Bike: 2015 Devinci Spartan Carbon RR
Size Tested: Medium
Blister’s Measured Weight:
– 13.44kg (29.6 lbs) Complete Bike w/ Time MX6 pedals
– 3.4 kg (7.49lbs) Frame w/ Monarch RC3 Debonair Rear Shock.
Geometry & Complete Build: Here
Drivetrain: SRAM X01
Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC
Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3
Shock: Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair
Wheels: 27.5′ DT Swiss E1700 Spline 2′
Reviewer Info: 5’9”, 155 lbs.
Duration of Test: one month
Test Locations: Whitefish & Helena, Montana; Fernie, BC
Devinci first dropped word of the Spartan last summer, and we took a quick look at it in our Interbike coverage last year.
Out of all the ~160mm travel bikes that I rode at Interbike, the Spartan was the one I liked best, and I said as much in my writeup.
While it’s tough to really make a definitive call on a bike after only riding it for an hour or so, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and I picked up a Spartan to replace my 2013 Specialized Enduro Expert.
So now that I have more time on the Spartan, is it still impressing me? And were my initial impressions from Interbike correct?
Before I wade into all of that, a bit of background on the Spartan:
It’s a bike that’s pretty clearly situated to mix it up with “enduro” bikes, which some people might call “all mountain” bikes and others might call light “freeride” bikes. Regardless, the Spartan is more or less similar to my Specialized Enduro that it’s replacing, but it follows the trend of many newer bikes out there, and is lower and slacker than the Enduro.
It also gets a wheel size boost, and is shod with 27.5 hoops because, as we all know, it is physically impossible to race enduro on 26” wheels. (I’ll talk a bit more about the wheel size below.)
The Spartan by the Numbers
The Spartan features a “flip chip” that, with the removal of the rear shock bolt, can be set in “low” or “high” mode. As the name implies, the low mode brings the bottom bracket height down to about 337mm (13.3”), which is about 7mm lower than high mode. In low mode, the bottom bracket drop works out to about 21mm, which is at the low end of the spectrum.
I spent almost all of my time on the Spartan in low mode, so all of the numbers I’m discussing are with the bike in that setting. Putting the bike in high mode lengthens the top tube and reach numbers by a little bit.
The Spartan doesn’t follow the “longer is better” trend to the extent of some other bikes like the Kona Process 153 and Giant Reign that are quite a bit longer both in the top tube and in the reach. The reach on my medium Spartan is 413mm / 16.25”, and the horizontal top tube length is 580mm / 22.8”. (The Kona and Giant have reaches of 435mm and 444mm, and top tube measurements of 601mm and 620mm, respectively.)
On the back end of the bike, where many companies are slamming the rear wheel into the shortest chainstays they can muster, the Spartan’s stays come in at a relatively average 432mm (17”). Not long by any means, but also not the shortest out there—they’re about 10mm longer than the Specialized Enduro 650b.
The Spartan’s head angle in the low mode is 65.8°. Switching to high mode steepens that up to 66.4°.
The seat tube angle on the Spartan is a pretty middle of the road 72.4°, again,measured in low mode.
At first, the fit on the Spartan felt a bit cramped, and I had an internal debate as to whether I should have bumped up to a Large. I’ve always ridden Mediums, but Devinci specs the Spartan with a relatively short 50mm stem.
Short stems are certainly the part du jour at the moment, but that trend is largely a result of the lengthening that lots of bikes are seeing; the frame gets longer and the stem gets shorter. The Spartan gets a fairly short stem, but the frame isn’t nearly as long as some of the other bikes out there. While I’ve gotten used to the shorter cockpit, I could also see myself bumping up to a 60mm stem.
All of these numbers have a pretty distinct effect on how the Spartan rides, which I’ll discuss below.
NEXT: The Frame