Reviewed by John Hauer and Jess Pedersen // Photos by Lear Miller
The all-new Troy is Devinci’s first stab at the 27.5-inch wheel market. Sporting 140mm of travel and Dave Weagle’s Split Pivot suspension technology, the Troy took the world by storm last season as Stevie Smith rallied the never before seen bike to the top of the podium at the highly contested Crankworx Whistler Air Downhill race. Instantly the internets filled with the news, and demand was born for a bike that had just made the very best debut possible. Curious to see how this bad boy performs under someone other than the reigning World Cup Downhill Champion, a Troy Carbon SL made its way into our hands for the 2014 Vital MTB Test Sessions in Sedona, Arizona.
Troy Carbon SL Highlights
- Carbon frame
- 27.5-inch (650b) wheels
- 140mm (5.5-inches) of rear wheel travel
- Split Pivot suspension
- Tapered headtube
- 67 or 67.5-degree head angle
- 72.4 or 73-degree seat tube angle
- 13.3 or 13.5-inch bottom bracket height
- 16.9-inch chainstays
- BB92 press fit bottom bracket shell with ISCG05 mounts
- 142mm rear spacing with 12mm through axle
- Measured weight (size Large, no pedals): 28-pounds, 1-ounce (12.73kg)
- $6,499 MSRP as tested
There's no arguing that Troy frame has very sleek and clean appeal to it. Combining Devinci’s Carbon Monocoque G technology with internal cable routing and a quality finish yields an ultra-smooth frame. It's not entirely carbon, though, bringing together a carbon front triangle and seat stays with aluminum chainstays. Note that there are no provisions for externally routed cables which adds to the overall look, but may detract from the package for some riders.
Devinci’s exclusive carbon blend uses “cross-hatched and unidirectional carbon fiber layers bolstered by high-strength epoxy resins and finished with a blast of Nano powder additive.” The frame is molded using a process that combines bladders and silicone inserts said to surpass traditional one-dimensional bladder construction, resulting in high compaction and a smooth surface inside and out.
As with many frames these days, the Troy uses a BB92 press fit bottom bracket, has post mounts for the rear disc brake, a direct mount front derailleur, ISCG05 tabs should you decide to run a chainguide, and a 12x142mm rear axle. Those unfamiliar with the Split Pivot suspension system should take a look at the rear dropouts, where a concentric pivot is built around the axle. This is said to “separate acceleration forces from braking forces within the suspension system." Shock positioning is tight and out of the way, leaving ample room for a water bottle inside the frame. Tinkerers will be pleased to see a flip-flop pivot mechanism that allows you to change the bike’s geo to either a high or low setting, though we imagine most riders will spend the vast majority of their time in the slacker, lower setting.
The frame comes with a soft foam frame protector at the bottom of the down tube, but the low density of the protector makes us doubt its ability to protect the frame from any decent rock impacts. Damage from mud scraping through the rear of the frame isn’t much of a concern, through, with about 1.25cm of room for muck with the stock 2.25-inch Schwalbe tire in place.
The Troy is offered in three carbon models designated the RR, SL, and RC, coming in at $6,599, $6,499 and $4,799 respectively. An aluminum Troy XP option is also available at $2,999. Custom builds can be had by building up the $2,399 carbon or $1,899 aluminum frame and shock packages.
On The Trail
The beauty of using Sedona as our testing grounds, beyond the usually great weather, was the variety of trails at our disposal. Our rides on the Troy were made up of singletrack and slickrock with punchy climbs, technical rocky bits, several high-speed descents with big g-outs and a handful of steep portions. Trails included Tea Cup, Broken Arrow, Little Horse, HT, Slim Shady, and Hi-Line. Jess also trusted the bike with his life when he tiptoed along the extremely exposed White Line - a move that requires utmost confidence in your equipment.
That confidence didn’t come without some modifications to the stock build kit, though. The SL model comes standard with narrow 720mm bars and a relatively long 70mm stem. For a bike with such capable geometry, that type of setup just doesn’t cut it, often times making a bike feel uncomfortable or twitchy when it could otherwise be better. Replacing the stock Easton stem and bars with something more appropriate from the same brand, the bike felt ready to rip.
We spent our time aboard the Troy in the low, slack geometry mode giving it a 13.3-inch bb height and 67-degree head angle. Changing the geo to the high position is a relatively painless process, and raises the BB height 7mm while steepening the headtube by half a degree to 67.5. The remainder of the Troy’s numbers look comparable to many other 2014 27.5-inch trail bikes, meaning the performance of the bike would come down to the suspension, stiffness, and spec to determine if the bike is a standout choice or not.
Hitting the dirt, the Troy felt light and snappy, and was easy to throw around. It was a fun, stable ride most of the time. The bike also kept its speed extremely well on smooth trails as we pumped and sprinted along, aided in part by the 27.5-inch wheels, but also by the fast-rolling 2.25-inch Schwable Racing Ralph tires.
When descending and cruising along the flats, small bumps were handled well and in a controlled manner. When things got steep and rough, however, the Troy didn’t provide the type of ride we had hoped for. When we were pushing it and speeds picked up, square edge hits felt noticeably harsh. Combined with the low profile tires, keeping traction was quite a task. We tried opening up the rear shock, running a touch more sag and playing around with rebound settings, but the bike continued to skip around rather than sticking to the ground through rough bits. This was in some part made up for with its agility, though. It was quick and responsive, ready for our next command. The progressive rear end also handled g-outs, drops and jumps above average for a 140mm travel bike.
Up front, the 2014 Fox Float 34 CTD FIT fork had good damping control and felt active off the top. It was slightly over-damped for our tastes though, so we kept it in Descend the entire time we rode the bike. At 140mm the fork felt plenty stiff torsionally and really came alive when riding faster terrain.
Pointed uphill, it’s very easy to keep pace on the Troy and you never feel like the bike is a burden. Sprinting is one of the areas where it excels. It’s extremely efficient and no power is lost when laying down a hard effort. The bike responds to pedal inputs quickly with minimal bob. Even when your body position is all over the place and you’re mashing on the pedals, the Troy keeps accelerating forward with the best of them.
Despite its built-in efficiency, we did have some issues getting traction while climbing over rocky, more technical sections. Part of that can be attributed to the low profile rear tire, but the rear end also didn’t feel incredibly compliant during ledgy climbs. When the trail was smooth the Troy jammed right on up the hill, but on rough portions it had some issues. This battle for traction meant spending more energy than what would have likely been necessary on other bike designs.
With its narrow bars, longish stem and relatively skinny tires, Devinci’s Troy Carbon SL build is certainly geared toward a more XC/Trail focused rider with an old-school mentality. We found ourselves wanting a setup that provided more control in the demanding situations that Sedona's trails so often put us in. Luckily Devinci also offers the Troy in a more fun-worthy RR build with wider bars, a shorter stem, 1x11 SRAM drivetrain, 10mm more fork travel and beefier tires for just $100 more than the SL.
Regarding the tires, we can understand putting the super light, fast-rolling Schwalbe Racing Ralph tire on the rear. However the same tire in the front didn’t do much for inspiring confidence on anything but the smoothest portions of trail. It lacks good shoulder knobs and we had issues with the front end pushing the entire time, even in some great dirt conditions. Despite the tubeless setup, we also found ourselves with a double flat not long into the first descent. They sure did roll fast and provide some weight savings, but more well-rounded tires for a wider selection of terrain are needed.
Easton’s Haven wheels were a highlight on this bike, providing good stiffness and allowing us to push hard when the tires could keep up. Hub engagement was acceptable, as was the weight for an alloy wheel.
Once again, Avid’s Elixir 9 Trail brakes worked very well, providing plenty of power and good modulation. No fade occurred during the ride. These brakes are an excellent choice with comparable performance to that of the X0 Trails, but with the added benefit of saving you a few dollars.
The SRAM X0 2x10 drivetrain was solid throughout the entire ride, and shifting was as precise as one could ask for. There were no dropped chains thanks to the Type-2 clutched rear derailleur and the added security provided by the bash guard. Drivetrain noise was also minimal, with only occasional rattling near the front derailleur.
Long Term Durability
During our relatively short test of the Troy nothing stood out as a potential durability issue. Aside from the tires, the components are reliable and the frame looks as though it would have no problem standing up to the test of time. The previously mentioned down tube protector does present a minor concern, however. Even so, Devinci stands behind their carbon frames with a Lifetime Warranty - something very rarely seen in the mountain bike industry.
What's The Bottom Line?
The Devinci Troy Carbon SL excels on smooth, flowy terrain by providing a fun, lively ride. The rider that will really appreciate it is one in search of a lightweight trail bike that pedals extremely well, is easy to get around on, and rolls fast. The Troy offers modern geometry in line with much of the competition, superb carbon construction and great looks at a good price. Where performance falls short is on rocky, technical terrain where every bit of traction, stability and comfort counts. It simply couldn’t keep up through the roughest bits and often felt like a handful at speed. We feel like there’s far more potential in the Troy, but unfortunately for the bike’s overall rating, this particular model is let down by a few poor component selections that drastically impact the ride.
For more details, visit www.devinci.com.
About The Reviewers
John Hauer - In 13 years of riding, John has done it all and done it well. Downhill, 4X, Enduro, XC, cyclocross... you name it. He spent 7 years as the head test rider for a major suspension company, averages 15-20 hours of saddle time per week, and is extremely picky when it comes to a bike's performance. And yeah, he freakin’ loves Strava.
Jess Pedersen - Jess is one of those guys that can hop on a bike after a snowy winter and instantly kill it. He's deceptively quick, smooth, and always has good style. He's also known to tinker with bikes 'til they're perfect, creating custom additions and fixes along the way. Maybe it's that engineering background...