YT CAPRA MK3 CORE 4 29 REVIEW

THE GOAT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

Review by Robert Johnston | Photos by Adam Lievesley

YT Industries has had the Capra (named after the animal Genus that contains various mountain goat species) in their lineup since 2014, and it’s safe to say it’s been a bit of a hit. Since that first iteration 8 years ago things have moved on, and enduro bikes are being pushed harder than ever both up and down the hill. YT has recently released the third generation of their Capra, available in both 29” and mixed wheel setups, featuring a similar silhouette to the outgoing MK2 but with some key updates they hope to return it to the top end of the enduro bike market.

UK-based Tech Editor Robert was stoked to get his hands on the 29er YT Capra MK3 and put it to the test across the rowdiest terrain the UK has to offer. The bike and rider came out the other side in one piece, but how did it perform in the process? Read our YT Capra MK3 review to find out.

QUICK HITS

165mm Horst Link Suspension
HTA 64.2 (low)
STA 77.6 (effective)
REACH 487mm (X-Large)

Price Range:
£3,999 /$4,499 /€4,499-

£7,799 /$9,499 /€8,999
Website: YT-industries.com

THE LAB
YT Industries’ 3rd generation Capra is being offered in a carbon fiber frame only, with options for a full 29” or MX (Mullet) wheel setup with dedicated frames for each. A 170mm travel, 38mm stanchion fork leads the way on top of the 29” front wheels and is paired with 170mm rear travel on the MX version or 165mm on the 29er. Though the looks are quite similar to the outgoing Capra MK2 and it shares the same V4L Horst Link suspension design, this is a whole new bike with updated geometry, kinematics and features.

YT Capra MK3 Core 4 29 Beauty Shot

YT makes two levels of carbon fiber frame, which differ in the carbon fiber materials used. The Ultra modulus frame is the lighter of the two and comes equipped on the top-end Uncaged 6 build and the Core 4 model tested. Dropping down to the Core 3 model, you receive the slightly heavier but equally strong and stiff High modulus frame, so aside from a slight loss of agility you should be supported for all the same hard charging as the “premium” layup ultra-mod frame.

The YT Capra MK3 is available in 5 frame sizes – S-XXL – in both wheel size options, to fit riders from 5’1”-6’8” (150cm-200cm). The seat tube lengths are low across the board and insertion depths are relatively long, allowing riders to size up or down according to their preferences. At 6’2” (189cm) I opted to ride the XL, though with 20mm increments in reach between each size I could have gone up or down to suit more specific terrain.

Plus the geometry on this bike can handle the toughest enduro and bike park tracks, without going too far into the limo-spec wheelbase territory. The 29” and MX versions have their own specific geometries but are typically within 0.5 degrees or 5mm for each measurement. Both models feature a flip chip to raise and lower the bb and modify the head and seat tube angles in the process, but we reckon the vast majority will opt to run the Capra in the low mode full-time as it’s still a pleasant machine to pedal.

YT Capra MK3 Core 4 29 Rear Shock

The 29” bike in the low flip chip setting sports a 64.2° head angle that is paired with a 77.6° effective seat tube angle. The XL has a 487mm reach, 643mm stack and 470mm seat tube, and all sizes have a bb drop of 27mm below the axles. Chainstays on the XL and XXL are 443mm, dropping down to 438mm on the smaller sizes. The resulting wheelbase on the XL is 1277mm, which is becoming quite average for an XL size of this kind of bike.

YT reworked their frame construction to allow for a water bottle in the mainframe, opting for an asymmetric design that allows for a good-sized water bottle in a side-loading cage. They’ve made these changes without removing the identity of the bike – there’s no mistaking this is a Capra. The top tube has rivets added for fixing a spare tube or tool strap, there’s a Sram UDH, boost rear end, integrated ZeroStack headset and PF92 BB. YT added an extra seal to the frame pivots to help keep crud and water out, refined their frame protection with a ribbed chainstay guard and bolt-on downtube guard, and increased heel clearance to keep rub to a minimum.

YT Capra MK3 Core 4 29 Rear Triangle

Suspension Analysis
YT continues to use their signature Virtual Four Link (V4L), Horst Link suspension design, but has added a clevis to drive the rear end of the shock and free up some space in the front triangle for the water bottle.

Anti-squat has been increased to around 100% at sag in all cogs and falls throughout the travel to minimize the effects of chain tension under hard compression instances. This should give relatively firm pedaling characteristics when seated, but it will be susceptible to some pedal induced bob when standing up and mashing. The lockout lever on the Float X2 shock is easily accessible, so riders may still benefit from using it on smoother climbs or harder pedaling efforts.

Anti-rise sees a slight increase over previous YT Capra generations too, sitting at around 70% at sag and falling off deeper into the travel to allow for better suspension recovery when braking through harsh compressions.

The leverage ratio progression has been lowered slightly from the outgoing model, but still sits at a high 33% for the overall stroke on the 165mm travel 29” frame. This should give enough support to resist bottom outs on high volume air shocks as well as offering coil shock compatibility without the need for a progressive spring.

The MX version is largely similar in the characteristics of its 170mm travel rear end, save for some increased progression to handle the biggest hits better since it’s targeted as the more bikepark-friendly machine.

YT Capra MK3 Core 4 29

Build Options
The £3,999 /$4,499 /€4,499 Core 3 build is the entry level available in the new Capra just now, but certainly still a capable build that forgoes a little adjustment, with an increased weight. Above the Core 4 tested is the bling-spec Uncaged 6 version, using the ultra-modulus frame equipped with the RockShox Flight Attendant suspension; AXS gearing and Reverb dropper; and a set of carbon fiber Crank Brothers Synthesis wheels to attain a suitably high £7,799 /$9,499 /€8,999 price tag.

The £4,999/$5,999/€5,999 Core 4 build tested features a purposeful and aggressive component spec that’s designed to withstand the rigors of the rowdiest enduro racing and bike park ripping. You get the Kashima coated and highly adjustable Fox 38 and Float X2 factory suspension package to provide the important control at race speed. There’s a full XO1 Eagle drivetrain with 10-52t cassette and a Descendant carbon crank. Braking power is provided by Sram Code RSCs with dual 200mm rotors. The wheels are Crank Brothers’ excellent Synthesis Enduro Alloy I9, which are wrapped in a EXO+ casing Maxxis Assegai MaxxGrip (F) and DHR2 MaxxTerra (R) combination. The cockpit is supplied by Renthal in the form of their aluminum Fatbar and Apex stem combination, and seating is provided by the YT Postman dropper post and SDG Bel Air III. The XL bike tested tipped my scales at 34.2 pounds when all was said and done. Customers can choose between the “Black Magic” colorway tested, or a “Nox Blue” alternative for a brighter look, in both the 29” and MX wheel versions.

YT Capra MK3 Core 4 29 Action

THE DIRT
I met YT’s Marketing Coordinator for the UK, James Dart, at Bikepark Wales to pick up the YT Capra MK3 and help to get it set up. YT has been making moves to improve their customer experience around the world, with the creation of numerous brick and mortar locations they call the YT Mill. In these locations you can view the range of bikes, speak with some friendly and knowledgeable staff to learn more, and demo some of their machines to figure out if they’re the bike for you. They also offer a setup service similar to what I received, where customers can collect their bikes and get the fit and suspension dialed in with the help of the YT Mill staff. This kind of support is what the direct-to-consumer model has typically lacked, and so YT’s push to improve their service in this way is great to see. If every customer gets the same treatment as I did, then I can’t see how anyone could walk (or ride) away unhappy. But how did the well set up Capra fare out on the trail?

I gave the Capra MK3 the most varied riding of any test bike, as its test period coincided with a UK-wide road trip where I visited many of the best spots you can ride a mountain bike. Big bike park sends, steep and rooty tech and mellower flow trails were all on the menu for the Capra, and it didn’t really skip a beat.

YT says the 29er Capra MK3 has a mentality of “40% Uphill, 60% Downhill, 100% Speed”. So, if the downhill performance is to be any good, then the uphill better be reasonable too. Thankfully they’ve done a good job with the pedaling characteristics of the Capra MK3, in part due to the steepened seat tube, and partly due to the updated kinematics. Make no mistakes, it’s a fairly heavy bike shod with grippy rubber, and it’s not rock solid under power, but it certainly doesn’t shy away from a big day in the saddle or a steep and tech climb. When seated the balance of support and grip is quite equal, with only a small hint of bobbing that doesn’t feel to be robbing you of too many watts, but enough “give” to help to conform to the edges of a tech climb and keep you free of excessive jarring. When you stand up and mash the pedals you do get a bit more movement out of it, but even in harder gears on the cassette it doesn’t lead to a sluggish feeling machine, and I wouldn’t hesitate to ride it in an enduro race setting. You’ll still benefit from making use of the easily accessible climb switch on the Float X2 if you’re on a smooth and steep climb, but if you were to swap the shock for a unit without the option, I don’t think you’d suffer.

YT Capra MK3 Core 4 29 Action

On the descents the Capra MK3 finds an impressive middle ground of stability and agility that works great across the full spectrum of terrain. With the size XL reach sitting on the conservative side at 487mm, the head angle not dipping into the ultra-slack realm and a mid-length rear end, the geometry is well balanced to navigate the slightly tighter and more technical terrain you’ll typically find in an enduro race, without giving up much confidence when holding it wide open in straighter and faster terrain. The move to add 5mm to the chainstay length on the largest two sizes appears to have paid dividends here, with a good balance of front wheel weighting without robbing too much from the ability to manual and snap the back end round a tight turn. The bike was in the low flip chip setting when the test started, and that’s where it remained for the entire test duration. The Capra MK3 demanded some gnarly terrain, and that’s what I gave it, so the higher position was effectively obsolete. That said, it’s nice to have the option if it’s the only bike in your stable, and it would undoubtedly make it handle better for mellower or tighter trails and the most tech climbs.

Similar to the geometry, the suspension feel finds a great middle ground between the suppleness and support that lets you truck through the rough with minimal feedback, without robbing the bike of too much pop. Hitting turns flat out – a particular strong suit of the Capra MK3’s relatively stiff construction – the rear end gives you a good platform to drive through and maintain the weight balance between the wheels. When it comes to the hard landings on the big bike park hits, the rear end has retained enough progression to avoid harsh bottom-out instances on nearly any size of hit with the stock volume reducer setup. I’d perhaps look to remove a spacer to produce a more linear response if I was riding natural terrain exclusively, but the stock setup provides a good balance. The Fox 38 up front was supplied with 2 volume spacers which allowed the end of the travel to be found all too often, but the addition of a third put things into a comfortable place that begged for more.

YT Capra MK3 Core 4 29 Action

This stout frame and the 38mm fork up front combine to give a reassuringly sturdy base that inspires confidence to push hard through rowdy terrain, with the only real concession to this stiff and sturdy notion being the more compliant Crank Brothers Synthesis Enduro Alloy front wheel. The Capra MK3 is certainly not an uncomfortable bike to ride thanks to the excellent supple action of the Fox suspension combo, but it errs towards the more feedback-rich end of the spectrum. I found myself impressed time after time by the composure of the Capra through repeated hard hits, where it recovers quickly and avoids the sensation of wallowing that could lead to discomfort or nervousness. That said, the square edges are not cushioned in the same way as the modern crop of high pivot bump eaters, so a slightly more delicate approach will benefit through particularly rocky and rough terrain.

The new Capra MK3 ran impressively quiet except for some chain noise within the upper chain guide on the harder hits, with no signs of annoying cable rattle or so much as the slightest squeak or creak after many filthy rides. Over the course of testing, the frame remained tight, with the pivots requiring 1/8th of a turn maximum to maintain their specified torque levels. This is especially impressive given the number of high frequency braking bumps and heavy hits the bike endured during this time – it’s clear YT has put together a quality product. Frame protection in all the key areas has ensured it looks relatively fresh after all this abuse, too.

The Core 4 spec list gave me no concerns prior to testing aside from the EXO+ tire casings and proved to function excellently throughout the test period. The Code RSC brakes were trouble free, offering enough power to slow my 205lb (95kg) mass down in every situation with impressive modulation to boot. The wheelset was flawless aside from a couple of minor dents in the rear rim from early in the test, no doubt a result of the relatively flimsy EXO+ casing tires. Though the tires were flimsy, they made me eat my words and survived all the abuse of the test period. That said, if I was racing the bike in rocky terrain or on a big pedal mission where a puncture could spell a very long walk home, I’d look to equip it with something burlier for peace of mind. YT have now firmly pushed themselves out of the hyper-value category, instead focusing on offering a higher quality overall product, but it’s safe to say you’re getting reasonable value from the Core 4 build when you consider its performance.

YT Capra MK3 Core 4 29 Action

The Wolf’s Last Word

YT Industries has knocked the ball out of the park with the new Capra MK3 in my eyes. With a great balance of all the desirable handling traits, quality construction, a water bottle cage, and all the fine details catered for, I’d have a very hard time not recommending the MK3 Capra to any enduro or bike park rider. What do you think about the YT Capra MK3? We would love to hear your YT Capra MK3 review below.

Price: £4,999/$5,999/€5,999
Weight: 34.2lbs (XL, no pedals)
Website: YT-industries.com

VISIT YT INDUSTRIES TO GET YOURS!

YT CAPRA MK3 CORE 4 SPECS

CHASSIS
Frame: Ultra Mod Carbon; 165mm
Fork: Fox 38 Float, Factory, Fit Grip 2, Boost
Shock: Fox Float X2, Factory, 230x65mm

COCKPIT
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC, 200F/200R Centreline rotors
Handlebar: Renthal Fatbar Alloy, 30 x 800 mm, 35mm
Headset: Acros ZeroStack
Saddle: SDG Bel Air 3.0, CrMo
Seatpost: YT Postman, 31.6 x 170mm
Shifter: SRAM XO1 Eagle; 12s
Stem: Renthal Apex, 35 x 50mm

WHEELS
Wheelset: Crank Brothers Synthesis Enduro Alloy I9, 110/148
Front tire: MAXXIS Assegai MaxxGrip EXO+, 29″ x 2.5″
Rear tire: MAXXIS DHR2 MaxxTerra EXO+, 29″ x 2.4″

DRIVETRAIN
Bottom Bracket: SRAM Dub GXP PF92
Cassette: SRAM XG 1295; 10-52T
Cranks: SRAM Descendant Carbon, Boost, DUB, 32T, 170mm
Derailleur: SRAM XO1 Eagle; 12s

YT Capra MK3 Core 4 29

We Dig

Reasonable pedaling
Bike park ripping
Reasonable sensitivity
Balanced handling traits

We Don’t

Not the most plow friendly
Could be more efficient
EXO+ tire spec

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