YT Capra AL1 - Review - Dirt

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Trail and Enduro Bikes

YT Capra AL1 – Review

So this YT Capra Al 1 - is it any good?

…does a bear shit in the woods?

Sculpture by – Isaac Franklin

YT Capra AL – The Review

YT’s aluminium Capra scores a ten every day of the week but scarily the German brand do offer better….

Shape and purpose

They don’t make any bold claims as to the YT Capra AL being anything more than a fun bike to go and do anything you please. Pretty much like the guys that set up this company. And surely that’s enough? There’s no serious side to the Capra, its simple, well built and on the money. But that doesn’t mean it cannot run with most other 160mm bikes on the market. It sports all the angles of its carbon stablemate, in fact the seat stay is also carbon too, and all the top end parts that make YT bikes irresistible. The only big question is how does it compare to its stable mate?


It was only after many hours on the YT Capra AL that I took a closer look at the damper can on the YT. Up this point I’d been more than happy with the simple, progressive, balanced performance of the rear damper. Thoughts had been going through my mind that maybe I’d made a mistake on being so critical as to the Monarch Plus debonair performance found on some manufacturer’s bikes. Turns out maybe not though as I realised this is not a Debonair can.

But yet its action is everything you need in a damper, just so easy to understand. Up front its business as usual with the Pike except that now with the launch of the new 160mm and upwards Rockshox Lyric eyes will no doubt be turned that direction. There’s no need as the Pike is a solid fork. The aluminium bike is only available with Rockshox dampers and not the Bos units as featured on the carbon version.


Most people are staggered by the component specification on YT bikes and the form continues here from front to rear. Sram Guide brakes, Race Face cranks, Reverb Stealth, E Thirteen chain guide, DT Swiss wheelset, SDG saddle race Face bar and stem. Yes you guessed there are simply no marks lost here either.

When testing bikes there always seems to be a weak point somewhere, this is true probably ninety five percent of the time. I cannot find error in this bike only to point to my dislike of the grips. Limitations? Sorry cant find any. Except….


The geometry of the Capra is designed to make the most of its 160mm travel front and 165mm rear. It’s a bike capable of winning a world level enduro any day of the week, this also means that it will live with bikes twice the price….again any day of the week on that one too. And there’s no weakness right? Well it can charge downhill sections, the Monarch Plus takes the hits, offers support and when climbing has enough resistance to offer efficient climbing characteristic.

This Monarch Plus certainly offered a better feeling than some (not all) Debonair cans I’ve ridden on other manufacturer’s bikes. Its available in four sizes and many will be happy with that extra large now in the range. Its 30lb, has some lovely internal cable routing ports, tidy cable routing also and a built in chain stay protector. so to answer the question, yes its ticked all the boxes. It is a truly phenomenal bike. Except….


Well I simply prefer the carbon YT Capra with Bos units more. Whereas the aluminium Capra gives a softer damped ride with its aluminium chassis I prefer the tightness and poise of the carbon/Bos bike and the challenge to get parity between dampers and chassis.

The Bos bike is more uptight and has the fine mixing on the dials which you cannot achieve with the Rockshox bike. Not that there’s the slightest bit wrong with the damping here its just that in comparison its stablemate has an edge in terms of pace and dynamic ride.

So where does that leave us? To be honest I don’t know.It depends on budget obviously. If you’re faced with the choice of the €4399 Capra CF Pro race or the €2699 AL1 of course you’d opt for the former if that was available in your budget range – and still hard to imagine its only a shade over £3K remember. However, some people seem to be wary of carbon (whilst others will not), some would prefer the simplicity of the Rockshox and arguably wider ranging service centres.

Many riders need an extra large which is not available in carbon, so size might be a factor here. Maybe its better to compare to other 160mm bikes on a frame material basis because in that respect it sits at the top.Or maybe get one of each just to be sure – and still have change compared to your mate who has gone down the ‘other’ route.

Phenomenal bike and if your budget is two grand nothing gets anywhere near.



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