YT CAPRA UNCAGED 6 REVIEW – A NO-COMPROMISE ENDURO MACHINE
Ready for liftoff
YT was founded in 2007 with the goal of making progressive mountain bikes more accessible to “young and talented” riders. Today, the brand is known for making properly “sick” mountain bikes for riders of all ages and skills, all with the mantra to “live uncaged,” to remove boundaries and conventions, and do things in a better way. This new Capra Uncaged 6 was built with this as a guiding principle.
The Capra is YT’s enduro bike and has been in its lineup since 2014, a time when dedicated enduro bikes were rare. The bike helped to define the category and gained a reputation as a progressive bike with great capabilities. The newest version of the Capra is an evolution of that original bike and has features and geometry that have evolved with the sport.
The Capra Uncaged 6 features a full-carbon frame with a Horst-link suspension design and 165mm of travel. The design has an asymmetrical wing in the center of the front triangle for improved stiffness and improved clearance for a water bottle. The geometry is updated with a slightly steeper, almost 78-degree seat angle, longer yet shortish 467mm reach (size large), and slacker 64-degree head angle. The frame features a flip chip in the rear triangle for two different low and high geometry settings with a small .3-degree difference. The new Capra also features size-specific rear ends. Small through large frame sizes have a rear triangle with a 438mm chainstay, while the XL and XXL sizes receive a proportionally longer 443mm setup. The frame also features a press-fit bottom bracket, internal cable routing, and very nice TPE protectors on the downtube, seatstays, and chainstays to protect paint and carbon.
This particular model Capra has no excuses when it comes to componentry or technology—unless your credit card limit is less “uncaged” than the price tag. The bike is available with less expensive build kits, but the Uncaged version was meant to remove all boundaries between you and the best-riding bike possible with top-of-the-line components. The SRAM X01 AXS drivetrain offers performance that is the current benchmark for electronic shifting. The CrankBrothers Synthesis wheels feature tuned front and rear rim profiles. The rear rim is wider and stiffer, while the front is slightly narrower and more compliant. On the trail, they feel very nicely balanced. Nice touches include the Renthal stem and handlebar, which is another “benchmark performance” component in our book.
Larger sizes of the Capra come with larger dropper posts. For riders between sizes, this could leave the post at the absolute minimum insertion and still without enough drop to fully get out of the way. Our 6-foot-plus riders would have preferred the XL with a full 200mm-drop post.
The Capra uses a four-bar, Horst-link suspension design they call the V4L. It has 165mm of travel in the rear and 170mm in the fork with RockShox’s electronically activated Flight Attendant system. See page 50 for a full breakdown on this exciting technology. The Capra’s anti-squat and anti-rise characteristics have been refined to improve pedaling efficiency. The design also creates an improved axle path with a rearward orientation in the first part of the stroke to improve roll-over capabilities. The suspension is built to provide sensitivity off the top, solid mid-stroke support, and enough progressiveness at the end to control big hits and prevent bottoming.
Since this is an enduro race bike, climbing prowess is not as important as descending speed, but the bike must still be able to ascend without a chairlift. The Capra delivers a reasonably lightweight package and quite well-supported suspension feel. With Flight Attendant handling the damper controls, you always feel like you’re in the correct mode when the trail points uphill. This is nice for fire roads, but it’s exceptional on rolling terrain. Having the shock and fork switches controlled automatically means the shock is always firm when you want it to be, even if the climb is short. On technical climbs, the Flight Attendant knows to keep the suspension in the mid-firm mode for a sweet spot feel with traction and pedaling efficiency.
The YT is a responsive bike with a suspension that rewards riders on technical terrain and can handle the worst of it when things go awry. The progressive suspension feel is light off the top of the stroke and gives the bike a supple feel on chatter. The middle of the stroke is well-controlled and predictable on rough terrain. The end of the stroke firms on big impacts to resist bottoming. This is the suspension feel we’ve come to know and enjoy with most YT bikes. Although previous generations of the bike were so progressive that less aggressive riders had a hard time using full travel, the new Capra suspension feels quite capable all around and has a more usable feel throughout the shock’s travel.
The travel and resposive geometry work together to unleash an enduro bike that’s unquestionably fast over rough terrain but shorter and steeper feeling geometry compared to other enduro bikes in teh category can limit confidence when things get ultra steep and loose. Descending on the Capra is plenty forgiving, but not what we’d call overly plush. The new-school geometry feels balanced. The Flight Attendant system makes sure you’re in the open mode for descents and works quickly as soon as it senses things getting technical.
WARRANTY AND BATTERY WOES
Our Flight Attendant fork module stopped working twice during our test. The first incident was after removing the battery for charging. When we replaced it, the fork needed a firmware update. The second time was a similar cause, but the fork module didn’t respond with a fresh battery or even a hard reset of the fork sensor or anything we could do on the map. After a call to SRAM customer service, the Flight Attendant module had to be replaced under warranty. The process left us without a working bike for several weeks while the part was out of stock, but eventually the part was delivered to our home. At least we didn’t have to send anything back. When the module came, we went through the setup procedure the night before a big ride, only to discover the crank sensor’s AAA battery had gone dead sometime during the weeks the fork was out of service. Undeterred, we put a fresh alkaline in and hoped that would be the end of the issue. Unfortunately, the crank sensor requires a high-output lithium battery, something we couldn’t procure the night before a big ride. Plans changed, and our YT test period got another day short so we could go out and try to find a battery in stock the next day.
Even when things are going perfectly with this suite of sensors and motors, there are seven batteries to keep charged. For the four rechargeable ones, it’s a multi-step process if you only have one SRAM charger. You’re at the mercy of the lifespan on the disposable ones and should learn from our mistakes. Always have fresh spares in the toolbox. With a non-functioning electronic system, the suspension defaults to the open setting and the bike is still ridable; however, “uncharged” is a less desirable experience than “uncaged.”
This bike made our testers into faster riders. The batteries and sensors gave us some headaches but were worth the trouble when they were working properly. They made the on-bike experience easier and allowed us to unlock more of the amazing potential in the suspension performance.
The Capra Unchained 6 is on our short list of recommendations for anybody looking for a nimble, race-ready enduro bike. The Capra would also suit the needs of any aggressive trail rider looking for all the bells and whistles in a neat and tidy, high-performance package. The frame is a well-executed design with all the modern features we could hope for. The rest of the bike is also a notably good value, considering there’s no room left for upgrades on anything.
WHEEL SIZE: 29″
SUSPENSION: 170mm (front), 165mm (rear)
YT CAPRA UNCAGED 6
Weight: 32.25 pounds
Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL, XXL
Frame tested: Full carbon, Horst link (165mm travel)
Shock: RockShox SuperDeluxe Ultimate Flight Attendant
Fork: RockShox ZEB Ultimate Flight Attendant
Wheelset: Crankbrothers Synthesis Enduro
Tires: Maxxis Assegai Max Grip, DHRII MaxTerra (29” x 2.5/4WT )
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb AXS (150mm travel)
Saddle: SDG Bel Air 3.0
Handlebar: Renthal FatBar carbon 35 (20mm rise, 800mm)
Stem: Renthal Apex 35 (6º rise, 50mm)
Grips: ODI Elite Motion V2.1
Headset: Cane Creek HellBender 70
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
Rotors: SRAM CenterLine (6-bolt, 200mm)
Rear derailleur: SRAM X01 AXS
Shifters: SRAM AXS Rocker pedal
Crankset: SRAM X01 Flight Attendant
Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB
Cassette: SRAM X01 12-speed, 10-52T
Chain: SRAM X01
Chainrings: SRAM 32-tooth
Head tube angle: 64.2–64.5°
Reach: 467mm (18.4”)
Stack: 634mm (25”)
Effective seat tube angle: 77.6-77.9°
Bottom bracket height: 349-354mm (13.7-13.9”)