Review: Devinci Troy Carbon 29 GX LTD | Bible of Bike Tests 2019
The Up Side
It didn't leave us gobsmacked like the Ripmo, or even the Offering, and its seat tube could be steeper, but the Troy is still a sensible, neutral climber. You can sit or stand, and it'll behave nicely. Plus, the Split Pivot's sensitivity means traction will not be an issue.
The Troy's geometry and suspension is conservative but not pedestrian, and its stiff chassis means that it prefers to run, not walk. Aggressive riders who want a resolute frame rather than a forgiving one will love the Devinci's feel.
Dollar for Dollar
The over-forked LTD is the only one of its kind in the Troy lineup, and it's not cheap at $5,800. That's competitive with what dealer brands of Devinci's size are offering, and we didn't have any significant problems with the build, but it'd need carbon rims or a drivetrain upgrade to compete with bigger or consumer-direct brands.
It's a good thing our testers are seasoned bike describers, because the 140-millimeter-travel Troy puts up a good fight against categorization.
This is especially true for the LTD version of the Troy we tested: It comes with a 160-millimeter fork that edges its capability right up against the Spartan, Devinci's enduro warrior. Indeed, the 29-inch-wheeled Troy is a fighter in its own right. The chassis is stout, stalwart and quiet—just as we've come to expect from Devinci—at times mimicking the frame feel of a bigger bike. Therein lies what confounded testers. When the climbs started, we felt like we needed to settle in for the long haul and spin to win as if on a bigger bike. But the Split Pivot suspension also treated power input nearly as efficiently as competitors bearing Dave Weagle's more complex designs. The Ibis Ripmo and Evil Offering combat pedal bob more successfully, but the Troy is just as tractable when the climb turns technical.
Testers noted the ground-huggy disposition of the Split Pivot system, which generates plentiful traction and compliance around the sag point. The only characteristic missing from the suspension was Devinci's signature ramp, which usually begins mid stroke and increases rapidly to the point where most riders struggle to use full travel. This wasn't the case with the Troy, with at least one tester needing to increase pressure after bottoming frequently at 30-percent sag.
Still, the Troy's suspension does what most riders will expect from such a multifaceted bike—and our long-travel loop tested every one of those facets. Diving-board drops at the top of the descent pushed deep into the Troy's stroke, which responded with controlled bottom-out resistance and rebound damping once pressure settings were mastered. The Troy was also a trustworthy partner through drifty, hardscrabble corners: Its sensitive mid-stroke generated traction while providing enough support for us to push the bike into apexes.
The Troy's overbuilt feel gives it a more businesslike vibe than play-happy bikes like the Ripmo or Offering, but it was just as happy to be whipped about through vivacious trail sections. Manuals, pumps and pops are all encouraged by the Split Pivot's supportive mid-stroke and the frame's shortish rear center. Testers were reassured by the frame's resoluteness once the high-speed blockfield section of our descent began. Confident that the chassis could sustain any hits that worked past the suspension, we were willing to drop our heels and slam the bike through the chunk with more force than the Offering, Ripmo or Fezzari La Sal Peak. The suspension never let down its guard: It shielded us from hard, successive hits and didn't bog down in our sustained descent's many wheel-hungry holes.
Devinci managed to endow the Troy LTD with a surprisingly capable feel without the use of radical geometry. Its headtube angle is around 65.5 degrees in the 'low' setting, as we rode it. The reach on our size large was a reasonable 465 millimeters, but testers never felt cramped—rather, at least one thought the reach was closer to 480, likely because the 340-millimeter-high bottom bracket fosters an in-the-bike feel. We likewise weren't bothered by the Troy's relatively slack 74-degree seat tube angle, but we wouldn't complain if it were a few degrees steeper.
The suspension never let down its guard: It shielded us from hard, successive hits and didn't bog down in our sustained descent's many wheel-hungry holes.
There was one number that we got stuck on, though: 157—the Troy's rear-end spacing. Simply put, the Troy doesn't seem any better for its widened rear end. Its chainstays are only slightly below average length at 432 millimeters, and they don't leave clearance for anything bigger than the 2.4-inch Wide Trail Minion DHR that comes stock.
Perhaps the Super Boost rear end contributed to the bike's armored feel, though. If that's the case, it was worth going wide because it granted the Troy something unique: the feel of an enduro bike with the functionality of a trail bike.
Q&A With Julien Boulais, global marketing manager, Devinci Bicycles
The Troy's chainstays are a commendable 432 millimeters (in the low setting), but its tire clearance seems to max out around 2.4. So what did Super Boost offer that made it worth using?
We went with Super Boost simply because it gives us more flexibility in the design of our bikes. Our consumers demand adaptability and Super Boost allows for more options when it comes to the ever-changing parts available to them. That thought process includes three major frame clearance considerations:
– When we say we have a 2.4 clearance it's because it clears all 2.4 tire options we've tested. It also cleared some 29×2.5 and even some 29×2.6, but since it's not all of them, we'd rather stick to saying "2.4 clearance" as it's the most accurate measure. It's also a clearance that fits the tires that are best suited to deliver the performance we're looking for in the Troy. If someone wants to run wider tires, they can get the Troy 27.5 that will accommodate 27.5×2.8 tires.
Front ring clearance
– We built this bike to be capable enough to race enduro at various levels. In fact, Damien rode his Troy 29 to a podium finish at EWS#7 in Ainsa. When racing against the clock, some riders will require a bigger front ring. The Troy clears up to a 38T chain ring.
– With these bikes getting longer and slacker, it makes the wheelbase fairly long and we firmly believe that the short chainstay is a great way to keep the bike fun and playful to ride. 3- to 4-millimeter gain doesn't seem like much, but when it comes to overall feel, it's a big deal. Super Boost enables us to achieve that.
All that said, Super Boost was a worthwhile addition because it enabled us to keep the short CS (among the shortest), while maintaining good tire and front-ring clearance. The other important factor to consider is that we wanted to have this first edition of the SB+ bike retro-compatible with a regular crank (Spartan 29 is also compatible with a regular crank). This added limitations, as well, but generally speaking we wanted riders to have as many part options as possible—even with a new standard (not entirely new, but…) being brought in.
How should buyers choose between the Troy LTD and the Spartan?
The Troy is a true all-mountain bike. It is dependable, fun to ride, and efficient. It can be used for weekly night rides with friends or for backcountry adventures. It's the one bike you can bring everywhere, and you'll never find yourself in over your head. It's extremely capable, plus it pedals really well.
The Spartan is a true enduro race bike. Made to climb—to get you to the start of your next stage. But really made to go fast while going down. It has 25 millimeters of extra travel on the rear compared to the Troy, which is a great asset when racing against the clock on trails you’ve only seen once or twice. It's also a bike you can take to the park and still be a threat to your friends on DH bikes.
Both bikes climb well, both can handle the steeps. The main difference will be the speed at which you hit (or want to hit) rough sections and rolling terrain. The Troy shines by being versatile and fun to ride on rolling hills as well, the Spartan feels limitless pretty much anywhere you point it.
We felt like the Troy had a more forgiving suspension feel with less of Devinci's signature rampiness. Is this actually the case, or were we imagining things?
The suspension curve was dialed on the previous Troy so we wanted to keep certain characteristics, a good ramp up at the end of the stroke being a part of it. We adjusted the curve to take into account the bigger 29 wheels, as well as to adapt for metric shock sizing. We used a trunnion mount to bring even more suppleness early in the travel and increase the small-bump sensitivity. I wouldn't want to say you're imagining things, but I'm surprised you guys felt less of that rampiness. It's definitely something we considered throughout the development process. The leverage ratio we came up with is progressive enough to enable people to ride their Troy with a coil shock—without constantly bottoming out. As for the experience one of your testers had bottoming out at 30-percent sag, he likely would have been a good candidate to add a volume spacer in the rear shock (we deliver all bikes with one small volume reducer in the stock shock). We always suggest that our customers play with volume spacers in order to fine-tune the suspension feel to their specific riding style.
We're seeing bikes in this category go really long and slack, with very steep seat-tube angles. Why didn't you choose more radical geometry for the Troy?
The Troy has always been a fairly efficient pedaling platform. We even improved its pedaling characteristics on this current version, so we didn't feel the need to go extra steep on the seat angle during the design process. Also worth mentioning: Not all companies calculate seat tube angle the same way. Some companies will calculate the angle at the saddle for the average rider's seatpost length vs. angle where the top of the headtube height would meets the seatpost (with a straight line). Calculating at the saddle will of course result in slacker numbers (this is the way we do it as it's more representative of the real measure while sitting on the saddle). If we were to measure it the other way, the Troy SA would be 75.8 instead of 74.5 in the low setting. At the end of the day, the feeling while riding should do the talking.
We took a different approach on the Spartan, however, knowing that the rider would have to carry the extra 25 millimeters of travel up the hill, and because the slacker head angle would make that front wheel a bit too light on the climbs. So we steepened the seat angle to 76/76.5. It simply depends on what we want to achieve. As for head angle and reach, again we feel like we struck a good balance of capability and playfulness that makes this bike fun to ride on a wide variety of trails. It's a bike you will enjoy the minute you leave the parking lot.