The alloy Devinci Dixon wowed us with its no-nonsense solidity and ‘can do’ attitude. Does the new lighter carbon fibre mainframe version misbehave just as well?
Ride & handling: Play bike that’s trail confident
The downhill-style cockpit, plus 160mm (6.3in) travel fork and slack steering angles showcase the Devinci’s instant authority. Northern Wrecking Crew chaos engine Alex certainly lost no time in throwing it down the steepest, sketchiest rock chutes for the camera.
It’s still slightly higher in the bottom bracket than we’d like to really grind it through berms or to match the drifting confidence of the most stable bikes in its category, but stiffness and feedback is excellent. That means plenty of warning at the ragged edge, and it always got us through unscathed however silly things got.
It’s also light and lively enough to whip or flick between the fastest lines with insolent ease. Reasonable weight and the firm feel of the Monarch shock also cuts out the need to add compression damping to the bounce prone Split Pivot for long, draggy hills.
It’s certainly not as fast as some 145 to 150mm (5.7 to 5.9in) travel bikes, but then it punches significantly above its weight in terms of how much hammer it can cope with.
The stiff seals of the fresh Monarch shock mean it struggled to show anything like the sensitivity and control of last year’s Fox damper, though. Hopefully a few months riding should loosen things up enough to restore the playful feel we were expecting.
RockShox assure us the new 2013 shocks the Dixon will be delivered with are smoother and more sensitive from the start too.
Frame & equipment: Carbon isn’t the only Dixon difference
It’s not just a straight template copy of the alloy bike. The top tube is 15mm longer, which is very welcome, and it’s stiffer overall, despite the claimed 350g drop in weight.
The super deep press-fit bottom bracket area has replaceable ISCG threads, the Split Pivot rear end uses a 142x12mm screw-thru axle, the front mech is direct mounted and there are clips for the dropper post cable or hose.
The linkage flip chip allows a slightly taller, higher cross-country ride or a more connected, lower and slacker character, which is where we left it. Devinci extend their lifetime ‘no questions’ warranty to the carbon frame too.
The build we tried in the desert of the Interbike demo days was slightly off spec, with lighter Easton Haven wheels (instead of solid Mavic EN321 rims) and a Kashima-coated version of the Fox 34 fork. The default spec is good value, though, comparing favourably with a lot of boutique alloy offerings.
The massive Boobar bar, chunky Easton Haven stem and trustworthy Schwalbe tyres are control-boosting highlights.