Steve Vanderhoek's Devinci Spartan
Dream Builds is a new series that highlights two-wheeled passion projects among our fellow riders. Turning a Dream Build into a reality takes time, passion, and commitment. The folks at RideWrap want to help you protect your own Dream Build because it's an investment. If you've got a bike that fits the series, we'd love to feature it, and give you a chance to win a Tailored Protection Kit from RideWrap. You can submit your Dream Build photos in one of two ways:
Send us some photos and a description of your build. Make sure to include 'Dream Builds' in the subject line.
Or simply post a few bike photos and details to Instagram and use the hashtags #dreambuilds and #nsmb.
We'll pick two winning submissions and feature them on the site. The two winners will get a Tailored Protection Kit, courtesy of RideWrap.
Hey Steve, let's dive right in. How tall are you, what size bike are you running and why?
I'm 6'2" and 182 lbs and running an XL Devinci Spartan 29er at 485 reach. I have been on the Spartan since 2019 and I’m super comfy on this bike. Compared to some of the XLs on the market it’s on the shorter spectrum but I know it so well that I have no complaints. I’m no racer and prefer to pop around on the trail and always looking for that bonus side line so it compliments my style perfectly. Looking forward to trying the Devinci Troy which has a bit bigger reach and seeing how those numbers work for my riding.
Can you share your suspension settings? Anything in particular that might be different?
Absolutely. I’m a huge suspension nerd and have spent more hours watching Vorsprung Tuesday Tune videos than I would like to admit. I also like to tinker to a fault but I’m super stoked on my current setup. I like to keep my fork running high in its travel to prevent diving in the steeper terrain and set up my rear so I will sit into the travel a bit, further keeping the front end up and maintaining a slack headtube angle. The Spartan is quite a progressive frame so even with the coil shock I’m rarely finding the bottom. I have tried an air shock as well.. I like it but prefer the traction of the coil to keep me alive on some of the bigger moves. For anyone struggling with highly tuneable suspension I have a few personal rules of thumb that help me to get a baseline.
Use LSR to find the “parking lot feel” rebound you like and run your HSR 1 click slower. Find the air pressure/tokens/spring rate that works for you and gives desired sag and use compression for fine tuning. I see too many people choking off their suspension by closing compression damping to prevent bottom out. That’s all I got on this topic... hope it helps some!
2021 180mm Fox 38
108 psi / 3 tokens
HSC - 5 clicks*
LSC - 8 clicks
HSR - 3 clicks
LSR - 4 clicks
*all suspension settings are 'clicks out from fully closed'
2021 Fox DHX2 - 475lb spring
HSC - 4 clicks
LSC - 10 clicks
HSR - 4 clicks
LSR - 6 clicks
What about tires? Do you change tires for the season? What pressures and inserts are you running?
I think I have found a combo I like year round to be honest. Front I’m running a 29 x 2.5 Maxxis Assegai DD MaxxGrip with CushCore on a WR1 Union. Rear I run the 29 x 2.4 Maxxis DHR II DD with CushCore on a WR1 Strife. I have been running a rear MaxxGrip for the last while but when it gets drier I’m going to swap to MaxxTerra to try and extend the life of the tire. Pressure is something I check and adjust for all situations. I would say that 22 psi front and 24 psi rear is my most common setup for Shore conditions. When things dry out, get faster or I’m anticipating a big compression I will ramp that pressure up.
You ride some big lines on the regular. Do you change your bike setup depending on the terrain and weather or leave it consistent and adapt as you go?
For sure I do. I’m not really a set and forget guy... maybe it helps and maybe it doesn’t but I like to think it does haha! There are certain lines I have done recently that are no-fall zones. For that I will drop my tire pressure to sacrifice my bike parts for traction as opposed to myself. The cliffside line I have done a few times I will put my front down to 18 and rear to 19/20. I’m super stoked to be riding the We Are One wheels this year and so far they have not let me down even at these low pressures on hard exits. As for suspension I have it setup stiffer to be able to handle the bigger things as they come. Maybe I will add a few clicks of HSC if its something like Warden's Gap with a heavier impact.
Anything you'd like to change on your setup in the near future for any reason?
Really happy with my current setup. This is my 3rd season on a Devinci Spartan and I feel I got it pretty dialed at this point. I recently added a 35mm riser bar and I really like how it improved my body position for the steeps.
Tell me what riding this bike on the North Shore, where you were born, feels like? Does it ever feel like work or do you still enjoy getting out as often as you can?
It never feels like work. I love riding more than anything and to me there aren’t enough hours in a day or days in a week to do all the riding I want! I’m born and raised on the Shore and still not tired of it. This bike is amazing for everything this area has to offer and eats up everything I throw at it. I still have lots of traveling and exploring to do but so far nothing beats it for me. The community is amazing and it's really cool to see it continue to grow and produce amazing riders.
You have a pretty demanding daytime job as a Fire Fighter. How do you think it affects your risk assessment while riding?
I love my job and I’m proud to serve the community I was raised in. As most people are aware we see quite a lot of stuff on the job. For me it’s just a constant reminder to never take for granted your time with family and friends or your health. I also recognize that despite the risks I take on my bike there is a handful of other things in life that are risky and can alter the course of my life in an instant. If you choose to pick up the bike you are accepting there is no way to mitigate all the risks. I broke my collarbone pedal striking a root at slow speed on a blue trail. The day before I ejected a backflip upside down over a 20-foot gap and was completely fine... you can never predict. I use my experience and skill I have developed over my years of riding to make a smart decision. I rarely just “send it” if I don’t feel confident or there are too many variables I don’t think I can control.
When was the last time you scared yourself on the bike?
Filming the “Into the Gnar” episode with Yoann Barelli. The line we shot in the end of the video is borderline in the dry and was purely terrifying in the rain. It’s much steeper, chunkier and sustained than the video portrays and the speed you have at exit is wild! We were both warmed up and feeling great on the bike though that day and it worked out perfectly.
Any new projects on the horizon?
Lots of ideas! Kelsey (Toevs - Steve's partner) and I have a couple smaller ones we want to work on before the summer. Yoann (Barelli) and I are tossing around ideas for an edit together. If COVID allows I will get out to Kamloops to shoot with the WR1 crew. And I have started building some new lines for a bigger project I would start working on in the fall. Other than that I’m loving joining Rémy (Métailler) and Yoann for their trail previews and just getting out on my bike as much as I can.
What's on your current playlist in your sweet Tacoma?
The Tacoma is delivering some quality tunes these days. Here are a couple favorites:
“Chains” – R.A. The rugged man
“Heat Rock” – Redlight boogie, Sean Price
"Boom Bye Yeah” – Sean Price
“Dance of death” – Iron Maiden
“Jolene” – Dolly Parton
“Somebody to Love” – Jefferson Airplane
No consistency haha!
What is it about RideWrap products that interest you the most? And which ones do you use?
I’m super OCD about my bikes. My friends always laugh and say they feel bad for who buys my bikes but I keep them running mint all year. That starts with the Tailored protection kit from RideWrap on the frame and fork as well as shuttle armour. My last 3 bikes have looked almost showroom quality when it comes time to sell. If you follow the instructions they give you and are patient it’s a breeze!
Thank you Steve and always a pleasure riding with you.
Thanks so much for the chat Deniz and looking forward to the next lap!
Steve Vanderhoek's Devinci Spartan build specs
|Frame:||Devinci Spartan, size XL, with RideWrap Tailored protection|
|Shock:||2021 FOX DHX2 Factory||475-lb Spring|
|Fork:||2021 FOX 38 Factory||180mm|
|Brakes:||SRAM CODE RSC||203mm rotors|
|Wheels:||WR1 Union Front / Strife Rear Carbon||Industry Nine Hydra Hubs|
|Tires:||F: Maxxis Assegai MaxxGrip DD / R: Maxxis DHR II MaxxTerra DD||CushCore Inserts front/rear|
|Drivetrain:||SRAM XO1 cassette/ derailleur XX1 Gold chain||32T chainring|
|Cranks:||Race Face Turbine||Aluminum|
|Chainguide:||E13 LG1 bottom guide||May remove it|
|Bar & Stem:||Race Face NEXT R Carbon 35mm rise||780mm|
|Seatpost:||Fox Transfer Factory||175mm|
|Saddle:||Chromag Lynx DT||Black|
|Extras:||Race Face 50mm stem|
|Weight:||does it matter?|