Wading through the volume of new and bedazzling standards and bike classifications can be enough to confuse even the best of us. Casting any negativity about this situation to one side, what the bike industry has done - in all of its benevolence - is empower us with options, and lots of them. So in reflection, the only real challenge facing anyone looking for a brand new bike today is understanding and acknowledging their own individual needs and choosing the appropriate tool for the task at hand. This brings us nicely to the Django...
The build seen here, with a full SRAM X01 drivetrain in a size large weighed in at 27.6lb's (12.42kg's), but won't be available with Devinci instead opting for an 11-speed Shimano XT build, while retaining the RockShox suspension seen here.
The Django, for all intents and purposes, looks a lot like another bike, the Troy - Devinci's 140mm travel trail smasher, which they released last summer. So why take a capable 140mm travel trail bike platform and shrink it into a 120mm... err, trail bike that's randomly named after a movie about slavery? Let's ask a more specific question. How gnarly are your local trails? Now we are always going to be drawn to the bikes that scream and shout at us the loudest, but acknowledging our 'real' needs can sometimes get left by the wayside and doing so at the detriment of our riding experience.
• Intended use: trail
• Travel: 130mm front and 120mm rear
• 27.5" wheels
• Adjustable geometry
• 67.5 - 68° adjustable head angle
• 425-427mm adjustable chainstays
• 12 x 148mm rear spacing
• Press-fit bottom bracket
• Split Pivot Suspension System
• 2.35" Tire clearance
• Internal cable routing
• Asymmetrical construction
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
PRICES - USD / CAD / GBP:
• Carbon XT: $5689 / $6599 / £4999.99
• Carbon RS: $3789 / $4399 / £3099.99
• Carbon SX: $4999 / $5799 / £3999.99
• Carbon frame: $2239 / $2599 / £1999.99
• Alloy XT: $5089 / $5899
• Alloy RS: $3189 / $3699
• Alloy SX: $4399 / $5099
• Alloy S: $2589 / $2999
• Alloy frame: $1639 / $1899
Looking at the Django for the first time, it's hard not to make comparisons to its bigger brother, the 140mm travel Troy. With a near identical silhouette and 20mm less travel front and rear, the question begs to be asked, "why go for the Django and not the Troy?", especially with a minimal weight penalty and a significant descending advantage.
The deal here however, is quality over quantity and with a suitably progressive rear and modern geometry both backing up the Django's intentions along with a 50mm long stem and 760mm wide bars, it's a bike designed for a rider who knows what they want. At 5'9" (in my riding shoes), I opted for a size large, favouring bikes with a little more room and found the sizing about right as far as "modern" trail bike geometry goes, and while a 460mm reach might sound long for some, it is however far from progressive.
The Django, much like the rest of Devinci's full-suspension stable, uses Dave Weagle's Split Pivot suspension design, where the dropout pivot concentrically rotates around the rear axle. The idea behind this design is to combine active braking with good pedalling performance in one. The Django delivers a progressive suspension curve to increase bottom-out resistance, which is pretty essential when you only have 120mm to play with. Devinci supplied our Django with three 'bottomless rings' in the RockShox Monarch Debonair shock, matched with two tokens in the 130mmm travel Pike forks up front, providing ample support over the short period we had on the bike.
The ability to adjust the geometry by rotating the linkage bolt that connects the seatstays to the rocker is a nice touch, although we kept in the low setting throughout having no issues with clearance on roots and rocks.
The internal cable routing is especially neat and tidy and is the same design found on the Troy, allowing a degree of flexibility with your set up and cockpit orientation - spare plastic covers are also supplied.
Heading out on my maiden voyage onboard the Django and hitting the first climb, I resisted the urge to make use of the RockShox Monarch shock's climb function and left it fully open for all but one particularly steep and surfaced climb. The pedalling efficiency and acceleration of the Django's Split Pivot system was pretty impressive, making light work on the climbs. But it's the descending where a bike really comes to life and shows its true colours, and that could certainly be said for the Django, but not before getting to grips with its on-trail demeanour...
Railing berms and hitting the typical features associated with man-made 'trail centres' brought home just how over-gunned many riders are out on the trails, denying themselves a lot of fun by taking a gun to a knife fight.
The Django isn't the kind of bike to hammer head first into a steep, root, rut and rock infested descent with little abandonment while simply covering your brakes - the Django can certainly handle it, but it does, however, demand a different approach and will reward you for picking your lines carefully. But then I think this is what the Django is all about. With less travel comes a heightened connection with the trail, which can - in the right hands - allow for a greater degree of creativity with what you find. Linking up roots and undulations in the trail can reinvigorate a once dulled experience on a larger travel AM machine, yet while I did feel more connected to what's happening under the wheels, I did struggle to easily generate raw speed across rough trails, requiring a lot more input than similar short travel bikes.
Going 'off-piste' and into the rough stuff, the Django became twitchy requiring pin-point accuracy - perhaps a longer travel fork with an offset shorter than 42mm would have helped with weight distribution, but doing so would perhaps diminish what the Django is all about and after all, if this is photo looks like your local trails, Devinci have a bike or two designed to excel in these environments.
From one extreme to the other, the Django was a different machine on trails of a more groomed and man-made nature where the light and superbly stiff carbon chassis, sub 28lb weight, progressive suspension and aggressive ride position, all came to life as you let off the brakes and put the power down. Pumping and jumping your way through modern trail features brought home that a short travel machine with some decent numbers in the geometry department, could be a lot of fun. That said, I do wonder if Devinci missed an opportunity with the Django, especially within the growing short travel trail bike sector. Embracing 650b wheels over 29" wheels - a rising trend right now - and considering the Django has a stiff 'Boosted' rear and the right numbers geometry wise, well, they could have had a real "rocket ship" on their hands.
For those more familiar with the ride height of a longer travel platform and a penchant for getting some air, the Django's ground hugging persona will take some time to get used to, favouring precision over wilfully hucking and hoping.
|Coming to the realisation that the latest EWS proven 160mm travel machine would be pure overkill for most of us and the terrain we encounter at our local trails, and choosing a more appropriate option for our immediate needs is a wake-up call that more and more of us are coming around to. This was the precise reason that the team at Devinci designed the Django. While fast and aggressive riders might feel that a bit under gunned on rough-and-ready trails, those looking for a bike to hammer out the miles at their local trail centre and have some fun along the way, will like what they find. - Olly Forster|
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