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2016 Devinci Spartan – First Impressions

Words Dave Tolnai
Photos Kaz Yamamura
Date Feb 17, 2016

I alluded to this in the preview for Shimano XT, but I’m pretty excited about this bike.  It represents the first time in a while I haven’t been handed down the testing detritus that nobody else is interested in.  This is a prime piece of grade-A trail killing ass and it looks the part.

DevinciSpartan_Hero_NSMB_KazYamamura-1

There she is.  I remember these days.  A stubby little stem…a rear tire that wouldn’t hold air…and a sparkly fresh XT gruppo.

The Spartan has been my rolling test bed for the last few months and has the custom build to match.  As alluded to above, it has a full 1x Deore XT gruppo, from the brakes all the way down to the wheels (and Shimano threw in a stem, bar and seat from the PRO side).  After that, DVO provided us with a Diamond fork, which is the sparkle that seems to catch everybody’s eye.  Continental provided the rubber and a Yep! Seatpost rounds out the mix.  Not too shabby, people.

DevinciSpartanRC_NSMB_KazYamamura-6

A flip chip and a Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair.  I’ve left it here in the high position for the first part of the test but plan on flipping her around and seeing what happens in the near future.

DevinciSpartanRC_NSMB_KazYamamura-10

The build quality on this bike is great.  From the under the downtube skidplate to the bolt on cable hatches to the rubber chainstay bumpers, there are some nice details.  The lines all flow and she looks nice, if you ask me.

Here is a good look at the rear suspension.  Looks absolutely nothing like a Session.

 

DevinciSpartanRC_NSMB_KazYamamura-12

The Yep! Uptimizer.  Not only could nobody find me a 150mm travel post, they couldn’t even leave me enough cable to get full seatpost extension.  More on that in a later article.  Also pictured is the PRO fertility reduction device.

DevinciSpartanRC_NSMB_KazYamamura-8

These are the front bits that you hold onto.  The stem and bar came off pretty quickly because they were too short and too wide respectively.  And the fork is probably going to find some time under Pete because I’m being a bit of a baby about it.

DevinciSpartanRC_NSMB_KazYamamura-18

Let’s all just pause for a moment to admire the stick that Kaz found to jam into the bottom bracket to hold this bike up.  Do you think he keeps that stick in his backpack and hauls it around to all of his shoots?  It looks perfect.  The bike looks pretty mean as well, what with the colour matched Sensus grips and Diamond fork.

Let’s take a look at the geometry chart.
chart

I’ve run the ‘Hi’ setting exclusively so far, as it just feels comfortable.  It offers up a not obscene 66.4 degree head angle.  While maybe not the trendiest of angles, it feels like a pretty good balance for the North Shore and I don’t feel all that bad about the relative ‘steepness.’  The top tube/reach measurements put it in the ballpark with the usual suspects, albeit in the shorter end of that ballpark.  If I were to buy one, my 6’3”s would want the XL.  But hey, reviewers can’t be choosers.   

The bike has chainstays and they have a length.  Some will probably judge them to be “too long”, others may think they are “just right”.  They have not yet caused me to crash or have a bad ride.

The rear end is a peach.  It does all the right things while pedalling and doing actual riding.  I’ll probably be singing a similar tune in a month or two, but we’ll see where we end up.  So far, so good.

DevinciSpartanRC_NSMB_KazYamamura-17

An arty little gem from Kaz.  Admire those cable ports.

Here’s the drive side. Gives you a good look at the fresh XT and the nice rubber protection on the chainstay.


Dave seems to be in his happy place…

Comments

airwreck
0
airwreck  - Feb. 19, 2016, 11:16 a.m.

I think you are in low already.

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davetolnai
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Dave Tolnai  - March 23, 2017, 3:28 p.m.

No.  Photos are in high position.  Flip the chip and it shortens the seatstay slightly, which drops the bb and slackens out the headtube.

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benzo
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Benzo  - Feb. 19, 2016, 6:44 a.m.

Those chainstays and downtube protectors are a nice touch; I wonder why they didn't include them on the new Troy.

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lucas
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lucas  - Feb. 18, 2016, 8:51 p.m.

Just out of curiousity, what length of stem did you end up with?

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Dirk
0
Dirk  - Feb. 19, 2016, 8:30 a.m.

Nothing too crazy. I'll have to check, but I think it's a 50mm. Maybe 60 though.

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lucas
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lucas  - Feb. 19, 2016, 8:43 a.m.

I've got a medium and I am at the tippy top end of the medium in terms of recommended height…I wanted something I could move around on these tight Nelson, BC trails but when I go from my fat bike or hard tail the cockpit feels a bit small, especially on the ups. I've got a 60 mm on there, just wondering how much it starts to effect the intended geo/steering if I go much longer. Absolutely love the bike, I have the aluminum, it was an offer I couldn't refuse, I've lightened it up with wheels and tires and tubeless, its the best beast for these crazy Nelson trails.

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Dirk
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Dirk  - Feb. 19, 2016, 10:34 a.m.

Probably depends who you talk to. Perfect world, I would have probably preferred to ride the XL with a shorter stem. The L with a 50-60mm isn't too far off what I'm used to riding, so no big deal. But it kind of misses the boat a bit on the whole top tube length revolution. Longer than 60mm…I don't know. I'm sure you can borrow a 70mm to try out from somewhere. If it works for you, it works for you. I doubt you're going to ruin the bike adding 10mm of stem length.

You could also try a wider bar. That will make it feel a bit roomier, plus potentially some other benefits.

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lucas
0
lucas  - Feb. 19, 2016, 11:22 a.m.

Yeah, I've accepted that this bike is not in the same geo revolution that Kona is doing with the Process. I did the ole stretched out thing back in the day and i like the feeling of being a bit more upright, especially on the downs. I'm happy with it, just seeing how much I can play around with the fit.

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morgan-taylor
0
Morgan Taylor  - Feb. 19, 2016, 4:44 p.m.

How wide a bar are you running?

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lucas
0
lucas  - Feb. 19, 2016, 6:17 p.m.

800 mm. I love the wide bar. I flipped the stem to get a liiiiittle bit more stretch.

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morgan-taylor
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Morgan Taylor  - Feb. 20, 2016, 12:53 p.m.

A 70 is as big as I'd go on this kind of bike, and a wider bar makes for more effective reach, but since you're already on an 800 I'd say get the 70 and see if you can handle it. I don't really like the feeling of wider bars on longer stems, but it's better than being cramped up.

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lucas
0
lucas  - Feb. 20, 2016, 1:31 p.m.

Thanks Morgan, I'll give it a shot. I think a lot of it has to do with coming off of my fat bike, which has about an inch longer reach on it, so its probably just a case of having to reacquaint with the Spartan.

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dj
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DJ  - Feb. 18, 2016, 6:29 p.m.

i actually like the geo numbers even more on the new Troy. what a stunner too, nothing looks quite like these bikes.

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agleck7
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Agleck7  - Feb. 19, 2016, 2:42 p.m.

Agreed! I'm surprised the reach on the Troy is so much longer

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Endurno
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Evan  - Feb. 18, 2016, 7:32 a.m.

A strong suggestion from someone who owns one of these bikes: drill a hole in the detachable downtube guard and mount a bottle cage there. hydration is key (even if it does get a bit muddy)

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 18, 2016, 7:01 a.m.

Rode with a buddy who owns a Spartan. Devinci did a nice job on the aesthetics of the bike. If you are going to spend a bundle on a bike it might as well look sweet. Hopefully I'll get to swap bikes and try his ride.

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powderturns
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Mike  - Feb. 18, 2016, 6:18 a.m.

Nice! A bike with a steeper actual seat angle than the head angle! Well done devinci. Tall riders thank you.

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Feb. 18, 2016, 8:53 a.m.

besides knolly, i'm at a loss to come up with anyone who designs mountain bikes the other way around?

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powderturns
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Mike  - Feb. 18, 2016, 11:50 a.m.

New evil 29ers. New SC Hightower. Neither even gives actual ST angle.

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Feb. 18, 2016, 11:58 a.m.

oh yeah good call on evil, i'd forgotten about that

and i didn't notice that the hightower had a slack sta either… but you're totally right. my very unscientific calculation measures the actual sta at 67.5*, so, pretty/too close!

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powderturns
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Mike  - Feb. 18, 2016, 12:35 p.m.

haha. nice work - did you get out a protractor?! it does look within a degree or two of the head angle…

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Feb. 18, 2016, 1:23 p.m.

photoshop

man i need to get my head back in the game. i used to be the (self appointed) steep seat tube nazi, but i must be getting soft in my old age

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 18, 2016, 1:59 p.m.

My semi-snarky comment up above notwithstanding, I do acknowledge this is an issue for long-legged riders.
Not every bike fits every rider, and I don't think any company out there would pretend that their chosen geometry should be ideal for everyone. I have short legs and a long torso - long TTs work for me and I can work around a slack actual ST angle because it still puts me in a good pedaling position. Apparently not the case for you. Or Omar - what's your inseam, Omar? 38? (I kid)

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powderturns
0
Mike  - Feb. 18, 2016, 6:24 p.m.

The Internet doesn't do sarcasm well, and it almost fees like you're making fun of me! But yes, as a 6'5″ guy with long legs and short arms, this issue is of great concern to me. That and 7″ dropper posts…

Reply

boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Feb. 18, 2016, 8:52 p.m.

nonono absolutely serious, i am/was? a nut for steep seat tubes. 6'2″ with long legs, i spent years perched over rear axles trying to keep the front end down on climbs. loved the industry-wide-ish move away from slack seat tube angles -- not stoked that things are backsliding

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yvr
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YVR  - Feb. 22, 2016, 3:12 p.m.

Santa Cruz seems to believe one-size fits all - given the Juliana bikes are just 'pinked' versions of the 'unisex' builds. Albeit with smaller diameter handlebars and women-specific saddles …. but otherwise the same.

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Captain-Snappy
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Merwinn  - Feb. 18, 2016, 11:09 a.m.

Perhaps you haven't looked at bikes for the last 5-10 years? Nonetheless, welcome back.

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powderturns
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Mike  - Feb. 18, 2016, 11:51 a.m.

See above response. ACTUAL seat tube angle. IDGAF about effective. Take a look at the SC Hightower.

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Feb. 18, 2016, 11:59 a.m.

he's totally right. effective sta is rubish, and slack actual steep tube angles are making a come back. have we learned nothing?!?!?

also, no need to be a dick (signed: a dick)

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powderturns
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Mike  - Feb. 18, 2016, 12:37 p.m.

it's probably fine for shorter people, or those who don't adjust their seat height… slack ST angles are a way to cheat and get the short chainstays the marketing department is apparently obsessed with.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 18, 2016, 1:55 p.m.

Blaming short chain stays on marketing departments is like blaming your NFL team's record on Obama. It's not marketing departments pushing short chain stays - people like them. Maybe not all people, maybe not you. But it's lazy criticism to just blame shit you don't like on bike co. marketing departments. They don't have that much power.

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slimshady76
0
Luix  - Feb. 18, 2016, 2:40 p.m.

I've liked long TTs and short chainstays since I started riding, back in '94. Geometry has evolved in the last years to what I've always wanted, and I couldn't be happier. I could understand park/gravity riders liking mid/long chainstays to improve the stability at high speed, but I'm a slow hack who prefers his bike to turn fast on tight switchbacks.

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boomforeal
0
boomforeal  - Feb. 18, 2016, 2:45 p.m.

team robot begs to differ: theteamrobot.blogspot.ca/2015/01/baby-shocks.html

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 18, 2016, 6:57 p.m.

Charlie knows (some) stuff, and isn't afraid to say it, which makes for good reading and solid critical thinking, but afaik he's never sat in on development, marketing, or sales meetings on the inside of a bike co.

He may be privy to some of that process via sponsorship/involvement in R&D for Felt, but that article is written from the perspective of someone who rides at a high level and complains about bikes not being sold in stock trim that are ready to race. All I'm saying is that marketing isn't imposing design decisions on engineers. Everyone wants to blame marketers for things that are decided upon well before a go-to market strategy or a communications plan is put in place. It simply doesn't happen that way. Is there input? Yes. But marketers aren't throwing hammers in R&D meetings.

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boomforeal
0
boomforeal  - Feb. 18, 2016, 8:53 p.m.

fair enough

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dan
0
Dan  - Feb. 19, 2016, 8:27 p.m.

Also props for a full-ish/uninterrupted seat tube. I built one of these up at work today and it occurred to me how rare that is. It had a 125mm Reverb and I was able to slam it into the frame. Sure can't do that on all bikes in this category.

Reply

tom-manchester
0
Tom Manchester  - Feb. 18, 2016, 6:18 a.m.

Great review! I've just built one up myself to a very similar spec. I was just wondering what size cranks your running, as i seemed to be having a few issues with pedal strikes with a 175mm crank. Cheers

Reply

0
MeVP  - Feb. 19, 2016, 9:06 a.m.

I'm running the low position with 175s. My last bike was about the same BB height, so I was already fairly used to it. It takes some adjustment, but I got used to it pretty quickly and don't strike too often any more. Brilliant bike, by far the most fun and most balanced bike I've ever owned. Rips descents like a mini-DH bike, poppy and playful, and climbs tech shockingly well. Not sure why it climbs so well, it just does.

Reply

dj
0
DJ  - Feb. 17, 2016, 11:36 p.m.

i want a stick like that. off to the LBS tomorrow.

Reply

Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 18, 2016, 7 a.m.

Hold off DJ. The new Boosty Plus Plus stick standard is coming next month. The old sticks won't work with the new standard and you'll never get your $$ out of it trying to sell something obsolete like that. 😉

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - Feb. 18, 2016, 11:13 a.m.

Check out the March ed. of Mountain Stick Action w. the new coniferous proto's.

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - Feb. 18, 2016, 12:50 p.m.

Will there be a stick shootout?

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - Feb. 18, 2016, 1:43 p.m.

Think 'Bible of Stick Tests'!

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dj
0
DJ  - Feb. 19, 2016, 12:44 a.m.

nice.

Reply

namename
0
namename  - Feb. 17, 2016, 11:11 p.m.

sweet stick Kaz

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kaz-yamamura
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Kaz Yamamura  - Feb. 18, 2016, 3:15 p.m.

Danke schön namename. I actually took that stick home because it's so perfect; it's in my garage somewhere.

Reply

boomforeal
0
boomforeal  - Feb. 17, 2016, 10:38 p.m.

sweet ride dave

Reply

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