Out of the gate the Wilson pedals well. It's a big machine, and felt longer than the Commencal Supreme DH despite the very similar numbers on paper. The Devinci is a little slacker, so the front wheel is a few centimeters further forward and the chainstay is longer at 460mm when static, but similar when sagged, both of which could cause this. The main reason for this bigger feeling can be put down to the more vertical axle path on the Devinci. This makes you want to lean back (and your hands move further away from you) more as the bike goes into its travel, whereas on the Supreme I felt I could always stand in a central position.
Taking the Wilson on back to back runs with the Intense M29 showed this bike was more of a plow bike than the sporty American. The Wilson carved corners slightly better, but was less responsive on short and sharp turns, where it wanted to sit into its travel more. On modern downhill tracks and bike parks, those short and sharp corners appear to be few and far between, and the Devinci was slightly more comfortable in terms of straight trucking.
I don't want to call the Wilson sluggish, as that makes it sound bad, but out of all the 29" downhill bikes of the last twelve months, this was the longest and slowest responder. Whether or not this is a good or bad thing is down to the style of the rider and location, but if you want to go fast with the least effort on big alpine downhills this is a top choice. In search of something nimble and responsive for two-minute UK tracks? Look elsewhere.
Slowing down was the biggest challenge faced with the Wilson. It was difficult to uncover what was causing this, but the neutral anti-rise and fairly high levels of anti-squat could be to blame – under hard braking the bike really started to pitch forwards and take pressure off the rear tire.
Small bump sensitivity was great, and it had really good bottom-out resistance on bigger hits. It is nice for a 29" downhiller to come with the full 200mm travel up front and slightly more at the rear with 204mm. I found the Wilson to have a good balance of stiffness and compliance. The older bike was notorious for being extremely stiff, so perhaps Devinci have worked on this aspect of the frame construction, or the bigger wheels and the straight pull, non-crossing spokes of the RaceFace Vault wheelset gave that bit of give and traction when traveling across angled and rough camber.