2022 Devinci Spartan HP
Wheel Size: 29’’
Travel: 160 mm rear / 170 mm front
Material: Carbon fiber
Price: Complete bikes $6,149 to $8,999; see below for details
High-pivot Enduro bikes seem to be spreading faster than rabbits, and now Devinci is joining the fluffle with their new Spartan HP (and yes, “fluffle” is apparently an official term for a group of rabbits). And to go with the new suspension layout, they’ve given it the standard longer / slacker treatment — but not as big a dose as you might expect. The result is a bike that looks to blur the lines between an Enduro race bike and a long-travel Trail bike in some interesting ways.
Let’s start with the stuff that isn’t new: the Spartan still features 29’’ wheels at both ends, a Split Pivot suspension layout, a Super Boost 157 mm rear end, and a flip chip to toggle between two different geometry settings. Cable routing is internal, the bottom bracket is threaded, and you get all the molded rubber protection you’d expect on a modern carbon frame. There’s also room for a water bottle inside the front triangle.
The first and most obvious change is that the Spartan now features a high-pivot suspension layout and an idler pulley for the chain. The result is a much more rearward axle path than the outgoing model, and Devinci touts the standard benefits that we’ve heard from other adopters of the concept — chiefly, improved bump absorption and stability. Travel has been reduced very slightly to 160 mm (from 165 mm) and the Spartan is still designed around a 170mm-travel fork.
There’s a lot more that’s new, though. Gone is the aluminum frame option — the new Spartan is carbon-only. The seat tube has also widened to take 34.9 mm seatposts, which Devinci argues makes for a stiffer, more durable post. Rear tire clearance is stated at 29 x 2.5’’, and the Spartan can clear chainrings between 28 and 36 teeth. SRAM’s UDH derailleur hanger is featured, and we at Blister are very excited to see that standard actually taking off. When it was first announced, I figured it was going to essentially be a case of the old XKCD comic about standards but the UDH does seem to really be gaining widespread acceptance, which is great.
The Spartan also features the lower two bolts for ISCG-05 chainguide mounts (like other high-pivot bikes, there’s no need / space for an upper guide, so the upper mount isn’t needed) and all builds of the Spartan come with an e*thirteen TRS chainguide, to make up for the loss of chain wrap around the chainring that results from the idler pulley.
Devinci doesn’t publish graphs for anti-squat or leverage curves, but do note that the Spartan has enough progression from the rear suspension linkage to work well with a coil shock. They do provide a graph of the new Spartan’s axle path, and while it’s vastly more rearward than the outgoing model, it does start to move back forward by about ¾ of the way through the travel. That puts it somewhere between fully-rearward bikes like the Forbidden Dreadnought, and more moderate implementations of a high-pivot layout, such as the GT Force, Cannondale Jekyll, and Trek Session.
Fit & Geometry
The Spartan’s geometry has gotten longer and slacker — as we’ve come to expect from new bike launches — but the differences are relatively subtle. The reach gets the biggest update — it’s grown by 20 mm per size, ranging from 445 mm (size Small) through 505 mm (size XL) in 20 mm increments. The bottom bracket is actually 1 mm higher on the new bike, at 343 mm, and the head tube is only 0.5° slacker, at 64.5°. The effective seat tube angle now sits at about 76.5° (varies slightly by size). Those numbers are all stated in the low geometry position; the high one steepens the angles by 0.5°, raises the bottom bracket 7 mm, and increases the reach by 5 mm. You can see the full geometry chart below:
Another recent trend that Devinci has incorporated into the new Spartan is size-specific chainstay lengths. The Small and Medium frames get 425 mm chainstays, while the Large and XL frames each add 5 mm, to 430 and 435 mm respectively. Those are somewhat on the shorter side of things, but given the substantially rearward axle path of the Spartan, the dynamic chainstay length is going to be longer once the suspension is compressed — peaking at about 17 mm of growth around 120 mm of travel, before coming back a couple of millimeters by bottom-out. As we found on the Forbidden Dreadnought, the combination of a fully-rearward axle path and very long chainstays can make for a bike that is extremely stable and planted at speed, but also pretty awkward and ponderous in certain lower-speed situations. It’ll be very interesting to see how the Spartan compares on that front.
The headtube angle on the Spartan is also slightly on the steeper side of average for this sort of bike — at 64.5° in the low position, it’s about degree steeper than the Norco Range, GT Force, and Forbidden Dreadnought, and a full two degrees steeper than the Transition Spire and Nicolai G1. Of course, those are some of the most aggressive Enduro bikes out there, but it’s interesting that Devinci has kept the geometry of the Spartan a bit more moderate.
Devinci is offering three different builds on the Spartan, with retail prices ranging from $6,149–$8,999. All get Fox 38 forks and Float X2 shocks (in varying versions, as outlined below), RaceFace wheels, and Maxxis Assegai front / Minion DHR2 rear tires, with DoubleDown casings and MaxxGrip rubber compounds.
Here are the highlights for the three builds:
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) How does the Spartan compare to the rest of the class of high-pivot Enduro bikes, such as the Norco Range, GT Force, or Forbidden Dreadnought, given the Spartan’s similar travel numbers but slightly more moderate geometry?
(2) And on the flip side, how does the Spartan stack up against the current crop of longer-travel Trail bikes, most of which still use a more conventional suspension layout?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The current crop of high-pivot Enduro bikes is getting deeper and the Devinci Spartan is an interesting new contender, with somewhat more moderate geometry than we’re used to seeing from those sorts of bikes. We’re very curious to see how that all adds up on the trail, and are hoping to be able to get on one for a full review to come.