• Chainstay length: 438mm (lrg)
• Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL, XXL
• Weight: 33.69lb / 15.28kg
• Price: $5,999 USD
The ability to hold a water bottle was accomplished by removing one of the wings that help brace the front triangle. The access is only via the left side. Us righties have had it our own way for so long with various models I think it’s about time that left-handed riders get that easy access, even if it didn’t suit me. It requires a bit of a refined technique but it’s in there. It holds water. I think we can all agree this is a good thing. It also has top tube rivets should you want to double-down on storage.
There are a lot of sensible build options to keep the masses happy - and that’s important because YT have affirmed itself to be a huge bike brand in recent years and I imagine they intend to sell a lot of these. In fact, I have no doubts they will.
There’s no-moto guided internal cable routing, a SRAM universal derailleur hanger and lots of chainslap protection. Not only that, but the bike also includes a flip chip on the shock. However, the 0.3 degrees on offer isn’t an overwhelming amount of adjustment.
The bike features updated geometry, but be sure to check the sizing. With a reach of 467mm the size large is more of an extra medium compared to most other brands sizing charts. This is no bad thing, but a buyer would be best to check for themselves. The head angle sits at 64.2-degrees in the slack setting, which is combined with a seat tube angle of 77.6 degrees. The 445mm seat tube could be a little shorter. It was fine for me but it might be a little long for somebody who is closer to size chart's target audience.
This bike, the Core 4 model, is the highest end 29” model available and comes with a very
solid spec. It has a retail price of $5,999 and comes equipped with Fox Factory suspension, SRAM X01 Eagle, Code RSC brakes and carbon Descendant cranks. I would say, on paper, this bike represents the best value of all the bikes on this year’s field test. If I was nit-picking I would say 150mm drop seatpost on the size large is on the short side and that the 200mm rotor on the YT, while ample, was somewhat outgunned by the 220mm rotors on the front of some of the other enduro bikes.
With our control tires installed the bike weighed 33.69lb / 15.28kgClimbing
The model name Capra is derived from the Latin word for goat. So how does this bike climb? Well, it was a tale of two halves.
In general, this bike is a good climber. When using Fox’s base settings, the YT’s suspension has a different flavour to some of the other bikes on test. It's got bucket loads of support, so it tracks well even when out of the saddle and unlocked. It’s a bike that prioritises traction under load rather than a wheel that just gets up and over obstacles. For instance, the Transition Spire is on the other end of the spectrum. Both are good climbers but go about it in very different ways. The Capra is a little punchier and less about patiently spinning up things with a high cadence. .
If it was my bike, again with the base settings, I might use the lockout lever on smooth climbs, but I think on single track or anything remotely chunky I would let the rear shock do its thing. At 33.69lb / 15.28kg it’s relatively middle of the road in terms of weight but its high level of traction and solid platform means that it is a capable climber and a bike that is very happy to tick along and get the job done.
It worked well up switchbacks and tight climbs, and the short top tube really did let me manipulate my weight on the bike. Would I trade this off for a bit more room, especially on long gravel road climbs where the extra weight in your hands isn’t always wanted? Perhaps. I think these problems would melt away though had I been on the XL though, which is not only longer but also has nearly 10mm extra in frame stack.
So, the second half? Well, I eventually ended up fully opening the compression adjustments in my pursuit of better small bump sensitivity and tracking on descents. This did help, but it did compromise climbing somewhat. A degree of bob crept in, and although there was still good support and traction, it definitely felt a little softer under power. All of that said, many people might not need to open the compression dials fully for one reason or another and can enjoy the climbing prowess this bike offers.
So, what first? The geometry or the suspension feel? Let’s start with the former and then go from there.
This bike is going to offer something really important to a group of people that often find themselves in between sizes. If you’re 5’10” this is probably going to fit you better than many other bikes out there.
The geometry is certainly progressive but I would say compared to the GT, Norco and Transition it’s a bit more measured and is dialed back half a turn from those rather extreme machines. Is just over 64 degrees slack enough? Absolutely. It’s not that far off the numbers of the Specialized Enduro, a previous winner of the Enduro Field Test, and a bike we used as something of a benchmark.
It’s a well balanced bike, although I’d be very curious to try the 5mm longer rear end of the XL or XXL sizes, even if on the 467mm reach size large.
The Capra isn't a bike that lets you just plow. It feels quite taut, and whether that's a good or a bad thing probably depends what you're riding it on. It does feel that bit more agile compared to the big bruisers, but it also feels like it gets pushed around a bit more too.
On smoother trails, the amount of pop and support it offers does come into play on the exit of turns or when picking up over small lips. However, in straight lines over rough parts of trail it lacked the planted feel of the Norco or Transition. Regarding the shorter reach numbers, there were times where that dimension got lost in the noise, but when you were hanging on through rough stuff it felt distinctly less stable.
The suspension performance of the YT was on the firm-feeling side compared to some of the others on test for my personal tastes. I eventually fully opened both compression adjustments in a bid to try and help the bike track better but it never really felt like it was quite achieved. It moved it in the right direction, although never quite gave me the feeling I wanted.
Riders that have a more active or poppy style may well really enjoy this high level of support throughout the whole stroke, but for me it felt like it just bashed its way through things rather than soaked them up. I’m not averse to a supported feel, but would rather it was just more compliant off the top. To give credit to the Capra, I think the way the shock moves through the second half of its travel is great.
Who’s the ideal candidate for the Capra? I’d say it’s going to be a rider that probably sits on the edge of wanting the travel of an enduro bike while also wanting the liveliness of a trail bike. Yes, you could take it to the mountains and ride some really rough and wild trails but it’s probably happier on things that are a little smoother and the odd day going full send in the bike park. It’s an easy bike to ride, but not the easiest bike to ride very aggressively on full-blown chunder.