Since its debut in Enduro World Series the new De Vinci Spartan has already achieved some pretty excellent results.Taking advantage of the availability of the Italian distributor, at La Thuile, we had the chance to do some runs on this new Enduro machine.
Let’s start with a basic rundown : The Spartan is an Enduro race bike in all respects. It features 165mm of rear travel and relaxed geometry. The head tube angle is 65.8 ° or 66.4 °, and either a 72.4 ° seat angle of 73 ° depending on how you choose to utilize it’s adjustable settings. Just looking at the numbers, you know the bike was made for descending. The frame is aluminum – it’s nice, solid and is made in Canada. Only the seat stays are made of carbon fiber, this is to save weight and to lower the stress transferred to the shock.
The rear end’s kinematics are pretty straight forward 2nd generation Split Pivot designed by Dave Weagle. This requires a thru-axle rear (Maxle Rock Shox) that is slightly larger than normal. This doesn’t yield any issues while riding, but is worth noting.
The rear shock is a Rock Shox Monarch Plus RT3 with the High Volume sleeve. We were told that the final versions will be Debonair with a trademark black coating.
The fork is a Rock Shox Pike 160mm with Dual Position Air. A solid go to choice for the front end.
The drivetrain of the RR is a full X01 group, with lots of carbon fiber bits sprinkled throughout. The Chromag cockpit was a really nice touch. Keeping it in the Canadian family is smart of Devinci.
On the field
Well, ’nuff said about the build kit (all the details can be found on the website De Vinci). Time to focus on what matters most: how was the Spartan RR on the field?
Proven on the trails of La Thuile under Damien Oton, we got to spend a very special half day on the 4th EWS. What better terrain to get a first impression of the bike?
Taking advantage of the lifts, we rode as much, if not more than 250 m in altitude to the Super K. First impressions on the uphills are – good pedaling efficiency, especially even running the Monarch Plus in the the middle compression setting. The suspension wasn’t exactly super snappy when when the shock was in the open position, but still the efficiency in pedaling is rather good considering how well the bike just ate up obstacles we encountered. We need to ride the Spartan on longer and more technical uphills to be able to fully elaborate on it’s ability in the climbing department.
When the descent begins so does the fun. The bike is extremely stable, when the terrain gets rough you can feel the added travel doing its job quite well. The rear is extremely plush and negotiates all kinds of impacts brilliantly. The Spartan seemed to respond nicely to just letting off the brakes and trusting the bike.
Due to Split Pivot isolating braking forces, the suspension worked independently of braking, even when stabbing the brakes very late, in a turn or on very rough terrain. The rear triangle is very rigid and and tracked straight and true, even on off camber sections or on roots. Overall when the bike was pointed downhill we were feeling confident right away. It didn’t take long to get super comfortable and feel inspired to push the bike.
If we had to compare the Spartan to the current crop of what we’d seen people using in this category it’s safe to say it just gives the rider a little bit more to work with. On the uphills you will pay a bit more as expected, but the extra bit of travel, super stiff chassis and relaxed geometry definitely encourages you to get buck wild on the downhills.
Is it a winner overall? Damien Oton thought so at La Thuile, we think so too – but time will tell. Stay tuned, we hope to get our hands on one for a long term review sometime soon. As far as our initial impressions are concerned, it looks like this bike is going to be quite popular.