The new Evil Wreckoning GX is enduro-ready but let it off the leash and you’ll soon forget the time
Evil’s introduction to the new Evil Wreckoning sums it up perfectly: “Up, down, and upside-down, the Wreckoning doesn’t care which way it’s going. It just gets there fast in classic, low-down dirty Evil style.”
Evil Wreckoning GX need to know
- The latest Wreckoning boasts 166mm of travel and gets a steeper seat angle
- Frames available in four sizes with longer reach measurements, water bottle bosses, fully internal cable routing, built-in chain device and squidgy chainstay silencer
- Full UD carbon frame with alloy dog-bone Delta links that ip to drop the BB height by 9mm while slackening the head angle by 0.6°
- Available in three build options, all featuring RockShox Zeb Ultimate forks
So rather than being aimed purely at stopping clocks, the Wreckoning is chuckable and livelier than most 29er enduro race bikes, even if you have no intention of ever doing a flip, well, at least not on purpose. The action-packed ride of this 166mm-travel 29er stems from a steeper 64.7° head angle, rampy suspension and tight 430mm chainstays. Its balanced response gives it a swagger that encourages more interaction with the trail than any long-travel 29er has any right to.
So what’s new about version three? Like all of the new Evils, the uni-directional carbon frame looks like it’s been hitting the gym hard; the resulting profile is toned and more chiselled than before. With updated geometry and sizing, the V3 chassis now has Super Boost spacing with a 157mm rear axle, providing a wider spoke bracing angle for improved wheel strength. At the opposite end of the one-piece carbon swingarm, the width and size of the main pivot has also been increased to add sti ness and improve mud clearance. Each frame size has been stretched by about 20mm too, so the XL should now fit six-foot-plus riders and all sizes have a steeper 76.5° seat angle, which the old version was crying out for.
Evil’s Delta System suspension remains and looks complex, but break it down into its component parts and it’s a single pivot with a linkage- actuated shock; the pivot is just above the 32t chainring and threaded BB. The linkage con guration gives a dual-progressive leverage curve that generates good support at sag for pedalling and traction, then attens to aid tracking, before ramping again to prevent harsh bottom-outs.
In terms of the build, the new frame uses a trunnion-mount RockShox Super Deluxe coil shock with Ultimate-level damping. It runs on sealed bearings throughout, equalling less friction in bump response and superior grip and tracking. In fact, Evil prioritises suspension performance at every level, so the same top-tier RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork that you get on the £8k SRAM AXS build also comes on the entry-level GX bike. With 170mm of travel and 44mm fork offset, this sti 38mm-stanchioned fork is silky smooth and controlled, the proportions perfectly matching Evil’s seriously bulbous head tube.
Industry Nine Enduro wheels are high quality with a broad rubber-splaying 30.5mm internal width for the Maxxis tyres, where the Hydra rear hub engages almost instantaneously. This freewheel is so loud, though, I found it obnoxious pushing back up tracks as well as going down them.
SRAM’s G2 four-piston brakes have sufficient power and lever adjustment, but aren’t as DH-oriented or solid as Codes, plus the (smaller) 180mm rear rotor is under-powered when you consider how hard you can push this bike. Same goes for the Minion DHF 2.3in rear tyre in skimpy EXO casing. This bike needs a Double Down casing tyre or EXO+ at the very minimum.
How it rides
Set the Wreckoning in the ‘X-Low’ geometry setting and it’s still agile at slower speeds; simply swivel your hips and the bike instantly swaps direction, the ex-free frame and supportive suspension reacting to the most subtle of rider inputs. The tighter response is also what enables you to generate tons of drive to boost lips or square-off turns. Add urgent and efficient pedalling to this and all expectations of what it’s like to muscle around a 166mm-travel 29er go straight out the window.
Even with its coil-sprung shock and Rottweiler-like muscularity, the Wreckoning comes over like a puppy straining at the leash to reach the next feature to play on. In that respect, the Wreckoning is different to a lot of modern 29er enduro bikes that chomp through terrain until trails evaporate beneath your tyres. And while plusher, slacker bikes may well be faster and more comfortable on the longest enduro stages, the nimble, medium-sized Wreckoning is a bit of an enigma. It magically finds extra travel once gravity sucks it down the fastest trails. Ramp up the intensity on rooty DH tracks, steep scree and rocks and it morphs into overdrive, smashing through compressions that might deflect a less-burly machine.
At speed, the rear end tracks terrain with precision, offering superb grip while calmly absorbing impacts of every frequency. This allows your focus to remain sharp, yet the bike simultaneously feeds back plenty of trail topography to keep your synapses firing.
Being equally adept at different gradients and speeds likely stems from the superb front-to-rear balance. I half expected to be hanging off the back of those short 430mm stays, but the Evil Wreckoning never pitches rider weight too far in either direction, even on the biggest impacts. And, with 166mm of travel that seems permanently set to ‘Eco’ mode, the coil shock only ever uses the precise amount needed, making it a great one-bike-only option that doesn’t numb the fun out of mellower UK trails.
In that respect, the Evil Wreckoning infectious personality certainly channels Evil’s punk rock image of not giving a damn whether you stop the clock racing or not, so long as you save enough energy to rag it to its absolute limits.