2020 Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD review

Is Devinci’s new Django an unshackled monster or is it bound by certain parts of its spec?

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £4,843.67 RRP | USD $5,899.00 | EUR €6,099.00

Our review

A top performing trail bike I’d quite happily purchase with my own cash, but only if Devinci gave me the option of putting a different, more capable fork on it from the factory to help unleash its potential
Pros: Fantastic ride qualities provided by geometry and suspension kinematics; sorted spec for the most part
Cons: Lacklustre fork damper
Skip to view product specifications

Despite Devinci’s relative obscurity in certain countries, they’re phenomenally popular in Canada and North America, and with field race teams across most mountain bike disciplines from downhill and enduro right the way through to cross-country and even road.

Advertisement

Impressive stuff. So why hasn’t Devinci broken through into mainstream brand recognition across the globe like Santa Cruz or Commencal? The answer to that question is uncertain, but it would be fair to say that there’s no reason why it shouldn’t.

With eight different models of bike in its line-up, spanning those aforementioned disciplines, most are exceptionally well received — particularly the Wilson DH bike, Troy all-mountain bike and the outgoing Django trail bike.

The outgoing model did receive some criticisms though, mostly focussed on its steep-ish head angle and short chainstays that come hand-in-hand with slightly nervous handling, which, while not disastrous, wasn’t ideal.

And although the bike wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, it was a trail bike with a heavy penchant towards XC rather than a do-it-all, epic ride slayer.

For the incoming 2020 Django, it looks like Devinci has really unchained the beast lurking inside the previous bike’s modest geometry.

2020 Devinci Django Carbon suspension

Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD
The FIT4 damper in the Fox 34 is a real let down.
Andy Lloyd

Although the Django’s frame is all-new, there are some things that haven’t changed.

You still get the same Split Pivot suspension design, which is a similar system used by Trek because they share a concentric pivot at the rear axle that’s patented from Dave Weagle. It’s essentially a single pivot, linkage driven rear shock system with a concentric pivot on the rear axle that joins the chainstays and seatstays together.

The Split Pivot system is at the heart of the Django’s 120mm of travel.

The concentric pivot is claimed to separate acceleration and braking forces from the suspension so that there’s minimal interference between each input. This, in turn, should make the bike’s suspension more active under both pedalling and braking. Impressive claims.

In reality, though, we all know that it’s very difficult to achieve a complete separation between these things, so there’s always going to be a compromise made somewhere.

2020 Devinci Django Carbon frame

Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD
The Django has relatively clean lines and purposeful looks. Luckily it goes as well as it looks.
Andy Lloyd

You’re treated to a DMC-G carbon fibre frame that uses the same material and technology as the outgoing bike. And there’s an aluminium model available, too, which has a 6061 T-6 frame and shares the same geometry as the more expensive sibling.

Devinci told us that the alloy bike was designed after the carbon one and tuned to ride as similarly as possible to the more expensive model — Devinci’s expertise in aluminium (its factory is based in Chicoutimi, Canada which is known as the Aluminium Valley) stems from its proximity to where the raw aluminium materials are refined to make the 6061 tube sets.

Tyre clearance is up on the old model and you can now run up to a 29 x 2.6in or 27.5 x 2.8in tyre should you choose. This is achieved thanks to a Super Boost 157 x 12mm rear axle standard and Super Boost cranks, which Devinci says hasn’t made the chainline any more extreme than a bike with a standard Boost set up.

Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD
The Super Boost rear end is wide but it doesn’t seem to cause unwanted heel rub.
Andy Lloyd

In fact, it says that the chainline is 56.5mm, offsetting the extra width of the Super Boost rear-end by having a slightly wider Q-factor than a standard Boost set up.

There are neat touches all over the new frame, too. The internally-routed cables are held in place using a specially-designed system that’s integrated with the lower shock mount hardware. There’s an in-built rear brake hose holder on the bike’s main pivot, ISCG05 chain device mounts, a bottle cage mount on the top of the down tube, a rubber down tube protector, and dropper post compatibility for up to 175mm of drop on the XL bike.

Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD
There are chain and seatstay protectors.
Andy Lloyd

The shock linkage uses double row bearings that are double-lip sealed, which should help to increase the time between bearing replacements and service intervals.

The Django’s silhouette looks cleaner and tidier compared to its predecessor and Devinci has done away with some of the slightly quirkier shapes and angles seen on previous iterations and other bikes in its range. It’s all good news for the Django so far, then.

2020 Devinci Django Carbon geometry

What has Devinci done with the new Django’s geometry? Well, as per the current and rather welcome trend, it’s gone slacker, lower, longer and… steeper.

Yes, that’s right. The outgoing Django had a pretty steep 75.7-degree seat angle, but now Devinci has gone even further by increasing the angle to a mind-bendingly awesome 77.8 degrees (size large, high setting) for the new bike.

This helps to get your hips forward over the bottom bracket for better pedaling efficiency compared to a bike with a slacker seat tube angle. This is fantastic to see, and I really hope other brands will follow suit. Top marks Devinci.

Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD
There’s a flip chip to change the bike between high and low geometry settings. I preferred the low setting.
Andy Lloyd

Elsewhere, you’re treated to a generous 470mm reach figure, 440mm chainstays, a 1,217mm wheelbase and a rather rowdy 66.5-degree head angle. Importantly, for seated pedalling, something we expect you’ll be doing a lot of on the Django, there’s a 614mm top tube.

The geometry is also adjustable via a flip chip system on the bike’s lower shock mount that offers a high and low setting. Change from high to low and the bottom bracket drops by 6mm from 339mm to 333mm, the head angle slackens from 67 degrees to 66.5 degrees and the bike grows in length.

It also has size-specific geometry: the chainstay lengths for the XS, S and medium bikes are shorter than the large and XL bikes.

This is another welcome detail that’s doing Devinci plenty of favours, and although it isn’t the only manufacturer offering chainstay length changes across sizes, couple it with the rest of the bike’s details and it’s propelling it quite quickly to the forefront of bike design.

Geometry figures quoted are for a size large in low/high setting:

  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Seat tube: 46.5cm
  • Seat angle: 77.3 / 77.8 degrees
  • Head angle: 66.5 / 67 degrees
  • Top tube: 61.4 / 61.2cm
  • Reach: 47 / 47.5cm
  • Chainstay: 44 / 43.8cm
  • Wheelbase: 1,217 / 1,216mm
  • Bottom bracket height: 33.3 / 33.9cm
  • Standover: 75.3 / 75.8cm
  • Stack: 63.6 / 63.2cm
  • Head tube length: 11.5cm

2020 Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD components

Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD
The carbon Race Face bars aren’t too harsh and the SRAM G2 brakes have one hell of a bite.
Andy Lloyd

This is all positive stuff, but has Devinci nailed the spec in the same way it seems to have put together a seriously coherent bike on paper? In a word, maybe.

Scan the bike’s spec and there’s nothing untoward. Kitted out with Race Face ARC35 wheels and SRAM’s 12-speed GX Eagle drivetrain there’s little to complain about.

Add in a Fox Transfer dropper, Maxxis Minion DHF front and DHR II rear tyres, SRAM’s G2 RSC brakes with enormous 200mm rotors and Race Face finishing kit,and  it’s really hard to fault.

You also get a Fox Float DPS Factory rear shock that’s well-suited to the bike’s 120mm travel. Devinci says that the bike’s suspension has been tuned in conjunction with Fox at its British Columbia-based office and testing grounds.

Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD
The rear shock impressed me, and Devinci has obviously worked hard with Fox to make the tune.
Andy Lloyd

There is a small elephant in the room, though — the bike’s specced with the questionably-performing Fox Float 34 Factory EVOL fork with a FIT4 damper. And while it’s entirely possible to understand why Devinci has chosen to put this fork on the entire Django range, it does seem like a bit of a shame.

Its reasoning is that the Django is a true trail bike that’s designed to speed up hills, along flat and undulating trails and be able to descend too. It says that if you’re wanting to do the winch and plummet style of riding then you should be looking to ‘bike up’ to a Troy or even a Spartan. Keeping the smaller fork chassis on the Django helps to distinguish it between the Troy as well.

I’d happily argue until I’m blue in the face that a bigger, better damped fork would suit the bike much better, but I do sympathise with Devinci’s choice.

2020 Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD ride impressions

Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD
It tracked pretty well across cambers and wasn’t too stiff to cause line deflection.
Andy Lloyd

Point it uphill and you’re greeted with an impressively stable pedalling platform that stops the shock from bobbing almost all of the time. This helps it to carry speed when you’re ascending and very little of your energy is wasted by making the suspension move up and down with pedal strokes.

Couple that with a consistently passive ability to absorb the smaller, chattery bumps and the Django is both comfortable and exceptionally efficient at shifting its weight and yours to the top of the hill.

There is a small compromise here, though, and the ride does favour support over outright compliance, but I feel this is a sensible trade-off.

The bike’s reach number and top tube combine for impressive seated and standing climbing comfort

Therefore, the climb lever is virtually redundant because it firms up the suspension too much, actually reducing the speeds you can reach on climbs. The only time I found it to be useful was on incredibly steep sections where I wanted to reduce the amount that the rear end was squatting under my weight as it transferred rearwards. To that end, the lever performed that task very well indeed.

The steep seat tube angle certainly helped improve comfort on the climbs and I felt myself not wanting to move my weight forward onto the nose of the saddle as much as when I ride other bikes. To top it off, I felt like I didn’t need to angle the nose of the seat down and push it as far to the front of its adjustment as I normally do.

On flatter sections the bike manages to carry speed exceptionally well and key pedal strokes make a marked and impressive difference to how fast it moves.

The bike’s reach number and top tube combine for impressive seated and standing climbing comfort, and despite its short stem and slack-ish head angle I didn’t feel like the front end was wondering or causing me any specific issues on the climbs. I’d go as far to say that this is one of the most comfortable bikes to climb I’ve ridden in recent times.

My problem with the 34’s FIT-4 damper reared its head for the first time on the climbs, however — cementing my experiences of this fork with this damper.

In order to tune it suitably to get the most from it while descending, I had to rely way too heavily on the fork’s air spring rather than letting the damping do its job.

Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD
It ripped in turns pretty hard.
Andy Lloyd

This lack of damping control means that the fork is particularly hard and on flatter sections and climbs it struggles to match the rear end’s ability to absorb the smaller bumps and trail chatter.

The fork transfers a lot of the trail’s bumps into your hands and this lack of front-end compliance also slows down the otherwise speedy progress given by the big wheels and rear suspension.

Apart from trying out the higher of the two geometry settings, I spent the entire time with the bike in its lower setting. I didn’t suffer with pedal strikes, I didn’t feel the head angle was too slack and I certainly noticed no discernible disadvantages over the higher setting.

Maybe, if you wanted to do some out-right XC riding, the high setting might help, but as a go get ’em trail bike it wasn’t needed. Perhaps on future iterations of the bike Devinci could offer a low and lower setting.

2020 Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD descending performance

Let the gravity take hold of the Django and you’d be forgiven for thinking it has more than 120mm of travel. The rear end is especially well tuned to handle repetitive large hits with complete composure and ease. In fact, I was surprised with its bottom-out resistance and the way it didn’t feel out of its depth on particularly large, successive bumps.

This must be down to the bike’s suspension kinematic and rear shock tune that Devinci and Fox have worked on to get just right. This means the bike can be pushed hard and ridden quickly over some exceptionally tough terrain that’s way gnarlier than you’d expect a 120mm travel bike to handle with such composure.

This also means it’s easy to generate speed over rougher terrain by simply pushing and pumping the bike hard over and through bumps, providing a definitive surge forward in motion rather than random and tiring objections from the bike’s chassis.

Unfortunately, the forks aren’t quite as capable as the rear end. And while my beef isn’t with the 34’s chassis per se, it’s the FIT4 damper that underwhelms me.

Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD
It’s a proper shredder.
Andy Lloyd

It would be good to see the bike specced with a fork that uses the venerable GRIP2 from Fox or Charger 2 from RockShox, though this would essentially limit the Devinci’s choice of fork to a Fox 36 or RockShox Yari, Lyrik or Pike. All four of which would suit the bike’s rather feisty appetite for speed better than the 34.

This underwhelming damper means, as stated before, that you have to run higher than recommended spring rates in the fork just to keep the front end from bottoming excessively, plunging through its travel in compressions and turns, and generally being unruly. The flip side of this is that comfort and small bump compliance are compromised.

When the bike’s geometry is screaming ‘ride me faster, harder and for longer’ and the spec has plenty of big-mountain parts, such as Minion tyres and RaceFace ARC wheels, it’s a bit of shame that the only thing holding you up is a pair of forks.The weight difference between a set of Fox 34s and Fox 36 forks is small — between 100 and 300 grams depending on model — so speccing something to match the Django’s personality wouldn’t be a massive step to make.

Back to the geometry then. On the downhills the slack-for-a-trail-bike 66.5-degree head angle is very welcome and until you really start riding the steepest or fastest trails it doesn’t feel like it needs to be raked out. The bike has a fantastic front-to-back geometry balance but this equilibrium is disrupted by the Fox 34.

The chainstays aren’t too short, but neither are they too long when compared to the reach and front centre numbers. This means your weight remains neutral on the bike and you aren’t constantly compensating for its misgivings, instead focusing on how to get downhill from A to B as fast as possible.

The SRAM G2 brakes coupled with 200mm rotors felt like they’d happily stop a moon-sized asteroid in its tracks

That said, I did feel the bike’s dynamic geometry suffered under braking slightly. While the Split Pivot system works well at keeping the rear end absorbing bumps when you’re on the anchors, the result is that it doesn’t squat in the same situation.

This means it doesn’t counter forward weight shifts under deceleration, instead extending the rear shock and compressing the forks. In my eyes, this makes the bike less predictable to ride and I would certainly sacrifice suspension action over maintaining the geometry, even on a bike that’s designed to ascend as well as it descends.

To be fair, I did initially think that was partially down to the fork’s low-speed damping inefficiently supporting my weight under braking, but after pumping them up to almost 50psi over the recommended setting for my weight, it was isolated to the rear end’s inherent traits.

And once again, to be reasonable to Devinci, some riders may love this feeling and prioritise suspension compliance as the must-have trait over all else, in which case this is a bit of a moot point.

The rest of the bike’s spec impressed me, though. The SRAM G2 brakes coupled with 200mm rotors felt like they’d happily stop a moon-sized asteroid in its tracks and feel more like the awesome DH-orientated Code brakes rather than lacklustre Guide brakes of old.

It was business as usual with the SRAM drivetrain, too. The 12-speed GX system is virtually faultless after the finickity B-tension screw has been set correctly.

It’s nice to see an alloy wheel specced on the bike, too. I’ve ridden other Devinci bikes with a full-carbon frame, wheelset and bar and struggled with how stiff they felt when combined.

This issue wasn’t apparent on the Django and I’ve got no complaints with the bike’s compliance and ability to shrug off line-changing bumps and undulations, which can be seriously detrimental to how it rides if it can’t absorb them efficiently. It would be interesting to put the same wheels as the top-spec Django on our test bike to see how much of an effect they have — this could prove that shelling out the extra cash on the top-end bike just isn’t worth it.

To that end, it would also be great to swing a leg over the aluminium bike to compare how it rides to the carbon one — I’m sure there could be some interesting back-to-back tests to prove which one is worthy of your cash.

2020 Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX LTD bottom line

The Django is an amazingly versatile, top-performing bike that screams to be ridden hard and fast for as long as you can stand. The spec is great and at just over £4,500 at the current exchange rate it’s actually quite good value. It’s got some fantastically-sorted geometry that would be at home on bikes that have gnarlier intentions still.

Like any bike, it does have some quirks. The front fork is a bit of a let-down considering how easy it would be to offer a bike in the range with a stiffer chassis or damper. As a characteristic of the rear suspension’s compliance, it doesn’t have that all-important geometry-preserving anti-rise some riders prefer, but this is by no means a deal breaker. In fact, it might not be a problem for some people depending on their preferences.

Advertisement

This is a trail bike I’d quite happily purchase with my own cash, but only if Devinci gave me the option of putting a different, better damped fork on it from the factory.

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €6099.00GBP £4843.67USD $5899.00
Weight 13.83kg (L) – (without pedals)
Brand Devinci

Features

Available sizes XS, S, M, L, XL
Brakes SRAM G2 RSC 200mm rotors
Fork Fox Float 34 Factory EVOL 29 Boost 110 140mm (5.9in) travel
Frame Carbon DMC-G 120mm (4.72in) travel
Handlebar Race Face Next R35 20mm rise, 800mm
Rear derailleur SRAM GX Eagle (1X12)
Rear shock Fox Float DPS Factory
Saddle SDG
Seatpost Fox Transfer Performance
Shifter SRAM GX Eagle (1X12)
Stem Race Face Turbin R 35mm clamp, 50mm
Tyres Maxxis Minion DHF 29X2.5 WT, 3C, EXO, TR / Maxxis Minion DHR II 29X2.4 WTF 3C EXO TR
Wheels Race Face ARC35 rims, Race Face Vault hubs