YT's cheapest Capra gets a killer parts package and an alloy frame... can it match the stellar performance of the carbon models though?
YT launched its new version of the Capra last year, featuring a full carbon frame and top end Fox suspension it quickly became one of the best enduro bikes going.
A year later and they’re repeating the process in aluminium, first with the Uncaged 9 and now with the brand’s most budget-friendly Capra to date, this Core 2 model. At just north of £3,000 it’s in the same ballpark as bikes like the Privateer 161. The big question though, does switching to heavy metal from subtle carbon lose any of the bike’s sharpness and turn of speed?
YT Capra Core 2 need to know
- New Core 2 model comes in 29er or mixed wheel (29in and 27.5in rear) MX options
- 29er bike gets 165mm travel, MX uses 170mm, and both have 170mm forks
- Aluminium frame mimics the carbon bike, with Side Wing design, water bottle, and clip chip geometry adjust
- MX bike has a shorter back end and increased progression, the 29er here gets more linear performance.
- Five sizes, from S-XXL
- MX model gets different chainstays, shock yoke and kinematics, with more progression and anti-squat
I’m almost always impressed by just how good modern aluminium bikes appear, and the Capra is no exception – YT has done a great job mimicking the carbon frame, from the asymmetrical Side Wing brace that makes space for a water bottle to the flattened top tube and swooping downtube. Much like the Crank Brothers Synthesis wheels the bike comes with – first launched in carbon fibre – you’ll be forgiven for tapping at it with a questing finger, trying to figure out the material you’ve got going on.
As you’d expect from a new bike there are bang up-to-date details on the frame too, with mounts under the top tube for an enduro strap for your banana, a SRAM UDH hangar, threaded BB and internal cable routing.
Sizing and geometry
The Capra is in no way a progressive bike in terms of sizing; I rode the size Large and found its diminutive 467mm reach measurement way too cramped for my 6ft 1in size. That’s Ok though as there are two sizes bigger in the range. Step up to XL and above and the bike also comes with a longer chainstay to ensure the front to back bias remains in balance.
Geometry wise the bike is decently low, slack and long but nothing out there in the modern era of sub-63degree head angles. Of course there’s a flip-chip just like on the carbon bike, located on the shock yoke and that changes the head angle a smidge (0.3°). More importantly, it will also lengthen the back end of the bike and drop the BB height by around 5mm, so while the head angle adjustment is pretty pointless I think being able to raise or lower the ride height might prove useful.
With just one quick ride on the Core 2 it’s hard to say for sure though. I’d like to see YT increase the range of adjustments to north of one degree though.
The parts package on the Capra Core 2 is very good indeed, I’m not surprised though given that YT has considerable form in this regard. Consider the suspension alone, the bike comes with a Fox 38 Performance fork up front where the easy and cheap option would have been to spec a less aggressive 36 Rhythm. You’d be hard pushed to buy that fork for less than £1,000, meaning it’s nearly a third the value of the entire bike.
That theme continues to the excellent Float X Performance shock, alloy Crank Brothers Synthesis wheels, SRAM NX drivetrain, SRAM Code R brakes and Maxxis DHRII and Assegai tyres. It’s never going to win a round of Top Trumps with this setup but these components have proved themselves great performers in our testing.
Speaking of pricing, YT has now reconfigured its website so all the taxes you pay as a UK customer are included in the price of the bike, and not added on later when you go to checkout. That said, you’ll still need to add on shipping fees of £120, and the bike box at £16.90 to the £3,199 pricetag.
How it rides
YT makes the setup easy, with a dedicated setup page on its website – just tap in the bike and model year, and your weight, and it’ll spit out the recommended pressures and settings for the fork and shock.
I spent a year riding the second generation Capra in 2018, and while it had plenty of good points, pedalling was not one of them. YT has sorted that out with the third generation Capra here. The upright riding position shunts you forward over the BB so your wheel stays sensibly grounded on steep climbs.
That forward position takes some pressure off the shock too and avoids the yo-yo sensation of the old bike when you were grinding up a climb. Most telling of all though is that there’s a lockout lever on the shock that I didn’t feel the need to flick.
That poise carries over onto the descents. The Capra 29 Core 2 is well balanced on the ground and in the air. It’s an easy bike to ride too; I really felt I could just jump on and go without having to mess around raising or lowering the bar height or even fettle the suspension too much. It just feels right.
Partly it’s the supporting architecture doing that. The sorted e13 bar and stem and ODI grips, the functional NX drivetrain, the superlative Maxxis tyres and the reliable Postman dropper; all serve quietly in the background and without distracting you from the business at hand.
The other part giving the Capra Core that easy rider feel is the fact there’s not much to change on the Core 2 model. The Performance level 38 has a three-position compression damping dial giving you Open, Medium and Firm, but honestly sticking it into Open mode is optimal for the plushest ride. There’s less on the Float X Performance shock too, with just the red rebound dial and the Firm lever for pedalling.
Does it really matter though? YT has nailed the tune on the shock as it is, the Capra Core 2 feels light and easy to ride despite its heft 16.4kg weight, and I felt like I could really snap it around on fast, loose corners without losing grip. Turn the terrain up a notch and hit something chunkier and the Capra is happy there too, calming the trail down when you need it to yet still ready to be playful and light when you want to hop a root or change lines.
I don’t miss the carbon frame from the posher Capra Core 4, and the glitzier drivetrain I can do without. What is missing though is the Fox Float X2 Factory shock that proved so buttery smooth and effortless on the more expensive bike. There are plenty of bikes out there that share the same shock as you go up and down the price points, changing everything else but keeping suspension performance as key to a bike. I’d like to see YT adopt that because it means riders on a tighter budget can get the bones of their bike and upgrade the rest as they see fit.
If the YT Capra sounds like your kind of bike, but you’re looking for alternatives, you should also check out the Orbea Rallon M Team for its enduro credentials, and the Privateer 161 if you’re looking to match the YT budget.
I didn’t get enough time on the YT Capra 29 Core 2 to know it properly, but what I can say is that the bike is greater than the sum of its parts. The spec is brilliant on a bike costing just £3,000. The geometry is decent, it’s adjustable and the bike really has a just-ride-it feel.