I opted for the Carbon RR build, which is the top of the line option and is available on either the aluminum or carbon frame.
Suspension duties throughout the Spartan lineup are handled by Rockshox, with all models coming with a Monarch RC3 Debonair rear shock, and a 160mm travel Pike fork.
The RR build gets the RCT3 Pike with a dual air travel adjustment, while the other builds get the RC model (but do retain the travel adjustment). We reviewed the Pike previously, and it remains one of the best options in this segment of the fork market.
The Monarch RC3 Debonair is well regarded, and I’ve gotten along with it quite well. It has a basic rebound plus three position compression adjustment, similar to other shocks on the market. Those adjustments all work well and perform as advertised.
The drivetrain is a SRAM XO1 setup, and I’ve previously gone on record saying that I’m a big fan of the 1×11 drivetrains. That conclusion carries through here; it’s clean, light, and it shifts really well. I’m debating bumping down to a 30t ring just to help my weak legs out on steep climbs, but other than that, the drivetrain is fantastic.
The brakes are the SRAM Guide RSC that I reviewed previously, and none of my conclusions have changed. The brakes work well, but I still wish I could position the levers a little farther from the bar. The Spartan comes spec’d with 180mm rotors, which are fine for me. Big guys (or those putting in more lift served time on the Spartan) might want to bump up to a 200mm rotor, at least in the front.
The contact points on the Spartan are an SDG Fly RL Saddle, and an Easton Havoc Carbon 35 bar and matching stem. My go-to saddle is usually a WTB Silverado, but I’ve gotten along reasonably well with the SDG Fly. It’s a little narrower, a little short lengthwise, and a little more rounded than the Silverado, and while I prefer something slightly wider and flatter, I still found it reasonably comfortable.
The Havoc Carbon bar is great in that it’s quite stiff, and it comes at 800mm wide. I cut mine down to 780mm, and might still go a bit narrower on it. But unless you prefer very narrow bars, the Havoc will accommodate you. As mentioned in Tom Collier’s review of the Easton Haven 35, that stiffness does, however, take a toll on my hands. After doing a couple long descents on the Spartan, I’ve noticed my hands are more beat up than usual, and I’m primarily attributing that to the stiff bars.
The wheels on the Spartan are the DT Swiss E1700 Spline 2, which sport a reasonably wide rim (25mm internal), and a straight pull DT swiss Spline 2 hub. Weighing in at around 1840g, they’re not featherweights, but they’re not overly porky, either.
A couple notes on these wheels:
(1) I have no idea why DT Swiss (and other companies as well) are reducing the flange height on their hubs, even as wheel diameters are getting larger. It seems to make for a less stiff wheel, and it saves a marginal amount of weight.
(2) The Splines have 18 points of engagement, which, to the best of my knowledge, is industry leading in its terribleness. I don’t consider engagement to be the top priority in my hub purchases, but I find the low engagement on the DT hubs to be noticeably annoying.
Notwithstanding those issues, the Spline wheels are acceptable—which means they don’t really do anything spectacularly, but they didn’t instantly fold and kill me. They’re definitely not the stiffest wheel out there, but they’re comparable to most other aluminum rimmed wheels in this wheel size / weight class. Thus far, I’ve had to do some minor truing but nothing out of the ordinary.
In stock form, those wheels came shod with Schwalbe Hans Dampfs with the Trailstar compound and the Supergravity casing. While it’s nice that Devinci specs a tire that isn’t going to disintegrate under hard riding, I’m not a fan of the Hans Dampf tread pattern. They lasted one ride before getting swapped out for some Continental Trail Kings that I was reviewing. There’s a pretty good chance that some sort of Maxxis will end up on this bike soon enough.
A Brief Tangent Regarding 27.5” Wheels
The Spartan, along with pretty much every other bike that’s marketed towards endurbros, is built around 27.5” wheels. Sure, there are some 29ers in the mix, and there are a few 26” holdouts, but the vast majority of new bikes in the ~160mm ballpark are using tweener wheels.
In my ever-so-humble opinion, this change is roughly 30% beneficial, and 70% marketing.
To be clear, I’m not holding this against Devinci. They certainly weren’t the driving force behind the 27.5” trends, and I can’t fault them for embracing the wheel size, since it’s practically impossible to sell a 26er these days.
The bigger hoops do roll over things noticeably better than a 26” wheel, but they’re also noticeably flexier, while also being heavier.
Depending on the trails you’re riding and your riding style, the bump from 26” to 27.5” may or may not be beneficial. Like everything, there are pros and cons, but I wouldn’t call the 27.5” wheels a game changer. They’re an incremental change that for some will be an improvement, but for many, it’s just a frustration born from the forced obsolescence of their 26” gear.
That said, I see 26” wheels dying off over the next few years (with dirt jumpers and slopestyle bikes being some of the few holdouts), so I’ve decided to just accept the change.
So, to sum it up: are 27.5” wheels awesome? Meh. Are they horrible? No. Are they going to completely change how you ride your bike? No. Should you avoid them like the plague? No.
I’m running 85psi in the Pike, which yields just under a 20% sag when standing neutrally on the bike. In the rear, I’ve experimented with air pressures a bit. I started with it relatively firm (around 22% sag), but have softened it up a bit. I’ve settled on about 160psi, which for my weight, works out to right about 30% sag when seated.
I’m running my rebound slightly on the quick side front and rear. Neither the fork nor the rear shock has a compression adjustment in the traditional sense, but I spend most of my time with the fork in the “open” position. I switch between open and “pedal” fairly often on the rear shock, but I use the locked position pretty rarely.
NEXT: The Ride, Pedaling Efficiency, and Comparisons