We are very grateful for feedback from our fellow friend Michael Perdus on those two great bikes. We have received this email and I quote:
Please, keep in mind: I am reporting just my personal impressions deducted form short rides. I am not reviewing suspension in details as they were borrowed bikes and as Bike Bro Bible says – “Do not touch your Bro's suss set up”. We are talking here about initial impressions only. Tech geeks – look elsewhere.
Me. Me. Me!
I am 6'2'' or 187cm. I am about 92Kg's (202 in Local Banana Scale - lbs) sadly without equipment, so add few more to total weight. Longish arms, Leg about 32'' inseam. I ride mostly Trail some XC and little bit of Enduro. My bike is Cube Stereo 29er 140 mm. So you have brief idea about me and how I may compare to your posture and riding style. Now, let's go to the juicy part.
Both bikes are sexy – Check! Both bikes size L – Check! Both 160mm travel – Check. Both rocking BOS suspension – Check! Both no front derailleur – Check!. Both are Enduro – Check. Are you sure they are Enduro? – Yes, both bikes are for Enduro. OK. Let's go to the...
Besides some differences in components, both bikes are completely different characters. Main difference - Devinci was carbon, Knolly was aluminum frame. Rear suspension was another main difference. Beyond that biggest difference was riding characteristics and climbing behavior. One is fun and planted, second is cool and precise. Which is which?
Devinci Spartan – Carbon frame
I will start with my recent ride. Devinci Spartan Carbon:
This bike... this mothe***cker tried to kill me. Which I probably deserved with my lame skills. First time in my life I had feeling that bike is too light, too jerky, too uncontrollable. Until I understood that it was me who was to comfortable on other bikes and too inexperienced to handle this puppy.
This bike is like a Ninja in the forest. Wants to jump on you and kill the line, or you in the process. Either way, something is going to die. Accelerates really fast on straight lines. Like a hurricane. Man...I was not prepared for that. This bike is fast as hell. Front is planted and precise. Rear is very maneuverable and flickery. Firs time in my life I was doing some simple whips (yes, I am lame like that). Playing, jumping between lines, experimenting.
Rear suspension: Climbing is efficient, better than in most bikes. Descending is flawless, playful and supportive. Hard for me to say something more as I felt shock was not set up for my weight (check: Bike Bro Bible)
Summary: It was obvious. This bike is above my skills and requires a pro to handle. This is Ferrari for Enduro world. Great bike for skilled riders, nightmare for lamers like me. Perfect for Enduro race day.
Who is it for?: Race junkies. Skilled bikers. Girls – yes, girls because it has shorter reach which is usually more suitable for female torso. Or if you have shorter torso as a man. I don't judge. “If it fits I sits” as cats say around the internet.
Quote: - I'm going to win this!
One word summary: Cool!
Knolly Warden – Aluminium frame
This bike... it's my Bro. What can I say. It suits my character. I understand this guy, he understands me – if it was a person we would go for a beer (and pick up chicks).
Longer reach gives you stability and predictability. It's more comfortable (for me) on descends with more composed character. Holds lines well, going over biggest rock gardens with buttery feel. Forgiving smaller and bigger mistakes (yeah, compared to that Devinci is like your Math teacher, no mercy). Don't get me wrong. It's plenty playful and fun to ride. Just not as agile as Spartan (which for me is a good thing). One thing worth mentioning is rear suspension which clearly stands out above other bikes. Basically rear wheel stays on the ground all the time. You may like it or hate it. On descends it's just bottomless. Reacts very well to square shaped obstacles making your ride more enjoyable. But where this suss shines for me is climbs. This bike just goes up like a tank. No matter the line, if you have strength in your legs it will just go over everything without skipping a beat. I mean, I ride 29er and I can say it climbs as well or even better. On fire roads Spartan is more efficient but on technical climbs Knolly just destroys all bikes I know. It just goes up, steadily with tons of traction.
Summary: I liked this bike a lot. I'd love to try carbon frame in the future. Currently this bike is on my next list.
Who is it for?: Fun seeking lovers. Bigger build Enduro riders. Epic rides with your friends. Guys with longer arms and torso (long reach).
Quote: - Bro, hold my beer!
One word summary: Fun!