Third generation YT Capra moves the needle once again with an asymmetric bracing wing to make space for a full size water bottle.

Ask for the elevator pitch on the new YT Capra MKIII and it would go something like this… “Aside from geometry tweeks, some tinkering with the suspension progression and the new side-wing frame design that lets you fit a full size water bottle, the MKIII Capra builds on the foundations of its predecessors rather than burning the house down and starting afresh. Which, given how good the previous Capras were, makes complete sense.”

Thankfully, we’re not in an elevator, as there’s a lot more going on with the latest Capra.

Read more: Best mountain bike 2021 – all you need to know

YT Capra MKIII need to know

  • Two levels of carbon construction: Ultra Mod (lighter) / Hi Mod (cheaper).
  • Still two wheel size options with custom geometry for each, but now it’s Mullet MX or full 29in.
  • Both models have 170mm forks, rear travel on the MX is 170mm vs 165mm on the 29er.
  • New shock yoke design with flip chip offers two geometry settings on both the MX and 29er.
  • All sizes retain wheel and size specific chainstay lengths to balance handling.
  • YY adds a size small in the Capra 29, making it five sizes for each wheel size.
  • Three models to choose from, starting at £3,999 for the Core 3 and topping out at £6,699 for the Launch Edition.

Let’s start with wheel size. Or, to be more specific, wheel sizes. The MKII Capra ushered in the 29er option that ran in parallel with the 27.5in bike. For 2021, YT still offers two wheel sizes but the 27.5in bike has morphed into a mullet, and to distinguish it from the full 29er, it carries the MX tag.

Both platforms share the same carbon front ends, but with bespoke carbon rear stays and shock extender yokes – previously the shock mounted directly to the seat stay assembly – YT can tailor the chainstay lengths and geometry to the specific wheel sizes. As such, the Capra MX sports 5mm shorter stays across all frame sizes compared to the 29er. That’s not to say the chainstay lengths are the same on all frame sizes though, as YT continues with its size specific chainstays to help balance weight distribution across the entire size range. As such, the MX gets 433mm chainstays on the S, M and L, growing to 438mm on the XL and XXL while the 29er starts with 438mm chainstays on the S, M, and L growing to 443mm on the XL and XXL. The Capra MX also has a lower BB height, 346mm vs 349mm on the 29er.

As we’ve already mentioned the Capra MX and Capra 29 share the same carbon front end. Tweaks to the geometry include a 1º slacker head angle and a 3º steeper seat angle. The reach measurements have also increased by approximately 7mm on all sizes, which means the size L 29er now has a reach of 470mm. The biggest change though, and one that’s barely visible from the drive-side is the ability to fit a full-size water bottle.

YT appreciates that fitting a water bottle can be a deal breaker for some riders, but it didn’t want to compromise on the stiffness by getting rid of the wing that braces the seat and downtube. The solution was simple. Make the wing asymmetric, much in the same way that Specialized’s ‘Side-arm’ frame design accommodates the shock. Not only does this look neat, but it means that YT hasn’t had to compromise on its suspension design just to fit a bottle.

It has manipulated the suspension on both bikes though. The 29er is less progressive than before, while the MX has slightly more progression than the old 27.5in version to make it work better with coil-sprung shocks. The end result is that the suspension response on both options is closer than before, which is a good thing as we always felt that the 27.5in Capra offered better small bump sensitivity and grip than the 29er.

YT has also added flip-chips to both bikes, giving the option of high and low geometry settings. Other updates include the addition of the SRAM UDH (Universal Derailleur Hanger), double seals on all pivot bearings for reduced maintenance and bolt-on storage under the top tube for carrying all your junk.

A less obvious change is the introduction of a two-tier approach to its carbon construction, much in the same way that Santa Cruz has C and CC levels of carbon. As such, the Launch Edition and Core 4 both use Ultra Mod (UM) carbon which is stiffer and more expensive, and enables YT to build lighter frames with the same stiffness and strength. The entry-level Core 3 at £3,999 uses the standard Hi Mod (HM) carbon to keep the pricing as competitive as ever.

The MKIII Capra has evolved while staying true to its roots. When YT launched the original Capra back in 2014 it was a turning point for the brand. And while the new MKIII Capra won’t have the same impact as the original, it looks set to build on the strengths of the two previous iterations, and shows maturity of design from the mountain bike brand that has built its identity on Young Talent.

CAPRA MKIII Core3 – YT Industries

YT Capra MKIII geometry

2021 Capra Range:

CAPRA MKIII MX Launch Edition – YT Industries

Capra Launch Edition £6,699

Limited to 100 bikes and MX only, the Launch Edition gets a custom paint job on the Ultra Mod carbon frame. In keeping with the custom finish, it also gets a custom spec that includes a Cane Creek DB Kitsuma coil shock, eeWings Ti chainset and Crankbrothers Synthesis carbon wheels with i9 hubs. Leading the charge is the 170mm RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork with its chunky 38mm stanchions.

CAPRA MKIII Core4 – YT Industries

Capra Core 4 £4,999

The Core 4 is also based on the lighter Ultra Mod carbon frame and uses the Fox Float X2 for ultimate suspension adjustment. The 38 fork gets upgraded to the Factory level compared to the Core 3 which adds some Kashima bling, while the i9 Crankbrothers wheels and SRAM XO1 drivetrain help keep the weight in check. Available in Black Magic or Nox Blue, it sure is a lot of bike for the money.

CAPRA MKIII Core3 – YT Industries

Capra Core 3 £3,999

Built on the Hi Mod carbon frame and available in three colours, yellow, red and black, the Capra Core 3 is the entry point to the 2021 Capra range. It gets the new Fox Float X Performance Elite level shock to complement the 38 Performance Elite fork and the drivetrain is 12 speed SRAM GX Eagle. The bike rolls on alloy Crank Brothers Synthesis wheels shod with top quality Maxxis tyres.