YT Capra Core 2

YT Capra Core 2 review: doing it for the lolz

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After the carbon launch model, then the aluminium Uncaged version, here is the aluminium YT Capra Core 2. If you’ve been able to wait this long for a Capra around the £3k mark, has your patience been rewarded?

  • Brand: YT Industries
  • Product: Capra Core 2
  • From: yt-industries.com
  • Price: £3,199
  • Tested by: Benji for 1 day
YT Capra Core 2 (pic: Isac Paddock)

Three things I liked

  • Fun handling mountain bike
  • Decent wheelset
  • Wide range of sag happiness

Three things I’d change

  • Handlebar rather low
  • Longer dropper would be nice
  • Some won’t like dealing with Direct Sales
I love welds (pic: Isac Paddock)

The Capra hopefully needs no introduction. Which is just as well, seeing as this is now the third incarnation of the ‘new’ Capra. We’re running out ways to say the same thing thrice.

Nutshelled: the Capra is a 165/170mm travel mountain bike.

I’m not personally sure whether I’d be happy to call the Capra an enduro bike these days. Enduro bikes have got BIG. Not just big in travel (170mm+) but big in wheelbase and reach. The Capra feels less of a race-tape race-bike and more of a funtime fling. More about that later.

Essentially, this Core Capra has the same geometry, frame details and suspension kinematic as the carbon Capra that came out last year and the alloy Uncaged Capra models that followed.

The Capra Core 2 comes in two builds: full 29er or MX mullet. The rear travel of the 29er is 165mm, the MX mullet machine kicks out 170mm of rear bounce.

As well as having shorter chainstays are other geometry tweaks, the MX version has more progressive tail end to its suspension stroke. But it’s the full 29er Capra we’re talking about here.

Side-on (pic: Isac Paddock)

Geometry

Regardless of frame material or wheel size, all the new Capra bikes sport steepened seat angles, slackened head angles and increased reach figures compared the previous generation Capra. You can check out the geometry chart for yourself below.

YT Capra Core 29 geometry

Depending how you measure your enduro onions, the Capra isn’t pushing any boundaries here. Honestly though, those numbers look a whole bundle of fun.

And the geometry arguably suits a whole load more people’s playtime than the supposedly more up-to-date super-enduro sleds with massive wheelbases and ultra progressive suspension curves, that can often feel like trying to wrestle a bedframe down a hillside unless you’re willing/able to send it at 100mph.

Spec

If you scroll down to the end of this review, you can also see for yourself the full spec sheet. After all, that’s one of the big things about buying from a direct sales brand isn’t it? Bang for buck for a boxed up bike.

You can make your own value assessments but in my opinion this is a very good value bicycle. There’s no obvious or significant penny pinching choices. Nor has there been budget blown on needlessly la-di-da items. Everything on this bike works and nothing is over-featured with stuff you’ll never adjust or appreciate.

For me, the most relevant spec highlights are the Fox 38 fork and the Crankbrothers wheelset. Everything elso on the spec sheet is fine, but it’s these two items that really have a say in how the bike actually rides. And swapping out either a suspension fork or a wheelset is a costly affair, so it really really matters here.

If it were me, and it is I’m afraid, I’d probably change a couple of cockpit bits straight away. The grips are far too hard for my dainty paws. I like some squidge. The bars are rather low too (although I am arguably borderline to be on this L size).

For once, I wasn’t overly bothered by the oh-so-2012 50mm stem, again possibly because the L size Capra is pretty short on reach (467mm).

The gears worked. The brakes were good. YT’s own dropper post is decent. I get on okay with SDG saddles. The ‘MaxxisegaiR II’ tyre combo is a popular one and with good reason. It works.

The Fox Float X Performance rear shock is a good unit. Its position on the Capra is really handily placed for on-the-fly tweaking of rebound, or using the little blue Firm lever for road climb bashing.

I do quite like to twiddle my knobs during rides. It’s just fun. Most people no doubt just set and forget but I quite being able to dial on/off some rebound if I know what sort of terrain is coming up. Dial it off for roots. Dial it up for berms. That sort of thing.

I get a bit saddened when I have to ride bikes that have inaccessible shocks hidden somewhere near my ankles. Similarly I like the positive action of the adjusters on the Fox Float X. Easy to feel/hear when a click has occurred. No tools required either.

I’m also a big fan of little blue levers.

Trail slinging (pic: Isac Paddock)

How the YT Capra Core 2 rides

To get straight to the freaking point, the Capra Core is a fun and efficient little bike. I say ‘little bike’. It’s not exactly shy on suspension capability with 170/165mm on tap. Yet it doesn’t feel like you’re lugging excess baggage around.

I’m a big believer in the relative unimportance of bike weight. Bike weight really doesn’t matter very much once you’ve done two and three pedal strokes from a standing start. Once you’re actually riding-riding, it’s body position and suspension response that matters.

And in both these regards, the Capra is great. The seat angle is steep enough. The suspension is not stiff-as-a-board skittish when pedalling or anything. It feels like an eraser rather than a piece of wood. It’ll move if you stand up and heave around like a tool but if you JRA (just ride along) it’s a great balance of grip, feel and propulsion.

It reminds me of the good ol’ days of noughties All Mountain. If in 2022, XC bikes can have 20mm more than they used (now 120 from 100mm), then the Capra rides a bit like an All Mountain bike with 30mm more travel (now 170 from 140mm).

Why is the Capra not a 2022 Trail Bike? Perhaps surprisingly it’s not really much to do with how much travel it has. I mainly think that the Capra is just a tad too short (reach and chainstay) to be an effective trail bike choice.

Booting it (pic: Isac Paddock)

The Capra clearly prefers its gradients steep and its bends tight. It’s not a high speed machine. Whether that be high speed uphill, downhill or alonghill. The Capra likes it when you’re eking out as much bike handling as possible in as tight a space as possible.

Does that sound familiar? To me, it sounds like a lot like a description of why people ride mountain bikes in the first place. We don’t do it for speed. Roadies do that. Mountain bikers do it for the lolz.

This is not to sell the Capra’s abilities short. There were numerous moments when riding this bike that I thought I’d overdone it. I was going to puncture. Or run out of turn. Or crash. But I didn’t. The Capra has that little bit extra in reserve.

That little bit extra in reserve is essentially the end stroke of rear suspension. For a lot of the ride, if you’re a fervent O-ring re-setter, you might be surprised to see just how infrequently you go much more than 75% into the back end’s 165mm.

Some people probably won’t like this. People who want all of the travel all of the time. The Capra is not that bike. The Capra is like a 140mm-feeling bike for almost all of the time. This may make people feel that it’s ‘harsh’ or non confidence-inspiring. Have a bit of faith though; the Capra has got your back when you need it.

And because it generally rides like a more modestly-travelled bike, it has an immense amount of pop and play to offer. The new Capra’s suspension isn’t as steeply progressive as the previous Capra (which really was race-hard). The progression is around the 30% mark. So fine for a coil makeover for slippery winter duties. Or you could just keep the modern high volume air shock on.

Going back to the geometry. The relatively low BB really helps the bike shine. As well as helping offset that slightly steep head angle (yes, I know it’s not exactly steep but I’ve been riding 62-63° head angled bikes lately), the low BB also makes the Capra a riot in corners. Just boot it through and smile.

“And again please” (pic: Isac Paddock)

Overall

If it rides pretty much like a shorter travel bike, why not just get a shorter travel bike in the first place? To be blunt, because you’ll crash less.

Being on the ragged edge is all well and good and exciting and everything. But then you have a job to go to on Monday morning and a mortgage to pay at the start of the month.

The Capra gives you all the ragged edging you really need, with the added benefit of the Get Out Of Jail (or should that be A+E?) Free card that comes with 170mm of suspension.

YT Capra Core 2 Specification

  • Frame // Alloy V4L 165mm
  • Shock // Fox Float X Performance, 230x65mm
  • Fork // Fox 38 Float Performance GRIP, 170mm, 44mm offset
  • Wheels // Crankbrothers Synthesis Enduro Alloy
  • Front Tyre // Maxxis Assegai 29×2.5in WT EXO TR
  • Rear Tyre // Maxxis DHR II 29×2.4in WT EXO TR
  • Chainset // SRAM Descendant 6k, 170mm, 32T
  • Drivetrain // SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed
  • Brakes // SRAM Code R, 200/200mm rotors
  • Stem // E13 Base 35, 50mm
  • Bars // E13 Base 35, Aluminium, 800x20mm
  • Grips // ODI Elite Motion V2.1
  • Seatpost // YT Postman, 150mm
  • Saddle // SDG Bel Air 3.0
  • BB // SRAM DUB, threaded
  • Size Tested // L
  • Sizes Available // S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Weight // 16.4g (claimed)

Geometry for our size L test bike:

  • Head angle // 64.2°
  • Effective seat angle // 77.6°
  • Seat tube length // 445mm
  • Head tube length // 110mm
  • Chainstay // 438mm
  • Wheelbase // 1,248mm
  • Effective top tube // 606mm
  • BB height // 27mm BB drop
  • Reach // 467mm

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Review Info

Brand: YT Industries
Product: Capra Core 2
From: yt-industries.com
Price: £3,199
Tested: by Benji for 1 day
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