Django Gets the Big-Wheel Treatment
In a weird way, the story of the new Django 29er begins with an entirely different bike—the Troy. You see, the Troy used to be Devinci’s mid-travel trail bike. But then riders began slapping on burlier components and taking the Troy into uglier terrain than it was intended for. To keep pace with that fact, Devinci made the 2016 Troy a bit longer in the cockpit, beefed up the frame and gave the Troy a more progressive shock tune…all of which bumped the Troy into legitimate all-mountain/enduro territory.
Now there was just one problem: There was a gaping hole in the Devinci line up where a lightweight trail bike used to belong. Devinci filled that hole, a few months back, with a new 27.5-wheeled model called the Django. The Django was nimble, it was quick and if you want to know more about it, you can read all about it here
. Of course, the moment the Django 27.5 hit the streets, people began asking: Why wasn’t Devinic releasing a 29er Django instead?
Well, here’s the new 29er version. I’ve been riding the top-shelf version of the bike tor the past week.
Django 29 Details
• Intended use: trail
• Travel: 130-mm front and 120-mm rear
• 29" wheels
• Adjustable geometry
• 68 - 68.5° adjustable head angle
• 432-mm chainstays
• 12 x 148-mm rear spacing
• BB92 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 / EUR:
• Carbon X01 Eagle: $6819 / $7699 / €7239
• Carbon SLX/XT: $5129 / $5799 / €5449
• Carbon GX: $4249 / $4799 / €4509
• Carbon NX: $3809 / $4299 / €4039
• Carbon frame: $2479 / $2799 /€2629
• Alloy 29 GX: $3539 / $3999/ €3759
• Alloy 29 NX: $3099 / $3499/ €3289
• Alloy frame: $1769 / $1999/ €1879
The Django 29 sports 130 millimeters of travel up front and 120 millimeters out back—just like its 27.5-wheeled sibling. In fact, the bikes are surprisingly similar. The Django 29 rocks a half-degree steeper head angle, but once you account for the extra trail of most 29ers, what often seems like a steep head angle on a geo chart winds up steering
a bit slacker on the trail. Despite the bigger wheels, the Django 29 is only seven millimeters longer in the chain stays than the smaller-wheeled version. Seventeen-inch (432-millimeter) chainstays on a 29er? Not bad at all.
“We really wanted to give both versions of the Django similar personalities,” says Devinci marketing coordinator, Julien Boulais. “They are meant for the same kind of riding, it just comes down to what you prefer as a rider—if you like to get the bike in the air and finesse it a lot, the 27.5 is going to appeal more to you. The 29er version is going to be a bit faster through roots and rocks, but both bikes are meant to be nimble and lively.”
Where does the Django fit into the broader world of bikes? It's an aggressive trail bike, a la the Pivot Mach 429 Trail or Intense Primer. Geometry-wise, it's not too far removed from the Evil Following, with is longish-front center, short rear end, low bottom bracket height... The Django 29 is a bit steeper in the head tube, than the Following, though if you're all about slack head tube angles, it's worth noting that Devinci is also offering a taller, lower headset cup that further slackens the head angle.
As for rear suspension, Devinci has utilized Dave Weagle's Split Pivot suspension for about half a decade now and the system is featured here on the Django as well. Rear shock duties are handled by an excellent Fox Float Factory series unit.
For starters, the bike is a veritable rocket on climbs. True, it doesn’t hurt that I’m riding the pimped out version—a bike that weighs a mere 27.6 pounds and sports the mother of all granny gears (hello, SRAM Eagle). Nevertheless, I didn't weigh the bike until I was halfway finished writing this review and I would have sworn that the Django weighed even less than that. It pedals like an XC bike. You could add a couple more pounds to this thing and it’d still motor up climbs like a champ. This particular iteration of the Split Pivot design pedals pretty damn crisply. Even when run wide open, the bike simply moves on out. I wound up climbing with the shock in Medium mode, not because the bike bobbed excessively when run in Open mode, but because I prefer to climb with the bike sitting a bit taller.
Though it feels like 2016 is the year when the adjective “playful” gets run into the ground, I can’t help but apply it to this bike. It really is the embodiment of that trait. The Django 29 is a bike that loves to be popped off of things and whipped through corners. The bike is, quite simply, a hell of a lot of fun to ride. And, yes, I'm still talking about the 29er version here. That said, you can also quickly reach the limits of its 120 millimeters of rear suspension. The Django 29 begs you to push hard —on both the climbs and the descents—but it doesn’t give you a massive buffer for rider error on technical downhills.
The Django 29 is a capable bike, definitely, but it doesn’t feel as controlled and stout as some other models (Evil Following, I’m looking at you here). Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. It’s a horses for courses kind of scenario. The Django is, after all, a bike that I’d gladly take on a multi-day stage race, whereas I wouldn’t be nearly so quick to reach for the Evil when diving into an event like that.
Of course, these are just first impressions. I have some fiddling to do yet--I want to see how the bike handles descents when shod with bigger tires ( the stock 2.3-inch High Roller II is fine up front, but the 2.25-inch Maxxis Ardent out back breaks loose far too easily) and that geometry-slackening lower headset cup. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for a long-term test in 2017.
Visit the feature gallery for high resolution and additional images.
Be sure to check out the Django in action with Mark Wallace as well.