In the Wild #1: My YT Capra – Long-Term Review

In the Wild #1: My YT Capra – Long-Term Review

New YT Capra’s Announced for 2018

The new YT Capra lineup was just announced. True to YT fashion, they’ve released an entertaining video leaving lots of people saying awesome and others a bit confused…

Here is my long-term experience with the original Capra. Hopefully it provides insight into what to expect from the new ones!

yt capra cf comp 1

In the Wild #1: YT Capra CF Comp 1

I purchased my YT Capra two years ago. A buddy of mine told me about this newly formed bike company that was taking the US market by storm since its intro in 2015.  I dismissed it at the time since I had my sights set on a new Santa Cruz. Then I read about it on a trip to Cabo out of an issue of Dirt Magazine (Europe). This thing was winning awards and getting lots of press.

This thing had me intrigued to say the least.

Modern Geometry

I’m 5’9 and the medium-sized Capra feels just right. However, a taller rider than this may want to consider the size large given the somewhat shorter reach of the bike. The modern geometry makes you feel centered on the bike while providing more slack than a trail bike (which is more upright in comparison). This makes the a big difference on descents and on dicey downhill sections. Get ready to fly over rocks and ruts with total confidence on the YT Capra.

On climbs, the feel of the front bar and wheels are not so muted as to make feel as though you are losing balance at low speeds (which was the case on a more traditional downhill bike like the Santa Cruz Nomad which I also demo’d).

Strangely though, I still have not gotten used to the YT Capra as my full-time trail bike – opting instead for my hard tail trail bike over the YT Capra (which is a 26er no less compared to the 27.5 of the YT Capra). This despite having own the YT Capra for almost three years now.

yt capra cf comp 1

Direct to Order Experience

I had some reservations about the direct to consumer model. Specifically, I was concerned about what to do if it didn’t arrive in tact or if I needed support on parts under warranty (which I will get to in a minute). That plus the fact that I don’t think I have ever stalked the UPS guy that intensely for anything else that has ever arrived in the mail. You can imagine the excitement when and disappointment when I came home one day to see a note stating that the bike was down at the local pick up center. Oh happy day!

If you can get past the nervous anticipation of this thing showing up your door step in tact, then the upsides are that you end up receiving top kit for your hard earned dollars. The RockShox Monarch and Pike coupled with the SRAM RS components were a solid value compared to other (non direct to consumer bikes) in this price range.

yt capra cf comp 1

Builds – Top of the Line Doesn’t Always Translate Into the Best Line

The YT Capra comes in almost half a dozen builds. A buddy of mine ended p purchasing the top of the line build with the BOS suspension which ended up not working out. The suspension was difficult to tune and keep the setting in check and he ended up getting a proper replacement through the manufacturers. But it was a process. The RockShox turned out to be a better bet – though I did envy the Mavic wheels that came with the CF Pro.

This served as a good reminder that to not over buy and to get just what you need when it comes to components. More features can translate into more tuning and settings to maintain. (The BOS suspension need to be pumped up on almost every other ride in order to maintain consistent sag).

Though I had made what seemed to be the better choice with suspension, the SRAM Guide RS’ didn’t work out so well for me and ended up costing me time and money in the shop….

The Bad – SRAM Guide RS Setup and Braking Issues

I spent lots of money on my brakes and trying to get them fixed. Long story short, if you have a new bike with parts still under warranty. Use the warranty. and when it comes to brakes, don’t try to bleed them yourself. I found the hard way that it would have been cheaper to replace my brakes through a SRAM authorized dealer than to go through everything that I did to fix the rebound issue on my brakes.

I was turned away from at least one local store that was not inclined to service a direct to consumer bike brand (yes – it does happen). This after trying to bleed the brakes myself. My bike then spent more time (and I spent more money) at another shop who tried to bleed the brakes for me to no avail. And finally I went out and bought a replacement brake set to fix the problem.

What to Do

Skip all this and save money by trouble shooting in this order:

1) Check the warranty. Take the bike to an authorized SRAM dealer where they can get the replacement part for you. The labor charge  to replace and and install the new part should be far less than bleeding the system;

2) If not under warranty, buy a replacement part and replace yourself;

3) Make sure that the issue with your brakes can be corrected by bleeding the brakes. The SRAM Guide RS brakes actually had an issue with a rubber nozzle that would expand in heat and prevent brake lever from fully rebounding!

yt capra comp1


Despite all of this, my trips to Mammoth and Big Bear have proven that the YT Capra is a special bike. I only wish that I could push it better when on my local trails. Alas, my search for the perfect trail bike is not yet over. But I have definitely found the one that I would take to the park every time. That plus I could still use the YT Capra to ride for the better part of a day if I had to. This is indeed one very special bike.

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