Dirt Rag Magazine

First Impression: Devinci Hendrix RS


Ed’s Note: This bike is part of our annual, sub-$3,000 bike test where the Dirt Rag staff spends significant time aboard less-expensive but fully capable offerings that we’d seriously consider buying ourselves. The final review will be out early 2016 in issue #189. Subscribe today so you don’t miss it!


Price: $2,999

The Devinci Hendrix RS is a bit of an anomaly, not unlike its namesake, Jimi Hendrix. Mashing together 27plus wheels built on Boost spacing, slack geometry and capable 120 mm front /110 mm rear travel, the aluminum wonder is poised to turn heads—but can it play the Star Spangled Banner behind its head?

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The guitar genius, Jimi Hendrix once sang, “Well I stand up next to a mountain, and I chop it down with the edge of my hand” in his 1968 song, Voodoo Child. I feel like this is an apt metaphor for the way the Devinci Hendrix approaches climbing. Either grinding away one pedal stroke at a time, or aggressively hammering to get to the top, reducing the mountain to naught but something beneath you…

Or perhaps I’m grasping at metaphorical straws to make a point… Either way, this bike loves to climb, even if I don’t. The 67.3 or 67.7 degree head tube angle (depending on whether you have the frame set to low or hi) is slack but doesn’t wander going uphill or feel like your pushing too much upfront. The 780 mm bars help in the leverage department too, but watch out in tight spaces.

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The Hendrix RS really shines going downhill. The combination of big wheels, big tires and enough suspension to soak up an endless stream of rocks, roots and other distortion is out-shined only by the bike’s ability to build up speed.

Not unlike other weirdos like the Surly Instigator, the Surly Krampus or the Trek Stache 29plus, the Hendrix will quietly lure you into a speed trap, causing you to check your vitals before blowing whatever hairpin turn waits at the bottom of an awesome descent. Fortunately, the Hendrix is equipped with SRAM’s Guide series brakes, making stopping a breeze.

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If taking flight is your thing you have something in common with Mr. Hendrix, who was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army.  I tend to keep my feet, and wheels, on the ground, but  the Devinci Hendrix certainly isn’t opposed to taking flight, assuming you have the skills to hit your drop zone.

At 32 pounds the Canadian-made, aluminum Hendrix RS is way lighter than it’s human namesake, who probably weighed at least 120 pounds, right? Speaking of our friends to the north, Hendrix the performer, not the bike, was once detained upon entering Canada after traces of heroin and hashish were found on his person. Mr. Hendrix was set free on $10,000 bail and was later acquitted of the charges. You can get your mitts on the Devinci Hendrix for less than $3,000 in sizes S, M, L or XL, no court dates necessary. Where you get your hash is your own problem.

 

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Inside Line: Devinci Enters the Plus-Size Market with the Hendrix


I might be speaking prematurely here, but in a few years this new bike from Devinci might just be what most trail bikes look like.

Hendrix - Front

Boost spacing, 120 mm front travel, 110 mm rear travel, 27plus tires, single-ring drivetrain, aggressive geometry, and an affordable price put the new Hendrix in a good position for 2016. Like all Devinci suspension bikes, the Hendrix uses the Split-Pivot suspension design.

Geo

The Hendrix uses a chip to adjust between high and low geometry, both of which are quite slack for a 120 mm bike. While I can’t call 433 mm (17-inch) chainstays “ultra-short” as Devinci does in the press release, I also can’t call them long. How about “just right” chainstay length? Top-tube lengths are obviously designed around short stems, and the bottom bracket height seems ready to carve.

Spec

Not a bad spec for $3,000, although I would budget for a dropper post too, this bike could use one.

Bikes will be ready to go November 2015.

Frameset will set you back $1599.

Hendrix - Side

Hendrix - Rear

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Inside Line: Devinci’s Redesigned Troy


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Devinci launched a redesigned Troy here at Crankworx and we’ve just had our first look. The trail market has evolved quite a bit since 2013 when the Troy was originally launched. Over the years, Devinci has been seeing folks riding that bike harder and harder with wide bars and burly rolling stock. With this in mind, and taking cues from its big brother the Spartan, this version of the Troy is designed a little bit burlier than the previous version.

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In keeping with the times, the new Troy offers a 20 mm longer front center across the size run, four mm shorter chainstays and much steeper seat tube angles (74.5 degrees in the low setting and 74.9 degrees in the high setting). Head tube angles remain largely unchanged at 67 degrees in the low setting and 67.4 in the high setting.

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Suspension travel remains the same, offering 150 mm up front and 140 mm in the rear, though the Split-Pivot rear suspension kinematics have been modified to provide a more progressive ramp up at the end of stroke to better cope with larger hits.

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The new Troy will be available in both aluminum and carbon models. Aluminum frames, as well as the carbon model’s aluminum chainstay and rocker link, are produced in Devinci’s Canadian factory.

We weren’t able to ride the new Troy, but we’ll be getting our hands on one for long-term review.

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Felt Bicycles' founder Jim Felt is an avid backcountry bow hunter and he created this e-fat bike to carry his gear to new hunting spots. We think cargo bikes are a perfect application for electric assist, and Felt has integrated the new Bosch e-motor on the new BruHaul longtail. Front and center in the 9Zero7 booth was this prototype suspension fat bike with room for 4.8 inch tires. It has 100mm of travel through a classic four-bar linkage. Expect it to be ready for production within a year. The standard 9Zero7 model gets some tweaks for 2015, including a new fork with 150mm spacing for an easy swap to the RockShox Bluto. Devinci had a bit of a bummer year with star rider Stevie Smith missing out due to injuries, but that didn't stop it from releasing a new generation of the Wilson. The Split-Pivot suspension gets revised with a new shock placement. In addition to fitting the 27.5 wheels, the key design goal was to keep weight as low in the chassis as possible. While only the seat stays are carbon fiber for now, expect a full carbon version within a year. For now all the aluminum parts are made in Devinci's factory in Canada. Shimano's new XTR Di2 group has folks rethinking how bikes will be designed in the future, and Shimano is fast out of the gate with the new Tharsis bar and stem. The wiring is cleanly integrated into the handlebar and stem, entering at the faceplate. The battery is hidden inside the head tube. The wiring then exits the steerer under the fork crown and can be routed into the frame or along the downtube. A lack of visible wiring keeps the new XTR cockpit looking super clean. We're always glad to see supporters in the wild. Can you spot the Dirt Rag sticker? We found this Big Dummy at the Surly booth.
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Inside Line: First look at the new Devinci Spartan Carbon


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Late last summer there were signs that big(ger) things were coming from Devinci Cycles. Suspension designer Dave Weagle was working closely with World Cup downhill racer Steve Smith to develop a special bike for the (relatively) tame World Championship track in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

It featured not just a move toward lower, slacker geometry, but also had to accommodate a larger 27.5 rear wheel. While the Atlas, Troy and outgoing Dixon models used a vertical shock orientation in junction with the Split Pivot suspension, the new bike had to be redesigned with a horizontal shock to work with the bigger wheel and 165mm of travel.

That bike eventually became the Spartan, released earlier this year in aluminum. A few weeks ago at Crankworx we got to see the new carbon version in the fiber and resin flesh.

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