YT Capra 29 Core 4 is 165mm enduro bike with 170mm fork, slack geometry, and bottle-ready full carbon frame. New Capra comes as a race-focused 29er, or a mullet park bike with 5mm more travel. Faster, more capable, easier to pedal... and somewhere to stash a water bottle.
YT Capra 29 Core 4 is 165mm enduro bike with 170mm fork, slack geometry, and bottle-ready full carbon frame. New Capra comes as a race-focused 29er, or a mullet park bike with 5mm more travel.
Spot on spec to compete with the best enduro mountain bikes out there, with Fox Factory suspension and SRAM X01 on the Core 4.
In the interests of full disclosure, the YT Capra and I are old friends. I had the previous generation as a long-term test bike three years ago and I still catch myself mindlessly flicking through old mbr copies with pictures of the two of us together. Good times. It remains to this day my favourite test rig.
In the three years since rating the Capra 29 CF Pro Race 10/10, a lot has happened in the world of enduro – the competition is stiffer and components and suspension are more capable, meaning the Capra needs to have progressed too. What was great three years ago could feel mediocre when judged by today’s standards.
This is YT’s third version of the Capra after launching the original bike back in 2014. The Mk3 comes in two guises: the 29in version with 165mm travel, 170mm fork and an enduro race attitude, and the MX with mullet wheels, an extra 5mm at the rear, and park rat pretensions. There’s a difference in kinematics between the MX and 29 too, the former is slightly more progressive to suit its more racy design. What happened to the 27.5in Capra? Well, YT reckons it learnt enough about how well mullet bikes work from the launch of the original Decoy e-bike to drop it altogether.
Both the 29er and the MX are offered at two different pricepoints. YT employs two different levels of carbon frame, Ultra Modulus for the higher-specced bikes, and High Modulus for the Core 3 models. The UM layup is lighter, although YT couldn’t put a figure on it.
The top-end bikes are called YT Capra 29 Core 4, for £4,999 the bikes come with Fox Factory suspension, SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain, Code RSC brakes and Crankbrothers Synthesis wheels. Core 3 will cost you £3,999 and gives you Fox Performance Elite suspension, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, and Code R brakes. There is one more option, a Launch Edition MX bike at £6,699 with Cane Creek DB Kitsuma Coil shock and RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork, although you’ll have to move fast if you want to get one as there are just 100 being made.
Speaking of ordering, the price listed for any bike on the website isn’t the total amount you’ll actually pay when you come to tap in your credit card details. YT includes the UK VAT in its list price, but the shipping costs, customs duties and a few other fees are only added at the final step of the checkout process. To make things clearer I think the brand really needs to be up front about the costs from the outset, just like rival Canyon is.
The price we’ve listed for the Capra Core 4 here includes everything you’ll need to pay, though – customs duties at around £600, shipping at £100, a bike box for £16.90, advanced commission (the freight company’s charge) and handling costs, which brings the total price to £5,849.69. The brand also has a preorder system running, to secure the bike with a 10 per cent fully refundable deposit as long as it’s over eight weeks from delivery. Then pay the remaining balance four weeks before the bike ships from Germany.
What’s changed on the Capra Mk3 then? For starters, that all-new frame now has an asymmetrical design with something called the Side Wing, which sounds a lot like a rival brand’s Sidearm design, but is utilised to make room for a full-size bottle, rather than the rear shock, without compromising stiffness.
Capra owners can haul more than just water too, the new frame has bosses under the top tube for tools and a tube. There’s a flip-chip just like on the old bike, now it’s on the shock yoke and changes the head angle a smidge (0.3°) and drops the BB around 5mm. I asked YT if a customer could mullet the 29er bike and use the flip-chip to prop it back up to the correct height, and it wasn’t wild on the idea… although it would work.
The new bike is a fraction longer in terms of reach, a fraction slacker at the head tube, and a touch steeper at the seat tube too, which is all moving nicely in the right direction, although it can’t be seen as a radical change.
How it rides
I can’t think of any components I’d want to change on the Capra. From the big heavy hitters like the Factory level Fox suspension and Crankbrothers Synthesis wheels, to the little things like ODI grips, rotor size and even tyre casing; YT has it spot on… such has it always been with the top-end Capra. Even the steerer tube has some length left in it now, to let you lower or raise the bar height as required. Perhaps the opening of the YT Mill in Surrey and the brand’s increased customer contact has stopped it lopping it off as low as possible.
YT was only able to supply a size large for our First Ride, which proved a little cramped in the cockpit for my 6ft 1in frame. That’s as it should be though, a 468mm reach is about right for a size large and would really suit a shorter rider than me.
Uphill the YT Capra 29 Core 4 is a much easier bike to live with than the old model, the steeper seat angle puts your weight further forward when you’re sat down and the result is the shock doesn’t sink too far into its travel. YT says the “performance focus” of the 29er Capra is 40% uphill, 60% downhill, and 100% fast, which is an elaborate way of saying this is an enduro bike with a hefty nod to pedalling performance and covering ground quickly. I’d agree with the marketing spiel, but tilt the stats to an impossible 50% uphill, 60% downhill because it really could do service as a trail bike, provided you switched to faster rolling tyres.
Point it downhill and the bike is eerily quiet. No rattles from the internal cables, no chainslap, no creaks. Even the Assegai Maxx Grip front tyre and DHR II rear seem to damp down the trail percussion remarkably well. It’s a truly fast bike too, without any of the fuss or showboating that comes from some enduro rigs. The rougher the terrain, the faster you seem to go, the suspension feels more supple than the old bike and hoovers up the terrain without smoking your feet or your hands.
There’s great support when you need it too, enough to hold that racing shape without collapsing in the corner. Whether this increase in comfort is down to the new frame, the suspension characteristics, the move up to a Fox 38, or the tuned Crankbrothers Synthesis wheels is hard to tell, but it certainly makes for a stellar package.
What about the pricetag then? The top of the range Capra was £4,699 in 2018, meaning it’s gone up by around £1,150. Given all the hurdles the bike industry has faced – component supply problems, raw material shortages, shipping cost and duty increases – I think the YT Capra 29 Core 4 is still decent value.
The new YT Capra is a better bike that the outgoing model – better equipped, easier to demo and with increased support thanks to the YT Mill. The Capra and I remain to this day great friends.