There’s a ton of this gravity-winning experience and downhill DNA in the new Troy Carbon trail bike too, which shows very clearly once in the saddle. Can the Troy ambush both the cut-price and premium competition?
Frame and equipment: combat-ready combination
The crash-proofing cross-weave top layer gives it a retro look but the Troy’s flowing carbon frame is fully feature loaded. There are ISCG-05 mounts on the press-fit bottom bracket shell, the shock is offset under a crooked rocker linkage for front derailleur room clearance and damage-resistant alloy chainstays join the carbon seatstays using Dave Weagle’s Split Pivot design – the obvious shared feature with the Wilson DH bike and Atlas enduro bike – which sits the pivots on the same axis as the 142x12mm rear axle. Despite a very short (430mm) back end it’s has a stiffening brace between the wheel and the seat tube, but mud clearance is still fine. Reversible ‘flip chips’ between the seatstay and linkage allow you to adjust geometry by 0.5 degrees and ride height by 7mm.
The Split Pivot rear end tracks beautifully
This is matched by the flick-of-a-lever 30mm travel change on the RockShox Pike RC Dual Position Air fork. You also get a Monarch RT3 shock as standard, and a Reverb Stealth dropper post too. While the Shimano Deore brakes and transmission might not match the frame for pose value they worked flawlessly on the trail throughout the heavy riding schedule and occasionally heavy weather of our test period.
Speaking of heavy, the Jalco rimmed wheels are definitely on the chunky side, but they shrugged off serious black run DH hammering without denting. While they’re not as supple and super-grippy as the VertStar versions, the TrailStar compound Schwalbe Hans Dampfs still give predictable purchase in most situations. The 780mm wide Devinci bar and stumpy Race Face stem complete an impressively cost effective, top value setup. The combat-ready cockpit dimensions also tell you a lot about how Devinci's minds think a trail bike should ride.
Ride and handling: tempting you to push the limits
In terms of testing, the most telling aspect is that we'd never have clocked the 140mm (5.5in) Troy's travel without a spec check. The long, low stance on the trail (particularly in the slacker, lower geometry setting), the massive bar and the Pike/Monarch double act properly glue it to the ground.
The responsively short Split Pivot rear end tracks impeccably too, flowing over rollers and stutter bumps and extending into dips like a custom tuned race bike straight from the off. It’s so well damped that it actually took a while to push it through to full travel but we never felt short-changed in terms of grip or speed sustain. The slack and low geometry, massive bar and glued rear end will fling you into berms at frightening speeds and slingshot you out even faster and lower. Even when the Schwalbes were scrabbling sideways on their last gasp of grip there was never any worry over whether we were going to nail the exit either.
Geometry is totally sorted for gravity-fuelled escapades – as are the cockpit and dampers
While its sturdy rolling stock is noticeable on climbs, the Troy is remarkably stable under power. You might need to flick the shock to ‘Pedal’ mode if you’re really punching the watts out of the saddle but otherwise you’re good to go on the gas whatever the back wheel is having to cope with. Inevitably that means you’ll drive it even harder, and we were soon treating it more like a sawn-off downhill bike than a trail rig.
At that point you will find limits. The travel-adjustable Pike fork is noticeably more linear than the Solo Air version so we had to run slightly more pressure to compensate. The Split Pivot rear end also slaps fairly obviously into square-edged rocks and steps. It’s not as in-your-face stiff under power or through turns either.
Despite the slack seat tube and long top tube, we never felt like we were losing the front end on descents though. If you do find the distant front end wanders on climbs you can always drop the fork to tighten up the steering until you’re used to it. Beware of the limited ground clearance unless you flip the chip to raise ride height though.
Otherwise it’s a natural for getting creative with wide entry/tight exit or straight line apex smash overtakes when you’re duelling down descents. That puts the Devinci straight into the ‘fine on climbs, fantastic on the fun bits’ segment of trail riding and makes it one of our top choices of the year so far.