When it comes to riding fast, confidence is everything, and no 29er we’ve ridden has instilled us with more confidence than the Evil Wreckoning.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 9

Evil Wreckoning X1

Pros:

  • Killer geometry and attitude

Cons:

  • Limited tyre clearance

Product:

Evil Wreckoning X1 (2017) review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£5,999.99

Evil isn’t like other brands.

It doesn’t follow specific model years; it doesn’t make road bikes or kids’ bikes; hell, it doesn’t even write the model names on its frames — which is confusing to say the least, given that its full-suspension bikes are all based on the same Delta System suspension design and all share a very similar profile.

With such disregard for convention, it should come as no surprise that the longest-travel bike in the Evil fleet is actually a 29er.

(Credit: Roo Fowler)

With 161mm of travel, the Wreckoning is second only to the Specialized Enduro in terms of suspension firepower, but it has another weapon up its sleeve: asymmetric mounts on the carbon swingarm let you push the head angle and bottom bracket height of the Wreckoning well beyond current norms.

In the lowest setting the head angle measures a slack 65.4° and the BB drops to a ground-scraping 334mm.

Changing the geometry isn’t as straightforward as on the Trek, but thankfully the four bolts that attach the asymmetric mounts to the swingarm and Dog Bone are all the same size, so you can’t screw it up.

The links are also marked Low and X-Low, so there’s no confusion over which geometry setting you’re in.

And if you can’t find your preferred geometry with the flip chips, the oversized head tube on the Wreckoning will swallow an angle adjustable headset, so you can mix and match your preferred BB height and head angle.

Oversized head tube accommodates angle-adjust headset (Credit: Roo Folwer)

Suspension

Set-up on the Evil couldn’t be easier.

A small sag indicator on the Delta System linkage makes dialling in the sag a breeze, while the three-position compression lever on the RockShox Monarch RC3 shock means your head won’t spin out trying to find the optimum damping settings.

Sag set-up is a cinch and the Monarch RC3 shock is user-friendly (Credit: Roo Fowler)

It’s very much set-and-forget, and a totally different approach to the four-way adjustable Fox Float X2 on the Trek.

Keeping it RockShox up front is the 160mm-travel Lyrik RCT3. And while it’s not quite as composed as the Fox on high-speed square-edge hits, it transmits less force to your hands than the Öhlins fork on the Enduro.

Its greatest strength, though, is that it’s super-easy to get a good set-up.

Components

With a SRAM X1 drivetrain, the Wreckoning can’t compete with the Specialized or Trek in terms of available gear range, but there are other aspects of the build kit that are streets ahead.

SRAM X1 Drivetrain (Credit: Roo Fowler)

Take for example the 170mm drop RockShox Reverb on the L and XL frame sizes.

Yes, the seat angle on the Evil is so slack that, to get the WTB Volt saddle level, the head of the post is right at the end of its angle adjustment range and there’s no avoiding the nose of the saddle pointing up slightly when you drop the geometry into the X-low setting.

Fortunately, the profile of the saddle helps clock your pelvis forward so you never feel like you’re hanging off the back of the bike.

In the X-low geometry setting, the Race Face Chester handlebar feels a little too high, so it’s the only component we’d even consider changing.

Sleek chain guide but limited tyre clearance (Credit: Roo Fowler)

Performance

When it comes to riding fast, confidence is everything, and no 29er we’ve ridden has instilled us with more confidence than the Evil Wreckoning.

Blast down into a pile of rocks and the Evil shoots you out faster than it entered.

It’s no monster truck though, as it’s equally adept at slicing through corners, and you can pump terrain to build speed when the risk of pedal strikes is simply too high with the ultra-low BB.

Minimal tyre clearance by our Wreckoning (Credit: Roo Fowler)

Its extra weight, and the limited 1×11 gear range of the X1 drivetrain, will make you work harder on the climbs for sure, but don’t sweat it as the pay-off is huge.

Our only gripe is that clearance on the swingarm is limited, so you’d be lucky to squeeze a 2.5in tyre in the back, let alone consider going Plus.

This lack of space, combined with the integrated chain guide, makes the Evil something of a mud magnet.

evil wreckoning

Verdict

The Evil Wreckoning isn’t the best specced bike. It could also be argued that its uni-directional carbon frame doesn’t have the same level of damping as the woven fabric used on the Trek or Specialized. It’s not Plus compatible either, and it’s certainly not the best value. But how do you put a price on confidence? Not only is the Wreckoning easy to set up, it’s easy to ride and the geometry and attitude will instantly seduce you. In a crowded market where everything is pretty much the same, the Evil Wreckoning manages to stand out. And not simply because of the funky colours.

Details

Frame:UD Carbon, 161mm travel
Shock:RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DA
Fork:RockShox Lyrik RCT3 Solo Air, 160mm travel
Wheels:RaceFace Aeffect R 110/148mm hubs, Aeffect R 30 rims, WTB Vigilante 29x2.3in tyres
Drivetrain:Race Face Aeffect SL 30t chainset, SRAM X1 r-mech and shifter
Brakes:SRAM Guide R 180mm
Components:Race Face Chester 780mm bar, Aeffect R 40mm stem, RockShox Reverb Stealth 170mm, WTB Volt Pro saddle
Sizes:S, M, L, XL
Weight:14.17kg (31.24lb)
Contact:evil-bikes.com