Review – 2018 Devinci Spartan
Devinci’s Spartan is a warrior ready to go to battle with any enduro racecourse in the world. First launched in 2015, the Spartan quickly became the bike of choice for Devinci’s global race team and earned multiple top-10 finishes on the Enduro World Series (EWS) circuit. Devinci, not content to leave well enough alone, strived to redesign the Spartan to be lighter, faster and more capable than ever before. The second generation of the Spartan was officially launched at Crankworx, Whistler; however, true enduro fans likely saw this new bike in action during the previous EWS season. The all-new Spartan flaunts a flashy paint job and an updated geometry designed to strike fear in the hearts of its enemies. As soon as we caught a glimpse of this brand-new machine, we knew we had to have one. Our test riders channeled their inner warriors, geared up and charged towards our local enduro battlegrounds.
- 170mm travel RockShox Lyrik RCT3 fork
- 165mm travel carbon frame
- SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain
- SRAM Guide RSC brakes
- 30.4 pounds (with XT Trail pedals)
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
The Spartan is first and foremost an enduro race bike; however, an aggressive trail rider will find this bike can explore new trails just as well as it can blast down racecourses. Due to the demands of enduro racing, Devinci focused on making a long-travel bike that could climb up anything while packing enough travel to confidently and quickly ride back down. The Spartan is a fearless enduro bike looking for a pilot who wants to push himself on the climbs, strap on his goggles at the top and race back down in a hunt for glory.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
Devinci constructed the Spartan from DMC-G carbon, with 165 millimeters of Split Pivot suspension. The bike was then brought into the modern era with all the current standards, such as a metric shock; Boost front and rear hub spacing; a long, slack and low geometry; and many other features. Our test bike came with a 34-tooth chainring and a 125-millimeter dropper post; however, Devinci claims the Spartan can run up to a 36-tooth chainring and a dropper as long as 170 millimeters, making this bike the ultimate enduro weapon. The Spartan then received a Kevlar-reinforced carbon skid plate that doubles as an integrated Di2 battery mount, and the travel in the fork was increased by 10 millimeters compared to the previous version. All of these upgrades come with no weight penalty. In fact, Devinci managed to chisel out 150 grams from the frame and another 160 grams were then saved by swapping the aluminum chainstays for new carbon ones.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
Devinci offers the Spartan with a few different build-kit options, but our test rig, with its SRAM XO1 Eagle drivetrain and Race Face Next R carbon wheels, sits at the top of the list. Our Spartan came enduro-ready right out of the box with its wide handlebars, short stem, burly Maxxis Minion tires and an E*Thirteen chainguide. The most notable feature of our Spartan was its RockShox Lyrik fork with 170 millimeters of travel, which constantly reminded our test riders that this bike meant business.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Setting sag: Once our bike was built, we quickly focused our attention on setting up our suspension. We opted for 30percent sag in the rear and 25-percent sag up front. Due to the fork’s longer travel, we added a few more clicks of low-speed compression to keep the fork feeling firm in the corners and under hard braking efforts. Our fork came with two air-volume spacers pre-installed, which gave the front end a more progressive feel when charging out of the saddle.
Moving out: The Spartan is designed with the enduro racer in mind. Its long, slack and low geometry offers maximum stability during fast descents. Riders will quickly notice the wide 800millimeter handlebars, and while some many want to trim them down, others may find these wide bars suit this speed demon well. The majority of our testing was done with the Spartan’s flip-chip geometry in the low position, giving our bike a 65-degree head tube angle and a low bottom bracket. This aggressive setup was favored by most of our test riders.
Climbing: It would be easy to assume that this long-travel machine should be shuttled to the top of every mountain, and while this bike would make a great shuttle weapon, it doesn’t need a pickup truck to get to the top. We quickly found out that the Spartan is a tough soldier with an unbelievable work ethic. Our test riders were blown away by how well this long-travel machine charged our local climbs. In fact, one of our testers swore this bike climbed just as well as Devinci’s shorter-travel all-mountain bike, the Troy. Of course, the Spartan isn’t going to win any crosscountry races, but its ability to make quick transfer times between enduro stages will be appreciated by racers.
Cornering: The Spartan combines its aggressive geometry with top-notch suspension and burly tires, giving its rider the utmost confidence when barreling into a turn. The Spartan’s slack head angle begs riders to charge hard into turns, and its short chainstays whip the rear end around quickly. Our suspension gave us a firm platform when pushing into it and never dove too deep into the travel. The burly Maxxis tires kept us rooted to the ground and inspired us to go fast, even over loose trails.
Descending: It’s no surprise that descending is the Spartan’s strongest attribute. It is an enduro race bike after all. The Spartan has more than enough travel to tackle the gnarliest trails, but is also a lot of fun on mellower flow trails. We noticed the Spartan seemed to have two different personalities that will appeal to different types of riders. Its primary attribute is its hunger for winning races. This bike just wants to go fast. But, it is also a fun and playful bike that wants to find bonus lines and attack trail features. The Spartan doesn’t seem to mind if its rider is hunting for a World Cup title or just out having a good time.
Braking: The Spartan relies on a pair of SRAM Guide RSC brakes to bring this wild steed to a halt. These brakes feature tool-free reach adjustments on the levers as well as pad contact adjustments. Together, these features allow riders to dial in the braking feel to their liking. Overall, our testers had no complaints about the Spartan’s ability to safely slow down.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
Our test rig came with a top-notch build kit that is race-ready right out of the box. If you’re able to swing this high-end model, you won’t be disappointed. That said, this same build kit can be had without carbon wheels for $7000. The entrylevel Spartan starts at $3370 and features an aluminum frame. Our test rig required zero upgrades; however, some riders may want to customize their bikes for a better fit. The first place we would start are the handlebars, as some riders might find them too wide. Since these bars are carbon, extra precautions should be taken to prevent damage. If you’re not comfortable cutting the bars yourself, ask your local shop to do it for you.
The Spartan is a highly capable bike that can handle long days at the bike park but isn’t afraid to take on a climb. Aggressive trail riders will appreciate every inch of the Spartan’s travel while barreling down the hills and won’t feel like they’re dragging an anchor when the trails point back up. The Spartan is for riders who like to take on gnarly terrain and enjoy hitting jumps and drops along the way. This bike could suit an enduro racer well or could be a great option for a trail rider looking for a plush ride. The Spartan rightfully earns its name by being a fearless crusader that seeks to conquer every trail it sees.