Deviate is a brand from Scotland that has been developing its unique high-pivot platforms since 2016. Founded with the mission to create a better bike with a design far from the norm, Deviate's inaugural bike, the Guide, was born. Centered around a high-pivot platform, 12-speed Pinion gearbox, and available only in carbon, the Guide was the foundation for all future Deviate models.
Fast forward six years to the launch of the Claymore in 2022, Deviate's first push into the Enduro category and their third bike design as a company. Receiving high praise early on, the Claymore has gained a lot of traction with the recent growth in the popularity of high-pivot bikes and is proving to be something special in the world of Enduro bikes.
- 29-inch wheels
- 165mm (6.5-inches) rear travel // 170mm (6.7-inches) fork travel
- Full carbon frame construction
- 64.3 degree head tube angle
- 78 degree seat tube angle
- 520mm reach (size XL)
- 441mm chainstay length across all sizes
- High pivot suspension with idler
- 18t chain idler
- External cable routing with recess along top tube to conceal
- Waterbottle and accessory mounts
- Bolt-on carbon downtube protector, bonded rubber chainstay protector
- Fully customizable build spec
- 12x148mm Boost hub spacing
- 73mm BSA threaded bottom bracket with ISCG05 tabs
- MSRP: $7,432-12,065, $2,880-3,300 frame only
- $9,675 USD as tested
Named after the incredibly long sword from medieval times, Deviate honors that legacy with a bike that is even longer. The Claymore is centered around 165mm of rear wheel travel paired to a 170mm fork and is offered in a full 29" configuration only with no flip chips or geometry adjustments to be found. The high pivot design utilizes an 18t idler pulley said to keep pedal bob under control and virtually eliminate pedal kickback.
Deviate offers the Claymore with a fully customizable build spec through the bike builder option on their website or as a frame-only option. This was the most expensive bike in the test, coming in at $9,675, but that money is put to good use. Our test bike came well spec'd with an Ohlins RXF38 m.2 fork and TTX2 air shock, Shimano XT 4 piston brakes with 200mm rotors front and rear to slow things down, XT 12 speed drivetrain, and Industry 9 Enduro S aluminum wheels to bring everything together.
Customers can pick spring rate, stem length, bar rise, dropper length, and even chain line. Our size XL test bike included a OneUp 35mm rise carbon bar, 42mm stem, and a 240mm dropper that allowed us to run the seat, nearly slammed and out of the way for descending. Hats off to Deviate for offering such an appropriate spec and allowing customers to put their money where it matters most.
One of our main concerns with the Claymore was durability of the linkage bearings. Being in the line of fire from trail debris and tucked into tight spaces seem like a combination that would make maintenance rather difficult. Luckily, all of Deviate’s frames have grease ports around all pivot bearings and require little to no disassembly for service.
The Claymore has a roomy 520mm Reach paired to a 64.3-degree head tube angle for a planted front wheel. The rear half of its 1303mm Wheelbase is comprised of a 441mm chain stay length with around 21mm of rearward axle movement that is hardly noticeable on trail for such a significant number, finished off with a 78-degree seat tube angle that creates an upright pedaling position with great front and rear wheel traction while climbing.
On the Trail
Coming out on top as the bike that impressed us most in the shootout, the suspension truly offers the best of both worlds. It has a stable feeling that tracks the ground incredibly well but doesn't absorb a ton of energy when trying to pump or jump down the trail. The stability of the Claymore can be compared to that of downhill skis; it remains stable through turns and glues the wheels to the ground at high speed. This makes tightening turns slightly more difficult, but the amount of traction on hand inspired confidence to pitch the bike as hard as we liked at any speed.
The primary drawback of the relatively long wheelbase was a less settled feeling out of the front wheel across off-camber traverses. Creating more even pressure between the two wheels required a more forward riding position to keep the front wheel planted. Sizing down may be a good idea if you regularly ride this kind of terrain.
Pointed uphill, the Claymore isn't the most sprightly bike on the market, but it isn't necessarily cumbersome. The seated pedaling position doesn't require much effort to get things moving and, thanks to the upright seat tube angle and substantial rear center, requires minimal effort to keep things moving up even the steepest of grades. It is rather lightfooted for being such a large bike.
What's The Bottom Line?
This bike was the most impressive out of the test regarding flat-out performance. None of our testers anticipated the symbiotic nature of the rearward axle path and the playful nature of the bike, as these are generally two contradictory qualities of high-pivot bikes. Depending on where you live and what you ride, these bikes are still rare to see in the wild, but that will likely change for those willing to pay a premium for performance to match. For a fully customizable, high-level spec built on a platform to match, the Deviate Claymore is hard to beat.
We stayed right at the base of the mountain, courtesy of Visit Big Bear, and couldn't have asked for a more convenient way to spend the week testing bikes. With our condo less than a minute from the Snow Summit village, we could easily head back to our unit between laps to swap bikes and had plenty of space to work on our bikes. Off the bike, we were thankful to have enough room for our whole test crew, as well as a pool and hot tub within walking distance to relax after each day's testing. Big Bear has a wide variety of food options and a great downtown we explored when looking to mix up our dinner plans or just grab some ice cream afterward. If you'd like to explore Snow Summit or Big Bear, California for yourself, visit BigBearMountainResort.com or BigBear.com for more information.
Big thanks to those who sponsored this test and made our trip possible!
Head here to check out the entire 2023 Enduro Test Session Feature
Learn more about the Deviate Claymore at deviatecycles.com
View key specs, compare bikes, and rate the Deviate Claymore in the Vital MTB Product Guide.