Bicycle review: Devron Riddle H5.9 (2014)

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Only a handful of things can stop us from naming Devron as one of the most promising brands, the value proposition that the Romanian manufacturer forwards simply redefining the entry-level segment. Not only is the Riddle H5.9 currently one of the best deals out there at the moment, but it manages to look better than you’d expect, and to perform better than the level’s average in several regards.

Frame/On the trail

This 29er is the kind of bike you’d take with you during leisure rides, or even recreational competitions. The manufacturer didn’t take any chances and went for a classical geometry, that involves a 71-degree head tube and a 73-degree seat tube, one of the most common patterns in this sense. Despite its entry-level placing, the Riddle H5.9 is probably meant to be used with clipless pedals, since the pedals need to be pushed only by the forefoot part of your feet in order not to rub against the front wheel when cornering.

You don’t have to be a serious sportsman to enjoy this Riddle, the slack angles of the frame, and the generous width of the handlebar, together with its backsweep, ensuring a comfortable experience while riding it. However, this comfort doesn’t take its toll on handling, which is very agile, and which can also get you out some serious mud problems.

When climbing, the rider’s position reveals itself to be efficient, and the geometry also works, in the sense that it keeps the front wheel stuck to the ground. Also, Riddle H5.9 is skillful when descending, a feat accomplished thanks to the 90mm stem and 680mm Truvativ Stylo T10 handlebar, that help a lot in what regards responsiveness.

Even if stiffness doesn’t play a crucial role in this category of bikes, the value the frame reached, 83.3 Nm/degree, which places it within the expected interval, underlines the idea of quality. Furthermore, the weight figure is decent, of 1.82kg, but this also means that person exceeding the weight of 90 kilograms will not enjoy the bike’s performances to their fullest.

Specifications

If you study closely the Riddle H5.9, you’ll find a mismatch, which is represented by the specifications chart, which exceeds the usual offering of this category, and includes a 3×9 drivetrain, and a pair of Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic disc brakes.

The drivetrain is a mix of components. However, the SRAM X5 front derailleur works fine even if it’s coupled with the Shimano Altus rear one. Both are actuated by SRAM X5 shifters, and we do admit that they lack accuracy, and are a bit noisy. There are some good news coming from the Suntour XCM crankset, that features the ever-durable Octalink standard, but the component is also a source of extra weight on the bike. At least the 22-32-44 ring combination gets along very well with the 11-34 cassette, all to your benefit when riding.

Good performance also comes from the brakes, mainly thanks to the 180/160mm rotors, but we wouldn’t go that far as to advise you to rely on them in every situation. Stick to basics and everything will be ok. Suntour also offers the fork, which is responsive, although it might use some rebound adjustment, but it’s more of a drag for this bike, since it adds 2.68 kilograms to the total weight, while offering the bare minimum in terms of comfort.

Completing the heavyweight category of the Riddle H5.9 components are the wheels, with their 5.22-kilogram value. Turn your attention to other wheels if you seek fast acceleration, because the only regards in which these excel are the tire’s rolling speed and grip. As long as conditions are dry, that is…

Conclusion

Judging by the approximate 520 euros the Riddle H5.9 costs, you’ll hardly find a better deal. It may not be as agile as a 27.5 model, but this 29er stand out thanks to its stability, and to its comfort, which is in tune with its level.

Purpose: Cross Country
Uphill: 6/10
Downhill: 7/10

devron_riddle_h59_2014_technical_data

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