The Devinci Kobain Hardtail is a premium vehicle at a low price [Review]


In the photo with a Michelin test tire, not original Maxxis DHRII. Photo: Matt Miller

The 2021 Devinci Kobain stood out for several reasons when it was released earlier this year. The hardtail has benefited from an overhaul, as the angles of the previous generation have become obsolete. The new Kobain would still fit in the entry-level mountain bike slot, but it acquired fresh and aggressive geometry, a 12-speed drivetrain on the premium build kit, and the aluminum frame is made in Canada. .

Best of all, the hardtail comes with quality Shimano 12-speed drivetrain parts, dropper post, and Marzocchi Bomber Z2 fork for under $ 2,000. Paint us interested.

Other notable details include a threaded bottom bracket, frame protection, clearance for a 29 × 2.6 tire in the rear triangle, and a lifetime frame warranty.

Devinci sent us a test sample of the Kobain SLX 12S in early April, and we really enjoyed the hardtail, despite the wet spring weather. Devinci is offering this version for $ 1,850 – unfortunately they had to increase the price from its original retail price of $ 1,700 due to complications from Covid. Devinci also increased the price by $ 100 on the Kobain Deore 11S, to $ 1,400.

About the Kobain SLX 12S

Photo: Matt Miller

The top-of-the-line Kobain is still entry-level build by full suspension standards, but considering the quality of the components these days, it’s a steal. Devinci uses a reduced offset Marzocchi Bomber Z2 with 130mm of travel to soften the front end.

There’s a Devinci saddle and stem, a 780mm wide RaceFace Aeffect R35 handlebars, and while Devinci boasts that mid-size frames can fit a 175mm dropper post, this build comes equipped. with a 125 mm rod from TranzX.

Stopping power comes from a set of Shimano Deore 2-piston hydraulic brakes, and Devinci opted for a suitable set of 180mm rotors.

Go’s power comes from a Shimano 12-speed drivetrain, although the only SLX component on the bike despite the model name is a rear derailleur. The rest of the drivetrain is made up of a Shimano Deore shifter and chain and an M6100 cassette.

The wheels are made from Devinci’s internal component brand V2 rims, paired with Formula hubs with steel spokes, and they are wrapped in a dual set consisting of 2.6 inch tubeless Maxxis Minions EXO air. My mid-size test bike weighs 30.5 lbs.

Geometry should also be a strong selling point for the Kobain. The head angle is 65.5 °, which is reasonable considering this is a 130mm fork hardtail, and the seat tube angle is pretty steep at 75 °. On my average test bike, the seat tube is chunky at 420mm, the reach is 445mm, chainstays (in all sizes) are 435mm, and the wheelbase is 1,191mm.

On paper, the numbers suggest the Kobain should be fairly stable given the reach and wheelbase, and easy to maneuver in trees and in the air, thanks to its sharp head angle, reduced offset fork and his seat tube short.

On the track

With quick set-up and tire and fork pressure control, the Kobain was ready to go. The first thing I noticed about the Kobain was its fairly upright sitting position. At 75 °, the hardtail places the rider in a square, comfortable and efficient pedaling position. Coupled with a reasonable reach, I would say the cockpit is quite comfortable, but again, noticeably straight on anything that isn’t too steep.

Since the Kobain weighs 30.5 pounds, the bike is obviously not a fast XC machine, but the assumption that all hardtail is an XC bike that has worn off a bit these days. RIBs are now available in all shapes and sizes, from “enduro” RIBs with 150mm forks and 64 ° head tube angles to XC RIBs with five degree HTA stiffer with two inches of head tube. less fork travel. The Kobain fits well in the middle of that spectrum, and I guess I’m the school of thought that dropping a hardtail and specifying a bunch of fork travel still doesn’t make it an enduro bike.

And just because there’s no rear suspension doesn’t mean it’s an XC bike. The Kobain gently climbs uphill, but it’s not the most responsive bike when it comes to pedaling. The stock wheels and heavier weight explain this, but it’s still a comfortable climber. The geometry also makes it easier to climb out of the saddle and the rear wheel is planted well given the stiffness.

Coming down, the Kobain feels lively and confident. The 65.5 ° HTA offers quick handling characteristics that give the RIB some speed to navigate narrower trails, but enough confidence on steeper, thicker trails. This is also where you notice again that this is an aluminum hardtail. The Kobain, while not too harsh, didn’t have a very forgiving ride quality, and I had to make sure my tire and fork pressure was right. Overall, however, the Kobain was a fast singletrack and jumps, stable at high speeds and fun to pedal in the woods.

Component control

Photo: Matt Miller

There are a few choice components on the Kobain, and they add to the ride quality and characteristics of the hardtail. The 12-speed drivetrain and the Bomber Z2 are the prized components, and I think they justify spending a few extra bucks compared to the $ 1,400 Deore 11S model. As usual, the Shimano 12-speed drivetrain had no issues.

I like that there are 2.6 inch tires up front and rear, for better rear grip without suspension. Some people might want to replace them with a more rugged case, especially at the rear, but the Minion DHF and DHRII are an obvious choice for success.

Shimano two-piston brakes are rare on most modern bikes, but I think they work great for a hardtail – at least for me. My adrenaline threshold dropped a few tics while riding without a rear suspension and thus lost some overall descent speed, which is why the Deore brakes felt A-OK, and new riders who buy a Kobain should be. pleasantly not surprised at their reliability.

The Marzocchi Bomber Z2 is another sweet touch for the hardtail. For an “entry-level” fork, the Z2 balances support and sensitivity very well.

Closing thoughts

Devinci brings near-track bike capability at a more affordable price with the Kobain. With only two build kits available on the Kobain, both with more affordable components, the bike is aimed at newer riders, rather than more experienced fussy eaters who want a more adjustable fork or a sharper drivetrain. That means buyers are getting a platform that could possibly be a gateway to the sport, and the Kobain has a good appearance, good geometry for up and down, and a premium build kit. It’s also suitable for riders of any skill level who want a soft hardtail that’s ready for anything.

  • Price: $ 1,850
  • Available at evo (out of stock)

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