Devinci Django 29 Carbon GX 12S LTDCheck Out the Full Specs and Review
Words by Travis Engel.
The category of ‘mid-travel 29er’ doesn’t mean what it used to mean. They used to be timid, noodly, longer-legged versions of their brands’ XC models, designed to be ridden on the low and the flow. But now, instead of being meant for a different kind of terrain than their squishier siblings, it’s as if they’re meant for different kinds of riders. Riders who want a more up-close-and-personal relationship with the trail. Even if that trail is a total asshole.
This can be done through geometry, suspension or spec, and the Django takes a little from each. First, the 120-millimeter rear end feels like it waits until later in the stroke to implement Devinci’s signature progressivity. Most of the travel gives itself up freely, but the ample bottom-out control gave the illusion of there being an extra 10 millimeters on the back end. That’s paired with a 140-millimeter fork where most brands would have gone 130. And every build comes with rims that measure around 35-millimeters wide, most paired to 2.4/2.5 WT Maxxis Minion tires with room for 2.6 front and rear. Then, our LTD model tops off that category-defying spec with 800-millimeter bars and 200-millimeter rotors.
The geometry is less singular in its purpose. The head angle is 66.5 degrees in the low position, and the reach is 470 on a large. A tad more conservative than the similar Transition Smuggler, and two tads more than the less-similar Yeti SB130. The cockpit keeps the Django practical on the kind of terrain these bikes were once exclusively meant for.
Speaking of practical matters, the Django has an incredibly steep seat angle for a 120-millimeter bike; 77.3 degrees in the low setting makes it an ideal long-haul trucker. But we found ourselves wanting a little more control over the suspension. The Split Pivot linkage is really just a glorified single-pivot, and it lacks the axle-path control of fancier mousetraps. Some testers noticed enough unwanted bob to use the compression damping on the shock. Otherwise, the Django rewards you kindly for being so moderate in your travel preference.
How that preference should relate to descending is where our testers diverged. Two testers at 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-2 were on the XL Django, and one, at 5-foot-4, was on the small. The two testers on the XL had different reactions to Devinci’s Adapted Chainstay Length. Extra-small, small and medium Djangos get 435-millimeter stays. Large goes to 440 and our XL had 445. The tallest tester appreciated the high-speed stability that number offered. Get- ting knocked around was far less consequential when taking the bike places where it otherwise wouldn’t belong. It even helped mitigate the dartyness that the relatively conservative head angle might cause at high velocities. It would simply hold a line more easily. You can loosen up, trust that your body, when in motion, will stay in motion while the bike bounces and deflects at speeds and on terrain where, frankly, a long-travel bike would be much safer.
But the other XL tester found that the long chainstay was antithetical to what a bike like this should be about. He wanted more freedom to mess around. To pull manuals and throw tight skids. He found it harder to get the front wheel off the ground for the pops and jibs that every other aspect of the bike seemed to be encouraging. The front-center was fine for him, but the rear-center held him back. Fortunately, riders from that school of thought have plenty of choices. Most brands don’t scale chainstay with frame size, so the tall can opt for the Pivot Trail 429, the Santa Cruz Tallboy, or the aforementioned Transition Smuggler if they favor style over stability. If not, the Django is meant for them. Or, the new Norco Optic also scales its chainstays but had a slightly heavier-handed ride.
As for choices within the Django lineup, there’s some surprising value. There are Fox-suspended carbon builds down to $4,600, and an equally Foxy aluminum build for $2,700. It’s nice to see such a unique bike with the potential to serve such a wide audience.
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