Forget the big-budget movie launches featuring Hollywood stars! What we want to know is does the 2022 YT Capra Core 4 29 live up to the hype?
Think of YT, and most people will automatically think of the Capra – YT’s flagship long-travel enduro bike. Originally launched in 2014, and now in its third iteration, this latest version was launched with a now trademark off the wall, big-budget, Goat Man film back in May.
Available in 29er and MX wheel specs, with dedicated frames for each variant, the new Capra also had a ‘launch edition’ bike to accompany the film, which was limited to a production run of just 100 bikes. Following on from the launch edition bike, the new Capra is available in two standard models – the Core 3 and the Core 4 – and we’ve had a Core 4 29er in for test for the past couple of months.
Based around YT’s Virtual 4 suspension system, the Capra 29 features 165mm of rear travel paired with a 170mm fork and is designed to go fast on the roughest, toughest and steepest trails you can find.
2022 YT Capra 4 29 Review – The Frame
The new Capra features a completely new and redesigned frame from the previous model and is a full carbon affair. The Core 4, and launch edition, utilise YT’s Ultra Modulus (UM) carbon while the Core 3 is made from High Modulus (HM). The UM variant is made using a higher percentage of the more exclusive UM carbon fibres. This enables YT to make a high performing frame, but lighter weight, but adds cost.
The 29er and MX frames are specifically designed for their wheel size and have individual traits for the intended purpose. YT sees the MX model as more of a park bike and so has given it shorter chainstays than the 29er version to make it more agile for playing in the park, where the 29er has longer stays for better balance, increased climbing traction and stability at speed.
One of the biggest changes to the frame is the new asymmetrical wing design. By moving to an offset ‘wing’, YT has been able to engineer the same levels of strength and stiffness into the updated frame but has now made room to fit their own ‘Thirstmaster 6000’ water bottle (that comes FOC with the bike) and most other standard size bottles. Under the top tube, there is also a set of accessory mounts so you can strap whatever tools and spares you like onto the bike too.
All cables/hoses are internally routed into the head tube and through the swing arm and feature full-length internal guides to make maintenance easier along with stopping things rattling around. The ports are also sealed with cable plugs to stop water and dirt from making their way inside and the exit ports on the seat tube have clamps to stop the cables/hoses from moving.
The down tube has a durable PA66 protector bolted on to ward off rock strikes and is also easily replaceable should the need arise. The chainstays and drive side seat stay also feature custom moulded rubber protectors, to not only protect from chain slap but also keep things nice and quiet. The drive-side chainstay also features a chain suck plate to provide further protection.
The new Capra features a flip-chip (high and low) for easy geometry adjustments and all bearings are double sealed industrial bearings and feature an additional seal to ward off water and dirt ingress and prolong their life.
2022 YT Capra 4 29 Review – Geometry & Suspension
As with pretty much all new/updated bikes that have been launched in the past year or two, the new Capra now has a steeper seat angle, slacker head angle and longer reach than its predecessor.
Designed with a ‘40% uphill, 60% downhill focus’ our size XL test bike has a 487mm reach, a 64.2° head angle in low and a 77.9° seat angle making it bang on trend for a modern enduro bike. While the new Capra doesn’t feature fully size specific chainstays, the XL and XXL are slightly longer at 443mm, compared to 438mm on the S – L sizes. The BB height sits at 349mm in low and 354mm in high.
YT has optimised the anti-squat values for pedalling performance – sitting at just over 100% at sag – and has also increased the anti-rise from the previous model for improved performance under heavy braking. The suspension curve has been designed to offer suppleness off the top and good small bump compliance, but also be progressive and supportive in the mid-stroke
2022 YT Capra 4 29 Review – Specification
The build of our Core 4 test bike didn’t really leave anything to be desired and came loaded with top-end components. Upfront you’ve got a 170mm 44mm offset Fox 38 Float Factory with the top end Grip 2 damper offering individual high and low-speed compression and rebound adjustments. This is paired with a Fox Float X2 Factory out back to deliver the 165mm of rear-end bounce.
The drivetrain is full SRAM with an X01 shifter and rear mech, Eagle cassette and a set of stiff carbon descendant crank to help get the power down. YT also uses SRAM’s Universal Derailleur Hanger, which is a nice touch to help keep things simple should you manage to bend/break one and need to get a replacement.
SRAM are also in charge of stopping with a set of top-end Code RSC brakes clamping onto big 200mm rotors both front and rear, giving tons of power and modulation when things get rowdy.
The Core 4 is rolling in a set of Crankbrothers Synthesis Enduro alloys wheels, which are shod with aggressive rubber from Maxxis. On the back is a Minion DHRII in Maxx Terra compound while up front is a super grippy Assegai Maxx Grip, with both ends benefiting from Maxxis’ tougher Exo+ casing.
Bar and stem are both taken care of by Renthal with a 30mm rise alloy Fatbar 35 held in place with a 50mm length Apex 35mm stem. Grips are a set of ODI Elite Motion V2.1 and rounding out the component package is an SDG Bel Air 3.0 saddle, sat on top of an own-brand YT Postman 170mm dropper.
All this adds up to a respectable total weight of 15.25kg / 33.62lbs and costs £4,999 including VAT, but plus shipping, import and customs taxes. This comes in at a total cost of £5849.69 delivered to your door.
2022 YT Capra 4 29 Review – Set Up
The Capra was delivered to my house by one of the customer service guys from YT while he was on his way up the Tweed to race and so arrived fully built with no spannering required.
As the bike is fully Fox equipped it was easy to get some base settings using their online guides which not only give you an idea of air pressures, but also recommended settings for rebound and compression as well. I tend to find that I end up making a few changes from these base settings but that they’re a good place to start. I ended up with 190psi in the rear shock and 90psi in the fork which gave me the 30% and 20% sag respectively that I was looking for, with knobs clicked to Fox’s recommended settings.
After the first couple of rides, I wasn’t completely happy with how the bike felt. I ended up knocking off a click or so of high speed and low compression on the fork and speeding up the low-speed rebound. I also sped up the rebound on the shock slightly, and those changes got the bike feeling great.
The only other thing I swapped during the test period was the stem. While the stock 50mm stem was OK, I swapped it out for a 35mm Burgtec one as I prefer the feel of a shorter stem. For the period of the test, I kept the bike in the low setting.
Riding the 2022 YT Capra 4 29 – Climbing
I’m around 183cm tall which puts me pretty much right at the top of YT’s recommended height for a size L and right at the bottom for the size XL. I decided to opt for the XL as the geo was similar to a few of the bikes that I’d ridden recently and that had fitted well, yet were classed as large by other brands.
Hopping on the Capra for the first time, the seated position feels nice and neutral with the steep seat angle putting you in a good central position when seated. Coupled with the longish front end, this makes for a comfortable place to sit and spin when cruising to the trails.
No 165mm travel enduro bike is going to win medals going uphill, but the Capra does a decent job of getting you to the top in a fairly efficient manner. It’s not the sprightliest climber, and I did find myself using the compression switch on some longer, more drawn out climbs, but generally, it’s on par with a lot of bikes in its class and gets you to the top in a fuss-free manner.
On steeper, looser climbs, the balanced front and rear offer plenty of grip for winching away, keeping traction on the rear tyre. This allows you to stay seated, and in the middle of the bike and just use shifts in body weight to get up and over trail obstacles.
Riding the 2022 YT Capra 4 29 – Descending
As YT openly advertises, the Capra is biased towards descending and once you get a bit of gravity on your side this becomes apparent. I’ve tested the Capra on a variety of trails from fast and chunky rocky tracks, to steep slithery enduro tracks and even a couple of trips to the bike park, and it’s happy to do it all. But it’s happiest when going fast, with the big wheels and sorted suspension letting you carry speed and charge through the rough stuff.
On mellower rolling terrain, it picks up speed well, and you’re soon up to speed. The suspension does an amazing job soaking up small bumps and removing low-frequency trail chatter, while still remaining supportive in the mid-stroke for pumping downslopes and popping small gaps. That suppleness off the top adds grip on off-camber and rooty sections, giving you the confidence to take high lines and trust the grip.
Big hits are dealt with without issue, and the same can be said for drops and jumps. The new Capra handles them all, with no harsh bottom outs or getting bucked off line. And it really likes to go fast in the rough.. Get off the brakes and let it run and it feels properly quick and composed, smashing through big rocky tracks, or loading the rear end and hopping over things.
When things steepen up, the balanced front and rear end let you stay centred on the bike, adding grip and control to the tyres, letting you concentrate on braking points and hitting turns, rather than hanging off the bag and slithering around. And that central position also works well in turns, whether going for an inside line or railing the outside, you can stay in the middle of the bike and just use shifts in weight to add grip or break the back end out.
Things That Could Be Improved:
- Longer dropper – on a bike of this type, and size XL, a 170mm dropper just doesn’t cut it, and I found myself slamming it to get it out the way for technical descents
- Bottle cage – while it’s great that you can now fit a bottle in the frame the cage needs some work. I lost two bottle in two rides with the one that is supplied
- Stem length – I’m nitpicking now but a choice of stem length would be nice
Things I Loved:
- Amazing spec
- Properly fast in the rough
- Balanced feel
Riding the 2022 YT Capra 4 29 Review – Overall
All cards on the table, for the first couple of rides I didn’t really ‘gel’ with the Capra, finding it a bit unresponsive and muted. Once I’d spent a bit of time getting the suspension set up how I wanted it though that completely changed.
It climbs well enough for a bike of this category, but point it down a proper trail and it’s a different beast. The suspension is supple yet supportive and the geometry lets you point it down anything you want with confidence. Add to this a pretty amazing price for the spec and it’s a really appealing package.
If you’re looking for a true trail bike then YT offers other bikes that would probably be better suited, but if you’re looking for a bike that goes properly fast in the rough, and will get you down pretty much anything, then the Capra could well be for you.
|Product:||Capra Core 4 29|
|Tested:||by Ross for 2 Months|