2017 Devinci Django Carbon
Size Tested: Medium
- Drivetrain: Sram X1
- Brakes: SRAM Guide RS
- Fork: Rockshox Pike RC
- Rear Shock: Rockshox Monarch RT3 Debonair
Travel: 120 mm rear / 130 mm front
Blister’s Measured Weight: 28.4 lbs (12.88 kg) without pedals
Reviewer: 5’9”, 155 lbs.
Test Location: Boulder City, Nevada
I rode the Django at Interbike’s outdoor demo, which is located at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada. While people like to shun Vegas, the Bootleg trails are a little oasis of awesomeness in a land that’s otherwise dominated by neon excess. Bootleg has a mix of fast, sandy flow, and rocky cheese grater gnarliness that’s plenty technical. If you haven’t been, Bootleg is a worthy stop on any southwestern road trip.
Normally, Blister tries to get as much time on a bike as we realistically can so that we have time to play around with setup, get comfortable with the fit, and hopefully reveal any durability issues that might arise. But for obvious reasons, spending an hour or so on a bike at Interbike’s outdoor demo doesn’t give us the time to give the bike our usual treatment.
That said, there’s a lot of value in riding a bunch of different bikes, back to back on the same trails. Traits that might not be obvious when the bikes are ridden weeks or months apart become evident.
We try our best to get the bikes set up like we’d set up our own personal bikes, so that means dialing in the cockpit and suspension as best as possible, and we’ll often fuss with air pressure and other settings mid-ride to try to address any perceived issues. But given the short time on the bike, there’s only so much we can do, and we also take the component spec as we get it – sometimes the bars are too narrow, the seat too wide, or the tires too… crappy.
The “too long, didn’t read” version of this caveat is simply this: back to back comparisons on great trails are useful, but don’t take this as the final word on these bikes, especially when it comes to maintenance and durability issues.
So with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the Devinci Django.
The Django 27.5 came out last spring, and was more recently joined by the Django 29, which is very nearly identical except that it’s rolling on bigger wheels. Technically, the Django 27.5 is just called the “Django,” whereas the wagon wheeler is called the “Django 29.” However, I’ll be calling them the Django 27.5 and Django 29 to erase any confusion.
The Django 27.5 falls into the pretty competitive class of mid travel trail bikes, so it’s up against other contenders like the Santa Cruz 5010, the Transition Scout, and the Trek Fuel EX. Like all of Devinci’s full suspension bikes, the Django is running a Split Pivot suspension design, meaning (among other things) that the rearward pivot is placed concentric to the rear axle.
I’ve spent some time on other Devinci bikes with the Split Pivot design, including the Spartan, the Troy, and more recently, the Django 29, and I’ve been pretty excited about all of them. While the Spartan (and to a lesser extent, the Troy) is obviously oriented much more towards rowdy descents, I’ve found that all of the Devincis do a really good job of blending playfulness and pedaling efficiency in a stout, stiff frame that can take abuse. The Django 27.5 continues this trend, and is the most maneuverable of the bunch, making it a solid option in the do-everything-pretty-well category.
The Django we rode didn’t have the exact parts spec of any of the stock builds, but it bears the most similarities to the Carbon GX. The GX drivetrain is a solid performer, and packs in a lot of bang for the buck. It’s not quite as smooth or light as the higher end Sram offerings, but considering it’s a lot less expensive, it’s still pretty dang good.
Our test bike had Sram Guide RS brakes, whereas the stock builds come with Sram’s single piston Level TL brakes. From the little time I’ve spent on the Level’s thus far, they seem to perform well, but I haven’t had the opportunity to really heat them up on a long descent yet.
Throughout the Django 27.5 lineup, suspension is handled by Rockshox. Our test bike had a Pike RC in front and a Monarch RT3 Debonair in the rear. Both are solid performers and definitely help out with the Django’s great small bump sensitivity. I did find, however, that the Monarch was more inclined to bottom out harshly than the Fox Float that was mounted up on the Django 29 that I rode.
The Django GX is running on Raceface’s new Aeffect wheels, but our test rig had DT Swiss 1900’s. The new Aeffects appear to be stiffer than the old version, which is a good thing since the old ones were a bit flexy. Mounted to those wheels was a Maxxis Highroller II in the front and a Maxxis Ardent in the rear. The Highroller is one of my favorite tires ever, and it provides plenty of cornering and braking grip. But I’m not such a fan of the Ardent – while it rolls decently fast, it releases somewhat unpredictably and ultimately doesn’t lock into corners very well.
Like the Django 29, the Django 27.5 GX comes with FSA’s new “adjustable seatpost” (it’s actual name), although our test bike had a more traditional Rockshox Reverb mounted up. The FSA post that we rode on the Django 29 worked well, but it weighs around 200 grams (.45 lbs) more than a Reverb.
Fit and Geometry
The Django 27.5 follows Devinci’s recent trends with their other bikes, meaning that it has a longer front end than most of its competitors, but the head tube angle is a smidge steeper. Like most of the Devinci bikes, the Django’s geometry can be set in “high” or “low” mode with a simple flip of a chip in the rocker link. I rode the Django in the low mode, so this discussion will focus on the bike’s fit and geometry in that setting.
Reach on the Medium Django that I rode was a fairly rangy 440 mm, which is almost a full size longer than some of the Django’s competition. But a moderately steep (74.5°) seat tube angle keeps the top tube measurement from getting out of hand – at 598 mm for a Medium, it’s a bit shorter than a Trek Fuel EX, but longer than a Specialized Camber. At the rear end of the bike, 427 mm chainstays are fairly average (shorter than the Fuel EX, longer than the Camber).
Sizing wise, at 5’9”, I’d definitely go with a Medium – although the Django’s a little longer by the numbers, I didn’t feel too stretched out. I usually ride a Medium, so in that regard, I’d say the Django fits true to size. It’s not a bike where I’d recommend for someone to size up or size down from what they’d normally ride.
While the Django is a bit longer than some of the other bikes in this class, it’s not quite as slack as bikes like the Santa Cruz 5010 or Transition Scout. The Django’s 68° head angle keeps the front wheel tucked in a little more, which helps a bit with steep climbs and also keeps the wheelbase from getting too long. For those that want a bit more stability though, Devinci does offer their FRG headset cup which would slack the bike out to 67.5°.
NEXT: The Ride, Bottom Line