We reviewed the aluminum version of this bike a while back, when it was still called the Hendrix. Due to some international issues with that name, Devinci moved to Jimi’s middle name, Marshall, and added a full carbon version and a few more build kits. This is the top of the line Marshall Carbon SLX/XT. I was surprised to see the full 3.0 tires on this bike, as it seems most companies that are making aggressive plus bikes are moving toward 2.8 rubber.
I started the ride with slow slog up the sand fire road and found the Marshall to pedal like a camp. The big tires worked well when various shuttle vehicles pushed me off my line, but I managed to keep things moving forward.
The Marshall is one of those bikes that gives mixed messages. The 110 rear, 120 front travel say cross- country, but the 67.5 head angle and 800 mm wide bars says FASTER FASTER FASTER. This made the Marshall feel a little clumsy in the tight stuff (narrower bars might have helped a lot here), but it got much more fun as I moved to faster, swoopier stuff. Which makes sense. Those big Maxxis Chronicle tires inspired a lot of confidence in the loose-over-hard stuff, but I did back off the speed a bit on the sharper looking rocks; there is a lot of sidewall to cut on these tires.
The carbon bikes are ready to go now, with this model at $5,130, a cheaper carbon spec at $4,070, and a pair of aluminum frame bikes for $4,419 and $3,360. Frames are $2,480 carbon, $1,770. All of Devinci’s aluminum frames are built in Canada, for those paying attention to those types of things. — Eric McKeegan
At long last, Surly updated its five-year-old 29plus bike. Not that the Krampus really needed it–it was ahead of its time as a production trail hardtail–but it was refreshed with small geometry changes, a new “Andy’s Apple Red” coat of paint and Surly’s Gnot Boost rear spacing. Gnot Boost allows you to run whatever rear hub your heart desires: 10×135 mm QR, 12×142, or 12×148 Boost will all work. The bike will come stock with Alex MD 40 rims for tubeless tire setups.
The frame geometry is a little slacker; the chainstays are a little shorter; the ride is more nimble; you know the drill. So what differentiates it from the updated, slacker Karate Monkey that’s also ready for a bikepacking adventure? Not a lot, actually, other than the wheel size. The Krampus will come stock with the same rigid fork covered in mounts (no suspension model is yet available, though it rode very nicely with a 120 mm suspension fork).
The new Krampus will retail for $1,500 (remember, that’s with a rigid fork) and be available in January or February. I took one for a test ride on the Outdoor Demo trails and will bring you our first ride thoughts soon. — Katherine Fuller
Ellsworth Rogue Sixty
This bike represents the third incarnation of Ellsworth, under new ownership again after a recent quick purchase and sale by a carbon fiber company. It is also a huge departure geometry-wise for the brand, bringing it up to date with the low, slack and long that is becoming the accepted norm for trail and all-mountain bikes. There are now two Rogue models, the Sixty and the Forty. They share a frame, but the Sixty uses a longer stroke shock for 160 mm of travel, the Forty is set up for 140 mm of travel. Both bikes have forks that match rear travel.
I rode the Sixty, and it is set up for aggressive riding, with a Float X shock, 36 fork, High Roller IIs, and even a chainguide and bashguard. The Rouge Sixty has a 66-degree head angle, 13.75 bottom bracket, 16.5 chainstays. Combine that with a 24.9 inch top tube for the large I rode, and you have what I would best describe as a bike that is easy to get along with.
While the suspension design looks different these days, it still retains the very-active feel that Ellsworth is known for, absorbing pumps big and small with little fuss. I was quickly comfortable taking on some rock gardens and speed, and the I felt very centered, making it easy to get loose in corners.
While a short ride isn’t enough to really make a decision on this bike, it certainly was the most modern-feeling Ellsworth I’ve ridden. We have plans to get one in for review, so watch this space for more news. — Eric McKeegan