Evil triumphs with a badass 29er that redefines how much fun you can have with 120mm of travel

Product Overview

Evil The Following

Pros:

  • Love the ride quality, playfulness, jump-ability and pure speed.

Cons:

  • This kind of performance doesn’t come cheap, and Evil needs to prove its reliability and customer service are equally top-notch.

Product:

Evil The Following (2016) review

Need to know

  • The Evil The Following is a short-travel 29er built for aggressive riding
  • Delta System suspension linkage delivers 120mm travel
  • Both halves of the carbon frame unite at a 15mm thru-axle pivot that uses dual angular contact bearings for stiffness and durability
  • Geometry is adjustable between ‘high’ and ‘low’ settings — the lower position offering a sub-67° head angle
Smart suspension means The Following descends like a demon

Smart suspension means The Following descends like a demon

The idea of 29in wheels and short-travel suspension hitting the sweetspot for speed, efficiency and playfulness has been voiced in the pages of mbr before — bikes like the Specialized Camber Evo and Kona Process 111 spring to mind. The low-slung Evil The Following, however, pushes the envelope for aggressive short-travel 29er trail bikes further than any bike yet.

Sexiest 29er ever?

Sexiest 29er ever?

For a 120mm bike, the Evil’s geometry and attitude is aggressive. There’s a sub 67-degree head angle and 330mm bottom bracket height in the lower setting, and the way the suspension configuration places everything down low in the frame reinforces the ready-to-rip vibe. In fact, the intensely curved carbon chassis looks fast even standing still.


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Appearances can sometimes be deceptive, but not here. As you’d expect from a 120mm 29er it’s a nimble, fast-to-accelerate trail bike with great technical climbing ability. The Evil’s calling card is that it also devours the kind of terrain 160mm bikes are optimised for.

At speed, or railing berms, the geometry and suspension synchronise perfectly. Equally, the Evil The Following rides so solid, planted and secure, it incites you to boost jumps, attack rowdy DH tracks and generally shred as hard as possible.

The Evil's flowing lines scream speed

The Evil’s flowing lines scream speed

The Delta System suspension works great. You tend to hover in an active mid-zone of the travel, giving gobs of grip in the loose stuff and isolating you from chatter, but without ever hanging up on square edge hits or bottoming harshly.

Another win is, with much less travel than most bikes that are this capable, the tighter, more precise feel gives direct feedback from the trail and this makes the ride of the Evil even more engaging and alive.

Spotlight on: Evil The Following’s Delta system

As an Evil founding partner, suspension guru Dave Weagle launched the complicated-looking Delta System in 2009. The new Evils still use the same single-pivot with a linkage-actuated shock, but it’s a much-refined, easier to manufacture version that saves considerable weight.

New Delta suspension offers 120mm of supple progressive travel

New Delta suspension offers 120mm of supple progressive travel

Short, beefed-up ‘dog bone’ links improve lateral stiffness and connect the swingarm to a triangulated shock cradle that compresses the shock from the top. The other end of the shock is mounted directly to the front triangle.

The short links change angle and velocity considerably throughout the travel — something Weagle uses to dial in a ‘dual progressive’ suspension leverage curve that aims for suppleness off the top, maximum traction in the mid-stroke, and good bottom-out resistance. Best of all, it actually does what it says on the tin.

Looking beyond its awesome ride quality, the Evil is not without fault. The internal cable routing rubs on the inside edge of the carbon frame, and the seat angle could be a bit steeper to place rider weight further forward for climbing.

Armoured down tube looks bad to the bone

Armoured down tube looks bad to the bone

These small gripes are also shadowed by Evil’s need to prove that its well-publicised issues with reliability are firmly in the past too. As such, the latest-generation carbon frames are made in one of the most highly regarded production facilities in Taiwan.

The Following is evil in more than just name — it’s one of the only bikes in years to get me so excited that I’d consider dipping into my own pocket to get one. I now know the correct answer to the “what bike should I buy?” question every bike tester gets asked on a routine basis. It’s that good.

EVil the following packshot

Details

Frame:Evil armoured carbon, 120mm travel
Shock:RockShox Debonair RT3
Fork:RockShox Pike RCT3, 130mm travel
Wheels:Race Face Aeffect 29, Maxxis High Roller II 3C 29x2.3in tyres
Drivetrain:Race Face Turbine Cinch Single Ring 30T, SRAM X1 shifter and mech
Brakes:SRAM Guide R, 180mm
Components:Race Face Turbine bar 760mm, Turbine stem 50mm, RockShox Reverb 125mm, WTB Silverado saddle
Sizes:S, M, L, XL
Weight:12.6kg (27.8lb)
Frame weight:2.95kg (6.5lb)
Size ridden:L (low setting)
Rider height:5ft 8in
Head angle:66.8°
Seat angle:72.5°
BB height:330mm
Chainstay:432mm
Front centre:732mm
Wheelbase:1,164mm
Down tube:714mm
Top tube:626mm
Reach:439mm
  • gbcoke

    this bike is in the market for a year now with almost ZERO reports about issues.also,customer service has been great from the US and EUROPE office .
    maybe its about time we wont hear about the past and the need to prove themselves anymore ?