YT’s Capra Shred is designed to be the ultimate bike for bikepark laps or ripping down your local trails.
It shares the same frame as the aluminium Capra, has the same geometry and the same amount of travel on tap, but the spec has been altered somewhat to ensure it can handle a real pasting in the bikepark, on the side of a mountain or when just being ragged around in the local woods.
YT Capra Shred frame and suspension details
While YT offers the regular Capra with a carbon frame option, there’s no carbon Shred edition. Still, the sleekly hydroformed aluminium tubes are no less pleasing to the eye, and the large welds and stout head tube junction should help to create a bike more than capable of handling its fair share of abuse.
Using YT’s ‘Virtual Four Link’ suspension platform, the Capra Shred pumps out 180mm of rear wheel travel in its 650b wheel guise (the 29er delivers 170mm). In the case of the Capra Shred, this is controlled by a coil- rather than an air-sprung shock.
There’s only one build option in both wheelsizes, and Fox’s DHX2 Performance shock handles those rear suspension duties.
Cabling runs internally, which helps to keep the Capra’s lines looking sharp and uninterrupted, and thanks to the internal tubes, replacing them shouldn’t be too labour intensive when the time comes.
There’s plenty of integrated rubberised protection on the driveside chainstays and seatstays to keep chain rattle to a minimum, as well as a hefty bit of protection on the underside of the down tube that wraps under the bottom bracket to help prevent damage from rogue rock strikes.
If you’re not a fan of carrying a backpack, it’s not good news, I’m afraid, because there’s no space for a water bottle inside the front triangle.
YT Capra Shred geometry
The Capra Shred’s geometry (which is the same as the standard Capra) certainly errs on the side of agility over stability and does look a little behind the times compared to the best bikes in our Enduro Bike of the Year category this year.
My medium test bike had a reach of 435mm, which isn’t exactly lengthy – the 29er version is a touch longer at 440mm for the equivalent size.
Sizing up could be an option if you’re legs are long enough. It’s a real plus to see five sizes available, ranging from S to XXL, but it’s a 30mm jump from the medium (420mm seat tube) to the large (450mm seat tube).
If you can manage it, though, you’ll gain 20mm of reach (455mm on the large). At 172cm with relatively short legs, I’ve generally found 450mm seat tubes to be a bit of a stretch.
I measured the head angle of my bike to be 64 degrees, which is slacker than stated on YT’s geometry chart. I also measured the seat angle to be slacker than stated too, at just over 74 degrees with the saddle set at my pedalling height. A 765mm front centre combines with a short 430mm effective chainstay length to give a wheelbase of 1,195mm.
There’s 8mm of bottom bracket drop and I measured the bottom bracket to sit at just over 340mm off of the floor, which is low considering the amount of travel on tap here. YT specs 170mm cranks but I’d happily switch to 165mm given the choice.
Unlike its 29in counterpart, the 650b Capra Shred (and any of the smaller wheeled Capras for that matter) doesn’t get a geometry altering flip chip at the base of the shock.
YT Capra Shred specifications
The kit on the Capra Shred might not be the flashiest on the market for a bike of this price, but it’s solid, functional and certainly handled everything I could throw at it during testing.
I’ve already mentioned the coil Fox DHX2 Performance Elite shock, but it’s worth noting that YT ships the bike with different weight springs depending on the size you’ve chosen.
The medium came with a 350lb spring but I switched it to a 300lb spring to get the sag I was after (switching springs is easy enough but a little too fiddly to be done in a bikepark carpark).
The DHX2 Performance Elite shock offers low-speed compression and rebound damping adjustment as well as an easy-to-reach lever that can be used to firm up the shock when necessary.
The Fox 38 Performance fork up front features the new, burly 38mm stanchions (also known as upper tubes) to help provide a solid and accurate feel through the bar. While it doesn’t get the ultra-adjustable, top-end GRIP2 damper I’m still a big fan of the smooth GRIP damper that’s included with the cheaper fork.
SRAM’s GX Eagle drivetrain, complete with the whopping 10-52t cassette helps to make winching back up the hill that bit easier, while its Code R stoppers that clamp onto 200mm rotors at the front and rear, offer plenty of easy to control power when you do need to bring the Capra Shred to a halt.
There’s an e*thirteen TRS Plus chain guide on the Shred edition that you don’t get on the standard Capra builds, too.
Another difference between the standard and Shred models is the tyre spec.
While both bikes get the same Maxxis Assegai/Minion DHR II tyre combo, the Shred’s rear tyre features the tougher EXO+ casing that should hold up a little better when being belted through rougher terrain.
E*thirteen also supplies its LG1 Enduro wheels, which offer a 30mm internal width and a rapid 6 degrees of engagement at the freehub as well as a very pleasing whir.
My last highlight has to include the ODI Elite Motion V2.1 grips. Despite feeling quite skinny in the hand, the soft rubber compound manages to do a wonderful job of muting chatter through the bar.
YT Capra Shred ride impressions
In order to properly balance the suspension, aside from dropping the spring rate at the rear, I also removed the volume spacer from the Fox 38’s air spring.
Doing this helped balance the bike, front to rear, and enabled me to access all the travel as and when necessary.
To get the best possible idea of how the Capra Shred handled, I took it to a variety of locations, riding it back-to-back with similar bikes and in a number of different conditions.
That included natural, steep, slower-paced terrain where good dynamic geometry, traction and manoeuvrability are all incredibly important as well as bikepark tracks, where it was subjected to big jumps, rock gardens and far higher speeds and loads, really putting its stability and composure to the test.
YT Capra Shred climbing performance
At 15.6kg, the Capra Shred is a fairly average weight compared to its closest competitors. Despite that, it can feel harder work uphill, especially on steeper climbs.
This is largely down to the relatively slack – compared to the best in the category – seat angle, which sits you just a little far back and, when tackling really steep inclines, meant I needed to shift forward on the saddle and lean towards the bar more. That’s fine on short, sharp pitches, but less comfy on prolonged drags.
This’ll likely be tougher for taller riders too, who will be perched even further back. The lever on the shock does help here and firming things up helps prop the rear up by effectively steepening the seat angle, which is a plus.
The wide range cassette helps out tired legs or when really punishing inclines, and I certainly made the most of that massive 52t sprocket.
While it’s not a rapid climber – as you’d expect of a bike designed and specced like this – it’s still reasonable enough, but a steeper seat angle would certainly boost comfort.
YT Capra Shred descending performance
While the Capra Shred might not exactly be setting uphill segments on fire, it’s a different story when pointed downhill.
Despite it not being the roomiest bike of this nature, and adding a bit more to the reach and possibly a few extra millimetres to the chainstay could improve the ride position and boost high-speed confidence without chipping away the bike’s agility and manoeuvrability, there’s no getting away from just how much fun the Shred is to ride.
The low-slung bottom bracket combined with the supple initial touch of the coil-sprung shock and sturdy Fox 38 fork up front make the Capra Shred an absolute demon through the turns.
Commit to a turn, lay off the brakes and you can feel the shoulder treads of the tyre clawing away for every bit of grip before you unweight, shift your weight and slingshot into the next turn in the blink of an eye.
The solid frame and smaller 650b wheels also help when it comes to tipping the Capra Shred into a turn and how reactive it feels. I can’t really fault the tyre choice which plays an important role here, too.
Steadfast, predictable grip in a wide range of conditions means they’ll not need swapping any time soon. The rear tyre using a tougher EXO+ casing is a real plus for tackling high-speed rocky sections and should help ward off punctures that bit better than the lighter EXO casing found on the standard Capra.
At 68kg, I did find myself opening the fork’s rebound damping adjuster up fully. At this point, the fork was returning just about as fast as I’d have liked it to, but it does suggest lighter riders may struggle to get it set up to their specific preferences.
Despite the Capra Shred not feeling quite as roomy as other enduro-style bikes, it remains surefooted when the going gets rowdy, and the taut, reassuringly solid frame and build do your confidence wonders when ploughing through jagged sections of rock and root.
Overall, the Capra Shred is a tough, battle-ready bikepark machine that’ll consistently put a grin on your face. A steeper seat angle would be a plus for those riding without any kind of lift assistance, and a roomier reach would only up its outright rowdiness. It’s still a solid bet, though, but does have some scope for improvement.
YT Capra Shred bottom line
The Capra Shred is a bike that’s easy to just jump on and ride and feels instantly at home being carved from turn-to-turn or launched skywards in the bikepark.
Its proportions aren’t particularly extreme and I think it would benefit from a touch more reach and a steeper seat angle to make climbing a more comfortable affair.
It’s still a robust, rock smasher of a bike though, and the supple Fox fork and coil shock help to bolster grip in loose conditions, while still remaining supportive enough to really work the bike through the terrain when you’re looking to boost or maintain speed.
Value-wise, Brexit and the associated costs mean YT can’t quite offer the value it once did to UK customers, which is a shame and makes the Capra Shred decent but not great value for money.
Regardless, the Capra Shred remains a confident descender that’s ridiculously fun to ride and rips a turn like many others can only dream of.
A massive thank-you to BikePark Wales for granting us access to its trails despite the bike park being closed to the public.
And not forgetting Muc-Off, for its help keeping the bikes washed and lubed throughout testing.
The contenders | Enduro Bike of the Year
With 150mm to 180mm of travel, enduro bikes are designed to be hurled down the roughest downhill tracks but still be pedalled back to the top. The best enduro bikes are still fun when riding less full-on terrain, too.
The following bikes were shortlisted for our Enduro Bike of the Year award, with a price range of £3,450 to £4,198.
- Cotic RocketMAX Gen3 Silver SLX
- Kona Process 153 DL 29
- Nukeproof Mega 290 Pro
- Scott Ransom 920
- Trek Slash 8 (winner)
- Vitus Sommet 29 CRX
- Whyte G-180 RS 29er V1
- YT Capra Shred 27.5