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DEVINCI WILSON CARBON 27.5 SL TEST

November 30, 2016
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screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-9-47-20-amDevinci’s race-proven downhill bike, the Wilson, was built to travel at blistering speeds down the world’s most treacherous racecourses. Over the years the Wilson earned numerous podiums with the help of its wicked-fast pilots from the DGR (Devinci Global Racing) team. In 2015 the Wilson’s carbon chassis with 26-inch wheels was replaced by an aluminum version with 27.5-inch wheels. The 2015 model had a super-stiff and lightweight carbon rear end attached to its aluminum front triangle. Early in 2016, however, we were introduced to the bike we are riding now—an all-out carbon race weapon that begs to be hucked down the gnarliest lines a rider can find. The 2016 Wilson combines its racing heritage with Devinci’s high-tech design to allow riders to push harder and race faster.

WHO IS IT MADE FOR?

You might think the Wilson was simply built to be hurtled down a racetrack at record-breaking speeds, but, although that’s somewhat true, that isn’t what the Wilson is all about. The average downhill enthusiast will find the Wilson checks all the boxes to suit his or her needs. The Wilson’s lightweight carbon frame, fast-rolling 27.5-inch tires and super-plush suspension contribute to an exhilarating ride down any lift or shuttle-assisted run. Riders seeking a downhill race bike or a wicked-fast park bike should also add the all-new Wilson to their list.

WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?

The Wilson is constructed from DMC-G Carbon with EPS molding and has an asymmetrical design to increase torsional stiffness. The rear shock was relocated to create a lower center of gravity, and the chainstays are oversized to greatly increase the rear end’s stiffness. Other features include a carbon skid plate, integrated fork bumpers and clearance for 2.5-inch tires. An aluminum version is also available, bringing the price down roughly a thousand dollars, but it is about a pound heavier than its carbon counterpart.

WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?

m11devinci6Party up front: The RockShox Boxxer is one of the top used forks on the World Cup circuit. When the front fork on our Wilson was dialed in properly, it felt like a rocket ship capable of handling a wide variety of rugged terrain.

m11devinci4Downhill-driven: SRAM’s X01, seven-speed, downhill drivetrain is purpose-built for downhill riders. The gear ratio allows riders to pedal fast sections well while also being low enough to tackle dreaded inclines or slow flat sections.

m11devinci7Not just for show: The bump stops on the Wilson not only pro- tect the frame from being in contact with the fork, they also have an integrated cable port allowing clean routing and a sleek look.

The Wilson SL is graced with some of the best downhill components SRAM and RockShox have to offer. The bike is spec’d with a 200-millimeter-travel Boxxer World Cup fork and a Vivid R2C coil shock. Combining the Vivid shock with Devinci’s Split Pivot suspension system gives the Wilson 204-millimeters of rear-wheel travel. SRAM’s XO1, seven-speed down- hill drivetrain, combined with a 36-tooth chainring, provides a great range of gears for smashing down the mountains or pedaling hard through flat sections. Finishing off the build is a pair of SRAM Guide Ultimate brakes, along with 800-millimeter Chromag bars and a burly pair of Schwalbe Magic Mary tires.

HOW DOES IT PERFORM?

Sprung just right: The RockShox Vivid R2C is well-tuned for burly racetracks or flowy jump trails. Our test riders used a 350-pound spring to achieve 30-percent sag. The OEM spring weight fits most riders well, but some may feel the need to swap for a heavier or lighter spring.

Suspension setup:

The Wilson’s ability to charge downhill is largely the result of its plush, long-travel suspension. Taking the time to set up the suspension properly will really pay off out on the trails. Starting up front with the Boxxer fork, we set our sag between 25 and 30 percent, and we used three air-volume reducer tokens. Our rebound and low-speed compression were centered and then adjusted as needed out on the trails. In the rear, we used a 350-pound spring and then added a turn of preload to dial in our sag to 30 percent with the help of the sag indicator printed on the rocker. Low-speed compression on the rear shock was centered, as were the beginning and ending rebound knobs. The rebound knobs were then adjusted on the trail to aid in soaking up chattery braking bumps as well as big hits from jumps or drops.

Moving out:

Hopping aboard the Wilson, it’s easy to see that this rig likes to be ridden fast. Its 27.5-inch wheels roll over big rocks without a second thought and easily smooth out sections with deep braking bumps. On faster jump trails, the Wilson has a well-balanced feel in the air and is very forgiving to riders who make less-than-perfect landings. The Wilson’s 800-millimeter handlebars were more than comfortable for the majority of our test riders, and SRAM’s downhill-specific drivetrain provided a great range of gears.

Pedaling:

Downhill bikes are some of the most specific bikes on the market. They are strictly designed to conquer descents, rendering them almost useless on any climb. That said, however, there are times when a downhill rider may face a small incline or flat section that requires some pedaling. The Wilson, when faced with this challenge, used its light and stiff chassis to help riders get through the slower sections of the trails.

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Cornering:

The Wilson’s well-tuned suspension and low center of gravity allowed our test riders to rail corners with ease. The Wilson’s suspension stays firm when the bike is being thrown into a berm, allowing riders to sustain a high exit speed, ultimately shaving seconds off a race run. The low center of gravity inspired confidence and begged our riders to lean the Wilson over as hard as they could. The Magic Mary tires also played a big roll in allowing us to shred corners thanks to their ability to hook up on our loose Southern California downhill courses.

m11devinci8Race-ready, party bike: The Wilson has proven itself to be an excellent race bike time and time again on the World Cup downhill circuit, but the Wilson also has a playful side, giving it a fun personality at the local bike park. Its carbon frame keeps its weight way down, and its bigger 27.5-inch tires keep it rolling smooth and fast.

Descending:

As expected, the Wilson had no problem charging down a steep mountainside. Technical sections were handled with ease, and the suspension kept our tires glued to the ground. The 8 inches of travel gobbled up the terrain in front of us and was progressive enough to prevent harsh bottoming on big drops. Bike- park junkies will find the Wilson playful enough on local jump lines, while riders seeking a full-on race bike will notice the Wilson is more than capable of landing them on the podium.

m11devinci10It’s fast: The Wilson charges trails with authority and doesn’t get scared easily. Riders aboard the Wilson will find themselves with elevated confidence and willingness to ride fast through the gnarlier sections of the trails.

Braking:

Our Wilson came equipped with SRAM Guide Ultimate brakes and 200-millimeter rotors that provided us with plenty of stopping power. These brakes offer riders a reach adjustment and a rotor contact adjustment. Best of all, they are tucked away in a slim and sleek-looking package. The Wilson’s supple suspension and rugged tires also helped deliver the brakes’ power to the ground. On long, fast descents we experienced no fading, and we were very pleased with the Wilson’s overall braking performance.

TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?

We strongly encourage Wilson owners to convert their bikes to tubeless. This upgrade is very easy to do considering that the Easton Havoc rims and Schwalbe Magic Mary tires are both tubeless compatible. The next thing we recommend is taking a close look at your suspension setup, swapping the rear spring if necessary or taking your bike to your local shop for help setting the proper sag and adjusting the dials. When the Wilson’s suspension is dialed in perfectly, it feels like a rocket ship on the trails.

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BUYING ADVICE

The Wilson Carbon SL is a top-of-the-line model that leaves nothing to be desired, but it comes with a hefty price tag compared to Devinci’s other models. Opting for the aluminum version may save you a good chunk of change, but if you’re planning to race your Wilson, then the lighter carbon version is a better choice. Causal downhill riders will find the aluminum version to be more than sufficient for a solid weekend cruise with their buddies. Either Wilson is a seriously fast bike, ready to tackle your nearest down-hill trails or compete on the World Cup circuit.


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