Friday, July 13, 2012

Devinci Dixon

Well, my Canyon Nerve XC was 5 years old in April and from its original incarnation of 100mm front and 115 rear travel it had gradually been transformed into a 130mm front travel bike with wider bars, shorter stem and resulting geometry. It has served me well but it was very apparent in Spain (two years ago) that the low XC BB height was very prone to rock and pedal strikes and that the resulting changes had actually rendered the bike slightly too small for me and lacking a little stability. In addition to this the frame had taken a few hits and was looking quite 'tired'. The final impetus for change was the pending Alps trip booked late last year. The Canyon was still delivering lots of fun on my local XC circuits but I new I really needed something more capable of dealing with the terrain I'd find in the alps. More to the point, something that would help me and my limited riding skills deal with the

My choice was determined by a number of factors:

1) Budget. Whilst I planned to use as many parts as possible from the Canyon and re-cycle the Canyon frame, fork and wheels on ebay I had a very specific budget to stick within. This immediately ruled out a fair number of the premium and better known brands.
2) I really wanted to test ride my new frame before buying it. That included testing riding one that was the right size because I was aware that my sizing often fell between a small and medium frame.
3) I wanted a bike that I could use for local XC trail bashing And at Aston Hill as well as more hard core alps riding on the few occasions that I'm lucky to get access to such riding.
4) My Canyon weighed in at around 28lb and I wanted my new bike to be of a similar weight.

After lots of research I chose the Banshee/Mythic Spitfire as the bike I'd like to try. I contacted Freeborn, the Mythic UK agent to enquire about a test ride and I mailed the UK designer (Keith Scott) to ask some questions.
It was a this point that things became a little tricky. Freeborn were very reluctant to talk to
me about the bike... odd for a business with exclusive rights to sell it? A little more digging on the internet and questions to both the designer and Freeborn helped me determine that the Spitfire had been suffering from some serious QC issues associated with the suspension bushing and resulting in a very high returns rate for frame replacement. In many cases Freeborn had been replacing the frame with an alternative...the Devinci Dixon.
Freeborn finally confirmed that they would no longer be selling 'bikes with suspension bushing' and the QC issues killed my interest in the Spitfire. Out of curiosity I undertook a little research on the Devinci Dixon.

A few favourable reviews later and with a better understanding of the DW Pivot suspension design + a video explanation by DW himself, I decided to give it a test ride.

My 1/2 day with Freeborn was very productive. The service I received from Jo and Michael at Freeborn was very good. The bike test was essentially an accompanied ride with Jo. We drove to the North Downs and preceded to ride relatively steep and rooty single track. Although the weather was wet and muddy, a few hours riding was more then enough to convince me that the Dixon had a lot to offer. In simple terms these were my key observations:

a) The suspension delivered lots of rear wheel traction ... far more then I expected.
b) The rear suspension was very plush. It just seemed endless and soaked up what ever was throw at it. For me, it was very confidence inspiring especially on gnarly terrain that I would have previously 'clenched' on.
c) Although very plush, the bike seemed to climb very well
d) The test bike was surprisingly light (about 26.5lb)
e) I generally felt much more confident and faster on anything downhill.

Not long after... I took the plunge: Final spec as follows:

1) Devinci Dixon Frame 2011 145mm rear travel FOX RP23 - Aluminium size Medium. New from Freeborn. Frame weight with headset & seatpost collar 7.0lb
2) Fox Float RLT 150mm Travel Taper/15mm. New from Freeborn.weight 3.9lb
3) Stan ZTR Crest on Hope Evo hubs. Front 15mm bolt thru/Rear 142mm bolt thru. New from Freeborn weight 3.5lb
4) Specialized Purgatory tyres, replaced with Maxxis High Roller DH for the Alps.
5) Sram Xo rear mech medium cage and X9 shifters. SRAM front mech 2x9 speed. Taken from my Canyon
6) XT Chainset 22/36 with Raceface bash guard. Cassette XT 11-34. Taken from my Canyon
7) Formula Oro brakes. Taken from my Canyon. Weight incl disks 2.2lb
8) Easton Haven Bars. New from Freeborn
9) Easton Haven post. New from Freeborn
10) Crank Bros Candy pedals Taken from my Canyon , replaced with Crank Bros Mallet for the Alps
11) SDG Bel Air Ti Saddle Taken from my Canyon
12) Stem Thomson 70mm Taken from my Canyon

Weight: with Purgatory Tyres and Crank Bros Candy: 28.5lb
Weight with Maxxis DH Dual Ply High Roller and Crank Bros Mallet: 31lb

I've now had the bike a good few months and more significantly it accompanied me to the Alps... I thought I'd wait and scribe my review after I'd really tested the bike in the Alps.

Feedback so far:

1)From the reviews that I've read there were a few potential issues identified. The first was the relatively high BB height. I have the bike set on the slackest geometry position and the BB height is 347mm. Firstly, it's crossed my mind that a higher BB height might effect the bikes switchback performance. However, I really think I need to put that down to poor technique on my part. When i do get it right the bike is very responsive and the rear end really whips round.In addition to this, I had enough glancing pedal strikes in the Alps to quickly conclude that I really wouldn't want a much lower BB.
2) Secondly it was suggested that the bike was not so good at retaining chains. As a precaution I took a Blackspire Stinger with me to the Alps. I never needed it and the chain was fine for the duriation of the trip. I've sent it back to CRC for a refund.
3) I've noticed on aggressive terrain that occasionally the bike blows through its rear travel and drops the shock sag o ring onto the bushing. I spoke to Freeborn about this and they plan to send me a Fox air volume spacer kit (FOC) which has the effect of adding more progressive compression to the shock. However, this is fine tuning and I really don't see it as a big deal. Fox are currently out of stock.

1)Without doubt the rear suspension works very well. My confidence has improved significantly and the bike just soaks up the trail.
2) Does the DW Pivot eliminate brake jack?? All I can say is that no mater what or how I rode the bike in the Alps, the rear suspension seemed to be doing its thing very well. There is no doubt that I used my brakes a lot. However, it was sensory and trail overload and I'm not a good enough rider to be certain especially under such testing conditions.
3) The Geometry of the bike is a big improvement over the Canyon. So much better downhill and with so few compromises uphill.
4) The frame is very robust compared to my XC Canyon and seems to have stood up very well to crash damage (more so then me!). Its noteworthy that Devinci claim to xray every frame as part of their QC process and they claim to provide a lifetime guarantee for the frame. The frame is also finished to a very high quality.
5) The Fox Float has performed fantastically well. Very easy to set up and very predictable to use.

Conclusion: Is it a good bike?? Well, its much better then I am a rider! That's all it needs to be to keep me very happy. There is no doubt its responsible for me riding a lot faster and with a lot more confidence. Right now I'm loving it.



Farqui said...

Nice scribbles R2, thorough too. It's surprising how a slightly different rig can give you so much more confidence.

I see that most of your kit is now in the 'fit and forget' category, trading a few g's for fun is a good thang.

We must meet up for an all mountain ride sometime soon.

uphilla said...

It is great when people do detail! Great write up and a complete contrast to my bike buying process! Hopefully will do a write up of my Blur when I have ridden it more - it is very much at the other end of the scale with 120mm travel. One concession is a dropper seatpost, which is probably not essential for the UK.
Have suggested a few rides which I hope to do this year: Black mountains/Gap; Brechfa, Peaks, Chilterns - would be great if we could all get together for one or another.

Justin Appleyard said...

Nice looking bike

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