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Teton Tested: Devinci’s Light, Snappy Django Trail Bike


While many of the most mind-bending bike engineering feats popping out of factories stocked with (likely not that many) nerds have been bikes with just 120mm or 130mm of travel that nearly ghost as mini-DH bikes - check our Evil The Following review - Devinci's Django takes trail bike travel numbers and does something a bit more interesting and nuanced. 

Instead of being a bike you could ride all your normal loops on and occasionally throw it on a lift at a bike park for a couple downhill runs, Devinci aimed to keep the Django light and lively enough on flatter terrain that, instead, it's the kind of trail bike you'd consider entering a few cross-country races on. The second-fastest climber in our dozen-strong test group - only GT's more XC-oriented Helion was faster - the Django simply rips uphill, yet was still a razor-sharp blast on jumpy flow trails. 

Devinci put out the Django after beefing up its Troy trail bike partly with the aim of satisfying the needs for a good time on its backyard up-and-down East Coast trails, and it's really well mated to that kind of riding. It's a damn good time on many downhills, but is still as fun, snappy, and peppy in the flats and on the climbs, where more and more bikes today only come into their element smashing downhill.

Setup & Specs

Devincis: you can not fault them for not looking clean as hell. Ryan Dunfee photo.

The Django is a 27.5"-wheeled toy built on the brand's proven Split Pivot suspension design, and features 120mm of rear travel and 130mm in front, with a more uphill-friendly head tube angle that can be adjusted between 67.5 and 68 degrees. The bottom bracket height is a bit over 13" high, which keeps the bike locked in in berms and corners, and the chainstay length sits right around 16.75", part of why this bike felt so snappy.

While many bikes emphasize a low bottom bracket and short chainstays to enhance descending stability, cornering radness, and playfulness, Devinci paired these traits with a steeper head angle to make the Django more apt to play when it's not butt-puckeringly steep.

Devinci's Split Pivot suspension design with Rock Shox's Monarch rear shock for the squishy end, and a crisp Shimano XT 1x11 drivetrain. Ryan Dunfee photo.

We tested the top-level  $5,670 USD Carbon XT build - Devinci has options for the Django starting at $2,300 - and had a bangin' set of components. The front half of the frame is carbon, the rear half is aluminum, and Rock Shox springs the bike with a Monarch rear shock - which we had a few issues with that Devinci quickly replaced - and Pike front fork. 

A Shimano 1x11 XT drivetrain keeps the bike moving, with crisp shifts pushed along from Race Face carbon cranks. Shimano XT brakes slow the Django down quick, while a Rock Shox Reverb 125 mm dropper post gets the seat out of the way for the downhills. All good stuff.

A nice carbon Race Face bar and stem, per chance a little narrower for the #Endurbros among the testers. Ryan Dunfee photo.

While the Django's cockpit sports a longish stem to keep the bike climb-friendly, I personally would have liked a wider bar to make the most of the bike's downhill fun. I wish all brands would just slap an 800mm-wide bar on all their bikes and let you know how to cut it down. Other testers who don't wear kneepads and cut-off muscle tees to ride didn't seem to mind as much, though.

Schwalbe's Rock Razor is a deliciously fast tire if you know how to adjust your riding for the lack of straightline braking ability. Ryan Dunfee photo.

Rounding out the kit is a set of DT Swiss Spline Two wheels, a proven aluminum wheelset with more of an XC-oriented 24 mm external width, and a nice combo of a Schwalbe Hans Dampf front tire and Rock Razor rear - the latter of which still grips like a mofo in corners yet holds serious speed on flatter trails.

All in all, it's a nice lineup of proven parts that will withstand a downhill beating but lean towards being more pedal-friendly.

Climbing 

The Django was one of the fastest climbers in our test group, and simply blasts up climbs. Ryan Dunfee photo.

As was mentioned earlier, the Django was the second-fastest and liveliest climber in the group of motorless fun machines we had in Montana. After spending so much time on bikes that crush descents and are efficient but not energetic on climbs, it was actually fun to hop on the Djangos and get excited about short, steep climbs, where the Django just bounced uphill. It was a blast to sprint up shit on this Quebexican steed.

Tester Regan Christian-Frederick out for a rip, bud, on the Django and loving the light feel on the pedals. Ryan Dunfee photo.

Even without the marquee upgrade of carbon wheels, the Django had a light, airy feel on the climbs and, while it did just feel on long, seated grinds, it came alive on short, punchy bits of uphill where it encouraged you to jump off the saddle and Armstrong it (sans blood doping) to the top. It's clear to see the East Coast inspiration of this bike.

Descending

Stiff and peppy, the Django milks the shit out of any and every transition on the trail. Ryan Dunfee photo.

The stiff, lively, get-what-you-put-into-it feel of the Django on the climbs mirrored exactly what it felt like to rip down on the bike. With an active, aggressive pilot at the bars, the Django pumps transition-riddled terrain like a slopestyle bike, snapping into the air with an airy feel while pushing out of bermed corners with face-melting acceleration. 

It also doesn't need to be maching to feel light and fun, and was a blast on terrain where you had to keep on the pedals to keep your speed up. 

While it won't do you a ton of favors in full-on bike park runs, it hauls ass on trails that feel like boring, muted commutes on longer-travel enduro bikes. Ryan Dunfee photo.

The flipside of the Django's light, precise feel is that on steep, chunky downhills, the Django did not want you to let go of the brakes and simply plow through to the other side. Its precise handling means you need to stay attentive to line choice, and had us looking through the smoothest way through, as there wasn't the margin for error there was on some of our other test bikes, especially when things got steep. 

However, as long as it wasn't so steep and gnarly you'd normally wear a full face on, the Django was lightning fast, snappy, lively, and a total blast.

The Bottom Line

Snappy, lively, and a ferociously fast climber, the Django is a hell of a fun bike for those who want maximum fun on terrain that goes up and down, up and down. Ryan Dunfee photo.

The  Django was a refreshing change in our testing lineup. It's the kind of bike I wish I could have grown up riding in my home woods in New Hampshire, where small bits of fun, techy descents are endlessly interspersed with lung-busting climbs (damn you, topography!). Being an atrocious climber, I grew to much prefer the one-and-done West Coast style of riding, with one giant, agonizing climb following by a huge descent. But the Django had me eager to head home for a visit with it in the bike box.

Incredibly lively, snappy, and precise, the Django finds speed and fun all over the place, and made uphills and rolling terrain an absolute riot. If your weekly rides involve a constantly-changing mix of up and down - East Coast, Midwest, and otherwise - you will really enjoy ripping around on this bike.

From The Column: Teton Tested

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