With a burly 170mm travel aluminium frame, mullet wheels and keen pricing, this Capra ticks plenty of boxes. We hit the bike park with it to search for any shortcomings.
It’s hard to believe but the Capra is nearly a decade old, having launched in 2014 with a carbon frame, killer parts list, 27.5in wheels (modern indeed) and a price tag literally half that of the competition. And while it’s true this Mk3 version isn’t the absolute giveaway the Capra once was, thanks to stiff competition from the other direct sales brands, it’s still unbelievable value.
In fact that gave us something of a problem because the Core 2 GX mullet version is on sale right now for £2,799, and if YT could guarantee it would stay there we’d have been obliged to bump it up a mark on price alone.
It couldn’t, so let’s get back on track. YT introduced the third iteration of the Capra back in 2021 in carbon only, the reworked asymmetrical Side Wing design made space for a badly needed water bottle and better geometry, specifically the improved seat tube angle for improved climbing.
A year later this alloy version turned up, and impressively it mirrored that of the carbon bike in both form and function. There’s a choice of MX or full 29in wheels, the mullet version gets 5mm more travel at 170mm and more importantly extra progression when you get to the bottom of it.
On top of those bare bones the Capra uses a UDH, internal cable routing, and downtube protection from rock strikes. The two biggest sizes in the range get longer rear triangles to keep the bike in balance as the front centre grows. It’s not exactly true proportional geometry, but it’s useful, and rare at this price point. The XL felt a little cramped with its 480mm reach, but with five sizes to pick from – including an XXL above the XL we tested – everyone should find the right fit.
Also the Capra has an ace up its sleeve in the flip chip, this means you can steepen the bike by a degree and raise the BB 5mm if you’re riding mellow terrain. Then hop in the car to the Lakes or South Wales and the low position puts you in the best position for flat out descending.
Just like the Canyon Torque, the Capra uses a four-bar suspension design to deliver its 170mm travel but here there’s a linkage driving the shock rather than the seatstays. This gives YT more control over the suspension characteristics, and it’s an easy place to fit that flip chip. The Fox Float X Performance shock has a climb switch that we used extensively on the ups, and you can adjust low-speed rebound too.
Up front, there’s a Fox Float 38 Performance fork, it’s not the superlative Grip2 damper but the fork is super sensitive and does have a compression dial that we used to help prop it up.
YT should not be fitting lightweight EXO casing tyres to an enduro bike. They’re fine for Surrey, perhaps, but ride anywhere else and they’d be wrapped around your broken rear wheel. Buy this bike and you’ll need to invest in EXO+/DD casing tyres or similar.
The rest is excellent. SRAM’s GX Eagle drivetrain is better than the Shimano SLX on the Canyon Torque, with a slightly heavier shift action but more reliable, precise and quieter shifting. You do pay a premium for this though, at the bike’s bottom line.
The SRAM Code R 4-piston brakes are powerful and well modulated, the cockpit and dropper all absolutely sorted, the internal cable routing silent, and unlike the Torque there’s a bash guard to protect the chainring too.
Our only concern are the Crankbrothers wheels. They already have several dings but they have a good feel and the simple explanation could be that we cased jumps the Torque cleared.
Pedal around on mellow trails with the bike in its low position and you’ll probably hate the Capra. With its bonkers slack 61.7° head angle and shock that likes to dip into its travel, the bars felt too high and it was hard to load the front when going slow. We flipped the bike into its high position and added 10psi more shock pressure to help weight the front end and, together with the lightweight stock tyres, it becomes a decent trail bike, albeit on the portly side.
This isn’t what the Capra is all about though, head somewhere rougher and faster and the low/slack setting all starts to make sense. The balance between the fork and shock is absolutely spot on, tip it into a chute or a steep corner that wants to fall away from you and it just bites in, and holds you in the most efficient position for grip. There’s no doubt in your mind about whether the front will guide you round, it’s instantly trustworthy.
Same story at the back, the shock dips into its travel far more easily than the Torque and this gives the bike better grip whenever you’re turning – pretty much all the time, on the right trails then. It’s supremely comfortable in these situations, hugging the ground without being too low to bonk your pedals.
Coming out of corners and into off-cambers there’s oodles of grip, it’s a bike that’s reluctant to let go of the hillside. Time and again we found it was easy to aim high when the trail wants to slide you down the camber, and it means you can hit the best lines. We don’t remember this trait from the carbon bike, it’s been a while but perhaps the more flexy alloy frame actually makes for a better bike in these conditions.
Take the Capra to a bike park and it’s unbelievably fast over roots, big slabs, jumbly boulders or nasty spines of rock. There’s not the same pop that the Torque commands though, press the bike into a take-off and it’ll absorb much of your efforts without boosting you quite as far – useful if your goal is pure speed, less so if you’re trying to maximise your airtime and get creative. It’s not that the bike gets hooked up, more that the damping deals with impacts so well it’ll minimise both the trail’s inputs… and yours.
Take a closer look at the bike though and you can see it’s been built with this in mind. The chainstays are on the long side for a MX bike, which keeps your wheels on the ground, whether you’re trying to manual or smash through a rock garden.
The Crankbrothers freehub is noticeably slower than that of the DT Swiss, and while this isn’t enough to slow you down it is enough to isolate your feet from any pedal kickback. We doubt YT did this intentionally, but it’s an unexpected benefit.
Uphill the Capra is much better than you’d imagine, the steep 77.3° effective seat tube angle holds you forward to stop any significant bob, and the bike sits into the travel and just gets on with it. The pedal lever on the shock is very welcome on fireroad climbs too, and the longer chainstay stops you looping out or the front wavering too badly. All this screams enduro racing.
The Capra is ninja-quiet, the only sound you’ll hear is the freehub, your tyres and perhaps your own laboured breathing if you’re against the clock. This adds to the general level of calm and composure the bike emanates at all times, taming trails like nothing else. If you want to go fast, race enduros or just tackle the rowdiest tracks then the Capra is superb. It is let down a smidge by the tyres though. Please YT, sort this out. Don’t be thinking this is a boring bike though, the mullet set-up means it’s manoeuvrable enough to play on any trail, and just as importantly it’s comfortable enough to ride all day without beating you up.