The new YT Capra Core 3 MX boasts mullet set-up and the performance you want from an all-rounder
Say hello to the third iteration of the YT Capra. Since the Mark 2 Capra was hardly a slouch on the downhills, the new Mark 3 YT Capra Core 3 targets extra adeptness uphill via more efficient pedalling manners, a steeper seat angle and slightly less travel. It’s now 170mm on the MX here and 165mm on the 29er.
YT has also lowered the bottom bracket height, marginally slackened the head angle and added a more progressive suspension curve for a peppier, tauter feel. So far, so standard stuff for the best enduro mountain bikes out there.
YT Capra Core 3 need to know:
- New MX version available with 170mm travel
- Lower BB and slacker head angle
- More progressive suspension curve over Mark 2 version
- Room for water bottle
This MX or mullet version aims to up agility further with a 27.5in rear wheel that’s easier to tip into turns and accelerate, with extra perkiness boosted by shortened chainstays compared to the 29er. The stays aren’t totally size-specific, but the two largest sizes of five – do get 5mm longer chainstays to maintain better balance when climbing.
In much the same way Santa Cruz offers two carbon tiers, the Core 3 Capra frame uses lower modulus carbon fibre than the Core 4 and Launch Edition. YT claims it meets similar stiffness and strength goals, but needs more layers of carbon to achieve it, which in turn adds extra weight.
Another update many riders were crying out for comes thanks to the new frame wing that creates space in the front triangle for a water bottle, without compromising frame stiffness or strength. To celebrate, YT supplies its own brand cage and bottle at no extra cost. It’s also rolled in the VAT, custom duties & advanced commission into the headline price, but you’ll still need to factor in £120 for shipping and an extra £16.90 for the box which brings the total price of the Capra Core 3 MX to £4,535.90.
YT Capra Core 3 MX suspension
The Core 3 MX gets a class-leading Fox 38 Float fork. It’s stiff, and while the Performance Elite version omits the for-show gold Kashima upper legs, you still get the GRIP2 damper so it lacks nothing in terms of grip, support or adjustability.
Rear suspension retains YT’s evolved 4-bar design, with 170mm travel controlled by the latest generation Fox Float X shock. A two-position flip chip in the seatstay extender yoke tweaks the geometry by 5mm at the BB and a pretty minimal 0.3-degree at the headtube. The shock has a lock out lever, low-speed compression adjuster to dial in support and low-speed rebound to stop the back end kicking back off jumps and drops.
YT’s aim of boosting pedalling and climbing proficiency with the new chassis means there’s significantly more anti-squat than the previous generation to keep the power delivery feeling tighter when accelerating. There’s also 10% more anti-rise to maintain stability in the bike while braking over chop.
YT Capra Core 3 MX components
SRAM’s sorted and reliable GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain gets a tough alloy DH-rated Descendant chainset, but the cash saving is clear when compared to Vitus’ set up that rocks a carbon chainset and swankier, lighter XO1 cassette and mech.
It’s the same story with the brakes. Stiffer, less powerful and lower-tier Code Rs tire pinkies quicker, where an own brand dropper lever on the opposite side of the handlebar is also stiffer for the thumb.
By far the worst impact of YT’s penny pinching though is in the Maxxis tyres. Clearly YT is hoping a quick glance by an inexperienced rider will read ‘Assegai and Minion DHR II’ and imagine the performance they trust and expect. D
Don’t be fooled though, as these are actually bargain-basement Dual Compound models we’ve seen on bikes under a grand. The less grippy rubber feels sketchy, and the flimsy EXO casings are way too easy to rip or puncture on an aggro bike like this. So switching them out (for well over a hundred quid) is the only way to keep pace with other bikes here in any serious terrain, wet or dry.
SRAM’s new UDH is a welcome addition that’s harder to spot but easier to replace if you damage a mech hanger. You’ll need to keep an eye on the rear axle though as it continually wound loose at Dyfi Bike Park on the jumpier tracks.
YT Capra Core 3 MX performance
In such an uplift/bike park focused ride, having an almost 2.5º steeper seat angle than previously and a surging and efficient pedal stroke wasn’t the first thing on our minds. Get the new Capra on the kind of terrain most of us ride more often though and it’s immediately noticeable how snappy and purposefully it gets up and about to the fun bits.
When pinning back down on the fastest tracks you get the same sense of always being in the right position on the bike. Neutral and ready to absorb hits without having to adjust your riding position. With a calm, almost slow-motion air to the Capra MK 3, there’s time to focus and stay composed at speed, but no particular sense of the smaller rear wheel ramping up snappiness and cutty-factor.
So, while some MX bikes flip-flop from side-to-side like a lost Havaianas bobbing on the waves, YT’s latest Capra surfs the crests and keeps its head out of the water and mullet hair-do dry.
The bigger picture then is calmness and stability, but on a smaller scale, there’s a slightly choppier feel than you’d expect from a 170mm rig. The Float X shock or maybe the revised kinematics make the rear suspension the least effective on test at ironing out small creases and can occasionally feel a bit overworked. Most evident when stoving wheels into hectic root sections that come up on you fast on Dyfi’s Race Track in the trees.
Another consequence of the suspension feeling firm is that you can’t really punch into the rear travel and bounce out of pocket berms with a slingshot effect as much as some bikes. Yes, it’s fast and keeps the chassis stable for trucking on, but there’s little sense of floating over the roughest ground or an ability to really push into the travel for extra propulsion.
So while the Core 3 Capra impresses with a solid, well-balanced ride and super-efficient pedalling for a 170mm bike, we’re looking for more than core strength when a bike advertises extra mobility and fun factor over its stablemates.
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As an MX bike advertised as a totally agile enduro and bike park slayer, YT’s Core 3 Capra rides more neutral and stable than expected. The rampant downhill capabilities of the previous Capra has been dialled back a notch; reflected most in the Fox Float X suspension coming over like it’s packing less sensitivity, depth and dimension than the 170mm travel suggests. Yes, YT’s third-generation Capra is every bit as refined as you’d expect. The one-sided chassis looks fantastic, it's reassuringly solid and has no nasty habits. It pedals and climbs efficiently too, so it’s now a proper all-rounder living up to its mountain goat billing.