Devinci Marshall Carbon first ride review

Short-travel 27.5+ bike with aggressive angles

Devinci has a new carbon plus bike in its 2017 line, the Marshall, and it's a short-travel 27.5+ trail bike with slack angles and rowdy manners.

Devinci Marshall Carbon highlights

  • 120mm front / 110 rear travel
  • Split Pivot rear suspension
  • Adjustable geometry
  • 1x-specific frame
  • Carbon option is new for 2017

Less rock, more roll

There's plenty of width thanks to the Race Face Aeffect +40 rims
There's plenty of width thanks to the Race Face Aeffect +40 rims

To be fair, the Marshall isn’t a completely new model; it debuted last year under the name Hendrix.

Apparently, someone thought Devinci was being sacrilegious by branding a bike with the name of the rock deity. Even though Marshall was Jimi Hendrix’s middle name, it’s probably not the bike Jimi would have ridden, as it’s neither elegant nor precise. It’s probably the mountain bike that Dee Dee Ramone or a Stooges-era Iggy Pop would have gravitated toward — it’s short on travel, but the slack geometry and plus tires encourage you to ride like a hooligan.

Devinci Marshall Carbon frame and equipment

Upfront, the Marshall sports 120mm of travel
Upfront, the Marshall sports 120mm of travel

While the majority of 27.5+ bikes are 29ers that can shoehorn a smaller but much fatter tire between the chainstays, the Marshall was designed from the ground-up around 27.5+ treads.

Other than the name switch, the most significant change is the addition of carbon versions. For 2017, Devinci offers three Marshall builds with carbon front triangles, as well as a frameset. The mid-level rig I tested is still attainable to mere mortals at $5,129 (UK and Australian pricing TBC) and sports a mix of XT and SLX components.

The Marshall has internal routing through the front triangle
The Marshall has internal routing through the front triangle

Suspension is handled by a 120mm RockShox Pike RCT3 fork and RockShox Debonair RT3 shock.

The Marshall rolls on Race Face Aeffect +40 wheelset wrapped in Maxxis 27x3in Chronicle tires.

The Marshall has 110mm via a RockShox Monarch RT3 Debonair shock
The Marshall has 110mm via a RockShox Monarch RT3 Debonair shock

Devinci designs its full suspension models around Dave Weagle’s Split Pivot suspension system. It’s an efficient climber, which helps to offset the heft of the plus tires, and the total weight for the Marshall SLX/XT Carbon is 29lbs/13kg.

Like Devinci's other full suspension models, the Marshall relies on Dave Weagle's Split Pivot suspension design
Like Devinci's other full suspension models, the Marshall relies on Dave Weagle's Split Pivot suspension design

Devinci Marshall Carbon ride impression

If I went into this test without knowing the bike’s specs, I would have guessed it sported more than just 120mm up front and 110mm in the back. This isn’t due to the up-sized tires as much as it is to the geometry, which is very slack for such a short travel machine.

It handles essentially how I would imagine a 27.5+ version of Evil’s The Following would. The Marshall rides just like a longer travel bike and requires a bit of speed before it comes into its own on the trail.

The Marshall has adjustable geometry with high and low positions. In the past, I’ve generally set every test bike in the lowest/slackest position and happily rode away. In the case of the Marshall, I actually found myself preferring the steeper mode. It made this plus bike feel more agile and responsive. The plus tires provide plenty of plow-bike prowess on their own.

The Marshall has adjustable geometry with high and low positions
The Marshall has adjustable geometry with high and low positions

While we’re on the topic of tires, that was the let down on this otherwise well thought out build. The Maxxis Chronicles have row after row of medium height knobs that make it easy to lean the Marshall deep into turns, but just as I reached the apex, the lack of sturdy side knobs left me sliding.

The 27.5x3in Maxxis Chronicle tires just don't offer enough cornering bite
The 27.5x3in Maxxis Chronicle tires just don't offer enough cornering bite

The slightly smaller volume 27.5x2.8in Maxxis Rekon, or better yet, the new ultra-knobby DHF plus, would be a better fit for the Marshall’s aggressive attitude.

Early verdict

The Marshall is slack for a 120/110mm plus bike
The Marshall is slack for a 120/110mm plus bike

Other than tires that didn’t suit the agro nature of the bike, the Marshall is the sort of 27.5+ bike that riders accustomed to long-travel trail and enduro bikes will appreciate.

Josh Patterson

Tech Editor, US
Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Age: 35
  • Height: 170cm / 5'7"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 72cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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