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Written by evo Denver Bike Lead Nic Sears, Denver, CO: When Devinci introduced the Django in 2016, they imagined a short travel brawler that hit above its weight class. With 120 mm of rear wheel travel mated to a 130 fork and the Django’s stiff frame, this little bike hinted at a revolution that was coming. For 2020 Devinci made the Django a committed 29er, increasing its muscle, while maintaining its weight class. The Django is about to have a breakout year.

The Bike

Today’s Django still has 120mm of rear travel, but that is now paired with a 140mm fork, and thanks to SuperBoost spacing, an even stiffer frame. For 2020 Devinci completely redesigned the frame on the Django. They raked the front end to 66.5°, increased the reach to 470mm, and steepened the seat tube to an impressive 77.3° in a size large. That is 1.5° slacker at the headtube, 10mm longer reach, with more than a 2° rise at the seattube.

Other highlights of the Django include the full carbon frame, better dropper post compatibility, and more tire clearance due to the SuperBoost rear end. There is now room for a 2.6” tire on the back of the Django, but the stock 29x2.5” tires linked to 36mm internal rims roll over everything in their path. Devinci also relocated their signature flip chip, which makes adjustment much quicker and easier. All listed geometry specs are for the low setting where I keep the bicycle for much of this review. This new bike has its sights set on the likes of Evil’s Following and the new Santa Cruz Tallboy.

First Ride

I got my first taste of the 2020 Django while riding in Bromont, Quebec, a mountain biking mecca just outside Montreal. The riding in Bromont was all-time Canadian with wet roots, loam, and moss-covered rocks. Riding new trails never disappoints, and with the Django’s updates the bike felt like second nature. Chasing Devinci employees on their home mountain was a challenge, but the Django was up for it. Fox was on hand to help with bike setup, and even messed around with volume reducers.

Our first trail involved modest jumps with some drops and g-outs. I was happy to get a feel for the bike before we encountered the numerous roots and chunk that would follow. Devinci ships the Django with a .8 volume reduced installed, but Fox had a .6 reducer on hand for experimentation. After a few laps with the .6 reducer, Fox recommended installing the larger volume reducer to maintain the sag and increase progression. I was appreciative of the performance after installation and have continued to run the bike with this setup.

Our group moved on to some rowdier trails, and I found my confidence in the Django growing. The Django’s ability to stay light over roots and holes kept things flowing on increasingly rough trails.

Later that day the boys at Devinci took us into the Bromont Bike Park. We started with blue level trails and progressed into the bigger flow trails. The activeness of the Split Pivot suspension on braking bumps and roots allowed for control even during hard braking. The Split Pivot suspension also has a liveliness to it that begs to be airborne.

Day 2 dawned cloudy and wet with the forecast predicting no respite in sight. As the day progressed things got greasy. The Django devoured the steep and loamy trails. The updates to the geometry really shine when things get steep or speed increases. We rode trails with more challenging moves and jumps that border on janky, and the traction was surprisingly consistent. Pushing into wet berms and dropping onto greasy roots, the Django was unphased.

The Climb

This new crop of ultra-capable short travel 29ers have set the bar quite high. The Split Pivot suspension is known for its traction and on technical climbs it never failed. The Django also sits high in its travel and offers a firm platform for climbing. I never found a need to stiffen the rear end. Thanks to the updated geometry I also found my weight centered and the front wheel planted. While a new rider may not appreciate the steep seattube, riding the old Django back to back with the new version will make anyone a believer. On the longer slogs above tree line and over rolling boulders the Django’s composure kept things moving even when I should have gotten off and walked. With 120mm of travel, it is expected that the Django climbs well. It struck a solid balance between traction and efficiency.

The Descent

I have been on a mission to put the new Django through the ringer since the end of June. The redesign has made me rethink what a short travel bike can do. The updated geometry allows the bike to be piloted to speeds reserved for significantly more travel. Devinci also increases the chainstay length on the large and extra-large frames, contributing to the stability. Classic Front Range trails like Lair O’ the Bear and Buffalo Creek had me grinning ear to ear aboard the Django. These fast and rolling rides allowed to me really push the bike and the massive 2.5” rubber to its limit.

Afternoon rides at Apex and Dakota Ridge further tested the capabilities of the Django. Dakota’s merciless chunder was no match for the Django. The svelte weight and massive rubber kept things rolling over large square edges and made easy work of the techy bits. At first the Django seemed to have met its match at Apex. The high-speed rock gardens and even higher speed holes devoured the bikes 120mm of travel and the Fox 34 begged for relief. Apex will defeat any bike regardless of travel, but it was fun to see just where I could take it.

I continued to drop the Django off the likes of the Monarch Crest and Kenosha Pass trails. These are the types of rides I would generally hoof an enduro sled up to ensure the quality of the down. However, the Django made quick work of the steeps and only grimaced on the gnarliest bits of descent.

Bottom Line

When Evil burst onto the scene with the Following in 2016, it surprised the public and the rest of the industry with what a 29er could do. The same year Devinci flew under the radar with their own take. Back then Django riders often opted for longer travel forks with the option of a spacer from Devinci that slackened the headtube by half a degree. It was obvious where things were going, and I commend Devinci for taking their time and getting the 2020 Django right. When rolling terrain and miles are the goal the Django is the right bike. If you're looking to beat your buddies up the hill, you'll never be able to blame the Django. Bump up to the Devinci Troy if you have a fancy for the gnarly. The Django will be happy to punch its way through the rest with speed and style.