We once sent our web sheriff Billy Thackray out to Quebec to meet the boys at Devinci. I think the title of the feature read something like “What did you do to me Chicoutimi?” But get the story he did, one of a company began in 1987 by a pair of local engineering students who actually started the company as Da Vinci (as in Leonardo). Soon after that in 1990 a man by the name of Felix Gauthier entered the mix and Devinci as a company was born.
After much trial and error they built their own oven for heat treatment instead of breaking the bank and purchasing one off the shelf. They soon learned to cook their own bikes and with a small team were able to get new designs turned around very quickly.
It wasn’t until the early part of this century that we started getting to test the Canadian made bikes but whilst the early ones certainly turned heads it was the Wilson that really stamped its mark for Devinci especially on the downhill circuit.
“They soon learned to cook their own bikes”
That early bike was huge favourite of ours. We loved the low swooping frame, the suspension characteristic and the steering precision. The bike was effortless to ride and it came in a good range of sizing that was missing from other brands at the time.
The carbon Wilson caused mixed feelings. The damper was over-sensitive to changes and the carbon chassis too stiff especially when in fast rocky terrain. Had they overbuilt it? We’re still not sure but when the bike was brought back to softer rootier ground it instantly caught light once more and put down consistently fast track times. The bike was an enigma, but the shape was still characteristic Quebec angles.
The new Devinci with 27.5” wheels continues with a low centre of gravity in its asymmetrical frame – aluminium up front with carbon seat stays. It’s the same bike as ridden by Stevie Smith, Mark Wallace and Dean Lucas. And they have been nothing short of flying this season. There’s a nice mix of Easton Havoc wheels and Chromag components thrown into a component mix which again features Sram Guide Ultimate, X01 DH drivetrain and Vivid/BoXXer suspension combination.
Four sizes, three build combinations and frame only option the Wilson comes with none other than a lifetime frame warranty, it is one of those charismatic bikes that delivers straightforward performance. They call it the Commando.
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