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2016 YT Capra AL Comp 1 (discontinued)

Average User Rating: (Outstanding) Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
2016 YT Capra AL Comp 1
2016 YT Capra AL Comp 1 2016 YT Capra AL Comp 1 2016 YT Capra AL Comp 1 2016 YT Capra AL Comp 1 2016 YT Capra AL Comp 1 2016 YT Capra AL Comp 1
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Tested: 2016 YT Capra AL Comp 1

Rating: Vital Review

Reviewed by Steve Wentz and Brandon Turman // Photos by Shawn Spomer // Action modeling by Scott Hart

It wasn't long ago that YT unleashed the Capra CF, a carbon bike that helped push the limits of what a ~160mm travel bike could be and do. The hydroformed aluminum model followed not long after, and even it sees the use of a one-piece carbon seat stay to keep things stiff.

New for 2016, the AL Comp 1 model comes ready to rally the roughest descents with an additional 10mm of travel up front on the burly 170mm RockShox Lyrik RCT3. Pair that with some stout wheels, 150mm travel dropper post, good tires, a 1x11 drivetrain... you get the picture. The biggest kicker? Thanks to a direct-to-consumer sales model this beast slots in at just $3,499 USD complete. We set out to see if this model could prove to be one of the best values out there.



  • Hydroformed aluminum frame with carbon seat stays
  • 27.5 (650b) wheels
  • 165mm (6.5-inches) of rear wheel travel // 170mm (6.7-inches) fork travel
  • Virtual 4-Link rear suspension system
  • Tapered headtube
  • Stealth dropper routing
  • External brake routing
  • Replaceable derailleur hanger
  • Optional direct front derailleur mount
  • Press Fit 30 bottom bracket with ISCG 05 mounts
  • 142mm rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured weight (size medium, no pedals): 31.6-pounds (14.3kg)
  • MSRP $3,499 USD

The Capra uses a high volume 222x66mm (8.75x2.75-inch) RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 rear shock and YT's take on the traditional Horst-Link suspension design to deliver 165mm of rock swallowing travel. Known as Virtual 4-Link (V4L) suspension, it incorporates a pivot located just in front of and below the rear axle (Horst-Link), a pivot just above and behind the bottom bracket, and one at the top of the seat stay connected to a linkage that controls the leverage rate.

Perhaps the most notable thing about the frame would be its very progressive nature. In fact, the Capra has one of the most progressive suspension designs we've ever seen. The leverage curve is very consistent, though, with no odd quirks to introduce weird ride qualities. A very soft and sensitive initial stroke coupled with an extremely firm ending stroke make for a bike designed to have great traction, hold you up in the travel, and be really, really tough to bottom out.


Sealed bearings throughout add up to a rear end that cycles very smoothly through the entire stroke. While the frame has yet to incorporate the new Boost 148mm rear axle standard, YT uses large bearings and a 15mm axle at the downtube pivot, a 17mm main pivot axle, and one-piece carbon seatstays to combat lower frame stiffness levels inherent in many Horst-Link designs

Additional features include custom molded guards for the chainstay and seatstay, a Press Fit 30 bottom bracket, ISCG 05 tabs, and a lack of any proprietary parts or pieces to limit your customization options. It is missing water bottle mounts, however, which is a simple detail that may deter some riders.

The cables are very secure with smart guides along the frame allowing easy access and maintenance. Rear brake routing is entirely external for faster brake swaps, and there's Stealth routing for the dropper post. We dig the partially internal routing for the derailleur cable through the seatstay as it ensures the housing will last longer, the chain will be quieter, and it's harder to snag unexpectedly.


Mud clearance is ample, which is a welcome sight on a bike with relatively snug chainstays. If you're in the rain and slime the last thing you want to worry about is mud stopping your wheels from turning.

YT operates on a direct sales model in order to keep the end cost to the consumer low. This means the only way to procure a new one of these bad boys is to order it through their website. There are six Capra models to choose from ranging from $2,899 to $5,999, including three carbon bikes and three aluminum steeds.

Our test bike arrived in a large reusable cardboard box. Everything was packed well with the important bits protected by cardboard spacers. The build process is made incredibly easy as the bike is partially assembled, leaving only stem, bar, wheel, derailleur (partial), and pedal installation to you. Everything else comes pre-adjusted and pretty much ready to roll. Bikes are accompanied by one of the most thorough and visual assembly manuals we've ever seen. They even include a makeshift cardboard bike stand, and it's things like this that make the process less daunting for the average home mechanic.



Looking the numbers over confirms the bike's intentions. The bump up to a 170mm fork pushes the already slack head angle out to 65-degrees and extends the wheelbase a bit further, but also bumps the bottom bracket height up to a measured ~350mm (13.8-inches). The 430mm (16.9-inch) chainstays are right in that snug happy spot to help add to the bike's playful demeanor.

Fit is on small side of current trends if you reference the reach values, though they're not far off. YT introduced the XL size in 2015 to help in this regard, but it's only available in aluminum models at this time. With reach measurements from 398 to 458mm (15.7 to 18.0-inches) there is a pretty good range, but riders much taller than ~6'2" (1.88m) may find even the XL a bit cramped. Effective top tube lengths are also quite snug due to the steep 74.8-degree seat angle which is intended to improve your climbing position.

At 5'8" and 5'10" (1.73 and 1.78m) tall, the bars felt closer while seated than on any other medium bike we've tested in recent memory. Once standing we felt better, however, and the short feeling went away.

On The Trail

We rode the Capra on several of our favorite loops in Arizona and Southern California, including the fast and rocky South Mountain trails and some Snow Summit Bike Park laps for good measure.

Once we got our cockpit situated, we focused on how to make the bike feel as balanced as possible in the suspension category. Given the extreme level of progression that results from the frame's kinematics and the use of an air shock, you're likely to notice some imbalance front to back. While YT's suggested rear shock settings are in the 25-30% sag range, we recommended dipping a little deeper toward 32-34%. We also took the top cap off of the fork right away and put in two Bottomless Tokens, which resulted in a much more balanced ride from the RockShox Lyrik RCT3 up front benefitting from some added ramp. With our usual middle of the range compression and rebound, we were off with a ride that felt spirited and fun on the way to the trails.


With a Horst-link style linkage system controlling the chain torque and suspension action, the Capra accelerated pretty well in all gears without too much variation across the cassette. We dare say exceptionally well considering the weight of the bike. The Capra hits the scale at the higher end of the spectrum at 31.6-pounds (14.3kg) sans pedals. The bike never felt this heavy though, because the suspension was efficient and did not produce much bobbing or movement when chain tension was applied. Considering its 165mm of rear wheel travel, the bike was actually one of the most planted and neutral frames we've come across in a long time, and often felt as though it had less travel while climbing.

Once at the sag point, the bike has a nice firm, supportive, and yet supple pedaling platform that works well in technical terrain. In challenging uphill sections it's possible to push into the bike and get the desired response, whether it's bunny hopping up a ledge, pumping through a corner to gain speed just before a quick up, or while mashing on the pedals at last second's notice. When we would unweight the bike to get the back end over rocks or really move front to back, the relatively large amount of sag would keep the back end in contact with the ground and provide a lot of traction.

In a world filled with slack seat tube angles, the upright pedaling position that the Capra provides is actually quite nice. It allows you to get over the bottom bracket a bit better than many competing designs, which helps keep the front end on the ground during steep climbs. The ultra slack headtube angle and long travel fork can make it feel as though the front wheel is too far ahead at times, however. Pivoting on the back wheel and really putting the power down is one solution, but it wasn't the most efficient and didn't make changing lines while pointed uphill an easy thing to do.


Beyond the climbs, the Capra felt really fun on a lot of terrain, which is a point we can't emphasize enough. It liked to motor along at a good speed, but with the short back end the bike always felt flickable. The most surprising part of the ride came when we went to bunnyhop or change lines, which was done very easily on flat terrain or downhills of any grade. This again comes from the progressive nature. When we wanted to preload a jump or pump a berm, we were already in a stiff part of the travel and the frame responded with precision and pop. Pulling back into a manual through bumps or rollers is also a real treat.

That fun feeling and playful nature made it feel lighter than it was. We thought that for sure it was under the 30-pound mark, but at least the weight was put to good use. The frame is one of the stiffest we've ridden, we felt no side to side flex, and we like the burly look of the frame's supporting beams and tubes. That stiffness and efficiency transmitted to not only decent climbing as we mentioned earlier, but also a great feel when sprinting and cornering. From hips and whips to corners and skids, the Capra really begged to be moved sideways. Cornering was a fun affair because the bike communicated exactly what the tires were doing. At all times it felt as though it would do exactly what we wanted it to do.

Almost everything has a flip side, however, and that becomes apparent in really rough terrain. Because of the extremely progressive nature, the suspension feels stiff quickly which can make the mid-stroke feel less supple and reduce its ability to absorb mid-sized hits. Though it feels planted and stays remarkably well composed, the amount of firm, fast, yet smooth input you feel through the chassis is greater than many less progressive designs in this travel range. The only remedy for this would be to really bump up the pressure or compression, which we tried, but we lost the spirited feel the bike had and it wasn't worth the trade off.

Watch the bike's 165mm of V4L suspension in action.

We initially had faster rebound to keep the bike from settling into the firm part of the travel, but found ourselves slowing down the rebound on numerous occasions. At the end of the travel there is a lot of force springing the rear of the frame back, and the "Rapid Recovery" deep stroke rebound built into the RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 may be tuned a bit quickly.

In addition, if you're not a rider that's truly pushing the bike as it was intended to be ridden, it can be difficult to use all the travel. In the stock configuration there are zero volume spacers in the rear shock, which means tuning options are limited.

Given the geometry of the bike and high sag value, we really felt "in" the bike, as opposed to on top and just passengers. We were inspired by the confidence this bestowed upon us, and even though the Capra wasn't the smoothest in consecutive rough sections, it didn't flinch or get thrown off line. Low pedal kickback and good braking performance add to the bike's ability to help you smash through stuff unfazed.

Build Kit

Looking the various Capra builds over, it's clear YT knows what's up when it comes time to spec a bike. The versatility of the frame also shows through with some lighter weight builds being better suited to more general trail use. The AL Comp 1, however, is an all out brawler capable of taming everything from park days to rugged high country terrain and punishing enduro races.

The cockpit consists of a high-rise 35mm diameter Race Face Atlas 770mm (30.3-inch) handlebar, 50mm Atlas stem, and Sensus Disisdaboss grips. The extremely comfortable grips get bonus points simply for having an awesome name, though we wish they didn't have the flange on the outsides as they can make the bars seem a bit narrower. Toss in a custom SDG Duster saddle, 150mm travel RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper, and SRAM's MatchMaker cockpit system and you've got a control center that's comfortable, clean, and ready to rally. The bike did arrive with the dropper lever on top of the right side, however, with no cable tie provision on the frame if you swap it to the bottom left side.


Front suspension duties are handled by a RockShox Lyrik RCT3, which is very adjustable in both the spring rate and damping arenas. It's also remarkably smooth and stiff, and should suit a wide range of hard charging riders. The Pike it replaced certainly made the bike easier to climb. Coupled with a coil-sprung shock on the rear, this build would quickly morph into a mini-DH bike and may offer additional tuning options.

The DT Swiss E1900 Spline wheelset was stiff and had zero issues, with a 25mm inner width and fast engagement from the pawl freewheel system.

The 2.4-inch Maxxis High Roller II 60a EXO tires are good all around performers, matched well with the bike's intentions, and last for a decent amount of time. Except for a few flats they served us very well. Modifying the the wheelset to tubeless is something we suggest early on for the best experience.

One of the most surprising parts of the build was on the braking front. SRAM's Guide R brakes worked well, delivering the same power and lever feel as the more expensive RS and RSC versions. They lack the fine adjustments like pad contact, but compromises must be made somewhere to keep the price of the bike down. So what was surprising? The fact that the bike had 200mm rotors front and rear. There were zero issues slowing down, even when in the roughest or steepest terrain. Some riders may find this overkill, however, and prefer something a tad smaller for general use and weight savings.

SRAM's GX derailleur performed very well, and the e*thirteen TRS+ chainguide added a bit of extra security and bash protection for the rowdiness YT anticipates riders getting into. Shifts were crisp, and the range was sufficient for almost any ride. If you were to make this into even more of a gravity oriented machine, a 34 or 36-tooth front ring might be a worthwhile upgrade.

The drivetrain was the only source of noise. We don't think it was the fault of the GX derailleur, but more likely a bit of the molded chain protection that wasn't as nice as we've come to expect. Yes, it has custom molded guards, but they are a fairly thin, dense rubber that doesn't cover the entire chainstay.

Long Term Durability

We had no problems with durability or keeping the pivots tight over the course of our testing. A stiff frame, good parts, and nothing that stands out for the worse make us believe that the Capra AL Comp 1 should last for a long time. Pivot maintenance is straightforward thanks to easy access, printed torque specs on each bolt/nut, and this handy exploded diagram to show how it all goes together.

YT backs their aluminum frames with a three year warranty with a two year limit on the chain and seat stays. There's also a discounted crash replacement program if something goes really awry in first three years of ownership.


What's The Bottom Line?

The YT Capra is a remarkably fun long travel bike, and its ride qualities are most characterized by its extreme level of suspension progression.

For those who seek out steep, nasty terrain, the extra travel, stout fork, and burly wheels on the AL Comp 1 model will serve you well and keep on rolling for years to come. Though the pedal back up the hill may sting a bit, the impressive $3,499 USD price tag will ease the pain and you'll feel at home blasting through the biggest and hairiest features you can find. YT nailed it when they said this is both a "downhill bike that can also carry you back up the mountain" and "an enduro bike that rocks any bike park."

For those looking for something that's more pedal friendly, carefully consider which Capra build you chose, but know that there's something awesome in this ride's versatility with a simple swap of a few components. The fit is on the small side, so it's also important to take note of key sizing factors.

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Vital MTB Rating

  • Climbing: 3 stars - Good
  • Descending: 4.5 stars - Outstanding
  • Fun Factor: 4.5 stars - Outstanding
  • Value: 5 stars - Spectacular
  • Overall Impression: 4.5 stars - Outstanding

Bonus Gallery: 24 photos of the 2016 YT Capra AL Comp 1 up close and in action

About The Reviewers

Steve Wentz - Age: 31 // Years Riding MTB: 20 // Height: 5'8" (1.73m) // Weight: 180-pounds (81.6kg)

"Despite what it looks like, I'm really precise and calculated, which I'm trying to get away from. I'm trying to drop my heels more and just let it go." Steve is able to set up a bike close to perfectly within minutes, ride at close to 100% on new trails and replicate what he did that first time over and over. He's been racing Pro DH for 13+ years including World Cups, routinely tests out prototype products, and can squish a bike harder than anyone else we know. Today he builds some of the best trails in the world.

Brandon Turman - Age: 30 // Years Riding MTB: 15 // Height: 5'10" (1.78m) // Weight: 175-pounds (79.4kg)

"I like to have fun, pop off the bonus lines on the sides of the trail, get aggressive when I feel in tune with a bike, and really mash on the pedals and open it up when pointed downhill." Formerly a Mechanical Engineer and Pro downhill racer, Brandon brings a unique perspective to the testing game as Vital MTB's resident product guy. He has on-trail familiarity with nearly every new innovation in our sport from the past 5-6 years and a really good feel for what’s what.

2016 YT Capra AL1, adjusted review

The Good:

Suspension feel and progression rate; ease of taking apart and cleaning; great geometry for bike park/jumping; pedals really well; perceived price/quality ratio

The Bad:

Might take a bit to get used to the fore/aft balance if you aren't used to that much suspension travel; customer service/glaring design flaws that won't be addressed by YT; no support for defective components right out of the box...i.e. you get what you get;

Overall Review:

From a riding/geometry/suspension standpoint this bike is amazing and well thought out.I do about 50/50 long rides and freeride with the occasional (maybe 2-3 times a year) bike park trip and I prefer progressive suspension. It does tend to bottom out on flatter landings (3-4 ft + vertical) and on larger drops but that really depends on the slope of the landing, hard to quantify there but in general it is hard to bottom out. There is no doubt this bike rips, but my experience basically epitomizes the risk/fear of direct to consumer... you get what you get and if stuff isn't right, too bad you are getting left out in the dark. My experience with the bike also sheds light on what I consider to be some serious design flaws. The 1st serious design flaw is the flex on the chainstay/seatstay pivot that causes premature wear (and may cause excessive creaking) on the carbon fiber seatstay. The rear end flexes under pedaling and they rub together. The 2nd design flaw is the derailleur hanger as it eats into the seatstay. Yes, it will literally gouge it's profile into the seat stay (forward to back direction not side to side) as the carbon is the only thing preventing it from rotating. That isn't, what is the cliche that the biking industry uses in every review.....oh yeah, confidence inspiring. 3rd design flaw is the press fit BB, I shouldn't have to explain that one.

The dropper had play right out of the box, put in a warranty request in July 2016 and still haven't heard back. The outer shock hardware sleeves have 1 mm of lateral play as they are too short and still haven't heard anything back from either YT or Rock Shox as to whether or not they are in spec.

My main complaint with the bike is the creaking that cannot be solved, and I have taken it to numerous bike shops including The Hub in Asheville, NC to get an outside perspective and so far no one else has been able to solve my mysterious creaking either. The video isn't nearly as bad as when I am actually on the trails, where it creaks the entire ride.

Link to the sound:

Race face customer service is useless as far as their cranks as concerned (tried to troubleshoot that as a potential cause); however, the rest of the race face components on the bike are actually really good. Unfortunately I am to the point where I have to ship the bike back to YT, and to be honest I may just cut my losses and look elsewhere for a bike.

Sorry this isn't your typical "we bro'd it up and it was awesome" review but I tried to dissect what is great and not so great about this bike, but from my experience it has some glaring design flaws that need to be addressed to improve longevity and noise. I would give it a 5 if not for the customer service/noise issues but there is no way I can ride a bike that is this noisy. My previous bikes, a transition double and knolly endorpin, have been quiet as a mouse for years.

EDITED: 11/8/2017 - - - - - - original rating was a 2/5 stars which I have no adjusted to 4.5/5 stars!

I am updating this review after the bike was sent back to YT to be looked at. It appears the creaking came from a snapped axle in the hub...which finally gave way when I was pulling the rear wheel off and the cassette fell right off. YT also replaced the worn out seatstay, which the derailleur hanger had dug into but stopped wearing at some point. Overall, they went above and beyond what they needed to do as far as getting the bike in working order. Their customer service is also very responsive...all of my emails were replied to or addressed either the same or next day, which I can't say for very many companies (biking and non-biking) out there. In regards to the previous items I considered design flaws:

(1st) The seatstay/chainstay interface did show some wear but that could have been caused by taking the frame apart multiple times. (2nd) This could still potentially be an issue. I will see how the new seatstay holds up but you essentially have an aluminum hanger that is only prevented from rotating by a tab in the seatstay (carbon) and your torque on the bolt connecting the hanger through the frame. (3rd) I replaced the BB with a hope BB and haven't had any issues since then.

After multiple trips to bailey mountain bike park in Asheville, NC and the pisgah/bent creek area trails I can say it is hard to ride any other bike after riding this climbs so well for how much travel/plush the suspension is. It is a touch more difficult to manual than my previous bikes but once you get the balance point you are good, just gotta pull up a bit harder.

I also had stiction issues with the SRAM guide R brakes, but I took that the the LBS and SRAM replaced the levers no questions asked. In my opinion SRAM should just recall the levers and send out people new ones who were affected by the issue. 

General set up information:

My weight: 175  lbs. (79.38 kg)

rear sag: 30% (150 psi) - shock always in open setting except long fireroad climbs

front sag: 25% (70 psi) fork LSC: fully open except at the bike park I put it at 7 (has 13 clicks)               

I would change the rating to the following:

Ride Characteristics: 5

Customer Service: 4 (they let my seatpost sit at their office until I tried to warranty it with SRAM, who said they had already sent YT a new one....I was never informed by YT)

Value: 5


Product YT Capra AL Comp 1
Model Year 2016
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 556.9mm / 21.93“ 582.0mm / 22.91“ 608.2mm / 23.94“ 626.3mm / 24.66“
Head Tube Angle 65° 65° 65° 65°
Head Tube Length 100mm / 3.94“ 110mm / 4.33“ 120mm / 4.72“ 130mm / 5.12“
Seat Tube Angle 74.8° 74.8° 74.8° 74.8°
Seat Tube Length 400mm / 15.75“ 450mm / 17.72“ 480mm / 18.90“ 510mm / 20.07“
Bottom Bracket Height 4mm / 0.16“ Drop  4mm / 0.16“ Drop  4mm / 0.16“ Drop  4mm / 0.16“ Drop 
Chainstay Length 430mm / 16.93“ 430mm / 16.93“ 430mm / 16.93“ 430mm / 16.93“
Wheelbase 1149.4mm / 45.25“ 1175.6mm / 46.28“ 1202.8mm / 47.35“ 1220.0mm / 48.03“
Standover 755.9mm / 29.76“ 753.7mm / 29.67“ 766.6mm / 30.18“ 768.5mm / 30.26“
Reach 398mm / 15.67“ 420mm / 16.54“ 443mm / 17.44“ 458mm / 18.03“
Stack 587.5mm / 23.12“ 596.6mm / 23.49“ 605.6mm / 23.84“ 614.7mm / 24.20“
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details Hydroformed Aluminum with Carbon Seat Stays
Rear Travel 165mm
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch Plus RC3, Air Shock, 3-Position Compression (Low/Mid/Firm), External Rebound, 8.75"x2.75" / 222mm x 66mm, High Volume
Fork RockShox Lyrik RCT3, Air Fork, 3-Position Compression (Low/Mid/Firm), Low Speed Compression, External Rebound, Charger RCT3 Damper Cartridge, Solo Air, Tapered Steerer, 15mm x 100mm Axle
Fork Travel 170mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Acros AZX-203
Handlebar Race Face Atlas, 770mm, 35mm Rise, 8° Backsweep, 5° Upsweep, 35mm Clamp
Stem Race Face Atlas, Direct Mount, 50mm, 0° Rise, 35mm Clamp
Grips Sensus Disisdaboss, Black
Brakes SRAM Guide R, 4-Piston Caliper, Tool-Free Reach Adjust, DOT 5.1, with SRAM Centerline Rotors
Brake Levers SRAM
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM GX, 11-Speed
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX, 1x11-Speed, Type 2.1, Aluminum, Black
Chainguide e*thirteen TRS+, 32-34 Tooth, Black Sliders
Cranks Race Face Turbine Cinch, 1x11, 170mm Length
Chainrings 32 Tooth
Bottom Bracket Race Face PF30, 73mm
Pedals N/A
Cassette SRAM XG 1150, 10-42 Tooth
Rims DT Swiss E1900 Spline 27.5" Wheels
Hubs DT Swiss E1900 Spline 27.5" Wheels, XD Driver
Spokes DT Swiss E1900 Spline 27.5" Wheels
Tires Maxxis High Roller II, 27.5" x 2.4", EXO, MaxxPro 60a
Saddle SDG Duster, Ergonomic Construction, CroMo Seat Stays
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth, S: 125mm, M-XL: 150mm
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Standard
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 142mm x 12mm DT Swiss Through Axle
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts N/A
Colors Pearl Black/Coral
Warranty 3 Years
Weight 31 lb 9.8 oz (14,340 g)
Price $3,499
More Info

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