By Justin Steiner
We’re rolling into the heart of summer, and I’m happy to report I’ve had a good bit of saddle time in on my Devinci Wilson SL test bike. I’ve got some east coast racing in, as well as a trip to Whistler bike Park to sample Shimano’s latest Saint goodies.
This is the same Canadian-made (less the carbon swingarm, which is made in Taiwan) bike Steve Smith and the other Devinci Global Racing (DGR) riders are campaigning on the World Cup circuit. The DGR squad’s consistent finishes near the top of the leaderboard certainly speak to the Wilson’s capability as a World Cup race bike.
On paper, the Wilson is very similar to the Trek Session 8 I tested last season, both geometry and suspension-wise. Both bikes share a linkage driven single pivot suspension design with the rear pivot rotating concentrically with the rear axle.
Devinci licensed Dave Weagle’s Split Pivot design while Trek utilized their ABP design. Ironically, these concentric-pivot suspension designs are said to have been developed simultaneously without collaboration. As you might expect there was a bit of conflict between the two parties about who owned the intellectual property right associate with the design. In the end, both entities hold patents on their respective designs.
Unlike the old Session (but similar to the new Session), the Wilson offers adjustable geometry in the form of a “HI” BB/steeper headtube angle setting and a “LO” BB/slacker HT angle setting. This LO setting offers a 64 degree headtube angle, 13.9-inch BB height, 46.3-inch wheelbase, and 16.9-inch chainstays, while the HI setting delivers 64.7 degree headtube angle, 14.3-inch BB height, 46.2-inch wheelbase, and 16.8-inch chainstays.
As of yet, I’ve been riding the Wilson in the slacker setting. The HI/steeper setting strikes me as offering the potential to broaden this bike’s versatility as a park bike by steepening the HT angle and shortening the chainstays to offer a livelier ride. Look for a future report on this topic as I experiment with both settings.
Another key difference comparing these bikes is the location of the main pivot. Devinci chose a higher main pivot, while Trek utilized a lower main pivot. As a result, I feel the Devinci pedals much snappier than the Trek thanks to a bit of built-in anti-squat due to the high pivot. The Devinci feels very efficient on the gas, with very little suspension movement under pedaling, while the high pivot also offers a more rearward axle path in the initial portion of the stroke for better small bump compliance—perfect for race applications.
Assuming I’m able to get my bike back through Canadian customs in time, I’ll be campaigning the Wilson at the USA Cycling Gravity Nationals this year at Beech Mountain, N.C. No doubt I’ll be in over my head, but it’s nice knowing my bike will be more than up to the task.
Look for the full review of the Wilson in Issue #166 of Dirt Rag, which will ship by the end of August. Subscribe by August 8 to be sure you’ll receive this copy in the mail.
And, a couple of Wilson videos to provide further distraction…
Pre-season riding with Steve Smith.
Ian Morrison needed some training for the Whistler beer league this summer, so he met the fastest man around, Steve Smith, for a day of training in Pemberton.