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First Ride: Deviate Claymore MX

Jun 11, 2024
by Seb Stott  
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We were impressed with the Deviate Claymore 29er when we covered it in the 2022 Field test, so when Deviate brought out a mixed-wheel version we were keen to see how it stacks up in 2024.

Deviate haven't simply fitted a smaller wheel and a flip chip to preserve the bottom bracket height; they've made a whole new rear triangle to accommodate the 27.5" rear wheel. Deviate say that with their high pivot design, using a flip chip or a different link would cause the bike to sit in the wrong part of the axle path curve, which would throw the anti-squat and the chainstay length out of balance. By changing the swingarm, Deviate can keep the handling and suspension performance more similar to the 29er version.

The obvious downside is that it's not possible to swap between wheel sizes, although Deviate are offering a kit to swap the swingarm on 29er Claymores to a mullet setup.
Deviate Claymore MX Details
• Mixed wheels (duh) 27.5"/29"
• 165 mm rear travel, 170-180 mm fork
• Different rear triangle compared to 29er version - no flip chip
• Sizes: M, L, XL - 460, 490, 520 mm reach
• Claimed frame weight: 3.2 kg (7.1 lb)
• Measured weight as tested: 16.2 kg (35.7 lb) in XL without pedals
• Price (frame only, no shock): £2999 GBP / $3,200 USD / €3,499 / $4500 CAD / 3,200 CHF
deviatecycles.com

However you cut it, it's an expensive frame. But it stands out from the crowd and it rides really well.

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Frame & suspension

The mainframe is shared with the 29er variant, which means there is room for a full-sized water bottle plus a tool mount under the top tube. Cables run externally through a groove underneath the top tube but run inside the swingarm. If I were building up a bike from scratch, I'd be tempted to secure the brake line to the outside of the swingarm for a fully external affair, even though there are no bosses for doing this. The 27.5" swingarm is UDH compatible (as is the 29er version for 2024 frames).

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It's great to see grease ports for all frame bearings including the idler pulley, plus twin-lip wiper seals. On their Instagram account, Deviate advise re-greasing the pivots about once a season, which should help the bearings to last longer by flushing out old grease and dirt. The BB is threaded and there is generous frame protection too.


The suspension is a true high-pivot affair, with the rear axle moving backwards by over 20 mm over its 165 mm of vertical motion. At 30% sag, the wheel moves rearwards by around 13 mm relative to the mainframe. That means the chainstay length will feel longer (resulting in a more forward weight bias) than the geometry chart would suggest.

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The shock is driven by a link that pivots around the bottom bracket, which is in turn pulled by another link which connects it to the bottom of the swingarm just under the bottom bracket. This link is pretty exposed to front wheel spray, but it is tucked up higher than the chainring so rock strikes shouldn't be a concern. A skid plate is probably extra advisable though just for extra protection.

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Unlike many recent high-pivot bikes, the swingarm moves on a single pivot. That means the braking behaviour isn't as adjustable from a designer's perspective, and it will tend to sit deeper into its travel under braking from a rider's perspective.

The leverage curve is quite progressive towards the end of the travel, helping to resist bottom-out, but it's close to linear in the middle of the travel, which makes the suspension relatively active/unsupportive in the mid-stroke.

The 18-tooth idler pulley is fixed to the swingarm just below the main pivot, which results in plenty of anti-squat so there's good support while pedalling.



Claymore MX Geometry

Geometry

The geometry is identical to the 29er Claymore except the chainstay is 6 mm shorter, at 435 mm. That's on the short side these days, but remember the rearward axle path means the rear-center length will grow by up to 20 mm throughout the travel.

The 520 mm reach on the XL size is longer than most, but the short head tube means you need extra spacers under the stem to raise the bar height, which makes the frame feel shorter than that number would suggest. It's still a big bike, but nothing out of the ordinary these days. At 191 cm (6'3"), the XL was a good fit.



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Models
For now, the Claymore MX is only available as a frame. For testing, Deviate allowed me to pick some familiar parts like Fox Factory suspension, DT Swiss wheels, Maxxis DoubleDown tires, Shimano XT drivetrain, and a OneUp 240 mm seatpost and 35 mm rise handlebars. The Magura MT7 brakes were the only item that took time to get used to. It's worth noting Deviate sent me a bike with a 180 mm fork.

This build weighed 16.2 kg (35.7 lb) in XL without pedals.



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Ride Impressions

It may seem churlish to question the climbing efficiency of Deviate's suspension design given Mathew Fairbrother's awesome adventures on his, such as riding between rounds of the Enduro World Cup and winning a race designed to be accessed with boats, helicopters and vans without using any of them. But as we all know such feats are more about the man than the machine.

In a previous test, we found that an idler only robs around 2% of a rider's power, and that feels about right with the Deviate. It's not the quickest climbing enduro bike (not compared to the super-efficient Scott Ransom and Orbea Rallon that I've been testing recently), but I'd say it's about average. There is a little movement from the suspension while pedalling, but it firms up and feels supportive when you're winching up something steep, and the seated position is nice and upright. The idler is impressively quiet too, although it starts to rumble if the chain gets dirty or under-lubed. The Claymore is best when pedalling over bumpy terrain, where the suspension moves more readily and upsets the pedalling rhythm less than idler-free bikes. It's a good technical climber.

On the descents, the Claymore goes from average to top class. I wouldn't say that the high pivot suspension performs like it has more travel than the headline number suggests, but it certainly does things differently. Fortunately, the Claymore has plenty of vertical travel as well as the rearward component, helping it soften impacts of all sizes very nicely. It's particularly impressive when the rear wheel falls into a hole and then compresses rapidly on the other side. It does a good job of ironing out the most jarring hits despite the smaller back wheel.

Set up with 30% sag, the suspension never bottoms out unduly, but isn't the most supportive in the middle of the travel (it ramps up quite near the end). This plays into its ability to swallow up bumps and smooth trail chatter, but in berms and compressions, it's not the most supportive or responsive. A coil shock would compensate for this trait, but I didn't mind it. In some ways the rearward axle path seems to offset the sensation of squatting back as the suspension compresses, helping you to feel centered on the bike. I also ran the 180 mm fork softer than usual (93 psi at 85 kg) to create a more balanced feel. The sprawling rear-centre may feel odd at first when bunny-hopping large obstacles, pulling a manual or scooping through a tight berm, but it's something you can get used to - especially with a higher bar height.

When braking hard over bumps, it occasionally feels a little less refined than some four-bar bikes, but I wouldn't describe it as harsh. The upside is that the bike hunkers down at the rear when braking, so the chassis stays more level and feels more stable.

The 27.5" rear wheel has obvious clearance advantages especially for small to medium-sized riders when things get spicy, while the high-pivot suspension helps offset the drawbacks over bumps. Bottom line: the Claymore excels when things get steep and gnarly.




Author Info:
seb-stott avatar

Member since Dec 29, 2014
321 articles

104 Comments
  • 69 5
 "Deviate say that with their high pivot design, using a flip chip or a different link would cause the bike to sit in the wrong part of the axle path curve, which would throw the anti-squat and the chainstay length out of balance."

So if using a flip chip would throw the chainstay length out of balance, how would having 435 chainstays across the board not throw other things out of balance?
  • 87 4
 Marketing gonna market.
  • 14 0
 I think it's more about preserving the suspension kinematics and axle path curve. If you reduced the BB drop with a flip chip or alternate link you'd have a more rearward axle path and maybe that's not something they wanted.
  • 3 15
flag cjmtb91 FL (Jun 11, 2024 at 9:25) (Below Threshold)
 @seb-stott: WRP make a link that preserves the geo and leverage curve, according to them it doesn't mess with the bike at all. Deviate are just trying to sell more frames.
  • 4 0
 @seb-stott: looks like it’s mostly to do with clearance. No way you could raise the rear end 20mm without running the rear triangle into the BB. Also, it’s a single pivot so reducing the BB drop creates a more rearward axle path regardless of how it’s done.
  • 7 0
 @cjmtb91: And WRP are just trying to sell more parts. Making the shock longer moves the linkage and therefore changes the kinematics.

WRP aren’t exactly telling the truth either.
  • 7 1
 @cjmtb91: Not sure on that. Best to ask WRP how they are getting on with that project.
  • 4 1
 The only thing I could see is that because their leverage curve is so wonky (nearly flat in the middle) lowering the rear axle for 27.5 would push you into a different part of the curve. If the leverage rate was more linear, it wouldn’t be a big deal but I can see their point on this one.
A separate discussion might be around how desirable this leverage curve is - in my opinion it’s not.
  • 17 1
 @mtbthe603 Very valid question and @seb-stott is spot on with the reason. We actually experimented with a few alternative approaches but it changed the geometry and ultimately made it a different ride entirely. That testing was over the period of a year and we worked with our riders to refine it to what we have now. You can actually spot videos from Lachlan Blair last year riding a black rear triangle prototype on his Instagram.

Appreciate hearing the different perspectives - keep them coming!
  • 3 0
 @MTBrent: Except they are a 2 person company - not exactly a marketing juggernaut.
  • 1 0
 As XL and XS riders represent about 5-10% of potential sales we just don't justify the extra design time and mold costs for some manufacturers. Sad but true.
  • 1 0
 @MTBrent: Get a RAAW anything and get rid of all your tiny anything wonders... just saying.
  • 34 0
 I appreciate the outside cable routing but it doesn't make sense anymore if you still need to go through the chainstay. Or did I miss something here ?
  • 4 0
 My thoughts exactly.
  • 9 0
 It doesn't make sense, it's just a little easier to deal with when building the bike. That's it. I own one and would have preferred it stay totally external om the rear triangle too.
  • 1 2
 @onawalk: nice in spirit but I'm not going to do that unless I fill the routing hole and repaint the bike. Then I'd consider it.
  • 5 0
 @j-t-g: quick rubber plug in the opening, run cable on underside of swingarm, youll never see it
  • 3 0
 Agreed 100% I had a gen 1 Highlander and loved the full external routing on it. I’m not sure I see any benefit to the rider to have to deal with both internal and external on the frame. The ease of the external set up on the front triangle doesn’t mean much to me if I’ve gotta still deal internal on the seatstay.

Loved that bike though—was capable of WAY more than I was.
  • 9 1
 I moved to a high pivot bike this year (Jekyll) and it takes about 2 rides to adjust to the chain stay getting longer. Timing to pop off things needs slightly adjusted and berms have a different feel. There is definitely a different feel, but you can adapt to it pretty quickly.

I also found that climbing traction is amazing, no idea why but on rough climbs the high pivot is really nice. On smooth stuff and flat trails it isn't the most energetic bike, but who really cares about flat or smooth trails if you are buying a high pivot bike?
  • 7 0
 I was wondering if on bikes like this for Seb and Dario to give some sort of baseline review for the same bike, but in their preferred sizes. Seb is seems to prefer the sizes that suit his height and Dario seems to prefer to size down. I think it would be informative/ entertaining to just hear their opinions about the other's bike set up. Since they are both the same heights but have such different opinions sizing.
  • 4 0
 I’ve been thinking the same.
Pinkbike, please give us this, it would be super interesting. Is it to do with preference, riding style, terrain, a mixture of some or all? We would love to know!
  • 9 2
 Somewhat controversial opinion (maybe?), a mullet setup looks better on most HP design bikes (Dreadnought, Claymore, Jekyll, etc.) than essentially every other bike design. Come at me.
  • 3 2
 To be clear, are you saying it looks better aesthetically, or are you saying the way it influences suspension and kinematics looks better?
  • 9 11
 I don't look at my bike when I'm riding it, just saying, looks don't count for much except in a beauty pageant.
  • 9 2
 @sanchofula: They do if you are spending thousands on a bike
  • 5 0
 @sanchofula: everybody says this, and it might be (sorta) true if the bike is good looking _enough_ but we're all the first to dismiss an ugly bike regardless of how it rides
  • 1 0
 @sanchofula: years ago when bike design was more hit-and-miss i think more people would have agreed with you.
Luckily in 2024 there are plenty of good looking bikes that ride really well Smile
  • 1 3
 anyone else getting squatting dog ? I mean, a nice looking squatting dog, but doing a 2 for sure
  • 3 2
 sorry I should retract that comment, totally inappropriate.

It’s peeing dog
  • 1 0
 @plyawn: its not rocket science to create a bike/suspension design that doesn´t look like a hidious piece of shit like basically every orange/pole, BUT performance should never ever be compromised by aesthetics. otherwise we are just in the realm of idiocracy.
  • 7 0
 Deviates ride great and are well thought out bikes I have a highlander and have been super impressed with it. Absolutely shreds and has been super low maintenance!
  • 10 3
 sick ad in the middle of the article
  • 10 3
 So many negative comments. Man people need to chill.
  • 2 2
 I won't ride a bike with a saddle like that. Ever. I don't care how it works. Never. Ever. I have an extremely negative reaction to the downward dog position.
  • 1 0
 @suspended-flesh: Personal preference I guess, I find it more comfortable to have the nose of the saddle pointing down like that.
  • 5 0
 much love Deviate! what a team, keep up the good work! every time I've ridden it still feels like "new bike day" not kidding.
heck yeah guys!!!
  • 2 0
 It's interesting that the other bike that has the lower link rotate around the BB shell, also doesn't offer flip chips etc... they are specific mixed or full 29er models. I'm talking about the Intense Tracer. Slightly different, but interesting that they also said it wasn't good in testing to offer a bike that could be swapped and dedicated was better. Not sure of what other bikes also rotate around the BB at the bottom, but would be interesting to see if this is something they also say.
  • 2 0
 I've been riding my 29 Claymore for a year and a half now. I love the bike and if I didn't just put a UDH 29" swingarm on the bike, I'd totally try the MX swingarm.
  • 2 1
 @sebstott progressive and regressive can be linear too. Being neither progressive nor regressive needs a word like 'flat'.

/pedantry>
  • 3 1
 Linear means the leverage ratio is constant with travel (a flat horizontal line), and so the force measured at the wheel (with a coil shock) will increase linearly with travel. If the leverage curve is sloping downwards in a straight line, some people call that "linearly progressive" which is a weird and confusing term, especially because the forces measured at the wheel won't be linear at all.
  • 8 0
 @seb-stott: He's not wrong. Mx+b can include regressive, progressive, and "linear" leverage curves.
  • 2 0
 @seb-stott: no, linear means straight line, regardless of which direction it's pointing; constant rate of increase, constant rate of decrease, or constant (0 increase/decrease). Agreed about the wheel rate not being linear for linear progressive or linear regressive, but we don't get to choose how mechanics works. Sorry, not meaning to be a d1ck...
  • 4 2
 you know your rideing a fashion victim when you have to run your seat about off the rails to make it comfortable.
  • 4 3
 Ha! That saddle angle and how far it is pushed forward is pretty telling. YUCK!
  • 1 0
 Although maybe it makes the dropper work better/easier. I have a bike that's slightly too small for me so I have the saddle pushed as far back as I can, but it means my weight is behind the seatpost when I want to push the dropper down, so I have to slide forward to make it easier. Bought the bike online based on the sizing chart but it was a great deal so no regrets. They might not have had an XL on sale, I don't remember it was in 2016! :-)
  • 2 0
 Was hoping for headset routing.....the cable tourism looks terrible.
  • 4 6
 "The 520 mm reach on the XL size is longer than most, but the short head tube means you need extra spacers under the stem to raise the bar height, which makes the frame feel shorter than that number would suggest."

Actually, raising the bar height does _not only_ mean spacers. It can be done with bar rise as well, which doesn't necessarily change the effective reach depending on bar roll. Yes, spacers are cheap, but sometimes the fork won't allow for it.

And spacers only change the reach by about 4.3mm per 10mm of spacers at that head angle, so it's not a huge thing to bring it in a few mm, especially since bar height is going up and moving the bar further away from the BB anyways(something something RAD something something)
  • 1 0
 The reviews definitely are not displaying properly on mobile. It looks a mess
  • 1 0
 I'd have like to hear how it compared to the 29" version.
The shorter chainstay worries me.
  • 1 0
 I thought Fairbrother rode a Highlander II in the race he won in NZ.
  • 1 0
 He did, but same idler design.
  • 6 9
 Nice another great frame that has huge reach for large for a person who is 5'10". Manufacturers if you are reading this comment, 63% of males in North America are between 5'9" and 5'11. As much as hate to say it, Trek get's it with their M/L size.
  • 1 0
 The trek M/L isnt really anything special, it’s more so they don’t have a XXL or an XS in their size lineup than an in between size. Trek is just a bigger company so they can afford to have more molds and therefore smaller jumps between sizes.
  • 11 0
 So ride a medium? The size is just a label, hence most brands switching to numbered sizing.
  • 12 0
 @Nobble: His ego is involved. If someone fits in the "middle" of the of the US population, you would think a medium is the right size...
  • 4 0
 Just admit you are probably going to a medium now, stretch the stem or the bar roll a bit and you should be good. Might need a longer dropper as well which is a positive.
  • 4 0
 I have a medium highlander with pretty much the same geometry as this, and as a 5' 10" male it's perfect.
  • 1 0
 I have a large Highlander II and bought it because clearly whoever designed the bike is 6' tall. My only complaint is the stack is the low stack height, solved that with spacer and a longer stem. I'm beginning to really love the bike.
  • 4 0
 Given that 95% of manufacturers use 480 Lg and 500 XL reach sizing, it's awesome to see a 490 reach for those of us who are 6'1". (You 5'10" guys are winning most of the game already, Deviate's sizing is an outlier)
  • 4 0
 @chrod: Exactly, I am 6'1". I know whoever at Deviate designs the bikes is 6'1" for sure, I would bet on it. The 490 reach number is such a sweet spot, but honestly for me 500 might have been better with the stack. My old GG is 490, but with a massive stack and 1 degree steeper HA. Feels quite a bit larger.
  • 1 0
 @polarflux: now imagine it had a 130mm head tube
  • 1 0
 Sorry, that was meant for @chrod
  • 1 0
 @Nobble: remember the hate dario received for picking "the wrong" size for his last (?) tested bike? Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @PerNyberg1Bn: Ah yep - 114mm head tube is teeny weeny, missed that. Would be nicer if it was 120-130mm.
Spacers to add 10-15mm of stack would reduce the effective top tube and reach, down closer to the range of a "normal" Large nearer 480-485mm.

FWIW at 6'1" I ended up fitting an XL Capra - 484 reach 120mm head tube. Slammed the stem and run 50mm bars for the right fit.
  • 3 1
 @PerNyberg1Bn: Well, no worries...130 would be dreamy. I think the low stacks on many bikes is because tall stack frames are visually a little funny looking in carbon frames. Its an aesthetic choice.
  • 2 0
 @polarflux:
The one useful aspect of a small head tube - you can slam stems and reclaim reach if you want, but you have to find an acceptable high-rise handlebar with the right roll to fit. Kind of a niche use case.
  • 2 0
 @chrod: I'm not afraid of high rise.Whatever it takes!
  • 1 0
 Wow, it doesn't have a motor, batteries or any electronics.
  • 1 0
 just need to change the front wheel now.
  • 1 1
 Can someone please explain why bikes are weighed without pedals? Must aswell take the saddle off to make it lighter.
  • 1 1
 because pedals don't come as standard on a bike and everyone has very personal preferences.
  • 1 2
 @deviatecycles: but saddles, grips, tyres, etc, are also personal preferences. Considering how much bikes cost, surely companies can just fit a cheap pair of plastic flats?
  • 1 1
 Nothing new at the horizon
  • 2 2
 Looks like a limousine
  • 2 1
 costs more. You'd be over 5K to get one into Canada, BEFORE you put a shock and a build kit on it.
  • 3 0
 @plyawn: Just wait til the fall and they'll go on for a nice price again most likely. Both a friend and I picked up full 29er versions on sale between last October and this Winter for what we felt were perfectly reasonable prices.
  • 3 0
 @plyawn: have a look at Imby Bikes. Prices are good.
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