Devinci Wilson SL - First ride

High-end downhill rig

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

Devinci are one of the few companies to have licensed Dave Weagle’s Split Pivot design, creating a whole new range of full-suspension bikes based around it. The 2011 line-up includes trail taming 120mm (4.7in) steeds all the way through to this World Cup ready downhill machine.

Ride & handling: Good weight distribution and bottomless feel make for a fast bike

On initial inspection the Wilson's cockpit seems quite compact but feels fine once you're in the saddle. The components all work in harmony together, which adds to the general cohesion. Though it’s a bit sluggish to accelerate on the flat, point the Wilson down a hill and the potential for speed becomes clear.

It might take a while to get used to not bashing the cranks on the ground, but the cornering is really special thanks to the well distributed weight and low bottom bracket (14.1in). The slack head angle helps with this too, and creates handling that’s predictable and easy, though not too sprightly.

The stable ride is helped by a healthy wheelbase but it’s not just about geometry – the rear end’s behaviour has a lot to do with it too. The leverage ratio, designed around the lengthy 3.5in rear shock, creates a progressive stroke that ramps towards the end, making the bike feel bottomless.

The shock tune is nigh-on perfect too, making the most of the clever design work that’s been put into the linkage. We couldn’t find a situation where the Wilson became an unknown quantity, which is rare among downhill bikes.

Frame & equipment: High-end build pushes the price up but the frameset is on the money

The new Split Pivot Wilson frame puts out a whopping 216mm (8.5in) of travel via a 10.5in-long, 3.5in stroke-length shock. The geometry is up to date too, with a 64-degree head angle, 46.5in wheelbase (on our medium test bike) and loads of standover height thanks to the low-slung top tube.

The main pivot is well placed for pedalling efficiency when running a 38-tooth chainring, with the actuating linkage pivoting just above and around the bottom bracket and the split pivot point on the rear axle. Weight is kept to a minimum with CNC-machined details all over, and Devinci’s welding is superb. The price is good too – the frameset and headset going for £1,999.99 with a lifetime guarantee.

The highest-spec full bike in the range comes with a RockShox Boxxer World Cup fork up front and the specially tuned Fox RC4 shock taking care of the rear end. SRAM’s components cover the bike in bling, with a colour-coded X0 rear mech and shifter, Avid Code brakes, Truvativ Boobar bars plus Holzfeller direct-mount stem and crankset.

The high-end build rolls on Mavic EX 721 rims built onto DT Swiss 340 hubs. Even with all this lightweight bling the Wilson weighs 18.6kg (41lb), which is pretty hefty for a high-end rig.

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