By Anthony Smith
Devinci Wilson RC
$5,000 / devinci.com
The completely redesigned Devinci Wilson is a radical departure from previous incarnations of its downhill platform. The new Split Pivot design that was developed in collaboration with Dave Weagle has drastically changed the look and feel of the Wilson for 2011. Low-slung and mean, this new Wilson looked like it was ready to charge right out of the gates—and it didn't disappoint.
The linkage on this new suspension platform may look complex at first glance, but it's a simple design that addresses many important suspension characteristics of big-travel DH bikes. The unique ride traits of the suspension take advantage of what a single pivot has to offer, while virtually eliminating the negative feedback. A high main pivot provides a rearward arc to the travel, making the Wilson a smooth, supple performer on square-edged hits. The Wilson tracked smoothly, even through the roughest, fastest sections of our test course, and held its line no matter how poor my line choice was. Add to this downhill prowess an efficient pedaling platform with surprisingly responsive acceleration, and what you get is a bike that's always on the hunt for speed.
One drawback to many single-pivot designs is that rear braking and suspension tend to work against each other: Stomp on the brakes and the rear suspension tends to stiffen up—precisely when you want it smooth and supple. Devinci combats the dreaded 'brake jack' by integrating Weagle's Split Pivot, concentric rear-axle pivot into the design and mounting the rear brake caliper to the chainstay (rather than the pivot arm). The goal of this is to isolate braking and suspension forces. Devinci seems to be onto something here, as the Wilson's suspension remained active through all of my frequent, panicked braking episodes.
One of the things that sets apart this iteration of the Split Pivot design is the concentric rocker link that pivots around the bottom bracket to activate the shock. The novel linkage enables Devinci to fine-tune the leverage ratio, providing a bottomless feel on big hits without sacrificing ultra-sensitive, small-bump compliance.
Finally, the Wilson boasts adjustable (via a chip in the rear-axle pivot) bottom-bracket height and headtube angle, which enables you to tweak the bike's geometry to suit your riding style or trail of choice. The slack-and-low option was my go-to on the Wilson. With a 64-degree head angle and 13.9-inch bottom-bracket height, it felt right at home on any terrain.
Despite this being a new design for Devinci, nothing can replace the first impression of a bike's first descent. With its low center of mass and low standover, I immediately felt right at home aboard the Wilson, and that initial comfort translated into hitting sections of my local track faster than I ever thought possible.