PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
DEVINCI SPARTAN 29
A full on race rig with elite level stiffness.
Words by Paul Aston, photography by Trevor Lyden
The Spartan 29" was designed with enduro racing in mind, and with 170mm of travel up front and 165mm out back it's part of a new wave of long travel 29ers. Similar geometry is available in a 27.5" Spartan if big wheels aren't for you. This machine is a full carbon affair, but complete bikes and frames are also available in aluminum.
The Spartan benefits from a geometry flip-chip, but all numbers are referenced in the low setting. It features a 65° angle, 465mm of reach on a size large, 432mm chainstays and a 76° seat angle, which is in the ballpark for this style of bike, but the chainstays have been kept noticeably short using the Super Boost 157mm rear spacing.
Spartan 29 Details
Rear wheel travel: 165mm
Wheel size: 29"
Frame construction: carbon
Head angle: 65º
Chainstay length: 432mm
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Weight: 30.56 lb (13.86 kg), w/o pedals
Price: $8,999 USD / €9299 EUR
More info: www.devinci.com
Our bike is the X01 Eagle build kit with Rockshox Lyrik RC2 (51mm offset) fork, Super Deluxe RC3 shock, SRAM Guide RSC brakes, Race Face NEXT R carbon wheels and finishing kit, and the obvious 12-speed X01 Eagle drivetrain for $8,999 USD.Climbing
The Spartan had an above average climbing position for me, though I still slammed my saddle as far forwards on the rails as I could to get the position I like. I find after riding the few bikes on the market that have really steep seat angles, around 77º or steeper, it’s really hard to go back to anything else.
The suspension design was firm under power and pedaled well but when I ran it softer, with more sag, to get the ride I wanted when descending, there was considerably more pedal induced bob. However, flicking the compression lever on the Super Deluxe shock prevented any bob under all but the worst pedaling techniques. Descending
On paper, the Spartan’s geometry looks good, but out on the trail the 65-degree head angle didn’t go unnoticed on steep descents. The size large’s reach, chain stay and wheelbase numbers are all on par with other bikes in this category, so it should hold its own when you hit steep tracks, rougher lines or reach top speeds, but it would have been nice to have a slacker front end.
The bike’s ride characteristics don’t function in isolation, and Devinci have chosen to spec the longer 51mm offset Lyrik. Normally, longer offsets are used to help increase steering sensitivity on slacker bikes, and with the Devinci this was the case as it seemed like the longer offset fork made the handling more nervous and twitchy compared to the other two bikes in this test category with the shorter offset.
At 30% sag, the bike was noticeably harsh, with a reluctance to absorb bumps or rider error. After increasing the sag to 35% it was better, but still a touch harsh. This could be down to the shock or the anti-squat of the frame holding the shock up high in its stroke.
Adding to the harshness was the stiffness of the bike, which made it fatiguing to ride and more likely to ping off rocks and roots than track. The stout frame combined with the carbon bars, stem, and wheels makes for a less-than-forgiving ride. A sensible choice would be to buy a lower spec build with more compliant aluminum parts.