What began as a one-off race special has evolved into a trail slayer writes Christian Fairclough
Need to know
- Enduro bike with DH roots
- Split Pivot suspension delivers 165mm travel
- Carbon seatstay assembley reduces unsprung mass
- Asymmetric shock mount offers two geometry settings
- Available with a carbon front end saving almost 1kg
Born on the racetrack, the Spartan started life in 2013 as a stripped-back DH bike for Stevie Smith’s assault on the World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa — a track that is bemoaned by the racing elite for its long pedalling sections and distinct lack of gradient.
Dropper posts, single-crown forks and lightweight semi-slick tyres were all employed in an attempt to save weight and energy, but Devinci went one step further, building Smith a one-of-a-kind race bike at its aluminium manufacturing facility in Canada.
With 165mm travel and 650b wheels, the Spartan offered a tighter, lighter ride than Devinci’s Wilson DH bike. It still used Dave Weagle’s Split Pivot suspension design, with the rearmost pivot concentric to the 142x12mm rear axle, but the design was simplified with the air shock being driven directly from the seatstays.
Closely mirroring the geometry of a full-blown DH bike, this made it easy for Smith to switch between bikes. And given that some EWS enduro stages resemble World Cup DH tracks, the Spartan also made for a seamless transition from an exclusive Worlds race bike to a production enduro bike.
With a 160mm RockShox Pike fitted, the head angle is steepened up a hair while the BB is dropped a touch, bringing the geometry right in line with the best enduro bikes. Also, by flipping the asymmetric shock mount in the seatstays, you have
the option to steepen the head angle by just over half a degree and elevate the BB by 7mm.
I ran the bike in the slackest, lowest setting, and even though I was on an XL size, the bike was a touch too small for my 6ft 2in frame. The alloy version isn’t super-light either, with a frame weight approaching 8lb.
So if you’re planning on buying a Spartan for racing, I’d recommend spending the extra cash to get one of the carbon versions, as the frame is almost a full kilo lighter.
Even the Gucci-build on this custom bike has an all-up weight of 29.5lb — the stock XP bike at £2,899 will be closer to 32lb.
Even with the extra weight of the alloy front end, the Devinci pedalled efficiently and without any apparent compromise in suspension performance. As such, transition stages can be dispensed easily, saving more energy for the all-important timed DH runs.