Devinci Kobain Review: Hardtail Nirvana | Pinkbike's 2024 Value Bike Field Test 

Words by Sarah Moore; photography by Tom Richards

The Devinci Kobain has a classic hardtail profile and the word mark on the downtube sparkles in the sunlight, although we didn't see much of that during our test period in Squamish. Most notably, the Kobain has an aluminum frame that is made in North America, unlike the other value bikes that are a part of this test. The rigid aluminum frame is made in the Canadian company's factory in Quebec.

It's also the only bike with externally routed cables, which means it might not have as sleek of a look as some of the other bikes, although they are neatly organized with cable ties, but it's easier to access the cables when they're externally routed to work on the bike. If you're on a budget, you're likely interested in doing some of your own repairs and that external routing will make the job easier.

There are four sizes and three different models of the Kobain to choose from and our bike is the Deore 12-speed model, although it's not actually a full Deore drivetrain. It's the lightest on test this time around at 31.2 lb (14.03 kg).


The hardtail frame with its 29" wheels relies on a 130mm Marzochhi Z2 Rail fork for all of its suspension duties and a TranzX dropper post to get into descending position. To keep it rubber side down, there is a Maxxis Minion DHF front tire and a Maxxis Minion DHRII rear tire, both with EXO casing. As for stoppers, there are Shimano Deore MT4100/MT410 2-piston brakes with 180mm resin-only rotors and a (mostly) Deore drivetrain, minus the Sunrace 12s cassette.

Our test bike was on the pointy end for the hardtails on test with its 65.5° head tube angle, which is paired with a 75° seat angle and 435mm chainstays across all sizes. Reach on the Kobain is 445mm on the size Medium and 470mm on the size Large.



The Devinci Kobain feels exactly how you want a hardtail to on the climbs. It's more upright and comfortable than an all-out cross-country rig, but it still feels spritely and responsive when you push into the pedals. The handling is quick and it winds nicely up switchback climbs, without feeling twitchy.

While a hardtail will never have the all-out traction of a full-suspension bike, the Kobain isn't just suited to smooth climbs. You have to be careful with your line choices since you're more likely to be bumped off line when climbing technical sections on it than if you were on a full suspension bike, but its 75-degree seat tube angle and good component choices make more technical climbs manageable. There are meaty 2.6" Maxxis tires that provide good grip and a 12-speed, wide-range drivetrain provides a good easy gear for grinding up the steeps.

It's also worth noting that the Kobain is the lightest bike we had at this Value Bikes Field Test at 31.2 pounds (14.03 kg), and that's definitely noticeable on the climbs. Hardcore hardtails have slacker head tube angles and burly components and they tend to feel a bit muted on the climbs, but the Kobain isn't one of those and it hits a great middle ground where it rides well on a variety of terrain. The frame also hits that middle ground where it's more compliant than the Haro, but not as compliant as the Marin, and it just feels like it's the right hardtail for the majority of people.


With its 65.5 degree head tube angle and two-piston brakes, the Devinci isn't designed to be an all-out brute on the descents, but where does that put it really? Well, it's not the easiest bike to descend on more technical terrain, but it hits that middle ground that opens up a lot of trails. You're not going to be sending every descent and I definitely picked my lines more carefully than if I'd been on a different bike, but it impressed me overall with its composure.

It's not the longest, slackest hardtail around, but it's not too steep either. You can still make it down techy bits, and then have a blast railing corners and accelerating through flatter sections of trail.

That's partly due to the spec that is is well chosen for descending. The tires provide good traction and the Marzocchi Z2 works well. One upgrade you could make eventually for descending is to the dropper post. The medium frame is compatible with a solid dropper post length at 175mm, but only comes with a 130mm on medium, so that's something you could change depending on your riding.


The Kobain provides a comfortable frame with a solid trail-focused geometry. What about the spec?

The brakes are Shimano's MT4100/MT410 2-piston brakes with 180mm rotors, but unlike the last Value Bikes Field Test I did in 2021 where I had a couple of near misses, they actually work really well. I think that's my biggest takeaway from this Value Bikes Field Test is how much better the brakes are now and how much of an improvement it is to the overall ride.

Another standout component was the 2.6" Maxxis Minion DHF and DHRII tires that gave me confidence on the wet rocks and slippery roots we encountered testing. It's nice to know you don't have to upgrade those right away.

While it's funny that the bike is named "Kobain Deore 12S" and doesn't have a Deore cassette, opting for a Sunrace cassette instead, at least there's a Shimano chain, and overall the shifting performance was solid.

One minor gripe is the saddle. Saddles are a matter of personal preference, but the sharp-edged one on the Kobain certainly doesn't make the riding a hardtail any more comfortable.

The Devinci Kobain is the perfect bike for someone who wants a good all-around hardtail. This could be someone just getting into riding who doesn't want to break the bank or for someone who wants a fast and versatile pedalling second bike when they want to get out for a quick rip. Overall, it's a solid trail hardtail with a good spec that you won't have to change anything on before you hit the trails.

– Sarah Moore, Pinkbike Editor