Over here, Devinci bikes don't yet have the presence of Kona, Rocky Mountain or Cove, but bikes such as the new single- crown Frantik show that they know what they're doing when it's really going off.
The Frantik frameset gets off to a useful start with an oversized
38.1mm (1.5in) headtube. It's sleeved down for a standard fork here, but it means you can upgrade to super stiff Manitou or RockShox options later.
The curved and shaped Optimum X2 maintubes are backed up with a big box gusset behind the head tube, while the lower linkage mount connects to a long trough that also reinforces the bottom bracket junction. The bottom bracket itself is a super-wide 83mm version for clearance on the equally extra-wide 150mm back end.
The suspension is a true Horst-style four-bar linkage with chainstay pivots buried in the fully removable CNC dropout pieces. The linkage is a neat spiderweb single-piece CNC unit. ISCG chainguide tabs are built
into the bottom bracket, while the conventional seat tube means both easy front mech mounting and full seat height adjustment. There's masses of tyre space at the back too, and Devinci use neat, high-load needle bearings in the pivots instead of conventional cartridge bearings.
Like the Specialized, the rear shock is the ever-faithful Fox Van R, which is fine by us. The ride quality takes a definite hit from the fork, though. The basic Domain 302 not only feels relatively stubborn and clunky but the rebound struggles to cope with larger impacts, and can properly 'pinball' off serious drops or sequential hits. Devinci have also missed a trick by not capitalising on the OnePointFive head tube for maximum stiffness.
We're not familiar with the Mag rims or Daredevil hubs either, although all ran true despite some serious hammering. But the rear hub does have a habit of unscrewing its driveside end cap as you screw the through-axle into place. This led to repeated loosening of the wheel until we realised what was happening, so
watch it. Kenda Stick E 2.5in tyres add plenty of grip and protection.
Truvativ supply the basic but functional Ruktion crankset but at least you get a proper granny ring for winching back up hills, and the SRAM X-7 gears are pimped with red anodised flashes on the cable caps. Truvativ also supply the stem and seatpost and, although we really are blind on Daredevil product knowledge, the bar and saddle felt fine.
traction even when it's rippled to hell.
Devinci have definitely got the core of the bike bang-on. As soon as we sat on it, we felt totally at ease rolling into a long run of skinnies, teeter totters and other stunts, blasting straight at big jumps or ripping down wide open, sliding-corner descents. It's long in the front centre and overall wheelbase, which sometimes means it needs heaving round the tight stuff, and it struggles at really slow speeds. The short back end is easy to hop and skip round though, and the extra stability at speed or in the air is noticeable.
The four-bar back end is super-smooth, sucking up bigger hits with no kickback through the pedals and settled braking traction
even when it's rippled to hell. With a double chainset and full seat height adjustment, it trundles back up to the top just fine. At 41lb (18.5kg), you'll still get a sweat on, but will rarely be pushing, and even winding to the top of the big descents at Glentress, Llandegla or Cwm Carn isn't impossible.
The only major drawback with the entire package is the fork.
While the rest of the bike felt balanced and in control whatever we were doing, the Domain soon got out of its depth. On fast corners, the lack of small bump suppleness robbed the bike of front wheel traction and dumped us into the dust on a number of occasions. It also left the front end feeling numb on traction-critical verts or Shore sections, just when you don't need it.
The rebound couldn't cope with boulder fields or big drops either, leaving us to just head in and hope we came out pointing in roughly the right direction rather than simply cannoning off into the trees. The amount of rattle coming out of the front end also highlighted a slight looseness and flex in the spiderweb linkage. In comparative terms, that's no real biggie though.