We spent the first morning having a casual breakfast and dialing in our bikes for the day of shuttling Laguna’s finest. Despite my choice of wanting to ride a Large, Willi pulled out their updated XL 27.5 CF Race and told me to try it out for the day. He claimed the longer front end would distribute my weight over the bike better and he also wanted to show how much shorter the seat tube was for someone standing just under 6-foot tall.
Being that I’m never chasing the longest bike on the market, jumping on the XL was a big step up for me. The 18.89-in (480mm) reach was long. On the fast fire road bits I enjoyed the stability and planted feel, however when it got very steep or super tight I felt like I was trying to steer from the backseat of a limousine. There’s a trail called Back Door that abruptly ends with a steep succession of tight 90-degree turns and switchbacks. It was here that I really knew a Large would be much better for me and trends aren’t everything.
Sizing aside, the bike performed well overall. I would like more time tweaking the rear shock as a couple high speed rock gardens on Telonix had my feet floating around on the pedals. Though my time with the bike was short, I was encouraged because I was able to improve the rear suspension’s performance substantially from the first run to the end of the day. Hopefully most of my concerns with chatter can be mitigated with more time and tuning.
For our second field trip we packed up and headed to the new Sky Park Bike Park. Luckily I got on a size Large, which suited me much better. At lunch Willi jokingly referred to the bikes as machine guns at a knife fight, but I think they were more like Panzer tanks. The park is still in its infancy but still has some good trails and very fun terrain to ride, but we definitely had to work to make use of all 180mm of travel on our Fox 36 forks.
The mellower flow trails at the park would have been much better suited for a Jeffsy 29, however we did find some great testing grounds on the enduro trail and big jump line. Sky Park doesn’t have a chairlift so each lap was a self-shuttle. All the pedaling gave us plenty of time to get acclimated to the climbing performance of the Capra – an important thing if you’re going to truly make use of this bike and get out into the backcountry.
The Capra pedaled quite well for such a burly bike. With the climb switch of the shock engaged, the platform was quite stiff and helped transfer power directly to the rear wheel. With the shock open it still did a good job for a long travel, all mountain rig and kept traction extremely well over bumpy terrain.
Depending on which of the four trails we descended, I would focus on different traits of the Capra. One lap would be focused on its composure in the air while being sent off lips and slammed into corners. Frame stiffness and in-air maneuverability are impressive and it’s definitely fun in a bike park scenario, so long as the terrain warrants the travel.
When we went ‘round the back of the park and got into some natural terrain, the bike handled well. My 27.5 test bike was notably slower than Mike Kazimer’s 29er on rolling terrain but it was a real blast to lean over in some of the tight, steep catch turns. It has a playful and poppy demeanor yet also feels planted and stable when cornering aggressively. The front end feels a bit tall with its 180mm of travel, but it was welcome on the steeps as it kept me upright and focused on the trail ahead.
From our short time on two different types of terrain we can say the new Capra 27.5 has a lot of potential! I’m a bit concerned about the same issues we had with the Jeffsy, like the somewhat harsh feel on fast, square edge chatter, but was pleased that in the short tuning time I had it was improved. I’d love to spend more time tweaking the shock to get the rear end more compliant as it seems to be geared more towards bike parky performance. Landing drops, big jumps and flow trails are all right up the Capra’s alley, and rightfully so when you look at the brand and what they’re about. We hope to find the happy medium with more time on the bike.
It goes without saying that YT is doing a killer job and their pricing is incredible. The fact you can buy a top of the line bike with some of the nicest spec out there for $5,199 is pretty awesome! We’re huge fans of value and as broke mountain bikers, we can truly respect the fact that a brand is working hard to get better bikes to riders at cheaper prices.
We’re about to order up our long term test bike from YT. Would you rather see us review the 29er or 27.5? Let us know in the comments!
For more info visit; us.yt-industries.com