First Look: Devinci Dixon SL

Joe Ferrari at Haven Distribution built this Devinci Dixon SL up and sent it down to us to test late last week. Initial thoughts out of the box are promising.


I took the bike over to Chicksands in Bedfordshire for the weekend to test it out. My usual day–to–day machine is a Commencal Meta 4X (a tight, low and agile 100mm bomber) and I felt that the groomed berms and high speed nature of Chicksands was the perfect place to find out what the Devinci was all about.

The Devinci can be ridden in a HI and LO setting and I was running in the LO – a slacker (by half a degree) 67 degrees and a lower (by 0.2 of a inch) 13.7 bottom bracket height. The Fox Float RP23 XV boost valve air shock makes available 145mm of bounce out back and the Fox 32′s give 150mm up front. I usually ride a medium frame but after a good experience on a large Intense SS2 a few weeks back I decided to go for a large on the Dixon (wheelbase of 45.3 inches and a stand over height of 30.4 inches). All angles and measurements are quoted so I will be taking my own measurements shortly and adding them to these comments, as I’ve already seen different values quoted elsewhere.

A quick warm up lap on the XC loop reveals an efficient pedaling bike. The power engages straight away and the bike gets on with the job of moving forwards. The large frame size fits my five foot eleven inch height well and the overall feeling is one of comfort.

On to the dual track to see how the bike handled some more high speed compressions, whoops and turns. I’m used to riding bikes with the saddle slammed down to the tyre and was reminded a couple of times down the track of the higher standover on this machine. I usually hang off the back of my 4X but on the larger and more trail orientated Devinci I was riding with a more centred, almost front biased, stance. The back end behaved well staying in contact with the ground and gripped well. Sliding into berms and hooking up perfectly. The new Specialized Eskar2 tyres proving to be a good choice on the dusted hardpack of the Chicksands soil…or sand.

The whole bike had a stable and predictable nature in the air as well. I really need to see how well the Devinci tackles some rougher terrain before I delve any deeper with my thoughts, but first impressions are positive…Chicksands is fairly smooth and fast, bar the odd hole and braking bump, and at the same time somewhat safe and predictable. The Devinci was never on the edge here and I never felt out of shape. I need to get the bike in to some more technical situations and high speed rock and root. I’m in search of the perfect ‘Surrey hills ripper’ – a bike that climbs like a goat and descends like a mini DH bike. Could this be it? Keep a look out for a full test over the next few months in the magazine.

Jon ‘the designer’ Gregory

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  1. Hancock

    What tyre’s that? It’s a bit tight in the frame.

  2. jon@dirtmag

    @Hancock.
    The tyre is a Specialized Eskar2 2.3 (a fairly large 2.3)

  3. geetee

    I think the tyre is a Specialized Eskar 2.3; either that or it’s a Spesh Purgatory 2.2

    They’re pretty good tyres actually; dual compound (the Eskar is 60/50 while the Purgatory is 70/60) tubeless ready although they do need latext to stay inflated and pretty light.

    They are a bit fragile though. I’ve torn the side casings of several tyres just on tree roots in the Surrey Hills.

    Best thing about them though is that Freeborn sell them for £40 a pair, which is a 50% discount on the equivalent UST Maxxis tyre.

  4. Joe Haven

    Hancock, The tyre fitted is a Specialized Eskar 2 which is a 2.3″ although compared to something like a Maxxis 2.35″ it comes up big. We have been running the Eskar 2 on the Dixon for a while now and have had no problems. This is just about the largest tyre we would normally expect to run on a bike of this type.

  5. Tepid

    The new arnge of Specialized tyres are incredible. You have to sacrifice something with a good all rounder, in the case of the 2.2′s its the sidewall, but its no flimsy affair like say a 2.35 High Roller singlewall (utterly pointless tyre) The sidewalls are quite stable. They roll really really fast and the grip is outofthisworld!!! Get involved!

  6. dirt dodger

    SAW this bike @ bala this weekend @ a Pearce race, so god damn nice ! On a separate note – how cool is it to have Ferrari as your surname.

  7. Dodgy Dave

    Hey Check it out! You’ve built yourself a Rocky Mountain Slayer :)

  8. Enrico Desoto

    Performance Bycicle has this bike for sale on their website.
    For the last 2 months!

  9. Maureen

    Looks like a handy bit of kit to me. I look forward to the full review…I’ve heard some good things about this bike and in such a competitive area of the market (150mm – 160mm trail bikes) it has to be something really special to make punters part with their hard earned. It will be interesting to see how it rates alongside the likes of a Remedy (does it look like a trek?), an orange 5 (yawn….) and something like the Last Herb AM. The finish looks beautiful.

    As far as the rubber goes…sounds like Specialized have upped their game…again I have been hearing good things. There is more than Maxxis in the tyre market now eh? Schwalbe, Continental and now Specialized are all worth considering by the looks of tings.

  10. Chris

    I’m sorry it may be a nice bike but really Gregory should be writing for mbuk with that style of journalism. Get jones to give him some lessons or else stick to design

  11. Gomez

    some photo’s to show off the bike would have helped..
    photo’s of grass, tyre knobs, bearings, pivots…it’s not question of sport

  12. Droppin-neutron

    @gomez

    nice one!!!!!

  13. Jake

    @Chris
    Ha. I just read Steve Jones report on the Scott in the latest issue of Dirt (which only arrived this morning after seeing it in the shops late last week – I’m a subscriber, and that’s a different rant)….and I think I need some lessons in the school of understanding Steve Jones! It looks like a complicated bike to me that Scott Genius and I came away none the wiser on how that back end works or the thoery behind it.

  14. jimmyv

    @Jake, I’ll second that!
    and very short write up for what sounded like, it was the ‘ultimate’ bike.
    still, better than the rest though, Dirt all the way.

  15. Alan Jones

    @jake, I’ll third that. I’ve got the same Surname as Jones, I’m Welsh too and I still have trouble understanding what he’s on about sometimes. The journey through the words is usually enjoyable even if the point or purpose is hidden in the fog of insider knowledge and/or an analogy that is close to the mark but a little too obscure for mass understanding…which brings me to @chris…what is this style of Journalism you talk of? – I hold my head in shame as I admit I read MBUK from time to time, as well as MBR. I think it is good to get different points of view if you are looking at buying stuff. Dirt is good for getting stoked to ride in my opinion and good at showing high end kit with honest opinion, MBUK is informative if a little dry but they are trying harder these days – they are not quite as condescending and look as if they are ‘growing up’ a touch. I do suspect that MBUK are just product donkeys though, keen to feature anything that an advertiser tells them too…and MBR have a good standard of bike testing that I have relied on a lot in the past when considering a new purchase. They are just a bit dull that’s all.

    anyway – I’ve gone wildly off the point. The Devinci hidden in the grass is a bit of a tease. I want to see more.

  16. jonesdirtmag

    It seems to me that whichever style of writing there will be guys wanting the sly dig. Would like to say a big thankyou to those riders who email me with constructive criticism. For the next issue on a couple I have gone for the standard and very boring structured route hopefully it will be of help to some but bring yawns to others. Please let me know in the normal human manner what your thoughts are. If someone serves me a shit pint I’ll tell them – not put a fucking post up. “Shit beer down the Boat last night”

    That said…Jake, Jimmy v you’re right there is little insight into that rear shock on the Genius – it basically says you’re better off (and faster) with something standard and less complicated. I omitted the examples – Vivid, Stoy etc sorry!

    As for the Demo I went for a word count similar to other magazines, again more grumbles. Like i said difficult to please everyone.

    Scott Genius. I thought it was pretty conclusive as a test of a bike with a certain concept behind it? “As we mentioned a few issues ago they say it’s “THE bike for exploring the back country”. Unlike many similar bold statements made by a lot of company’s yes it’s actually very true. I’m just not sure how many people do that type of riding.”

    Alan, well the Welsh are a bit slow arent they? Close to the mark but obscure…..so you obviously got it?

    Give us a shout on my email or office number if you want to be confused even more. Love jones

  17. billy

    So what is the beer like down the Boat these days?

  18. jonesdirtmag

    Fucking too warm, too expensive….so much better in all respects up north. Was with Brayton last week, never touched a drop in his life (not to old to start though aye) he was taking the piss out of Loweswater Gold..now what a pint. Complex mind you, ful of analguys. whats it like in the cock cock?

  19. jonesdirtmag

    Oh and I tell Shalleen every week, I think she likes it

  20. Darren O'Hara

    Anyway, back to the Dixon.

    Been looking for the ideal bike for up here in northern Scotland. Needed something that will survive the rocks, roots, mud and weather of all day rides in the Scottish mountains or a quick blast at the local downhill course……and anything in between. Freeborn (with their usual exemplary) customer service offered me the Devinci Dixon frame as a warranty replacement for another make with warranty issues. My first impressions of the Dixon are of quality, attention to detail and spot on geometry, essentially summing up exactly what MTB is all about right now for me.

    With a tough build, a few DH parts/tyres and a gravity dropper it is still under 31lbs size large. Only had a short blast on the bike so far but initially it feels bottomless, stiff, very efficient for climbing and very aggressive. There are some seriously big mountain descents round here with some very technical terrain so I am looking forward to giving the bike some hammer in the mountains this weekend.

    You can’t deny the resemblance to the Trek but if rumour control is anything to go by DW went to Trek with the design, they looked at it then ripped it off. Anyway who cares which came first, I’d far rather buy hand made Canadian frame from a small company than the same bike as everyone else from a multi-national corporation! Nice.

  21. todd

    I rode the Dixon as a demo bike and loved it. It does climb like a dream and descends very well through our rough all mountain trails here in British Columbia. I also got a Wilson that I still have to pinch myself when I ride it!! Wow, does that bike ride fast, neutral and confidence inspiring…..!! wow

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