Devinci Django Car­bon 27.5

THE DEVINCI DJANGO CAR­BON 27.5

Australian Mountain Bike - - Contents - PHO­TOG­RA­PHER AND TESTER: CHRIS HER­RON

I know some AMB read­ers will be study­ing this re­view to check out how the new Devinci trail bike fared dur­ing its test – al­though many oth­ers may well be ask­ing: “What the hell is a Devinci?” That’s not such a stupid ques­tion as Devinci Cy­cles are a rel­a­tively un­known brand Down Un­der. For a com­pany that started back in 1987 in east­ern Canada, it’s taken the best part of 25 years to reach our shores. Devinci has of­fer­ings from sleek road disc bikes to gravel hun­gry cy­clocross bikes, but it’s the vast range of moun­tain bikes that we are in­ter­ested in. On test is Devinci’s light and fast Django 27.5 trail bike which sits pretty much smack bang in the mid­dle of the line-up, rang­ing from fat bikes and plus hard­tails to World Cup win­ning down­hill ma­chines. Util­is­ing the pro­pri­etary and patented Dave Wea­gle Split Pivot with a su­per pro­gres­sive rear end, Devinci claim that the Django has su­per fast ac­cel­er­a­tion with pre­ci­sion han­dling and a lively feel. With mod­ern geom­e­try, mid-travel sus­pen­sion and 27.5” wheels, it feels like Devinci were re­ally tar­get­ing rid­ers look­ing for an ag­gres­sive XC bike with slightly longer travel and slacker geom­e­try to start tack­ling the more tech­ni­cal trails - and have a blast whilst do­ing so. Out on the trails, the Django would be at home rub­bing shoul­ders with the likes of the Santa Cruz 5010, Norco Sight and even the Yeti SB5c.

INI­TIAL IM­PRES­SIONS

Al­though avail­able in both car­bon and alu­minium frame­sets, I was given the 2017 car­bon va­ri­ety with car­bon main­frame and seat­stays, and al­loy chain­stays and up­per link. A proven mix of ma­te­ri­als in the right lo­ca­tions, giv­ing the frame a very solid and stiff feel at a rea­son­able weight. It’s avail­able in two colour­ways - gloss black and the matte blue turquoise–red tested here. I per­son­ally re­ally like this colour­way, and love the matte fin­ish. It just pops in the sun­light and never looked dull, even af­ter a few dirty rides and bike washes. Fol­low­ing the lat­est trend in frame de­sign of the in­ter­nal routed ca­ble, Devinci have opted for the same sys­tem, but with some neat lit­tle ca­ble cov­ers to al­low a larger open­ing when rout­ing the ca­ble, and then plug it all up with a neat and tidy guide that screws into the frame. And if loose ca­bles rat­tling in­side your frame isn’t your thing, the Django comes with a mod­est length of foam tub­ing to run the in­ter­nal ca­bles through to dampen the rat­tling and si­lence the ride. Nice touch! Devinci Aus­tralia of­fer the Django as a frame­set op­tion, or com­plete build with one of their awe­some build kits. How­ever, I was given a frame­set and de­cided to match it with some other prod­ucts I was re­view­ing, as well as some other parts lay­ing around. Over­all the re­sult was close to one of the stock builds of­fered by Devinci, al­beit with a cou­ple of parts very new to the coun­try. The Cane Creek Helm fork run at 140mm (rec­om­mended travel is 130mm) and TRP G-Spec Quadiem brakes rounded off the set-up nicely and gave the bike a unique feel from the stock builds.

OUT ON THE TRAIL

Af­ter a quick build, car park test to check if ev­ery­thing was tight and straight, it was onto the dream crusher for the fi­nal weigh in. Con­firmed 13.25kgs! So it’s not a bike for weight wee­nies by any stretch, but nor is it a boat an­chor. And with a life­time frame war­ranty you are sure to be cov­ered, even when push­ing it to the limit and pos­si­bly be­yond. Be­ing a touch over 6’2”, I asked for an XL as this has the clos­est top tube length to my ev­ery­day ride. Cou­pled with a 50-70mm stem, the reach was bang on for tech­ni­cal gravity trails and the fol­low­ing climb back to the top. I never felt stretched out, nor did I feel like I was hang­ing over the front of the bike. It just felt great. Head­ing out for a warm up of the more se­date trails at Kent­lyn, it was ap­par­ent from the get-go that the Django was go­ing to be a su­per fun bike to ride. With rel­a­tively short chain­stays by cur­rent stan­dards of 425mm, the front end was very easy to pick up when seated and climb­ing up rocky shelf trails. It was also sim­ple to man­ual and ‘pop’ off roots and rocks to clear small gaps in the trail. Ma­noeu­vring the tight and twisty sin­gle­track sec­tions was a breeze with the slack (but not-too-slack) 67.5-de­gree head an­gle. This also aided in keep­ing the front end down whilst climb­ing some of the steeper trails back to the top. I never re­ally felt like the bike was too long that I couldn’t mus­cle up and around ob­sta­cles, nor too short that I felt cramped and too close to the bars. It’s great when a bike feels like your own af­ter only a few shorts laps of your lo­cal trails. When done with the so-called XC style trails, it was on to the fun

stuff where I could re­ally let it hang out and get it side­ways. With an abun­dance of nat­u­ral, flowy, rocky de­scents to ses­sion, I re­ally pushed the mid travel bike to its lim­its, hit­ting some larger jumps and step-downs on the way to the bot­tom. I know it can be said about many mid travel trail bikes that they feel like they have more travel than they ac­tu­ally do, but the Django did just that. Launch­ing some of the big­ger drops and land­ing a lit­tle long and flat, I didn’t no­tice any harsh­ness or bot­tom­ing out of the shock. It just felt smooth! It must be noted that when set­ting up the Rock­Shox Monarch RT3, I in­stalled four red ‘cala­mari’ vol­ume spac­ers in the shock. This def­i­nitely helped with re­mov­ing that lin­ear feel of the sus­pen­sion and gave an abun­dance of pro­gres­sion. For those unini­ti­ated with the Split-Pivot sys­tem, it’s es­sen­tially a sin­gle pivot with the up­per link driv­ing the shock - whilst out back is an ec­cen­tric pivot around the rear axle. Think Trek’s ABP sys­tem, but with a dif­fer­ent name…and I’ll just leave it there. What it ac­tu­ally means on the trail is con­sis­tent sus­pen­sion ac­ti­va­tion with­out the ef­fect of hard brak­ing. When hit­ting fast and rough sec­tions of the trail and grab­bing a hand­ful of rear brake, the sus­pen­sion still has the abil­ity to move, hence keep­ing the rear wheel planted for tons of grip. This is def­i­nitely no­tice­able on the Django. When the trail heads back up and you stomp on the ped­als, there is a great amount of anti-squat as the 27.5 wheels ac­cel­er­ate like a cross-coun­try ma­chine. With a quick swap out of the flip-able chips at the seat­stay/ rocker link junc­tion, you can set the bike into the low po­si­tion for a slacker and lower, more fun ride - or the high po­si­tion for a steeper and much more ef­fi­cient climber. Though not touted as a XC race bike, it cer­tainly could hold its own when rac­ing the lo­cal clubby on a Satur­day, as long as your legs hold up! It’s fair to say that the Django 27.5 is a very ca­pa­ble and fun bike to ride on al­most all styles of trails, but I still felt that a 29er could of­fer a lit­tle more for me. I know I’m a bit bi­ased when it comes to 29ers, but there were times when I felt that the smaller wheels did hin­der my speed in a few sec­tions where the 29” brother would pos­si­bly have ex­celled. But it’s horses for cour­ses as you need to pick what suits your rid­ing style.

OUR TAKE

Af­ter two great days of rip­ping up my lo­cal trails on the Django, I had no me­chan­i­cals, and even more im­por­tant, no is­sues with the frame it­self. The sus­pen­sion piv­ots all stayed as they should… tight. And even with a few rock strikes and the odd off-trail ex­cur­sion, the matte fin­ish showed no signs of wear. I would def­i­nitely say a fresh painted frame would have fared a lot worse with clear coat chips and scratches. Af­ter a cou­ple of good hard years, the Django’s fin­ish would likely present bet­ter than a painted frame for sure. Get­ting down to brass tacks on what’s im­por­tant when look­ing for a trail bike, a cou­ple of key fac­tors should be con­sid­ered. Ob­vi­ously price is high on the radar when look­ing for a com­plete pack­age and bikes that come in boxes may seem very af­ford­able - but you lose the abil­ity to ‘cus­tom’ spec your dream ma­chine. How­ever, don’t dis­count the frame only op­tion of­fered by Devinci in Aus­tralia as when paired with a solid build kit of­fered by Rowney Sports, you could be turn­ing up at the trails on a fully cus­tom bike at a very af­ford­able price that you would have oth­er­wise over­looked. Whilst $3790 may not be in ev­ery­one’s bud­get for a frame that could be some­what la­belled as bou­tique, it’s a far cry from the $5K price ticket of the likes of the Yeti SB5c, Santa Cruz 5010, Ibis Mojo 3 and In­tense Spi­der. Over­all I had a lot of fun rid­ing the Devinci Django 27.5 and found it to be a wor­thy trail bike for the rider look­ing for a de­pend­able ma­chine with quick han­dling and climb­ing - but also with gravity in­spired ca­pa­bil­i­ties. If in­stead you’re look­ing at hit­ting way more of the down than up, then the Devinci Troy or Spar­tan would po­ten­tially be more to your lik­ing.

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