With category blurring potential, the new 150 mm travel YT Jeffsy CF PRO RACE 29 is ready to battle way beyond its pay grade, but how does it compare against its big brother the YT Capra CF PRO RACE 29? We tested them both against the clock and on the trails to find out.

YT Capra CF PRO RACE 29 | 170 mm/160 mm (f/r) | € 5,299
YT Jeffsy CF PRO RACE 29 | 150 mm/150 mm (f/r) | € 5,299

The rope-a-dope

Surely this is a mismatch? On paper, yes, but let’s not forget 1967. In the fierce heat of Zaire in front of a crowd of 20,000, George Foreman, a heavy-hitter, bigger, younger, stronger and undefeated, took on Muhammad Ali, lighter, faster but arguably worn-out, an underdog in every sense. After a fearsome opening round trading punches, Ali did something amazing. Sensing he was outmatched in power, he went to the ropes, using his agility to cover up and let Foreman unload punches on his arms and body. “They told me you could punch, George!” taunted Ali, enraging Foreman, making him work even harder, slowly sapping his strength. In the eighth round, sensing that the bigger, heavier man was tiring after so many wild shots, Ali delivered a vicious salvo of punches. And suddenly, the fight was over – the underdog had won. Sometimes strength and muscle can be defeated by nimbleness and cunning. Just because a bike has more travel, does it mean it’s faster?

Apples Vs. Pears

When we posted a sneak preview of the timing runs for the Jeffsy CF PRO RACE 29 against the Capra CF PRO RACE 29 on our Instagram channel, one comment that stood out was “Are we comparing apples with pears now?” On paper the YT Capra CF PRO RACE has 20 mm more travel, a huge 170 mm, in fact, so should be the clear victor in any timed gravity battle. However, when is the last time this gauntlet was thrown down? What does 20 mm of extra travel equate to against the clock with the same riders,? Is 150 mm the sweet spot or does size matter? While we may have been comparing different fruits, we have to admit to being curious – in this David and Goliath battle, can we still consider the supremely capable Jeffsy CF PRO RACE 29 a David?

While categories are being blurred by both of these exceptional bikes, they are still divided by their specialist skills.

The contenders

Going toe to toe, the JEFFSY CF PRO RACE 29 weighing in at 12.9 kg, against the CAPRA CF PRO RACE 29 at 13.5 kg. Both bikes cost €5299, both roll on 29-inch wheels, both bikes have a FOX 36 FACTORY GRIP 2 fork and both have a full XTR drivetrain. The recent updates to the Jeffsy CF frame mean the geometry is not massively different either. The Capra has a 1°slacker head angle and a longer wheelbase, but it gives up 5 mm in reach and has a 2.5° slacker seat angle. Both bikes share identical 435 mm chainstays. So perhaps it’s not really apple vs. pears comparison. The Capra is equipped with more powerful SRAM CODE RSC brakes, compared to the Jeffsy’s GUIDE RSC, but the Jeffsy is also lighter. Both bikes were fitted with the same tires for the timed runs – our favourite pairing of Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR II 2.5’s.

With 150 mm travel, the YT Jeffsy CF PRO RACE 29 takes the fight to the bigger Capra, but can it rope-a-dope the big hitter?

The YT Capra CF PRO RACE 29 in detail

Fork FOX 36 FLOAT Factory 170 mm
Rear shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory 160 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR
Brakes SRAM CODE Ultimate
Wheelset e*thirteen TRSr Carbon
Tires e*thirteen TRSr / TRS+ 2.35″
Stem Renthal Apex
Handlebar Renthal Flatbar Carbon
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory
Price € 5,299

Seat Tube 420 mm 445 mm 465 mm 490 mm
Top tube 584 mm 621 mm 645 mm 667 mm
Head Tube 95 mm 105 mm 115 mm 120 mm
Head angle 65°/65.5° 65°/65.5° 65°/65.5° 65°/65.5°
Seat angle 75.5°/76° 75.5°/76° 75.5°/76° 75.5°/76°
Chainstays 435 mm 435 mm 440 mm 440 mm
BB Drop 25 mm/15 mm 25 mm/15 mm 25 mm/15 mm 25 mm/15 mm
Wheelbase 1203 mm 1227 mm 1256 mm 1279 mm
Reach 440 mm 460 mm 480 mm 500 mm
Stack 621 mm 630 mm 639 mm 644 mm

The YT Jeffsy CF PRO RACE 29 in detail

Fork FOX 34 FLOAT Factory 150 mm
Rear shock FOX FLOAT DPX2 Factory 150 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR
Brakes SRAM Guide Ultimate
Wheelset e*thirteen TRS Race Carbon
Tires e*thirteen TRS+ 2.35″
Stem Renthal Apex 35
Handlebar Renthal Fatbar Carbon
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory
Price € 5,299

Seat tube 400 mm 415 mm 435 mm 460 mm 485 mm
Top tube 571 mm 592 mm 614 mm 637 mm 659 mm
Head tube 100 mm 105 mm 110 mm 120 mm 125 mm
Headangle 66.5°/67° 66.5°/67° 66.5°/67° 66.5°/67° 66.5°/67°
Seatangle 77.5°/78° 77.5°/78° 77.5°/78° 77.5°/78° 77.5°/78°
Chainstays 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 440 mm 440 mm
Wheelbase 1.171 mm 1.193 mm 1.215 mm 1.244 mm 1.266 mm
Reach 434 mm 454 mm 474 mm 494 mm 514 mm
Stack 615 mm 620 mm 624 mm 633 mm 638 mm

The battleground

First, the downhill test. What does an extra 20 mm of travel equate to against the stopwatch? We took the bikes to our Scottish ENDURO Magazine test-track on the fierce enduro trails of Innerleithen to find out. The test track has been chosen to reflect a hard enduro race stage, featuring jumps, savage roots, tight turns, flat-out sections and high-speed corners, but also includes some straights with obligatory pedalling as well as pump sections. Our experienced test riders know every inch of the track, able to ride repeated and consistent runs within a second of each other. With the bikes dialled, tire pressures were matched before the stopwatch came out. After 16 timed runs of our roughly 2:30 gravity track, with bikes swapped between the riders to avoid fatigue bias, the results were clear. One bike was faster. However, downhill runs are one thing, but what about fast loops and short climbs. Not everyone rides only in a bike park or between the tape. Our test was always going to be about more than just pure downhill speed. For over a month we put both bikes to the test in a number of different situations, using them for quick after work rides, big Sunday epics and full-bore shuttle days.

On the downhills, a direct comparison

Rider 1:
YT JEFFSY CF Pro Race 2,31 ± 0,02
YT CAPRA CF Pro Race 2,24 ± 0,01
Rider 2:
YT JEFFSY CF Pro Race 2,31 ± 0,01
YT CAPRA CF Pro Race 2,26 ± 0,03

So, back to the timing. It was close but there was one clear winner. On our test track, the Capra CF PRO RACE 29 was faster for each rider, by more than 2 seconds per minute of riding, but why? Given their similarities in spec, it was surprising to see that both bikes had very different personalities on the trail. The slacker 170mm Capra CF PRO RACE 29 is insanely easy to ride fast, more composed over broken terrain and off jumps, and tracks smoothly and quietly through rock gardens, allowing us to brake later and find more grip with the tires. The extra 20 mm of travel and slacker angles made the gnarly test track feel smoother and easier. Changing bikes, the Jeffsy CF PRO RACE 29 also feels incredibly fast, but is more lively, needing a firmer hand when braking hard over rough ground and taking high-speed lines. Although riotously fun, the shorter travel and steeper geometry caused us to hold back a little on the faster and rougher sections where the bike could not find the same level of composure and grip as its long-legged sibling – that’s where the seconds were lost.

Yes the Capra is faster, but what about efficiency? Does the Jeffsy have the Capra licked?

The Jeffsy’s rope-a-dope

So travel still counts when it comes to pure DH performance, but would the more aggressive Capra CF PRO RACE 29 dominate everywhere else? This is the round where the Jeffsy delivers its rope-a-dope. While it’s an excellent climber for a 170 mm bike, the Capra CF PRO RACE 29 simply cannot compete with the Jeffsy’s steep seat tube, balanced suspension kinematics and more efficient riding position. When the trails flow rather than plummet down, the absurdly capable Capra CF PRO RACE 29 feels bored, lazily cruising down the trail. In contrast, the Jeffsy comes alive, encouraging you to pump through every dip and bump and jump off every lip, no matter how small. The balanced geometry allows for incredibly fast changes in direction and engaging handling. Yes, the Capra is the faster downhill racer, but looking at the overall picture, we could also say that the Jeffsy CF PRO RACE 29 is a faster and easier climber, more versatile and only a tiny bit slower downhill than the mighty Capra on full-bore terrain.

So which should you buy?

If you’re lucky enough to be hovering over the ‘Buy Now’ button on these two identically priced bikes, the choice may seem hard, but actually, it’s a simple one. If you’re an enduro racer or spend your weekends smashing laps in the bike park, there’s only one bike for you. The amazing Capra CF PRO RACE 29. With more reserves and composure, it’s the bike that will allow you to shave off seconds while pushing your limits safely and in more control. However, if you don’t live near EWS terrain, its huge travel and slack angles will leave you with a bored-feeling bike on anything but the most challenging trails. Yes, the YT Capra CF PRO RACE 29 is a few seconds faster on demanding terrain, and for a few riders that’s all that will count, but for most, the Jeffsy CF PRO RACE 29 is the more rewarding bike. Highly versatile, the Jeffsy CF PRO RACE 29 is more efficient, lively and engaging, turning every trail into your own personal race stage, no matter the gradient. Equally happy lining up on the start line of a grassroots enduro race as it is grinding out a 70 km Alpine epic, for everyone except pure racers and park rats, it’s the bike that will deliver the knockout punch.

For more info head to: yt-industries.com

This article is from ENDURO issue #038

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