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Thought I would start a thread for Deviate Cycles. They just launched the Highlander and, boy, it is a looker!

I don't own any of their bikes but plan to pick up the Highlander once an XL frame is available.

What do you guys think of this new bike?

https://www.deviatecycles.com/
 

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I've got a Guide, and preordered a Highlander a couple of months ago, having demoed a pre production model last year.

They're amazing. The Guide descends like nothing else I've ridden, short of a HPP Gearbox DH bike

(27.5 but still)
The gearbox one by tom.howard.562, on Flickr

Definitely think the Highlander is the better looking bike, mind. Also, the lack of gearbox makes it much better for trail riding. I've always found the shifting on the pinion a little slow (perhaps unfairly, as comparing it to XX1 & AXS) and it takes a bit more thinking about than derailleur gears, and isn't ideal if you are on undulating, unfamiliar trails where you can't plan as far ahead for shifting. Great for winch and plummet though.

Properly sold on high pivots with an idler too. Anyone that says pedal kickback doesn't exist hasn't ridden a bike where it genuinely doesn't.
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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Good to see more companies pushing the boundaries on the HSP front. I love my Druid, ATXZJ loves his Commencal Supreme SX, and I bet the Highlander rocks.

But for the fact that I have a local Forbidden dealer who treats me very well (and that Forbidden is rumoured to be coming out with a longer travel HSP bike by late summer), I would be very interested in throwing down on the Highlander.

Well done Deviate.
 

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I was curious about the high pivot concept, got chatting to Ben and Chris. These guys are passionate about their bikes and have the skills to back it up. For a small manufacturer I immediately had a lot of confidence in them. They very kindly lent me a pre production Highlander for a weekend.

It was great to see such engineering attention to detail in the frame like the bearing seals and grease ports for the idler. Everything has been so well thought out with longevity in mind. My impressions are it's a very capable and very impressive bike. I have tried a few trail bikes recently and I would say it fits into that space between trail and enduro. The handling was perfectly balanced and instantly user friendly. The bike is, just as they claim, unstoppable over chunk and also climbs very well. It felt easy to carve flat turns and just keep momentum no matter what. The rear has just the right amount of progression to catch the bigger hits, it never told me to back off, I just ran out of skill to test it's limits. Big thumbs up from me.
 

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Just placed my order for a medium Highlander in blue. Looking like it'll be 8-10 weeks before I'll lay my hands on it (who know's with all that's going on at the moment tho). Happy to share my experience, when I build it up.

Some background: I'm 5'10" 170lbs coming off a large FollowingV1. Demo'd Offering, Forbidden Druid, and SC HighTower looking for something w/ a little more margin in terms of downhill capability. Thought Offering would be an easy pick, and it would've been, had I not rode the Druid. The one I rode wasn't as supple off the top as I would've liked and the drag from the idler and chain guide was noticeable (not significant, but enough). I'm confident I could've tweaked more sensitivity off the top if I had more time w/ it, but the drag is probably not going to get much better. Otherwise, I was blown away by how easy it was to maintain momentum in the chunky stuff (w/ 130mm), size specific chainstays and the stability in turns and g-outs due to the extending wheelbase. My hesitation w/ the Druid, aside from the drag, was that it has 130mm (even though it rides like it has 140+). I feel like the backend is so good that it wouldn't lose anything going to 140 and up. I even got interested in the unreleased Kavenz (https://vhp16.kavenz.de/landing-page), but it's probably too much bike for me.

Long story short, I'm hoping the Highlander is my goldilocks bike. Pulled the trigger blind - really hoping I made the right decision...
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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Just placed my order for a medium Highlander in blue. Looking like it'll be 8-10 weeks before I'll lay my hands on it (who know's with all that's going on at the moment tho). Happy to share my experience, when I build it up.

Some background: I'm 5'10" 170lbs coming off a large FollowingV1. Demo'd Offering, Following Druid, and SC HighTower looking for something w/ a little more margin in terms of downhill capability. Thought Offering would be an easy pick, and it would've been, had I not rode the Druid. The one I rode wasn't as supple off the top as I would've liked and the drag from the idler and chain guide was noticeable (not significant, but enough). I'm confident I could've tweaked more sensitivity off the top if I had more time w/ it, but the drag is probably not going to get much better. Otherwise, I was blown away by how easy it was to maintain momentum in the chunky stuff (w/ 130mm), size specific chainstays and the stability in turns and g-outs due to the extending wheelbase. My hesitation w/ the Druid, aside from the drag, was that it has 130mm (even though it rides like it has 140+). I feel like the backend is so good that it wouldn't lose anything going to 140 and up. I even got interested in the unreleased Kavenz (https://vhp16.kavenz.de/landing-page), but it's probably too much bike for me.

Long story short, I'm hoping the Highlander is my goldilocks bike. Pulled the trigger blind - really hoping I made the right decision...
Congrats! You must be super stoked. Wow.

My bet is that you are going to be blown away. Keep us posted!
 

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Just placed my order for a medium Highlander in blue. Looking like it'll be 8-10 weeks before I'll lay my hands on it (who know's with all that's going on at the moment tho). Happy to share my experience, when I build it up.

Some background: I'm 5'10" 170lbs coming off a large FollowingV1. Demo'd Offering, Forbidden Druid, and SC HighTower looking for something w/ a little more margin in terms of downhill capability. Thought Offering would be an easy pick, and it would've been, had I not rode the Druid. The one I rode wasn't as supple off the top as I would've liked and the drag from the idler and chain guide was noticeable (not significant, but enough). I'm confident I could've tweaked more sensitivity off the top if I had more time w/ it, but the drag is probably not going to get much better. Otherwise, I was blown away by how easy it was to maintain momentum in the chunky stuff (w/ 130mm), size specific chainstays and the stability in turns and g-outs due to the extending wheelbase. My hesitation w/ the Druid, aside from the drag, was that it has 130mm (even though it rides like it has 140+). I feel like the backend is so good that it wouldn't lose anything going to 140 and up. I even got interested in the unreleased Kavenz (https://vhp16.kavenz.de/landing-page), but it's probably too much bike for me.

Long story short, I'm hoping the Highlander is my goldilocks bike. Pulled the trigger blind - really hoping I made the right decision...
Congrats! What direction are you going with the build? More trail or enduro focused etc?
 

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I'll be really eager see how people like this bike. It's on the very top of my interest list right now.

I'm moving from the tightish New England woods with their roots and rocks, to Nevada with its looser, rougher, bigger terrain and want to upgrade my V1 Bronson. While this isn't too extreme in its geo, it seems like it could hold its own on bigger terrain while remaining pedalable.
 

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Light-duro ;) 160 Fox36 in front, X2 in the back. 12speed XT drivetrain, ARC30 rims laced around Onyx Vesper hubs.
Nice. Think I'm going to go more trail, so as not to overlap with the Guide, still 36 and X2, but I may drop the fork down to 140, and swap the X2 with the DPX2 that's already in the Guide. No harm in trying, can always put in a slacker headset if it messes with the geo too much. Currently mulling over wheel choices, but trying to keep them in the 30mm internal, 1500g range. Hoping I can get the whole lot under 30lbs :)
 

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Nice. Think I'm going to go more trail, so as not to overlap with the Guide, still 36 and X2, but I may drop the fork down to 140, and swap the X2 with the DPX2 that's already in the Guide. No harm in trying, can always put in a slacker headset if it messes with the geo too much. Currently mulling over wheel choices, but trying to keep them in the 30mm internal, 1500g range. Hoping I can get the whole lot under 30lbs :)
If you have both, I could definitely see going lighter with the highlander. Would be awesome to keep it under 30lbs with a 36, X2 and 2.5" rubber.

Having rode both, could you share some thoughts about how the highlander's rear end feels in comparison to the guide given that the guide has less unsprung mass? Your guide looks insane (and fun) btw. How's the build quality in general with the deviate bikes? Looking for any kind of info on the company and the bikes to keep the stoke alive and have a positive distraction from all the craziness atm. Also cause first hand experience is hard to come by here in California :)
 

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So the Guide descends like no 160mm bike deserves to. The rearward axle path, the lack of pedal kickback, and the ease with which the suspension moves means that ploughing through rock gardens is a joy, you never feel the rear wheel get caught up on square edge stuff. it just feels bottomless. I guess the sprung vs unsprung mass will have a fair bit to do with that too, what with the gearbox moving the weight towards the middle of the bike, It also means it corners like it's on rails.

The Highlander is similar, it feel like it has more travel than 140mm, it just feels a bit more taught, you can feel more of what's going on under you. More of a sports car than a Rolls Royce, which is exactly what i want from a trail bike, something that feels fast and responsive, rather than a magic carpet which is better on the climbs as you feel like what you are putting down is going to the trail, as being kind, climbing isn't the Guide's strong suite, you just pick a low gear and cadence, then eventually you'll get to the top. With he Highlander it feels a lot more direct. It's fair bit lighter too. My Guide is 35/36 lbs, the Highlander i rode was 31ish, like i say I'm aiming to go a chunk lower still. It still has that noticeable lack of pedal kickback too, like i said, people who say its a myth, haven't ridden a bike that genuinely doesn't have it. I think ditching the pinion for this bike is a good thing, as i explained previously, it also give people fewer reasons to not want one if you see what I mean.

As for the build quality, I was pretty impressed. Its not quite up there with the absolute best (no internal tubes for cable routing, for example), but pretty good, you can tell that thought has gone into the details, and I think what they've done with the external routing on the highlander (hiding it in a channel under the top tube) is a great middle ground they've also increase the size of the idler pulley to reduce noise an friction, though i can't say it was an issue for me on the guide. My criticisms of the Guide are that the cranks run VERY close to the swingarm, meaning any muck will rub pretty quick (i'm solving this with custom cranks, but that's not for everyone, yet) and the 135x10 rear spacing limits hub choice a bit, esp if you want a single speed hub. No such issues with the Highlander.

The company really is just two guys, Chris (the designer) and Ben (sales), Im sure you'll have read about their backgrounds. I've met Ben a coupe of times now and he's a really good guy, really keen and happy to answer any questions or concerns, while being a very handy rider. Chris is great too, Offering help in the design process of my cranks (they aren't quite ready yet) and helped as much as he could when i was fitting trigger shifters, that he's had a bit of involvement in the testing of. both guys really couldn't be more helpful.

Hope that helps, I'm really trying not to come across as a total fanboi, but its difficult when the product is this good.
 

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Absolutely. Being passionate and supporting a couple guys who put out innovative products that hang with the big boys and believe in what they do is rad :cornut: Hopefully, the more conventional drivetrain of the Highlander will make the bike more approachable to a wider audience. So they can continue to put out cool bikes...

BTW, how was the crank spacing on the highlander - any better? I'm keen to feel how the larger idler performs vs. what I rode on the Druid. Reviews say that it's silent and doesn't add noticeable drag. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences!
 

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BTW, how was the crank spacing on the highlander - any better? I'm keen to feel how the larger idler performs vs. what I rode on the Druid. Reviews say that it's silent and doesn't add noticeable drag. Fingers crossed.
I didn't notice either, so I guess that's as good an indication as any that there's no issue. At least with the Highlander you can just change cranks if there's an issue, It's a bit more difficult with the Guide and it's Pinion.

Larger idler is good, but I never had an issue with the smaller one on the Guide (they do an upgrade kit for it, I haven't bothered.)
 

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Another gushing fanboi post from me I'm afraid.

With the release of the new Fox stuff, I was a little put out that I wouldn't be getting the current fork and shock when my frame arrived in just over a week, due to when things would have been ordered etc, not the end of the world, the 2020 stuff is amazing, but y'know. Dropped a mail to Deviate saying I thought I knew the answer, but would it be at all possible to go for the newer 36?

Not a problem at all. Bike will come with 2021 36's and X2.

Will be a bit of a delay but its not like I have any big long epic rides in the mountains planned...

Lots of thumbs up from me.
 

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Another gushing fanboi post from me I'm afraid.

With the release of the new Fox stuff, I was a little put out that I wouldn't be getting the current fork and shock when my frame arrived in just over a week, due to when things would have been ordered etc, not the end of the world, the 2020 stuff is amazing, but y'know. Dropped a mail to Deviate saying I thought I knew the answer, but would it be at all possible to go for the newer 36?

Not a problem at all. Bike will come with 2021 36's and X2.

Will be a bit of a delay but its not like I have any big long epic rides in the mountains planned...

Lots of thumbs up from me.
Nice! Glad I chose to take delivery of the frame with the deferred X2 shock then. Did they mention if the whole batch would be 2021 or just yours specifically? Guess can't hurt to confirm myself as well. Too late for me on the 36 unfortunately. First world problems, sheesh.
 

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Nice! Glad I chose to take delivery of the frame with the deferred X2 shock then. Did they mention if the whole batch would be 2021 or just yours specifically? Guess can't hurt to confirm myself as well. Too late for me on the 36 unfortunately. First world problems, sheesh.
I would drop them a mail, just to be sure. Indeed, I really wouldn’t be disappointed with a 2020 fork or shock and had fully expected it to be to late to change, but given the choice...
 

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Very interested in the Highlander and looking forward until the first shipments happen so I can read on your findings and experiences.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
So I dropped an email over the boys at Deviate. I wanted to know when the XL's would be available. Ben was kind enough to respond and provided me an updated Geo chart that includes the XL sizing.

At 6'3 I am traditionally in the XL range for most bikes. I currently ride an XL Yeti 5.5, but it feels small at times even with a 60mm stem and 40mm riser bars. Aside from CS and Reach, the XL Highlander has Geo numbers that are VERY similar to an XL Yeti SB130LR; a bike that I have spent some time on recently and loved.

So I am not sure if I should be considering a Large or XL Highlander. The stack seems very short on the Large which is my biggest concern.
 

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I placed an order too. Going for the blue Highlander with the 150mm link and a full Enduro build.

AXS/XTR12 drivetrain, Formula Selva Coil, DHX2 2021, Pi_Rope AL30 wheels, Trickstuff DRT brakes, so basically all the parts swapped over from my Megatower apart from the headset and the rear shock.

Bike Check.
 
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