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2016 Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX

2016 Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX

Size Tested: Medium

Geometry: (Here) 

Build Overview:

  • Drivetrain: Sram GX
  • Brakes: SRAM Level TL
  • Fork: Fox Float 34 Performance Elite
  • Rear Shock: Fox Float Factory Series

Wheels: 29′′

Travel: 120 mm rear / 130 mm front

Blister’s Measured Weight: 29.7 lbs (13.47 kg) without pedals

Reviewer: 5’9”, 155 lbs.

Test Location: Boulder City, Nevada

MSRP: $4,249.00

Noah Bodman reviews the Devinci Django 29 for Blister Gear Review.

Devinci Django 29

Caveat

I rode the Django 29 at Interbike’s outdoor demo, which is located at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada. While people like to shun Vegas, the Bootleg trails are a little oasis of awesomeness in a land that’s otherwise dominated by neon excess. Bootleg has a mix of fast, sandy flow, and rocky cheese grater gnarliness that’s plenty technical. If you haven’t been, Bootleg is a worthy stop on any southwestern road trip.

Normally, Blister tries to get as much time on a bike as we realistically can so that we have time to play around with setup, get comfortable with the fit, and hopefully reveal any durability issues that might arise. But for obvious reasons, spending an hour or so on a bike at Interbike’s outdoor demo doesn’t give us the time to give the bike our usual treatment.

That said, there’s a lot of value in riding a bunch of different bikes, back to back on the same trails. Traits that might not be obvious when the bikes are ridden weeks or months apart become evident.

We try our best to get the bikes set up like we’d set up our own personal bikes, so that means dialing in the cockpit and suspension as best as possible, and we’ll often fuss with air pressure and other settings mid-ride to try to address any perceived issues. But given the short time on the bike, there’s only so much we can do, and we also take the component spec as we get it – sometimes the bars are too narrow, the seat too wide, or the tires too… crappy.

The “too long, didn’t read” version of this caveat is simply this: back to back comparisons on great trails are useful, but don’t take this as the final word on these bikes, especially when it comes to maintenance and durability issues.

Intro

Devinci release the smaller wheeled, Django 27.5 (or as Devinci calls it, just the Django) last spring, and it looked to be a solid contender in the “short-ish travel, fun all around” kind of trail bike. But since Devinci discontinued the Atlas a couple years ago, a 29er was conspicuously absent from their lineup.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of shorter travel 29ers that have a bit more aggressive geometry, and the newly released Django 29 falls squarely into that category. So with that in mind, the new Django 29 was one of the bikes that I was most interested to try out at Interbike. But it’s going up against some stiff competition with bikes like the Evil Following, Transition Scout, Salsa Horsethief, and a bunch of others contending for “funnest.”

The Build

The Django 29 that I rode had a carbon frame built with Devinci’s GX build. Devinci also offers this same build kit hung on an aluminum framed Django 29, which saves around $700, but gains a little over 2 lbs (roughly 1020 grams) and gets a downgraded rear shock. Personally, I’d say those kinds of weight savings are worth the price, but your mileage may vary.

Noah Bodman reviews the Devinci Django 29 for Blister Gear Review.

Noah Bodman on the Devinci Django 29, Bootleg Canyon, NV.

The highlight of the Django 29 lineup is the suspension – Fox suspension throughout, and from the GX build on up, they all have really good Fox suspension. For starters, every carbon Django 29, from the NX up to the X01 gets the same rear shock: a Fox Float Factory Series (although it’s worth noting that the aluminum frames bump down to a Float Performance Elite).

The GX build gets a Fox Float 34 Performance Elite fork, which is excellent. No, it’s not quite as nice as the Factory series forks on the higher end models, but literally the only difference is that the Performance Elite version misses out on the Kashima coated fork legs (hence the black color, instead of gold). I’m generally a fan of the 34 forks – the damping feels a bit more supportive than it’s main competitor, the Rockshox Pike, and the Fox is a bit lighter too.

The GX drivetrain is a solid performer – while it’s not quite as light, nor is the shifting quite as crisp as the higher end offerings, it works impressively well. On a number of occasions, I’ve swapped between an X01 drivetrain and a GX drivetrain, and functionally I have to look pretty hard for differences that actually matter.

The Django 29 is also sporting Sram’s relatively new 2 piston Level TL brakes. In terms of lever feel, they’re fairly similar to Sram Guides, although they seem to have a touch less power. None of the trails at Bootleg really involved giving the brakes a hard workout, so I’ll have to reserve judgment as to whether I miss having the extra pistons of the Guide brakes.

Perhaps the most interesting component choice on the Django 29 was the dropper post – a 125mm FSA “Adjustable Seatpost” (yes, that’s the actual name of the product). It worked well for my short test, but according to FSA’s website, the post weighs only slightly less than a lead brick, and the tall seatpost head might be an issue for shorter riders that don’t run a lot of seatpost out of the frame.

Noah Bodman reviews the Devinci Django 29 for Blister Gear Review.

FSA Adjustable Seatpost

For wheels, the Raceface AR24 rims mated to Boost spaced Formula hubs did well for my short test – I can’t make any long term durability conclusions, but they seemed decently stiff during my ride. Mounted to those wheels was a Maxxis Highroller II in the front and a Maxxis Ardent in the rear. The 2.3” Highroller is one of my favorite tires on the market for a 29er, but I’m not at all a fan of the Ardent – it loses traction too easily, and not always predictably. The rear tire would be the first thing I’d change if this were my bike.

Fit and Geometry

The Django 29, like many of Devnici’s bikes, has adjustable geometry, which is easily changed by flipping around the hardware on the rearward rocker arm pivot. My time on the Django 29 was spent with the bike in “low” mode, so all of the numbers I’m discussing here are based on that setting.

The Django 29 follows Devinci’s recent trend of substantially lengthening their bikes. A 440 mm reach on the size Medium I rode is at the long end – there’s only a few bikes on the market that are longer. That said, a relatively steep seat 74.5° seat tube angle keeps the cockpit from feeling too stretched, and the top tube on a medium comes in at a reasonable 602 mm.

If all of those numbers don’t mean much to you, I’d say that the Django 29 feels a bit more stretched out than an “average” Medium sized bike, but not excessively so. I generally fall squarely into what most companies would call a Medium, and I’d certainly go with a Medium in the Django 29.

The Django 29 has a 68° head angle, which gets .5° steeper in “high” mode, but can also be brought down to 67.5° with the use of Devinci’s FRG cup. My test bike didn’t have the cup installed, but I think I’d prefer the bike with that slightly slacker head angle (more on that below).

The stays on the Django 29 measure 434 mm, which is pretty middle of the road these days. There are plenty of 29ers that have shorter stays, but for a bike like this, I’m a fan of a slightly longer stay. The rear end on the Django 29 felt short enough to retain some playfulness, but long enough to help out in corners and on steep climbs.
NEXT: The Ride, Bottom Line

7 Comments

  1. John Rodgers October 5, 2016 Reply

    Another great review Noah! Just what I was looking for to help me make my buying decision.

    Any further thought on the FSA dropper post, aside from the weight? I can’t find anything about them online.

  2. Miguel December 31, 2016 Reply

    Hi Noah,

    I’m considering this bike, for all around trails around Austin, TX. But, a big goal I have coming up in 2017 is Leadville. Any thoughts on this bike and the Leadville 100 course?

    Thanks,
    Miguel

    • Noah January 2, 2017 Reply

      Hey Miguel,

      I’ve ridden a bit around Austin, and I think it’d be a fantastic bike for that area. For Leadville, I’ve never done that race, but my impression is that it’s a relatively fast course and has a lot of dirt road. With that in mind, the ideal bike for that race is probably a purebred short travel XC race bike – it’d be more efficient and measurably lighter than the Django 29. Something like the Cannondale Scalpel 29 comes to mind.

      That said, unless you really have your sites set on placing well in the race, I think something like the Django 29 would do just fine. While it’s not a full blown race bike, it’s a whole lot more fun for regular trail riding. In other words, if you want a great all around bike that can handle a big race like Leadville, the Django 29 is a solid choice. But if you’re primarily concerned with the race, and you don’t really care if the bike is less fun for regular rides, I’d look for something that’s more of a dedicated xc race rig.

      • Miguel January 6, 2017 Reply

        Thanks!

  3. Conor January 13, 2017 Reply

    Just stumbled upon this and the 27.5 review. Nice work here. Not sure if you’ve ridden much in Utah. I’m looking at going shorter travel and think the django might be the ticket for 95% of what I ride. Any idea if it would handle some of Utah’s rougher trails (the whole enchilada, captain ahab, techy trails at deer valley..)

  4. Russell January 25, 2017 Reply

    Can anyone offer a direct comparison between this and the following? I get the following has more stable geometry but how do they differ in suspension efficiency, small bump compliance, and stiffness?

  5. JM February 11, 2017 Reply

    ” Django 29 is quite a bit easier at “normal” speeds, and it’s more inclined to go around sharp corners without blowing off the outside of the trail”

    What makes the Django easier to handle at lower speeds than the Following? The seat angle? I’ve also noticed that it was easy for me to blow outside the trail on a turn on my Following but not my 27.5 mojo3. thx

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