Review: Deviate Highlander 2 - A Better Sequel

May 17, 2023
by Seb Stott  
Deviate is a small Scottish company that only makes high-pivot bikes. That may sound like jumping on the bandwagon, but their first bike, the Guide, came out in 2016 - when it really was ahead of the curve. Since then, they released the Highlander, a trail bike with 140 or 150 mm travel, and then the Claymore, an enduro bike with 165 mm travel, both of which reviewed well.

Now that the Highlander is over three years old, they're launching the Highlander 2, which, unlike the film, aims to improve on the original. It's got a lighter frame, tweaked suspension kinematics, and revised geometry.
Highlander 2 Details

• Intended use: Trail riding
• Wheel size: 29"
• Rear-wheel travel: 145mm
• Fork travel: 160mm
• Head angle: 65-degrees
• Seat angle: 77-degrees
• Lifetime warranty & crash replacement
• Weight: 14.6 kg / 32lb (as tested)
• MSRP: $4000 USD / $5000 CAD / €4320 / £3720 (frame & shock)
• More info:
While the Claymore is the dedicated enduro weapon, Deviate describes the Highlander 2 as "Your local trail companion, all-day epic explorer, bike park ripper and weekend racer. The Highlander 2 is designed to adapt to what you want to ride, when you want to ride it." In reality, it blurs the line between trail and enduro, but in a good way.

It serves up 145 mm of rear wheel travel and is designed for a 160 mm fork and 29" wheels front and rear. For now, it's only available as a frame or frame + shock, but a full build (as pictured) should be available before too long.


bigquotesOverall the Highlander 2 is a good option for people who like their trails on the technical and chunky side. Seb Stott


Frame Details

The full-carbon frame shares the same hardware (save the links that drive the shock) with the original Highlander and the Claymore, including the idler wheel and axle. The swingarm is the same as the one you'll see on the Claymore, but the front triangle is unique to the Highlander 2. Deviate say it's "a fair bit lighter" than the original Highlander, but thanks to a new carbon layup, they say it's just as strong.

It takes a standard 126-link chain, so there is no need to join chains together. The pivots and idler wheel run on high-quality Enduro Max bearings with twin lip wiper seals and grease ports to help keep them all running in wet weather.


The cables run along the bottom of the top tube in a little channel, making replacements easier while keeping them hidden from view. They do run internally through the rear triangle though, so you'll still need to detach brake hoses to replace the brakes.

There's a bonded chainstay protector plus a bolt-on downtube protector that looks like it's hiding something, but there's no internal storage here. There is room for a full-sized water bottle above the downtube plus accessories can be hung from under the top tube.


Geometry & Sizing

On paper, the head angle is only half a degree slacker than the original Highlander, but the seat tube is two degrees steeper. The reach has grown too, such that a Large has a similar reach to the old XL. A size small has been added to the range for those who don't want a bigger bike.

I measured the head angle of my test bike at 64.5 degrees and the wheelbase at 1,295 mm, which is a touch longer & slacker than the official numbers above. That makes it pretty stable for a trail bike, but these days, it's not the longest either. The BB height with 2.4" Vittoria Mazza tires measures 345 mm.


Suspension Design

The 18-tooth idler wheel is connected directly to the swingarm. A link at the bottom of the swingarm pulls a rocker which pivots around the bottom bracket and drives the shock.


The leverage ratio between the rear axle and the shock starts at 2.82 and ends up at 2.19 (the lower the leverage ratio, the stiffer the suspension). That makes the suspension about average in terms of progressiveness, with 22% overall progression. Most of that change in leverage ratio happens toward the end of the travel though, so it's relatively linear through the first two-thirds of the travel, but as the leverage drops downwards towards the bottom out, the suspension forces ramp up. This may result in a soft and supple ride in the middle part of the travel, with a firm end-stroke.


Anti-squat is on the high side, according to Deviate's numbers, sitting above 120% throughout most of the travel when in the middle of the cassette.

The trait that sets the Deviate apart from the crowd is the anti-rise. This is how much the brake force acts to compress the suspension and keep it from extending as your weight transfers to the front wheel when you're hard on the anchors. The high-single-pivot design means the brake caliper is trying to rotate the swingarm clockwise (if viewed from the drive side) and so compress the suspension, to a much greater extent than low-single pivots or many four-bar layouts. The result is that the bike squats into its rear suspension travel when the back brake is applied, helping to avoid pitching forwards.

Release Date 2023
Price $8500
Travel 145 mm
Rear Shock Ohlins TTX Air, 55mm
Fork Ohlins RXF 36, 160 mm
Headset Cane Creek
Cassette Shimano XT, 10-51 T
Crankarms Shimano XT, 170 MM, 32 T
Chainguide N/A
Bottom Bracket Shimano XT
Pedals N/A
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT
Chain Shimano XT
Front Derailleur N/A
Shifter Pods Shimano XT
Handlebar OneUp Carbon bar, 20x 800 mm
Stem OneUp, 40 mm
Grips OneUp
Brakes Shimano XT four pot, 200/180 mm
Wheelset I9 Trail S
Hubs I9 Trail S
Spokes I9 Trail S
Rim I9 Trail S
Tires Vittoria Mazza, Trail, 2.4"
Seat SDG
Seatpost OneUp, 240 mm



For now, it's only available as a frame only or a frame and Öhlins TTX2 air shock. Deviate say the full build as shown in this article Shimano XT, Ohlins RXF 36 fork, OneUp components) will be available soon.

The prices are as follows:

Frame only:
USA: $3600 USD
Canada: $4250 CAD
EU: €3600 EUR including VAT
UK: £3120 GBP including VAT
Frame & Öhlins Shock:
USA: $4000 USD
Canada: $5000 CAD
EU: €4320 EUR including VAT
UK: £3720 GBP including VAT
Complete Build (as shown)
USA: $8500 USD
Canada: $10250 CAD
EU: €7920 EUR including VAT
UK: £7050 GBP including VAT

For now, the M,L, and Xl sizes are available in two colors: Iona Blue (as tested) and Isla Sand. The size small is expected to land in August.

Test Bike Setup

I spent a while going back and forth on shock settings and settled on 190 psi, which gave me just over 32% sag. I backed off the low-speed compression to fully open and set the rebound on the faster side (9 clicks from closed). I set the fork to 110 psi, with 230 psi in the ramp-up chamber; the rebound was fully open and the compression was relatively open, depending on the terrain. I cut the bars to 770 mm and set them as high as they would go. Tire pressures were 22 & 26 psi.
Seb Stott
Location: Tweed Valley, Scotland
Age: 30
Height: 6'3" / 191cm
Inseam: 37" / 93cm
Weight: 189 lbs / 86 kg, kitted



On the climbs, it's good but not the best. There's very little pedal bob and the suspension stays high in its travel on the steeps. At 14.6 kg / 32lb, the build I have is relatively light too. But while the 77-degree seat tube angle is no slouch, I prefer to be even further forward to really attack steep and prolonged climbs. And yes, I rode it with the saddle all the way forwards.

The idler was quiet throughout my test period, which isn't always the case. My previous testing suggests an idler only adds around two per cent drag with a fresh chain, but this number could increase as chains get worn or dirty. You certainly notice the noise increase as the lube wears off.

The high pivot design does come into its own on slow and bumpy climbs, where the rear wheel can move up and over the bumps without upsetting the rhythm of your pedalling as much. Overall, the Highlander 2 is a very capable climber, but it's not what I'd choose if climbing speed was a top priority.



On the descents, I found it easy to ride confidently almost straight away. The handling is well-balanced for aggressive trail riding, with easy maneuverability and plenty of stability for most conditions. For the tighter trails here in the Tweed Valley, it's well-suited. The head angle never felt too steep, even in the nastiest, steepest turns where the similarly slack Atherton Am.150 was a little less surefooted. I think the reason for that is that the high-single-pivot suspension hunkers down into its travel when braking hard, which slackens and lowers the geometry just when you need stability most.

As for harshness under braking - I didn't feel any. The suspension is reasonably sensitive and predictable whether on the brakes or off. But while some say that high pivot suspension makes a bike swallow bumps like it has more travel, I don't think that's necessarily the case. I ended up running a shade over 30% sag, with the low-speed compression relatively open, and it's not a magic carpet ride. Don't get me wrong: it's supple enough, but even though I was using all the travel when warranted, I wouldn't say the high pivot suspension is punching above its travel category. The Ohlins RXF 36 fork isn't the most sensitive either, so while the geometry and stability are very enduro-like, it's the suspension that reminds you it's not quite as forgiving as a modern enduro bike.


For me, the 440 mm chainstay (which grows to around 453 mm at sag and 463 mm at bottom-out) strikes a good balance; the sprawling back-end makes it easy to keep good traction on the front wheel through flat turns, but it's not so long that manuals and bunnyhops become too awkward. On the other hand, shorter riders might find that growing chainstay length makes it harder to loft the front wheel, and even for me, it took a few attempts to get the feel for the balance point.

The Vittoria tires were a little dicey on wet rocks and I'd prefer the bars 10 mm higher, but these are quibbles with the build, which isn't available to buy for now and may change.

Overall the Highlander 2 is a good option for people who like their trails on the technical and chunky side. It's not quite a full-blown enduro bike (they make the Claymore for that), but it offers a good mix of stability and agility for what someone is inevitably going to call "Down Trail".


Technical Report

Vittoria Mazza tires: The Mazza's well-spaced knobs work well for loose muddy conditions, but the compound lacks grip on wet rocks and roots. The 950-gram trail casing rolls well, but I picked up a snakebite early on in testing, and I think the Highlander 2's stability justifies something a little burlier. Vittoria recently launched a version with a softer compound and thicker casing, which might be the ticket.

Ohlins RXF36 fork: It's a solid performer but it doesn't quite match the beginning stroke sensitivity of the Fox 36, and I needed to have the rebound fully open for it to recover fast enough.

Atherton AM.150
03.06.21. Pinkbike BikePark Wales Rider Seb Stott. PIC Andy Lloyd andylloyder
Forbidden Dreadnought

How Does It Compare?

Forbidden are another brand that only make high-pivot bikes. The HL2 fits between the 130 mm travel Forbidden Druid and the 150 mm travel Dreadnought, but having riddden both, I think it rides more like the Dreadnought. The Forbidden's longer wheelbase and suppler 170 mm fork make it more forgiving on fast, rough sections, but in both cases, the rear suspension didn't feel like it had significantly more travel than it did, despite what some high-pivot proponents claim. The real difference is in the Dreadnought's size-specific chainstay length, which sounds like a good thing, but the XL Dreadnought's 464 mm chainstay length (growing to 480 mm at sag) wasn't without drawbacks. While traction and stability were superb, it made manuals tricky and tight and steep sections awkward, The Deviate's 440mm stays (453 mm at sag) strike a better compromise in my book.

In terms of other bikes that tread the line between trail and enduro, the Atherton AM.150 and Canyon Spectral spring to mind. Although the Atherton has a similar head angle on paper, the Deviate feels slacker and more stable in the steep stuff. The Atherton's more consistent chainstay length takes less getting used to when pulling manuals or ripping through the kind of tight berms you'd find on a pump track - although I don't think this is a big problem for the Deviate, it just takes different timing. While the Highlander climbs well, the Atherton is probably a little more efficient.


+ Excellent stability when things get hectic, without being too lethargic on tight stuff.
+ Long chainstay (once into the travel) gives good cornering balance, especially for tall riders
+ Capable on the climbs, especially bumpy ones


- Idler adds a little drag and complexity
- Not inexpensive
- Growing chainstay may take some getting used to when popping manuals.

Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesIf Deviate didn't make the Claymore, they'd be perfectly entitled to call the Highlander their trail and enduro bike. The high pivot causes the wheelbase to grow when you push into a corner and the bike stays low and level when hard on the brakes, which makes it feel even more stable and surefooted than the geometry numbers would suggest.

At the same time, it's not quite as long and slack as many of the latest enduro rigs, which keeps the handling reasonably nimble on flat and tight stuff. The 145 mm suspension keeps it from feeling quite like a modern enduro bike as, high pivot or not, it's not quite as smooth as longer-travel machines. But it's a good climber, especially on choppy terrain, so while it could happily tackle an enduro or two, it's a good choice for people who never plan to race and just have chunky trails to ride.
Seb Stott

Author Info:
seb-stott avatar

Member since Dec 29, 2014
284 articles

  • 179 0
-not inexpensive

-not not expensive
-not savings friendly
-not anti-pricey
  • 79 0
 very non-uncostly
  • 56 0
 A little not cheap
  • 34 0
 Not Not $4,000.
  • 20 0
 Slightly out-of-range for the moderately cost-conscious
  • 82 0
 Affordable only if you can afford it.
  • 4 14
flag baca262 (May 17, 2023 at 9:14) (Below Threshold)
 i fail to understand you bickering when you're not a dentist.
  • 4 0
 Un-Cheap. Chinsey Charlies nothing to see here. lust worthy.
  • 32 5
 Not buck-cheaparoo
Not dime-saverific
Not penny-pinchadelic
Not frugaltastic
Not thrift-a-licious
Not wallet-giggly (my favourite)
Not bargain-bonkers
Not cost-funny
Not budget-hilarity
Not chuckle-worthy on the price front
(from ChatGPT)
  • 13 4
 @browner: Scots might find the pricing prohibitive
  • 2 3
 @jollyXroger: you sound giggletastic
  • 8 7
 $8,500 for a Shimano XT build? I'll take a Dreadnought GX mechanical for $6200 thanks, or a Druid v1 on blowout for $4,300 or whatever they are in Frobiddens outlet...
  • 3 4
 udh would have been nice... having to buy a separate hanger is still a pain for those with multiple bikes
  • 30 0
Not sure that's a fair comparison. Looking at the spec in detail I think it's obvious to see where the extra dollars go. For a start you can't really compare a build with Fox Performance Elite to an Ohlins set-up.
I agree there are more appropriate bikes out there for budget conscious riders - but we've tried to set the pricing appropriate to the spec level, and we'll always sell frame only for those that want a different build from what we offer.
  • 11 1
 @grizor: we are working on UDH and hope to have it released soon, but due to the 55mm chain line inherent to the T-mount system, this requires a fairly extensive adjustment.
  • 1 0
 @deviatecycles: Would those who have the current iteration (v2) of the frame need to get a new rear triangle, or only update the hanger?
  • 6 0
 @shredddr: 'THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!!' just does not hit the same after you just blasted out that climb on a Dreadnought.
  • 4 1
 @deviatecycles: sure you can, performance elite is equal to Fox Factory just without the Kashima, you can't honestly say top shelf (except for the pretty gold color) Fox isn't equivalent but different to Ohlins?
  • 1 0
 @BarryWalstead: I'd agree with you, but appreciate what Deviate has created here. i'd certainly rather support a brand like them (or Forbidden) rather than some of the industry behemoths. Anyway, the spec is solid.
  • 2 0
  • 4 1
 @shredddr: $4,000 for a botique frame isn’t terribly priced. Santa Cruz still cost more lol
  • 5 0
 May I suggest it might be written in British English?

- American: I'm gonna kill you
-British: May I suggest your existence ,can be of little inconvenience to me?
  • 2 0
 Nice to see some people understood the assignment.
  • 1 1
 @shredddr: your dreadnought won’t be on Öhlins (might be pro or con, but just talking about prices here). Also GX is not the level of xt (I think).
  • 1 0
 -fails at frugalness
  • 1 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: There can be only one! is a little odd on the Highlander TWO as well.
  • 1 0
 @shredddr: oh I'm not saying it's not a great bike, just that you can (should) compare those as functionally equivalent.
  • 1 1
No mention of the health benefits of Buckfast.
  • 42 0
 Since when was there a cookie pop-up???
  • 13 3
 Since you cleared your browser cache? Razz

I didn't get the popup.
  • 12 0
 Don't know it just showed up today on mine as well
  • 7 0
 Same. You can squash these cookie banners, and most of the annoying outside related elements, with ublock origin.
  • 1 0
 Today, I just realized as well, strange.
  • 1 0

Good call. I've used it for that annoying top banner but didn't even consider it could be used to remove cookie banners (browser auto-clears cookies so I'll get it every time)
  • 1 0
 Ad blockers do wonders.
  • 39 0
 There can only be 2!
  • 1 0
 I need to re watch them all, forgotten gems
  • 2 10
flag gearbo-x (May 17, 2023 at 8:53) (Below Threshold)
 150mm travel.minimum and a 490 reach on a Large aint really contemporary
  • 6 0
 Thank you @artistformlyknowasdan and @seb-stott for the movie references - these are absolutely needed!
  • 6 0
 @tomo12377: Just the first one with Queen soundtrack. The rest are not worthy...
  • 5 0
 @gearbo-x: someone doesn't know what contemporary means...
  • 3 0
 @tomo12377: you only need to watch the first one. All the sequels are utter gash
  • 2 1
 @CustardCountry: I have not seen any beyond 2 but that was enough to question the whole franchise
  • 2 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: that is a truly terrible movie. Totally ruins the Highlander mythos
  • 20 2
 His take on Ohlins suspension seems to be complete opposite of mine. Now it did take some playing and adjusting and I ended up well below factory recommendations, which may be his issue. But the 36 M.2 air has been the smoothest and most sensitive fork I’ve ever ridden. Same with the TTX2 air, it’s like a Fox X2 that doesn’t explode every other ride.
  • 13 1
 It seems like Seb likes fox suspension and doesn't have a lot of positive things to say about other products.
  • 8 0
 @bbachmei: yeah I’ve noticed that. Even back when he was doing his review of all the “enduro forks” He was very positive of anything fox made but not so positive of anything that has actual support through the travel
  • 5 7
I’ve always been puzzled by his love of the 38. The performance elite 38 was one of the worst most linear, unsupportive forks I’ve ever ridden. I even had that claim backed up by a dyno test and graph read out by my local suspension tuner.
  • 2 0
 @Tayrob: yeah, I didn’t mind the linear nature of the 38 as I really like coil forks. What I couldn’t get with was I was either getting good small bump compliance but bottoming out like crazy, or, terrible small bump compliance but ok feel through the last half of travel.
  • 4 0
 @Keegansamonster: Thats exactly how I would described too linear.
  • 9 2
 @Tayrob: The cool thing is they come with these volume reducers that you can actually adjust the curve with to make it more progressive! Instead of a fork that's so progressive that you can't get it more linear even with no volume spacers... All of these forks are amazing, we're just Pinkbikers making mountains out of molehills
  • 22 0
 @bbachmei: in the review of 38 Vs Zeb he suggested a Lyrik, so not too biased...
  • 4 1
 He definitely has a preference for Fox suspension. He did a review on the mezzer for another site and gave it quite a negative review but for me, it's been the best single crown fork I've ever used and my experience of fox products has been a bit underwhelming.
  • 2 0
 you wanna try the coil m2 36 then. i wouldn't go back to air again.
  • 1 0
 @fred-frod: A Linear "curve" can be more supportive than a progressive curve, so maybe not the correct terminology. Are you referring to midstroke support or bottom out support?

Stuffing a fork full of spacers only gives end stroke support (unless you pack it too full then you start getting bottom out support in the midstroke, but you then also lose a large portion of your useable travel).
  • 17 0
 I do wonder why Seb always runs most suspension settings fully open. Are suspension damper settings too intrusive or is Seb chasing a more subtle feeling which I'm not convinced opening up all the dials is the way to do it
  • 7 5
 I second this opinion. Except for rebound- I've always been against slow rebound.
  • 3 2
 @ryanandrewrogers: This is the way
  • 2 0
 Personally, I also run my suspension with minimal compression damping for my trail riding. I turn things up a bit on days in the bike park, but otherwise I prefer the more plush sensation of open compression tunes.

That said, I do run some degree of both slow and high speed rebound damping. I generally have a few spots on one of my local trails where there are some opportunities to pop moderate rollers and drop a few rocky sections. I'll ride these and play with rebound settings until the bike feels "level" when popping and controlled when dropping.
  • 6 10
flag rojo-1 (May 17, 2023 at 9:32) (Below Threshold)
 Seb is sh*t hot when it comes to testing, so I really value his opinion even if it might seem surprising.
  • 4 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: I agree, however, on the RXF36 M.2 he has, full open rebound is insanely fast. Like pogo stick type fast. I’m not sure how he could stand that.
  • 7 5
 Running a fork or shock wide open, ie no damping, suggests you're running too much spring pressure. Damping is useful for tweaking how the shock and fork use travel, by running wide open you're missing out on a lot of fine tuning. Drop some pressure and add some damping, get yourself the best of all worlds.
  • 6 0
 @Keegansamonster: Ah fair, I've not owned a fork that lets me get the rebound that fast. Most of my experience is on RS, on which I run with the compression at least half closed and the rebound only 2-4 clicks out from wide open.

I don't see any reason to run compression wide open. It doesn't really increase suppleness as much as it demolishes support.
  • 3 0
 @Keegansamonster: I have an RXF36 M.2 (love it), but can confirm open rebound with proper PSI to support my weight is FAST pogo stick vibes
  • 4 1
 @sanchofula: damping is more for chassis stability. Jack Moir runs his suspension wide open (compression) as well. He feels the suspension gets "choked" with compression damping. Just because it's wide open doesn't mean there isn't something.
  • 5 2
 @jaydawg69: yes, but those guys aren’t running stock tunes 95% of the time. So the base valving for wide open on his fork could be will beyond closed on a stock tune
  • 4 2
 @Keegansamonster: if he's gone to the effort of getting a custom tune, don't you think they'd be able to do a lot better than having to run it fully open?
  • 4 0
 @Keegansamonster: I bet the enduro riders are not on “stiff” tunes as some of the stages are 20 mins long. DH riders I bet are running a completely different setup.
  • 1 1
 @Tambo: If you were to get a custom tune it would seem only sensible for it to be a firmer one, right? Ex. I ride my fork with the compression at least half closed on the trail and fully closed on jumps. I don't benefit at all from the first half of the range, but I might benefit from being able to add even more compression damping.
  • 2 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: my rebound is usually just 1 or 2 clicks from full open.front and back. the only time I f*ck with it is if I am going to hit something with a huge compression and I don't want to get pogo'd on the landing.

When I work on other peoples bike the rebound is always sooooooooooooo sloooooooooowwwww. I just don't get how people ride these bikes like this!? They have got to be just a packed up mess, or they are riding trails so slow that it makes it fell less frenetic......who knows.
  • 2 0
 @Keegansamonster: my RFX36 M.2 is set 2 clicks from full open rebound on my Mondraker, and 1 click from full open on my Kona Honzo.

the trick to fast rebound is you have to ride it fast does fell like dog excrement if you try to ride chunky stuff at much of anything below full tilt boogie.
  • 3 2
 @Mtbdialed: Maybe its growing up on rigids and hardtails with terrible suspension, but I've noticed I tend to prefer a more supportive and stiffer setup than newer riders who exclusively have ridden modern full squish. Nothing like bombing rigid 26ers through rock gardens to heighten the senses.
  • 1 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: the whole point of a custom tune is to fix whatever issues you're having, whichever direction that may be. JM has issues with his suspension getting choked, he'd surely address that with a custom tune if he has one.
  • 1 0
 Not big jumps where he rides? I tend to prefere a fast suspension other than in really big air trails... like The Wild One in Ötzens, near Innsbruck.
  • 1 0
 @Keegansamonster: It depends on the rebound tune that it comes with. Open doesn't necessarily mean no damping. Ideally you would want to have it tuned so you are somewhere in the middle of the dial settings so you can go either way.

I don't tend to use others settings as they are so specific to so many variables. Just use what your suspension tuner recommends and go from there.
  • 1 0
 @Mtbdialed: Most trail rides are more likely to get bucked and pogo'ed at slow speed more of the ride time rather than pack up at high speed (and over quickly). You can't get a perfect set-up for all conditions and most don't fiddle with settings per trail/conditions either so slow rebound makes sense
  • 1 0
 @damientheo: Depends on your definition of "most trail rides", the trail rides where I live are stuffed with tons of small impacts every meter of the trail. Bucking is not something I deal with much, but it could have a lot to do with the relatively linear stroke of the bike I ride.
  • 21 5
 I love how having to ‘potentially’ learn and adapt to a bike’s geometry is considered a con on a lot of these reviews.
  • 3 17
flag colincolin (May 17, 2023 at 9:12) (Below Threshold)
 Tbh a quality geometry shouldn't and doesn't need a lot of adaptation from the rider.
  • 16 1
 "You certainly notice the noise increase as the lube wears off."

Hm. Smile
  • 8 0
 how are you not getting bucked all over the place when you set your rebound to fully open, and almost no compression damping?

This seems like you prefer an extremely active setup that would be terrifying for most people.
  • 10 2
 If you want the Ohlins to perform better, ride harder/faster. It’s an easy fix.
  • 1 0
 That’s definitely how I’d describe Ohlins forks, especially the early M.2’s, the stock comp stack was firm, every ohlins product I’ve owned has had the comp stack softened by 1 or 2 levels.
I think the latest M.2’s ship with a softer stack as standard now.
I’m sure Seb can ride better than me, but he’s exactly the same weight so it’s quite plausible he’d benefit from a softer comp stack.
  • 11 4
 super cool looking bike but that sizing is awful! 30mm jump between med in large. 460 is too short and 490 is too long, what a rough time to be between 5'10 and 6 feet tall
  • 6 0
 Oh, you mean the most common adult male height? Yea I agree unless you have access to constant demos locally or a teleportation device.
  • 8 0
 @yupstate: To teleport your hands to the bars? Yes, yes, that might just work...
  • 24 2
 Bicycles: 7 sizes of 20mm increments, none fit anyone.
MX bikes: one size, fits everyone.
  • 2 0
 I had a V1 highlander 150 in size L and I'm only 5'6" - i bet you'd be just fine on the L unless you have super unusual body proportions. the composure of the bike is notable (i ran 170mm fork and -1 deg. anglset). the only bike i've owned that felt better on descents was a v10
  • 31 2
 We stand by our sizing chart. I'm 5'11 and the Large is perfect. The reach number is only part of the story with geometry.
  • 4 0
 @deviatecycles: ^^^ This guy gets it
  • 3 4
 @hirvi: bicycles require weight transfer. MX bikes you sit on your bottom
  • 4 0
 @hirvi: actually that one size in MX does not fit everyone, but it's the only one available, so... Also you can adjust weight distribution with throttle and brakes, so you can compensate for bad sizing a lot more, as well as the fact that you're sitting down a lot more. And the bike is way heavier than a MTB. TL;DR - MX is not MTB, but sizing is still important regardless of whether it features on the available bikes.
  • 2 0
 Sizing is so personal, eh? I'm 5ft 8in and the medium would be a touch too small, bu the large a touch too big.
As @deviatecycles says, the reach is only part of the story - but us a lot of us geeks understand the rest of the story and combine it with our own dimensions (such as my short legs/long torso) when choosing a bike. So this brand wouldn't work for me, but it will be perfect for some people. And that's fine.
  • 2 0
 size up and 30-35mm stem. keeps stability but remains lively and flickable like everyone and their grandmom likes
  • 9 1
 When the 77* STA isn't steep enough on your 145mm "local trail companion"..............
  • 5 1
 I am eagerly awaiting one of those bi-monthly expensive boutique CNC stems to come with a saddle mount clamp on it.
  • 3 0
 For those steep fire road climbs to blue flow down?
  • 3 0
 I agree. Mid travel bikes are perfectly fine with a 76-77 seat angle. Otherwise they just feel very off when not climbing steep inclines, and I want a bike to be well balanced - even if it means having to slide forward on the saddle when attacking a very steep climb. For a long travel enduro, I also don't for anything steeper than 78
  • 2 0
 genuine question for any high pivot owners, given the lack of chain/chainring overlap compared to non- high pivot bikes, have you noticed the drivetrain wears out faster?

re, the 3rd pic down. looks like 1/4 chain contact, compared to 3/4 non high pivot bikes
  • 3 0
 It is actually a problem with Sram X-Sync chainrings, the angled teeth means the chain can pop off when you're sprinting out the gate. Other chainrings are fine though
  • 1 0
 i’ve got a claymore for 6 months and haven’t noticed anything yet.
  • 1 0
 I had a V1 Highlander for around 9 months and 1700 miles… I didn’t notice any accelerated wear on the drivetrain from more traditional bikes I’ve had.
  • 1 0
 I swap between various branded steel and aluminum 28t, 32t, and 36t chainring on my claymore and have not noticed any increased wear or less retention compared to my non-high pivot bikes.
  • 2 0
 "The high-single-pivot design means the brake caliper is trying to rotate the swingarm clockwise (if viewed from the drive side) and so compress the suspension, to a much greater extent than low-single pivot"

What? That doesn't make any sense. The rotational force from the brakes is the same no matter the height of the main (single) pivot. The force at the rear axle trying to rotate the swingarm around itself doesn't care where the other end is connected, it's still putting the same force into it.

Now, the rearward axle path will add to anti-rise, but that's separate from the brake's rotation force. The high pivot location is not changing the anti-rise from swingarm rotation, only changing the anti-rise that comes from pulling/dragging the suspension into the rearward axle path.
  • 1 0
 I was wondering about this too. The brake caliper don't know where the pivot point is, and should exert same force to the swingarm regardless. Can @sebstott elaborate?
  • 2 0
 I think he means torque, which will vary with the pivot. I agree that the force should be independent though!
  • 1 0
 @TopherJones93: Torque is a force. And it will vary with the length of the swingarm, not the location of the pivot.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: Torque is the vector product of a force and a lever arm. It has different units than force. So no. It is not a force.

Torque is also fully dependent on what reference from you are using. So you can choose the pivot or any part of the linkage, you just need to be consistent to figure out the dynamics of the system.
  • 2 0
 Also, if you keep all other aspects the same and just move the pivot up, Pythagoras will pretty quickly get you to see that the lever arm will increase with the high pivot, you will apply more torque, and it will compress the shock more compared to the low pivot.
  • 1 0
 @TopherJones93: You are correct that the swing arm length might be slightly longer, but that's the direct cause of any added anti-rise from the brake torque: the length, not the pivot position. If the pivot position is the cause of the length increase, that's one thing. But to try and say that the pivot location alone changes the torque from the brake, that's incorrect.
  • 3 1
 "The result is that the bike squats into its rear suspension travel when the back brake is applied, helping to avoid pitching forwards."

Only part of the anti-rise story there. Other "results" are: less traction when heavy rear braking (the rear wheel is being pulled up away from the ground, plus less weight on the front wheel), and the rear suspension stiffens, especially if you're past half travel from a big hit or landing and getting into that progression zone.
  • 3 0
 "the rear wheel is being pulled up away from the ground"

Care to explain what upside down world physics you think is happening there?

"plus less weight on the front wheel"

The riders weight is still shifting forward, or to wherever they want it. The reason the front doesn't dive as much, ie; head angle steepen, is because the rear squats a little more (or rises less). Not because there is less weight over the front pushing the fork into its travel.
When you consider that you just said "the rear gets pulled up and away from the ground" and "there is less weight over the front" it seems you must be assuming these guys are half way to inventing a hover bike.

Moving on,

"and the rear suspension stiffens"

Nope. That's just a myth perpetuated by armchair experts that push directly down on the bikes suspension in the carpark with both brakes locked. In that scenario the grip from the tyres WILL fight against the wheelbase extending and allowing the rearward suspension travel to compress. However, in reality, on the trail, when the bike is being ridden, the wheels are both rotating and acting independently. Very rarely are they both locked up at the same time, even in that case the bike is still moving and the suspension will work.
  • 3 2
 Felt the Highlander V1 was a firm pedaling bike, not really plush at all. Made me question a HP trail bike's merits.. The idler cover and double row bearings were a PITA and draggy. The cover was redesigned as an update. Moved on from that bike pretty quickly. Nice looking feame though.
  • 5 4
 Sounds like you were on the very first of the HL1's to dispatch - lots of lessons learnt since then (we rolled out some updates to our existing customers) and reports of issues with the idler system are now non-existent.
  • 2 1
 So lets cross shop a bit here. You can get a full XT build Commencal Meta TR with Ohlins suspension for $5,900. This almost an identical build to the ohlins specced Highlander yet they are asking $10,250 for the highlander. Sure the Commencal will have a couple of LBs on this but how can you justify spending that much more money?
  • 1 0
 What's old is new again... in terms of suspension design anyway if you do it in carbon. 31 years old the GT RTS had a similar high pivot swingarm and rocker link beneath the BB driving the shock thru the seat tube. Only thing different here is the Idler being a standard feature (as opposed to an aftermarket add on used by some riders of the GT).
  • 2 0
 Whaaa? I don’t remember that. Sounds awesome. Do you have a link to maybe a scan of a woodcutting from that era depicting this witchcraft?
  • 1 0
 @feldybikes: The witchcraft of the idler add on to the RTS ? if I google-fu extensively enough i'm sure i could dig one up, but it wasn't exactly rocket science. You took a small steel gear cog (like from one of those gas engine conversion kits for bicycles), and a longer swingarm bolt, or a DCD chain tensioner (replacing the delrin idler with the cog) and mounted right behind the main pivot.
  • 1 0
 @feldybikes: For a time, I ran my 1992 Trek 9000 T3C BEAM Bike of doom, which was one of the highest high pivots cantilever beam bikes back in the day with an idler to tame the pogo'ing from the drive line being over a foot below the pivot. I also clamped on an extra gas strut (like used to hold up hatchbacks, in my case it was the back door of a VW Vanagon) to add damping to the bike beyond what the rubber polymer spring provided. I think I may still have the prototype of that gas strut setup still in my basement hoard of bike stuff.
  • 1 0
 > Trek 9000 T3C BEAM Bike of doom, which was one of the highest high pivots

…Cannondale EST has entered the chat (but I think the Trek wins—plus extra points for ejector seat function)

> I also clamped on an extra gas strut

Now that’s next level!
  • 1 0
 I may have missed it, but is the upper pivot a true single pivot, or is there a short-offset concentric pivot in that upper mount (similar to early yeti SB)? …it seems like there’s some kinematic wiggle room with that idea as long as the idler is mounted to the urt, and that upper conc.piv. design patent must be public by now?
  • 2 1
 Can someone pull me out of my state of depression after thinking this was the ultimate bike then realizing no SRAM UDH?!?!?!? WHY?!?!?!? It’s 2023!!!! How long has UDH been a thing?!?? I’m mad at you to ibis for not transfering the entire fleet over to the UDH STANDARD
  • 9 8
 If you have to run cables through the seat stays then might as well just run it internal through the top tube. would be lighter than making a weird channel with a bunch of hardware
  • 3 5
 Especially weird considering the rear triangle is internally routed… I guess so you could do a bearing service without bleeding brakes?
  • 9 0
 In times where the normality is to see that dumb af internal headset routing, I see nothing to complain in these frames.
  • 8 0
 The hardware all doubles up as mounting points for whatever - even a second water bottle so we'd want that anyway. Although we know that it does require a little more work than full external to switch a brake out, from experience of fully internal solutions it is far, far easier than those. Additionally, full internal cable routing often doesn't allow ease of routing for those using MX style brake orientation.
  • 4 0
 @deviatecycles: that’s why ( referring to the last bit ) Evil and Forbidden offer internal guided option to run the brakes however you want,
But I personally cannot find a single problem with the current deviate routing
Light years ahead of that new headset stuff
  • 2 0
 @deviatecycles: can confirm the extra mounting points are amazing. i had 2 fidlock bottles, a oneup pump, a tool wrap and some CO2s all on the outside of the bike instead of in a pack on my back. with a bit of fiddling you can get a killer gear setup
  • 7 0
 I know i was very excited to see the external in a channel routing, which imo is the absolute best way to do it. And then theyre internal in the rear, totally negating the excellent routing on the front triangle. Silly.
  • 1 0
 @iduckett: most bikes don't need anything disconnected to do a bearing service. just pop everyhing loose and use some toe straps or zip ties to hold the triangle up and not pull on the cables/hoses. waaaaaaay quicker and less hassle!
  • 1 0
 @Mtbdialed: For sure. Ideally I like to get my links on a bench so I keep stuff straight and don't hamfist something. But that's just me.

For the record I have a '22 153 with all external brake routing... rear triangle internal routing is not my preferred choice for working on my own bike. But that's just, like, my opinion... man.
  • 9 7
 5K for a carbon boutique frame from a small manufacturer is actually cheap. Check how much Rocky Mountain, Specialized, or Santa Cruz sell their frames for.
  • 14 2
 Less than 5000?
  • 7 2
 Specialized has returned to post-pandemic sanity at least: S-Works framesets for $2,299 - 2,999.
  • 3 1
 @KJP1230: ya I just looked it up, they went down, $3,999 for a stumpjumper Evo s-works framset $4,499 for an Enduro s-works. $5,300 for a Santa Cruz Bronson, $4,700 for a Rocky Mountain Instinct. They are all inline with the pricing of this bike.
  • 2 1
 $8500 for boutique frame and Ohlins is good in my book!
  • 2 0
 @KJP1230: must be nice in US pricing, an s-works frameset is £4-4.5k depending on medel here, which is more than the Deviate.
  • 4 0
 Highlander 2 or Druid V2 then?
  • 2 0
 For all high pivot (and mid pivot) frame people out there. Please make the idler out of steel or Ti, or at least supply a spare and tell us the cost of a replacement.
  • 4 0
 My alu idler wheel is 1 year in and my chain is needing replacement (has reached 0.75 stretch) yet the idler is still perfectly fine, and a new one is £25 direct from deviates website, no real need for a more expensive steel or Ti one, idlers aren’t under anywhere near the same wear as a chainring or cassette as it is free moving with the chain rather than driving the chain and transferring forces from crank and chainring to chain then chain to cassette and wheel which is what increases wear on them but not the idler.
  • 5 0
 Username checks out...
  • 2 0
 @Tambo: A Therapy? fan I bet Smile
  • 4 0
 Why compare it to enduro bikes? It's 140mm trail bike.
  • 4 0
 He even wrote about it sitting between trail and Enduro at one point. All mountain has become a bad word at pinkbike, but it's still the kind of bike the majority of people should be on.
  • 2 0
 @dwbaillar: let’s remember that when you race them they become enduro, it used to be the same thing
  • 1 0
 @seb-stott just looked at your high pivot suspension test. Did you try it without the lower chain guide which also adds drag?
  • 3 1
 I can second that those vittoria tyres are pretty shocking in the wet. Also snake bit it after 3 rides.
  • 2 0
 oohhhhh look at that frame space! I wonder how big of a frame bag I can get in there! Downpacking anyone?
  • 2 0
 Beautiful bike.

Why doesn’t stack grow proportionately with reach? Aesthetic reasons? This applies to every brand.
  • 3 1
 I have a theory that the stack height not growing with size on bikes is due to shorter folks wanting to size up (same with absurdly short seat tubes that result in a 200mm dropper having 30mm of seatpost exposed).

As a tall guy, it sure would be nice if the XL was just designed for XL humans and didnt take into consideration folks trying to size up.
  • 1 0
 @mtmc99: Wish bike companies would stop that, sick of riding XL frames with 210mm posts 100mm out of the frame. Get us a 300mm post.
  • 1 0
 How would you characterise the difference/benefit of the suspension layout on this compared to a conventional four-bar frame @seb-stott ?
  • 2 0
 I'm not seb but i have a highlander and my last bike was a scott genius 4 bar design, as he said though the way it sits into the travel more under braking is probably the main differance, i like it for keeing things balanced, it can obviously reduce the amount of travel left for bumps but i think it rewards better braking technique and the balanced geometry under braking is worth it. There's way more factors than just the suspension layout though, the Highlander is way more supple yet the idler position allows it to firm up on the pedals without much pedal kickback, the bearing setup on the deviate means way less pivot friction than the scott had which relied on bearings and bushes, the highlander with a coil has zero break away, the deviate also has a noticable stiffer rear end in terms of flex, differant bikes might have the same layout but behave totally differantly due to these factors and different kinematics chosen by the designers.
  • 1 0
 @maglor: Interesting thanks. I mainly ride single pivots so have to think a lot about braking technique, and my 4-bar feels really stable under braking to me. You're saying a high-pivot is even more stable but firm under pedaling? How would you describe the suspension across rough and chattery sections? Seb seems to be suggesting this bike doesn't feel particularly special in that regard.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: The braking forces i believe shouldn't be too different between a high and a low single pivot, it's more due to the fact both don't isolate the rotation of the swingarm from the brake like a 4 bar does, the high pivot does help with anti-squat when pedalling compared to low pivot though.

Part of the stability is likely due to the extending rear end but as i say the anti-rise on the brakes means especially on steeper trails the rear stays low to reduces dive to maintain a slacker head angle also helping stability, but while a 4 bar might dive forwards more it might leave more travel to soak up the rough and feel stable that way, the suspension in the rough is great in my opinion, especially when off the brakes but i think this has more to do with the free moving suspension and i run a coil so there is no stickiness that some bikes get with air and bushes, a good leverage curve and shock setup to suit is probably most important for suspension performance and most bikes can achieve this regardless of layout, travel does count for alot tho so i think sebs point was some people say high pivots perform like they have more travel when that might not be true, like with any bike it depends on the whole package and setup which can make it perform above or below it's actual travel.
  • 2 1
 30 year olds lack the riding experience to properly critique mountain bikes. Where might one find a well-seasoned opinion nowadays?
  • 1 0
 hope there is still someone reading these..Anyone had the struggle with sizes? I am 189-190 cm and I don't know whether I should go with L or XL. Anyone with some experience?
  • 2 2
 This may be the only frame iteration of any brand that is "a fair bit lighter" than the previous. Noice. Although I''d love to see actual numbers.
  • 1 0
 Am I reading the leverage graph wrong? It looks like far less progression than the 22% Seb wrote. The graph ends around 2.4.
  • 2 1
 the first part of the travel is going to be used very quickly and not much midstroke support
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: the opposite is true. A more linear curve through the first 2/3 of the travel offers more mid stroke support, with a big ramp up the end to avoid bottom out. Super "steep" progressive curves will mean the bike wallows through the travel much more
  • 2 1
 @Jake-Whitehouse: the leverage curve on the bike is really flat for the first 2/3rd's so it's going to sit a lot into it's travel. The new druid is a better curve in my opinion and Neko Mullaly discusses it in his vids.
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: check out Paul Aston / Rulezman's testing of the Orange and lately his custom bike. Steep/progressive curves provide more bottom out resistance but less overall support. Think about it, if a progressive bike is also providing good support in the mid stroke you'd need to huck it off the roof to bottom it out.
  • 1 1
 @Jake-Whitehouse: I think the leverage curve should be constant like the Specialized Demo. Check out Linkage Blogspot:
  • 2 0
 What's this down trail thing then? Surely it's En-trail?
  • 3 0
  • 2 0
 When people say “full size water bottle”, they mean 500ml right?
  • 1 0
 It does depend on the frame size but we've seen 850ml bottles fitting just fine on a Medium.
  • 2 0
 @inthebigmountains: that’s a lot of drink for a medium
  • 1 0
 Good to see a trail bike not go full enduro with the geo and weight. This bike looks great.
  • 1 0
 Down-trail?? Are we forgetting we used to call these bikes all-mountain, or is that not cool anymore?
  • 2 1
 The rider looks super stoked...
  • 1 4
 "The leverage ratio between the rear axle and the shock starts at 2.82 and ends up at 2.19 (the lower the leverage ratio, the stiffer the suspension)."

Not true. The Smuggler V1 had a leverage ratio of ~2.25 and a progression of ~6% and it was supple and grippy as hell.
  • 1 0
  • 3 0
 @kinematix Username does not check out
  • 1 0
 i believe he is meaning the lower the rate the stiffer the suspension gets in comparison to where it started, explaining the progression, but yes it doesnt matter where the numbers start as the shock will compensate with different stroke and air presusre / spring rate.
  • 1 0
 pretty much what I would buy - at half the price. Sorry.
  • 1 0
 Make a mullet link and I’d buy this bike the same day!
  • 2 0
 WRP already makes one for the MkI, would imagine ones in the works
  • 1 0
 @tomhoward379: really? Its not on their website?
  • 1 0
 @rich-2000: was on their insta a few weeks ago. I was tempted but CBA building a new wheel.
  • 1 0
 @tomhoward379: cheers Tom
  • 1 0
 Man its a loooong bike, but its sweet!
  • 2 2
 Does this frame ride $2500 better than a Stumpjumper EVO alloy frame?
  • 3 3
 Owned the V1 and EVO Alloy and can honestly say the EVO is better.
  • 4 0
 @porkchopsandwich: horses for courses…owned both, SJ Evo Carbon, Devinci Troy 29 Carbon and Forbidden Druid. Sold the EVO and Troy, kept the Druid and still riding it happily.
  • 4 7
 Well it depends if you think that riding a Specialized bike is something you can talk to friends and family about, personally I'd keep that bit of truth under your hate .. just saying
  • 7 0
 @sanchofula: Not sure Ive ever been impressed by what frame someone is riding.
  • 2 4
 @Aem221: I'm not talking being impressed, I'm talking about being shamed Wink
  • 1 0
 @fizzynut: See where you went wrong was the carbon... LOL! The EVO just fits my style of riding.
  • 5 0
 This false equivalence gets at me every time. Does any carbon bike from a relatively new boutique brand ride $XX better than an alloy bike from an industry giant that’s been at it since before you were born? Your value threshold and a Deviate customers value threshold are clearly different. That doesn’t make yours more better.
  • 1 0
 @sanchofula: Understanding that it is en vouge to hate on Specialized, one has to admit that they make extremely dialed bikes. The Enduro from 2019 was unilaterally reviewed as 'the' bike and still holds up as the reference standard against which enduro bikes are measured 4 years later. Similarly, the stumpjumper and EVO variant are terrific.

Just a couple weeks ago I was hanging out at a mountain bike only shop which has recently stopped carrying Specialized. That said, all of the mechanics (one of whom is a former pro DHer) had universal praise for the performance of the bikes despite the shop having a general disagreement with the stocking requirements of the company itself...
  • 1 1
 Another mention of the idler drag...

  • 8 9
  • 2 2
 seriously, but if it sells bikes ...
  • 2 0
 Save computah
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