This is our third annual roundup of trail bikes that aren’t priced to the stratosphere. We could call them affordable, budget, real-world, blue-collar or college-fund-friendly, but someone would take offense at our assumption of disposable income level. It doesn’t really matter though. These are great bikes for the price, and we’ll leave it up to you about what to spend. Each bike was hand picked, not just for its price, but its components, geometry and modern features. From Issue #189.
Get an overview of all of the bikes in this test, here, and keep an eye out for full reviews of each.
Tester: Stephen Haynes
Age: 38, Height: 5’11”, Weight: 200 lbs., Inseam: 30”
Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
From our neighbors to the north comes the Devinci Hendrix, an aluminum trail bike that’s been specifically designed around the 27plus platform. The good folks at Devinci wanted to make an all-around trail bike for the budding enthusiast that would offer a good amount of travel, well-appointed components and lots of traction in a reasonably priced package. Did they succeed? Let’s find out.
The long and low geometry of the Hendrix makes for fun descending, and the Split Pivot suspension system is what makes it pedal and brake so consistently. Honestly. I don’t really understand much of the suspension linkage stuff and am happy to continue thinking it’s endowed with some sort of magic.
There is also an Axis & FRG (I’m pretty sure that stands for Fucking Really Great) adjustable linkage, which allows for both HI and LO settings so you can rake out the front end even more. Canadians are brilliant. Probably because they don’t spend all their time obsessing about guns.
The plus-sized tires allow for a more forgiving ride and give the rider more confidence when moving through dicey terrain. The Maxxis Chronicles mated to V2 Comp’s Wide DB rims (both of which are tubeless ready) make for a seriously generous footprint, and while I’d like to say this combination performed flawlessly across the board, I can’t.
Moving through serious rocks and roots at speed is where the 27plus x 3 inch Chronicles are most at home. Hell, pedaling up, over and through anything in dry to semi-moist conditions is pretty well received. The one problem is in mud and wet in general. I went down a few times after packing the treads up with mud. It seems counterintuitive to have a largish tire go out from underneath you on something relatively benign, but I think the large surface area starts to fl oat, rather than bite, in those instances, causing the slip ’n slide to happen with greater effect. Swapping for a more aggressively treaded tire will manage the problem and not diminish the returns from the rest of the bike.
The Hendrix employs a 1×11 drivetrain comprised of a 30 tooth ring on a Race Face Aeffect SL crankset and a 10-42 SRAM cassette, making most everything manageable, even for me. Oh, and the 780 mm V2 Pro Riserbar lends a hand in the leverage department, just make sure you’re on the clock when negotiating chutes or forests with tightly packed trees. Or wear gauntlets.
Once you crest the hill, or mountain, or street or whatever and decide you are, in fact, NOT going to vomit, you can bask in the gloriously unchained glow that is pointing the Hendrix downhill. Like other plus-size rides I’ve had the pleasure of throwing a leg over, the Hendrix loves this part. Like a brisket hound at a BBQ, the bike shrugs off roots, rocks and other trail detritus like so much cornbread and coleslaw, intent only on the shortest line between two points.
The bike’s long and low stance, wide bars, 110 mm Rock Shox Monarch R rear shock and 120 mm RockShox Reba, in collaboration with the aforementioned fast rolling wheels, feel like an unfair advantage in the “eating up terrain” department. The Devinci Hendrix is a great bike and a worthy investment, hands down. It’s fun as hell and would be a terrific first “real” bike for the novice looking to take the next step toward full-on aficionado.
- Frame and fork are compatible with 29 inch wheels
- Well-appointed components
- Wide rims support the wide tires
- No dropper post (Would kick it up over $3k, and is an easy addition)
- Only one color choice (I’m an art dork)
- Maxxis Chronicles aren’t a great all-around tire
- Wheelbase: 46.2/46.1”
- Top Tube: 23.7/23.6”
- Head Angle: 67.3/67.7°
- Seat-Tube Angle: 74.8/75.2°
- Bottom Bracket: 12.8/13.1”
- Rear Center: 17.1/17”
- Weight: 32.0lbs. w/o pedals (specs based on size tested)