James McKnight and the Devinci Wilson SL Carbon 2012

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James McKnight and the Devinci Wilson SL Carbon 2012 | Committed

 

Have you considered Devinci bikes previously?

When I first saw a Dixon trail bike, hell yes. That one looks great, although I’ve only given it the car park test. I only really started to pay attention to the downhill bike when Steve Smith began to do well on it. Good piece of marketing for them isn’t he?

What were your first thoughts when you had it? How did the angles feel, especially standover, head angle and wheelbase for that loose riding that you’re always telling us about?

I rode it on some jumps in Wiltshire first and thought it felt good, but I had been off a downhill bike for a while and I was aware that a set of downhill trails didn’t exactly represent the type of terrain the bike was aimed at. My first real chance to ride it on a full–on DH track was down the Innsbruck track in Austria, which I believe to be the hardest official track anywhere. I got down but thought the headangle felt a bit steep on that day. The geometry is slightly adjustable, in the slack setting it is 64º, steep by today’s wacky standards (Mondraker, etc.), but sensible for all but the steepest of tracks.

Wheelbase is good, again I thought it seemed quite short at first but the bike never feels unstable. I love the shape of the frame and all the available room to move around, good for manoeuvring on technical stuff.

Have you played around with hi/lo settings?

I’ve just left it low, I wouldn’t really want the head angle any steeper.

COMPONENTRY

Discuss highlights in terms of component spec?

No particular highlight, but the overall package is good and has been reliable.

Any weaknesses in component spec?

Not particularly. Maybe the brakes.

Is the overall componentry right for the job?

Yes, I’d say so. The only part I’ve changed are the handlebars. The bike came with Truvativ Boobar’s which were great, but they were also flat so I put some higher rise bars on there. The kit is all high–end stuff, which matches the performance of the frame.

Price thoughts?

Obviously it is ludicrously expensive, as are all downhill bikes, but you do get a hell of a machine for your money. And it isn’t going to dent, crack or bend straight away.

SHAKEDOWN

How long you now had the bike?

Nearly eight months.

How has it survived generally?

Pretty well, it still looks tidy in the paintwork department. However, the main frame bearings are not so healthy and I have heard this isn’t an uncommon problem. The wheels are a bit dented but that is to be expected. The rear shock could do with a service, but again, that is pretty normal for the amount of riding I’ve done on it.

Suspension. Tune?

The shock is stable and has handled everything I’ve thrown it at. Apparently every one of these bikes has a custom tuned Fox shock for the suspension, which I can believe as the bike is so smooth and controlled through its travel.

Fork?

Good. I have been really impressed with the improvement over the last BoXXer air fork that I had several years ago. Highly tune–able and supple. Most people who have had a look at the bike note that it is light, which is probably helped by the forks.

Are there suspension settings available? If so do the recommended settings work for you on fork and shock?

Well, RockShox’s set–up guide is probably the clearest and easiest to understand of any, so setting up the forks isn’t an issue. Having said that, I used their stock air pressure but set the high/low speed compression controls with settings of my own: loads of high and low compression damping on the steep alpine tracks to keep the front high, less in Britain where I want to be aggressive on the front wheel. The shock is easy to set up too. Fox also have good set–up information on their website and in their manuals.  But I have to say, Devinci’s blurb on their website that covers all elements of the bike is pretty confusing and convoluted.

Tyres? Compounds and widths? Good or bad?

Mine came with 2.5 Maxxis Minion tyres, which can’t be faulted.

Tubeless ready though?

No, but most downhill riders and racers will be changing their tyres so often that they probably won’t be bothered by tubeless.

Noise? Could do with clutch derailleur to quieten it down?

Every bike could do with a clutch derailleur!

What about weight? Could it/should it be lighter?

It could be lighter, but it is reassuringly sturdy feeling and has had plenty of top race results to prove that weight isn’t everything.

You bothered that it’s not carbon, bearing in mind the carbon version is not massively different in weight?

Nope, it rides really nicely as it is. The seatstay is carbon and the material does make things stiffer, which can’t be a bad thing. I guess that carbon would also get the weight down slightly? And Steve Smith’s results seemed to fair pretty well when he switched to full carbon late in 2012 He won the final round of the DH World Cup in Norway).>>

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