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James McKnight and the Devinci Wilson SL Carbon 2012 | Committed

Here we go then, the joker himself, the subterranean dodger, feigning a life of hard times, roughing it amongst the European high life – James McKnight has had the Devinci Wilson SL Carbon 2012 downhill race bike close by his side all summer. He is this month’s ‘Committed’ specimen.

DIRT ISSUE 131 – JANUARY 2013

Words by James McKnight. Photos by Andy Lloyd

Where you at then James? Describe your typical type of riding?

I’m in Wiltshire, home to Stonehenge, West Kennet long barrow and other famous stone devices. I float about a lot – all over Europe and occasionally further. This year that has included various locations in Italy, the French and Swiss Alps and Spain. I’m about to move to Monmouth though, to become editor of Bike Magic. Style? I ride smoothly, like to get some flow. I’ve raced downhill since the age of 12 but have always done all sorts of riding.

How often do you ride?

In a good week, every day. More recently, several times a week. It varies throughout the year and depending on what work I have on.

You previously had a Specialized Demo, a similar bike in many ways to the Wilson – shape, style, suspension possibly?

Hmmm, not sure on that one. Similar intentions – to win races – and similarly fun to ride. But the Demo was noticeably long at the front, short at the back. The Wilson felt pretty small at first, but it’s well balanced – the entire workings of the shock are very central and low which makes it super planted feeling to ride and gives it ridiculous grip in corners.

Travelling here there and everywhere, where do you use this bike?

I used the bike in the spring in England and Wales, then I took it to the Alps for the summer where I used it to session my ‘spiritual home’ of Morzine and a number of other areas. Recently I’ve been riding it at the woods where I first started riding, loving a bit of muddy action and drifts with nailed dry tyres, which the bike seems to handle effortlessly.

You’re moving to Monmouth in South Wales, will you be riding it?

Yeah! I’ll be on the Forest of Dean uplift every chance going and hopefully I’ll be invited to ride some of the ‘locals only’ tracks. Part of my reason for moving to Monmouth (apart from the minor detail of the job at Bike Magic) is to be based nearer to quality riding and year–round uplift so I can ride my bike more often, spend less money on fuel and traveling.

THE BIKE

Happy with the cosmetics?

Looks amazing, I love the white and red. I took it down my sister’s pub to show the locals and they were all impressed too.

Angles and sizing, you went for medium?

Yep, I went for medium as I am a ‘medium’ size person and I like to think that the bike size will correlate to that. It felt small/short compared to the Demo at first, but I realize now that I was just used to being stretched out with the long front end of the Demo. Wilson feels spot–on now I’m used to it. Am I singing its praises too much? I really like this bike.

Some hot features on this one. Can you expand on Split Pivot, Intelligent Link, Full Response Geometry?

Think you’ve pretty much summed it up there! Except of course that no-one knows what the hell all these made up tags mean! Including me. Geometry is good – wheelbase, cockpit etc., feel comfortable and the bike never feels flustered. The Split Pivot is briefly explained in around ten thousand words on Devinci’s website, which enlightened me no end. Essentially, the suspension works around a large pivot assembly that is low and central, but there is also a pivot at the rear axle, which helps to separate braking and pedalling forces. If you’ve seen a Trek with ABP, it’s the same thing. The bike is really, really supple on small hits but feels bottomless. Even if the explanation doesn’t work, the suspension does.>>

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