We can’t recommend the Capra AL Comp 1 highly enough. What a bike! - €2,799
Note: YT Industries only list and sell their bikes in Euros so an accurate £ price is not feasible to show here.
You won’t find hybrids, road bikes or fixies among YT’s model range. It’s a mountain bike brand to its very core, and the fact that it only makes downhill, enduro, trail riding and dirt jump bikes gives it a laser-sharp focus that few brands can rival.
Yes, it helps that its bikes represent amazing value for money, but it was clarity of purpose, not just price, that made the carbon Capra an instant hit when it launched in 2014.
The alloy version of this formidable enduro bike shares the same geometry and rear end; which is why the AL Comp 1 sports carbon seatstays. There’s one distinct difference though; the alloy bike comes in four frame sizes instead of three.
The addition of the XL frame brings the maximum reach measurement on the Capra up to 460mm, which still isn’t that long by modern standards, but it’s big enough to provide a good fit for anyone around the 6ft mark.
Another feature, that long-legged riders will really appreciate, is the 150mm drop Reverb with a right-hand remote tucked neatly under the left brake lever.
By using shocks with different strokes, but maintaining the same eye-to-eye length, YT can change the amount of travel its V4L suspension design pumps out without messing with the proven geometry of the frame. As such, all Capras running the RockShox Monarch Plus have 165mm travel, while the Fox Float X2 equipped bikes get 5mm more oomph.
It’s a similar story up front too. The top-end Capra CF Pro Race comes with a 160mm fork to sharpen up the steering, while other models get bike park-friendly 180mm forks.
The Comp AL1, tested here, splits the difference with a 170mm RockShox Lyrik. What’s great about this option is, if you want to tweak the fork travel, you just need a Lyrik Travel Change Air Shaft that costs £34.99.
Given that the parts adorning the Capra are better than most bikes costing twice the price, it seems churlish to complain about some of the component choices, but hey, that’s what we’re here to do.
The Race Face Atlas bar has a great profile but it’s 10mm shy of our 780mm benchmark, and the Sensus lock-on grips don’t have enough meat for butcher’s hands.
We’d also like to see YT fit the grippier 3C version of the High Roller II up front to increase traction on flat, loose corners.
Even with these little niggles the AL Comp 1 isn’t going to hold you back or dampen your spirits; we really are just nit-picking.
Throw a leg over the low-slung top tube of the Capra and, before you even set off, it’s obvious that it’s a totally different proposition to the Canyon.
On flatter, more sedate trails, the Capra is the mtb equivalent of a gun at a knife fight, but this is where the mid-compression setting on the Monarch Plus RC3 shock comes in handy for tightening up the response of the rear suspension.
An added bonus being that, by propping up the rear end it’s noticeably easer to load the front tyre for grip on flat corners.
It’s when gravity has your back however, that the Capra is the perfect weapon of choice. And it’s in steep, nasty terrain where the big rotors, heavy-duty wheels and the extra travel all make perfect sense. The more sophisticated RCT3 damper and stronger negative spring on the 170mm Lyrik also meant that the Pike RC on the Canyon struggled to keep up.
So the Capra offers an eye-wateringly fast ride on the descents, yet at 14.4kg, it is still light enough to pedal all day. More importantly, it’s agile enough that you can still pop the bike into the air and land anywhere on the trail with pinpoint accuracy. And it’s this light touch that makes the Capra such an engaging and fun bike to ride.
Video above: YT Industries Capra vs Canyon Strive
Need to know
- SRAM Guide R brakes with massive 200mm rotors offer ultimate stopping power and control
- Three compression settings on the Monarch Plus RC3 shock mean you can fine-tune the damping to match the terrain
- E*thirteen’s TRS+ chain guide and integrated taco keeps the chain on and helps protect the chainring from rock strikes
- The new RockShox Lyrik has 170mm travel and a bigger negative chamber for better small-bump sensitivity
Once again, YT has proved that you don’t need to drop the best part of £4k to get a race-ready enduro bike. In fact, with the Capra AL Comp 1 you’ll have plenty of change left over for race entries and travel expenses. Be warned though, this bike has a lot of firepower, so if you’re not hunting down abandoned DH tracks or tearing up every descent, you’d probably be better off on the more efficient Canyon Strive. With that caveat out of the way, we can’t recommend the Capra AL Comp 1 highly enough. What a bike!