The YT brand is the brainchild of Markus Flossmann, a rider who wanted to build affordable gravity bikes for young talent (YT—get it?). Many young riders he knew were shredding on cheapo bikes, and, as Markus puts it, “popping bearings like Chinese fireworks.” That was the scene in 2006 when the company was founded. Markus looked at the situation and decided he could do better, but not without overhauling the model for delivering bikes. YT is a direct-to-consumer brand, which means that when you buy a YT online, it’s delivered right to your door. There are no middlemen: it’s just you, your wallet, and the expertise of the YT designers. YT’s products are tested and trusted by some of the most advanced riders on the planet, most notably Cam Zink and Andreu Lacondeguy, so we know these bikes can hold up to their abuse—and we do mean abuse—but we wanted to see if they could hold up to a good old Mountain Bike Action thrashing. This is the first YT bike we’ve ever tested in the magazine. The great thing is that if you like what we have to say, you can head to YT’s website and have a bike waiting at your doorstep in as much time as it takes the UPS man to finish his sandwich and get on with the delivery.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
YT builds bikes for gravity enthusiasts. In fact, the Capra is the shortest-travel full-suspension model YT offers, with 165 millimeters of travel. These bikes are built for riders looking for adrenaline-fueled descents, but the Capra is light enough to pedal back to the top of the hill, so it would also work well as an aggressive all-mountain rig or enduro race bike. The carbon fiber version tested here is a bit lighter, but riders looking to save some cash should consider the aluminum Capra.
Enduro approved: The relatively lightweight frame and components make the Capra a seriously good option for any enduro racer. The playful nature of the bike also makes for a bike that’s seriously fun to ride. Whether on the racetrack or out for a burly trail ride, the Capra has your back.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The Capra CF is YT’s top-shelf carbon fiber enduro bike. It has a carbon front triangle and seatstay and a welded aluminum chainstay. It is available with several different build kits.
Modern feel: The long front center allows the Capra to be run with what is quickly becoming the industry standard cockpit: wide bars and a shorty stem.
Quality control: The Capra is fully carbon fiber with the exception of the chainstay and the forged aluminum rocker pictured here. The suspension rides on cartridge bearings throughout.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
YT sells directly to riders, so there are significant cost savings. You’re essentially cutting the middleman out of the equation, which means the bike will be blinged-out with the nicest components for the money. We can’t think of too many other brands that can deliver a fully X0-equipped carbon bike for $4650. The only downside is that you’re on your own for maintenance. Don’t expect a bike shop to do you any favors when it’s time for a tune-up. You will pay top dollar for service. If you’re handy with a wrench and are looking for a heck of a good deal on a serious bike, however, a YT might be right up your alley.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
The build: Since YT is a direct-to-consumer brand, the final build is in the hands of the rider. While YT takes much of the guesswork out of the equation by delivering the bike 95 percent assembled, that last 5 percent can make or break the ride quality of the bike. If you plan to leave this critical step to a local shop, expect to pay a premium for the labor. Our test bike came with all the drivetrain, suspension and brake components installed. All we really had to do was bolt on the bars and stem, throw the wheels on, pump up the tires, and go through the standard suspension setup procedure. Thanks to the relatively simple build, most mechanically inclined riders can expect to be on the trail in less than an hour.
Six inches, all business: The four-bar linkage system delivers 165 millimeters of travel.
Setting the suspension: Our YT came equipped with a RockShox Pike RCT3 and Monarch Plus shock, both of which are very simple to set up with just a shock pump. We set our bike to a matched 30-percent sag front and rear and took to the dirt.
Moving out: The Capra is an aggressive bike, no doubt about it. From the low and slack angles to the aggressively oversized carbon tubes and beefy linkage, it’s easy to tell this bike is built to handle the abuse only a young ripper can dish out.
The secret sauce: Sub-17-inch chainstays make this bike nimble in the tightest of terrain. They also make for a flickable bike that begs the rider to take the fun lines rather than the straight ones.
Pedaling: The four-bar Horst-style linkage has a fairly open feel near the top end of the stroke, which tends to sit at sag or even a touch below under pedaling efforts. Thankfully, the Monarch shock has an easy-to-access pedaling platform switch that not only firms the suspension but also shifts rider weight slightly forward to put the rider in a more efficient pedaling position. Plan to use this adjustment often.
Climbing: The weight of the YT is reasonable for an enduro bike, and with the efficiency gained when the Climb mode on the shock is engaged, this bike will float to the top of any hill, provided you have the energy to put into the pedals. On short and technical climbs, the active suspension eats the chunder and keeps the rear wheel planted, even over rough terrain and rock shelfs.
Big and burly: The front triangle is built to last with tons of beefy material, especially in the head tube, top tube, and downtube. This makes for a bike that has no problems in the stiffness department.
Cornering: The relatively short chainstays make this bike nimble, especially considering the travel. The slackish geometry keeps the front end stable and tracking well through high-speed sections, and the sub-17-inch chainstays keep the rear wheel feeling tucked right up underneath the rider, which makes technical and slower-speed turns and switchbacks a breeze.
Descending: The Capra’s suspension feels like a true aggressive descender’s choice. The bike has an exceptionally progressive linkage, meaning the top end is active and plush, and, as the rider pushes through the travel, the feeling gets progressively firmer. The suspension is supple on small-bump chatter but also does an excellent job controlling the end of the stoke for big hits, drops and even missed landings on big jumps. With proper setup, the bike has a nicely balanced feel, although less aggressive riders may find it difficult to hit the end of the stroke, even with a relatively soft suspension setup.
Slopestyle approved too: With guys like slopestyle legends Cam Zink and Andreu Lecondeguy giving you design feedback, you’re going to need a bike capable of holding up to this kind of abuse. This “Young Talent” Capra is a young ripper’s dream come true.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
This bike’s super-aggressive spring curve requires some careful setup. We experimented with as low as 20–25-percent sag and felt the bike was much too harsh. Likewise, with much more than 30- or 35-percent sag, the top end of the stroke becomes too soft and won’t support rider weight well enough. A little tinkering here will pay big dividends.
Certainly the overall weight of the Capra could be brought down with a few different component choices, but in the under-$5000 category, we’ve seen heavier bikes with a much lower-grade spec than this. We experienced a torn sidewall during our testing, which wasn’t the bike’s fault; however, riders looking to truly shred this bike would be better served with a slightly meatier sidewall than the stock High Roller 2s offer.
The Capra is confidence-inspiring and tracks quite well when pointed downhill, making it feel a little like the enduro bike that never grew up into a full-fledged downhill sled. It will definitely make it to the top of the hill with a strong and fit rider at the controls. The price, aesthetics and overall build quality are right on par with other top-notch choices in the enduro category, although you’d better be handy with a wrench or you’re in for some hefty service bills at your local shop. This is no beginner’s enduro bike; it’s designed to support the talent of a young gun who can push the bike harder than other bikes in this category.
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