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Evil Bikes’ The Following Leads the Means Downcountry [Review]

Evil Bikes’ The Following Leads the Means Downcountry [Review]

Evil Bikes’ The Following Leads the Means Downcountry [Review]

Is it attainable for a short-travel mountain bike to really feel punk rock? The query popped into my head whereas flying down a brief however quick and chunky descent on Evil Bikes’ The Following. I suppose that in a method, the entire downcountry class exists to thumb its nostril at stuffy XC geometry, to deliver not solely enjoyable but in addition massively improved descending capabilities to bikes that climb actually, rather well. After testing The Following for a pair months I gained a profound appreciation for the downcountry ethos, significantly as embodied by this Evil.

Evil The Following LS body specs

One of many first issues that stands out about The Following is the seemingly advanced and big quantity of suspension {hardware} nestled on the backside of the entrance triangle. Evil employs a system generally known as DELTA, aka Dave’s Further Reliable Journey Equipment, designed by MTB suspension design royalty and Evil co-founder, Dave Weagle. I say that DELTA is seemingly advanced as a result of the system is, at its core, a linkage-driven single pivot. Primary single pivot designs have been round for a very long time, and they’re typically fairly easy to know and construct.

In fact Weagle’s DELTA design takes issues to the subsequent stage after which some, including progressivity however simply as importantly, a tunable design that may be adjusted by tweaking the linkage setup. In line with Evil, “totally different hyperlink kits can be utilized to make drastic adjustments within the bike’s really feel,” and the model notes their World Cup athletes specifically are capable of customise the suspension to particular tracks and driving kinds.

Sure, there are a number of hyperlinks, bearings, bolts and spacers; no, you don’t have to know how any of it really works to like how The Following feels, and the way properly it rides. Evil does provide alternative bearings for all times, they usually’ve performed some issues to make issues simpler on residence mechanics like integrating shock spacers into the DELTA hyperlinks.

The Following could be set in Low or Further Low mode through flip chip. Re-orienting the chip includes eradicating 5 linkage bolts on both sides of the body, flipping the {hardware}, and re-attaching. Further low slackens the pinnacle angle by half a level and the seat tube angle by an identical quantity.

Evil describes the DELTA suspension development curve as being supple early in its journey, with a predictable center and “bottomless ramp” on the finish of the stroke. The Following presents 121mm of suspension within the rear, and builds include a 130mm fork up entrance, although they are saying a 120mm fork will work simply positive too.

Sag indicator, proper.

As a place to begin, Evil recommends setting the rear sag at 30%, which riders can test utilizing the nifty built-in sag meter. The Following sits pretty excessive with only a 36mm backside bracket drop, and with a wholesome 30% sag, the underside bracket is positioned properly for path driving.

Geometry based mostly on 130mm fork.

Evil The Following geometry

Beginning on the head tube, The Following is simply shy of a 67° head tube angle at 66.9°. Within the default “Low” geometry configuration, that’s paired with a 76° seat tube angle.

Check pilot profile peak: 190cm (6’3″) weight: 72.5kg (160lb) testing zone: Southeast, USA

I’ve been driving a measurement XL bike with 500mm of attain and a 614mm stack peak. Having ridden one other downcountry bike with considerably longer attain, I’d say The Following attain plus stack strikes a superb steadiness between progressivity and rideability proper out of the field.

Evil specs all sizes of The Following with comparatively quick, 430mm chainstays which provides a little bit of playfulness to the extra business-like finish of the path driving spectrum.

Body options

The newest iteration of The Following, dubbed LS or “flippantly salted,” is SRAM Common Derailleur Hanger appropriate and makes use of a threaded backside bracket. The rear finish options Tremendous Enhance spacing which Evil says provides to the bike’s total stiffness.

Contained in the XL body there’s room for a full-size water bottle. The driveside chainstay is wrapped in sound damping, protecting materials, and there’s extra body safety included on the underside of the downtube close to the underside bracket.

The Following has in depth inside cable routing choices accessible for the rear brake, derailleur, dropper publish, and a suspension distant. All 4 ports begin on the headtube for a clear look, although for the final word clear cockpit, consumers are going to go wi-fi anyway. Apart from that pesky hydraulic brake line, after all.

Riders can run as much as a 36T chainring on The Following, and whereas the rear brake publish mount is ready up for 180mm rotors, Evil says the body suits rotors as much as 203mm. The seat tube diameter is 30.9mm. Tires as much as 2.6″ ought to match within the rear, although Evil notes the utmost width will rely on the tire mannequin.

Total aesthetics

In profile, The Following cuts a swoopy, nearly forward-leaning stance. The angular channels main away from the inner routing on the head tube are mirrored within the prime tube, giving the bike a particular look that brings to thoughts Van Halen with a contact of classic Ellsworth fashion.

This colorway known as Foam Curler (Pantone 566 C to be actual) and through my testing the look acquired quite a lot of compliments. Following loamy rides the bike takes on a mint chocolate chip ice cream look with flecks of filth filling in for the chocolate chips. The body has a matte end and I discovered that common automobile wash cleaning soap and a brush isn’t sufficient to get the body totally clear, particularly when purple Georgia clay is concerned. Bringing the body again to its full glory required a fast, gentle move with a Mr. Clear Magic Eraser.

Picture: Leah Barber

Like most full suspension designs the linkage zone in entrance of the rear tire tends to gather crud in free situations. This by no means interfered with the efficiency of the bike — biking the suspension rapidly clears issues out — although cleansing this spot could be tedious.

Decals and badging are minimal, sticking to a single colour (black). To make the straightforward, single-color decals work, Evil makes use of destructive house for a very fashionable look.

Construct specs

Evil sells The Following as a body, or constructed up with one in all two construct kits. I examined the top-of-the-line X01 AXS construct, which naturally comes with a SRAM X01 12-speed, wi-fi drivetrain plus a 32t chainring. Each builds embody Trade 9 Enduro S wheels (examined), although consumers have the choice of upgrading to Evil Loophole carbon wheels for an additional charge.

The X01 construct I’ve been driving comes with a Rock Shox Pike Final fork with 51mm offset. 4-piston, SRAM Code RSC brakes are paired with 200/180mm rotors entrance and rear respectively. Evil specs Minion DHF and DHR II tires entrance and rear and throws in a Bike Yoke Revive dropper publish. Because of sensible seat tube design, the XL I’m testing suits a 213mm-travel dropper publish.

Transferring on to the cockpit, The Following X01 AXS construct options Evil’s personal 810mm-wide Broomstick carbon handlebars paired with their branded 35mm diameter, 45mm-long alloy stem and Pamela Handerson lock-on grips. Whereas loads of manufacturers spec house-brand elements, the Broomstick is notable for being a reasonably widespread aftermarket selection even amongst non-Evil riders. A WTB Volt Professional rounds out the construct spec.

Evil features a chainguide on this construct hooked up on to the body through an ISG05 mount. To me this half feels ornamental — I haven’t wanted a chainguide shortly — although it does match the premise that The Following is prepared for the rowdiest descents and possibly even somewhat racing too.

Altogether the X01 construct I examined, measurement XL with pedals, weighs 31.8lb.

Picture: Leah Barber

On the path with Evil The Following

Whether or not we acknowledge it or not, manufacturers have an outsize affect on our perceptions and expectations. Amongst bike manufacturers, Evil is especially brand-forward in every part from their advertising supplies to product design to the model identify itself, Evil. It’s meant to be punk-rock for positive, although from a distance the model appears somewhat darkish to me, like a Horror Punk band intent on surprising followers with evermore excessive antics.

Because it seems, The Following delivers nothing of the type. No offense to the Evil house owners and model managers, however this can be a Pop Punk bike, addictively danceable and packaged for mainstream consumption. There aren’t any sharp edges to The Following, figuratively or actually; simply push play and begin grooving.

Climbing efficiency

Most nice rides begin with a climb, and with that in thoughts The Following is an extremely succesful uphill pedaler. The suspension platform presents ample firmness whereas remaining lively over rocks and roots for wonderful traction. On quick to medium climbs I by no means felt a have to lock out the rear shock; solely prolonged gravel highway climbs appeared worthy of reaching down and flipping the change.

On a couple of steep climbs I discovered myself with much less rear wheel traction than I wished. Being a smug product reviewer, I made a psychological observe that the seat tube angle absolutely should be a level too steep. Just a few rides later, nonetheless, I skilled the alternative: the entrance wheel not solely turned unweighted, it lifted off the bottom a pair inches earlier than I may get it below management. Damnit. Clearly the seat angle isn’t too steep or too slack. It’s seemingly excellent.

Geometry interactions are advanced, and by specializing in the seat tube angle right here I’m oversimplifying issues a bit. Weighting the bike entrance to again additionally is dependent upon the pinnacle angle, and within the case of The Following, the shortish chainstays must be thought of as properly. The sum of the angles and tube lengths is clearly properly thought of and I discovered The Following delivers a fantastic uphill expertise total.

Whereas 31.8lb isn’t notably light-weight for a downcountry bike, in my view the burden doesn’t take away from the bike’s climbing efficiency. Right here once more, the DELTA suspension tune performs a job in making The Following really feel fast and responsive on the climbs. The AXS shifting is fast and crisp too, including to the full bundle.

All the things I’ve talked about by way of climbing applies to flat-out pedaling as properly. The Following feels as if it leaps forward as quickly as you mash the pedals because of the laterally stiff body. Even after months of driving there’s nary a peep out of the crank or body when torquing on the pedals.

Descending on The Following

The downcountry label places ‘down’ entrance and middle, and for good cause, since downcountry bikes are ostensibly designed to trip down the hill higher than a conventional cross-country bike. The Following is Evil’s shortest journey, full suspension bike and clearly takes cues from its longer-travel siblings.

On paper the practically 67° head tube angle appears a bit stuffy in comparison with the short-travel competitors, the place 66° and even 65° head angles aren’t unusual. And but, The Following feels unflappably poised when pointed downhill. Utilizing all 213mm of the dropper publish journey I discovered confidence on even the steepest, most technical drops and the considered an endo by no means entered my thoughts.

Maybe the largest revelation got here on quick, chunky descents. The Following daftly tracks the bottom via chattery sections and nonetheless manages to absorb greater hits and drops with out feeling harsh. Lots of bikes at this finish of the path spectrum appear to prioritize a considerably racy, tight suspension really feel, from the beginning of their journey to the top. Not so with The Following.

Evil the Following

DELTA delivers a luxurious feeling and comfy small bump compliance initially, adopted by a predictable ramp up. Truthfully, making an attempt to explain the center of the suspension curve is a problem; that is the zone the place we’re normally blasting alongside, eyes centered on the path forward, so predictability right here is essential.

I wish to run my suspension fairly smooth, and on inspection I discovered I commonly blew the O-ring off the piston. The good factor is it by no means felt like I reached the top of the bike’s journey; I all the time discovered I had loads of bike for the path. The Following really has me questioning if my splendid path bike wants 140mm of rear suspension, or if 121mm of DELTA is greater than sufficient.

Letting go of the brakes and pushing The Following downhill at excessive speeds I discovered the bike to be very quiet. Nicely, apart from the incessantly buzzy Trade 9 Hydra hubs. Chain slap was nonexistent and right here once more the body and construct proved to be completely strong.

Urgent The Following into corners the bike handles very properly. The underside bracket peak appears to supply a superb compromise between dealing with within the corners and pedal effectivity, to not point out avoiding pedal strikes. As common, the Maxxis Minion DHF and DHR II tires deserve a lot credit score relating to cornering, and over the course of testing I skilled little to no air loss between rides. If this have been my very own bike I’d most likely select to run Minions too, although maybe a extra downcountry-appropriate selection could be the brand new Forekaster.

The Following, total

It’s solely February however I think the Evil The Following goes to be one in all my favourite bikes when wanting again on the finish of 2023. Whereas some bikes are designed to make an announcement, both via geometry or a specific construct package, The Following confidently proves itself on the path, even with out the branding or even perhaps despite it. It’s a extremely succesful, environment friendly climber and nonetheless, it descends even higher than it climbs. On the floor that assertion won’t flip many heads; in spite of everything, downhill and enduro bikes are supposed to descend higher than they climb too.

However down right here on the short-travel finish of the spectrum, designers normally commerce off downhill efficiency for higher climbing. The Following feels just like the designers began with the final word climbing machine, after which began including again all of the little issues that make descending quick and enjoyable like tuned DELTA suspension, lengthy journey dropper posts, succesful tires, and well-considered geo.

Like several nice punk band, The Following is so a lot better than the sum of its particular person elements.

  • Value: $8,299 as examined. Framesets priced at $3,750.
  • Purchase from Evil sellers together with evo and The Professional’s Closet.

Occasion laps

  • Wonderful climber. Even higher descender.
  • DELTA suspension is each supple and supportive
  • Prime quality development and construct
  • Geo and body options work in live performance for a balanced trip really feel

Professionals and cons of Evil Bikes’ The Following.

Grime naps

  • Even the entry-level builds are dear
  • Multi-part linkage could be tedious to wash and repair
  • Plenty of inside cable routing