Review: Evil Bikes The Following

Evil Bikes entered the short and slack 29er category with their new bike, The Following. A full carbon affair, that uses a refined version of the DELTA link suspension found on Evil's 26” Uprising, The Following has 120mm of rear travel with adjustable geometry.

Evil Bikes The Following 1.jpg

 

The Frame


The Following, like Evil's other full suspension bikes, is built from unidirectional carbon with a one-piece molded construction. Geometry is adjusted by flipping the left and right dog bone links in the DELTA System. In the low setting, the head angle is 67.2° with a 325mm bottom bracket height and 432mm chainstay length. In the high setting, the head angle is 67.8° with a 333mm bottom bracket height and 430mm chainstay. These numbers are all based around a 120mm fork. Evil recommends using either a 120mm or 130mm travel fork with a 51mm offset. A 130mm fork will slacken the head angle by about 1°.

 

Evil Bikes The Following 10.jpg

 

If you're still not happy with the adjustments on offer, there is an optional integrated headset that was developed by Dave Weagle in collaboration with FSA to offer four independent geometry configurations without any change to leverage rates.

 

At the heart of The Following is a revamped version of Evil's DELTA suspension system, designed and tested closely with Dave Weagle. The DELTA System is a modified single pivot design that provides a dual-leverage rate curve. In layman's terms, this gives The Following a very supple feel at the very beginning of its travel, then ramps up in the mid-stroke for pedaling performance. The latter half of the suspension travel is fairly linear, with just enough progression to prevent against harsh bottom-outs.

 

The Following's DELTA System has been refined to provide improved lateral stiffness and easier maintenance. Evil designed the DELTA System and suspension kinematics around the RockShox Monarch RT3 Debonair rear shock, which is the stock shock on the frame. Thorough testing across several rear shock options proved that the Monarch RT3 offered the best performance. Note that piggyback shocks and Cane Creek's DB inline are not compatible with this frame.

 

Evil Bikes The Following 2.jpg

 

The Following features internal cable routing for a dropper post and front derailleur. The rear brake line is routed externally under the top tube, and on the top side of the seatstay. The rear derailleur line is routed next to the rear brake line, then internally through the seatstay. Another nice detail is a built-in sag meter, located on the non-drive side Delta Link. Just sit on your bike, and the dial will show you when you've reached the target 30% sag.

 

Evil Bikes The Following 14.jpg

 

The Following can run either 1x or 2x drivetrains, with a max 34T on a 1x and a max 38T on a 2x. A direct mount front derailleur tab is fitted for those running a 2x drivetrain. Other frame details include the ability to run wider tyres, with a 2.3" Schwalbe's Hans Dampf fitting with around 10mm to spare on each side. Even though the advent of 12x148mm rear spacing is on the horizon, Evil chose to stick with 12x142 spacing for The Following, citing the current lack of hub options for the evolving standard.

 

Setting Sag


The SAG indicator, located on the non-drive side Delta Link, should barely cover the 30% mark and the O-ring should measure between 10-13mm from the shock body for ideal setup. The Following uses a high volume air canister which compliments the progressive spring curve of the Delta System Suspension, if a less progressive feel is desired then experiment with different air volume spacers.

 


Evil Bikes The Following 12.jpg

Evil Bikes The Following 9.jpg


Features

  • 29" wheels
  • 120mm rear travel
  • DELTA System suspension
  • Two position adjustable geometry
  • 430-432mm chainstay length
  • 67.2° head angle with 120mm fork
  • Claimed Frame weight from 2.8 kg
  • Actual weight as tested: 13kg
  • Colours: Don't Shoot Me Orange, Black
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL

Specification


Fork: In case you missed our review of the RockShox Pike earlier this year, let me sum it up by saying it is a brilliant piece of gear and all of us need to be thankful for the shake up it caused when it was unleashed a couple of years ago. It perfectly matches the rear suspension of the bike.

 

The model on our test bike was a RCT3 with 140mm of travel.

 

Drivetrain: Powering the Following is SRAM's 1x11 X0 groupset using a 32T XSync Narrow/Wide chainring. It performed flawlessly throughout the test and as always never dropped a chain or skipped a beat although the MRP guide may have helped in that regard.

 

Evil Bikes The Following 11.jpg

 

Seatpost: Yet another bike that came fitted with a RockShox Reverb with stealth routing.

 

Wheelset: This was my first time on Easton's new Heist wheelset. They are available in three different internal / external rim widths starting at 24mm / 28mm, then 27mm / 31mm and finally 30mm / 34mm. The Following was equipped with the Heist 27's which sit in the middle of the three. Personal preference would have been to go for the widest option, but these were already a big improvement over the average rim width out there. The wheels were stiff but it would be nice to have faster engagement through technical bits

 

A great feature of the Heist wheels is that the end caps can be swapped out to accommodate different axle sizes and widths.

 

Evil Bikes The Following 15.jpg

 

Tyres: We covered Onza's Ibex tyres in a recent review over here. The more I ride them the more I like them.

 

Brakes: I have SRAM's Guide RS brakes on one of my own bikes so I am familiar with their feel and performance. These were consistent with what I'm used to and paired to 180mm rotors front and rear did a great job of scrubbing speed where needed.

 

Cockpit: Race Face's SIXC carbon handlebar is held in place by a 60mm Turbine stem. The combination showed no sign of flex and, even with the relatively thin Ruffian MX lock on grips, did a good of of keeping trail vibrations in check. ODI have added a Half waffle pattern to the Ruffians for more grip without adding too much width.

 


Evil Bikes The Following 3.jpg

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Saddle: The WTB Volt saddle is definitely worth checking out when you're shopping for a new saddle. It is comfortable from the off with a nice "in the saddle" feel.

 

Specification List:

[spec_list][spec_list_row='Frame']The Following[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Size']Small, Medium, Large, XLarge[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Fork']RockShox Pike RCT3 140mm[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Shock']RockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAir 184x44 HVI[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Seatpost']RockShox Reverb Stealth 125x30.9[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Handlebar']Race Face SIXC 800 Semi-rise carbon bar[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Stem']Race Face Turbine 60mm[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Grips']ODI Ruffian MX[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Saddle']WTB Volt[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Wheelset']Easton Heist27 29"[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Tyres']Onza Ibex 2.25[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Chain guide']MRP AMg V2[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Crank and Chainring']SRAM X0 with 32T X-Sync[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Rear Derailleur']SRAM X0 11-speed[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Chain']SRAM PC-XX1[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Cassette']SRAM X1[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Shifters']SRAM X1[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Brakeset']SRAM Guide RS with 180mm rotors[/spec_list_row][/spec_list]

 

Pricing and availability


Recommended retail pricing on the frame with the Monarch RT3 Debonair rear shock is R 49,850.00 based on current exchange rates. Each build is a custom build so pricing on complete bikes is specification related. Frames are available in small, medium, large and extra large.

 

On the Trail


Firstly, it should be noted just how easy the sag meter makes setting the bike up. There was the usual tweaking to get it to where I liked it, but getting the base setting 30% sag according to Evil, was easier than usual. A clever design.

 

Taking the bike for its first ride, I wasn't 100% sure what to expect. There have been many bikes with bold claims and excellent international reviews with the pool of great bikes seeming to get bigger and bigger by the day. To the point where there are actually very few bad bikes out there today.

 

That being said, some bikes are like vanilla flavoured vanilla. They do exactly what it says on the box, but fail to excite. Those who ride motorbikes should recognise this as the BMW vs KTM debate. The Evil The Following however does not fall into that camp. It is a rip-roaring, fun-loving bike that (almost) knows no bounds. I have no doubt that the top end components on the bike we had on test helped, but I reckon most riders who spend this kind of money on a boutique frame will dive in head first and fit parts that are worthy of the bike.

 

The Following, with its 120mm Delta rear and 140mm Pike, just about crushed everything in its path. The rear suspension linkage offered supple small-bump sensitivity at the top of its travel, a firm pedaling platform in the middle with enough pop to chuck the bike around and just enough ramp-up at the end to give it a bottomless feeling out on the trails.

 

In full open mode, where I spend much of my riding on most bikes, climbing is good rather than stellar on long open sections. A flick of the dial helped, but I felt it was almost too firm for my liking and meant I had to bend down to reach the lever when the fun started. On technical climbs the traction is great and every pedal stroke results in forward motion keeping you upright.

 

Evil Bikes The Following 16.jpg

 

Verdict


My review notes read like this "bottomless, snake through corners, super capable, park the thought that you are riding a 29er". That should sum it up for you. I got the feeling that the design brief was not a long list of tick boxes, but rather a one-liner that read "the best damn trail bike out there.

 

Like my notes said, park the thought that this is a 29er or has only 120mm of travel and that you need to compare it with Bike X, but not bike Y and you will get The Following. This is a bike. Just a bike. One that will happily rip, pop and rail all day long. It is truly category defining with its "what it can't do" list much shorter than "what it can do".

 

I would happily dive in head first myself and say that as far as Trail / All Mountain bikes go, this is one of the best I've slung a leg over and one of the most well-rounded 29er bikes I've ridden yet.




40 Comments

NicoBoshoff, Apr 18 2016 02:51

Hi Iwan.  Just to confirm, you rode this with a 140mm Pike up front?  So HA would have been around the 65.5' range in low setting?

 

Would this not have majorly impacted on it's climbing prowess, especially considering the recommended range of the manufacturer, and therefore perhaps been a bit unfair on Evil?  I know ou don't criticise its climbing, but I'm still left wondering whether it's not a better climber than you give it credit for if run within recommended ranges.

Bibi, Apr 18 2016 03:27

Thanks for the rad review Iwan and am stoked you guys had fun on it.

 

As per the 140mm PIKE I chose to fit instead:

 

As per EVIL Bikes in the FAQ section for The Following frameset one will find stated -- 

 

"What is the suggested fork length for the Following?

 

The Following was designed around 120mm and 130mm forks, but works well with a 140mm fork.This slackens the head angle to 66.4˚ Low and 67.0˚ High and makes for some ripping descents and cornering.

 

- See more at: http://evil-bikes.co...h.an4mx9BD.dpuf "

Iwan Kemp, Apr 18 2016 03:38

Hi Iwan.  Just to confirm, you rode this with a 140mm Pike up front?  So HA would have been around the 65.5' range in low setting?

 

Would this not have majorly impacted on it's climbing prowess, especially considering the recommended range of the manufacturer, and therefore perhaps been a bit unfair on Evil?  I know ou don't criticise its climbing, but I'm still left wondering whether it's not a better climber than you give it credit for if run within recommended ranges.

 

 Hi Nico,

 

Yeah Bibi answered part of your question. Cool thing is you can run a 140mm fork and sort some of the HA with the adjustable geo. 

 

Maybe it reads worse than intended: The Evil can climb - no problem with that. When I said long open sections I meant for people who ride gravel road vibes. Tokai to the mast this bike won't be the fastest as most pure XC bikes will chow it, but compared to it's peers it will most likely out-climb them. 

 

Even now I'm battling to put to words so EVERYONE will understand. Bikes are best discussed over a beer!

Iwan Kemp, Apr 18 2016 03:48

Let me maybe also add this: I haven't ridden a 29er that runs a 27.5" this close in terms of handling in the twisties and overall handling. There also hasn't been a bike that I've wanted to hang on to for the rest of my life* than this one.

 

* in Crow years!

TrailTechCycles, Apr 18 2016 06:03

Thanks for the review Iwan, I think you definitely need to ride this bike to understand what Iwan is trying to explain. Personally I like to ride the bike with a 130mm fork and set the rear in its Low setting but by going to a 140mm fork you maintain the BB height and get the slacker head angle which is what we were aiming for with this specific build. We have a stage race XC version we built up with a 120mm SID XXWC fork and some amazing South Industries Carbon wheels which is amazingly fast yet still more playful than most bikes in its category. Look us up and arrange a demo ride you won't be sorry!

Rick Sanchez, Apr 18 2016 06:57

Despite its rather ugly suspension linkage, I would still love to have this bike with a 120mm up front as a do-all bike. 

Iwan Kemp, Apr 18 2016 07:20

Here's one build with Stage racing in mind. 11.5kg as is with proper tires and wheels.

 

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Iwan Kemp, Apr 18 2016 07:21

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Martin Zietsman, Apr 18 2016 09:43

This is a seriously sexy looking bike. I look forward to giving it a go some time.

Having ridden the 150mm travel 'Insurgent' for a few months now, I'd like to add to the climbing conversation that I spend most of the time in the fully open position on the rear shock, even when climbing. Evil's suspension design, more specifically the DELTA system, is surprisingly good at pedalling and climbing. I can only imagine how much better this bike must be than the long travel enduro bike.

(Deon), Apr 19 2016 06:06

" that uses a refined version of the DELTA link suspension found on Evil's 26” Uprising"

 

Yup, I've read enough. Where's the queue?

Iwan Kemp, Apr 19 2016 07:04

" that uses a refined version of the DELTA link suspension found on Evil's 26” Uprising"

 

Yup, I've read enough. Where's the queue?

 

Could have saved me a whole lot of typing!

NicoBoshoff, Apr 19 2016 07:40

Biggest question I'm left with though is "How does it descend?".  Where was it tested and what were your findings?  Especially since this is exactly what lead to all this bike's hype - it's basically a DH sled you can take on a long XC ride from what I've read elsewhere.

 

Perhaps this clip sums it up: http://www.vitalmtb....0/iceman2058,94

Iwan Kemp, Apr 19 2016 08:00

Biggest question I'm left with though is "How does it descend?". 

 

Like a 27.5" bike with 150mm of the best travel around that is on rails

 

 Where was it tested and what were your findings?

 

Welvanpas Black, Jonkers Red, Contermans from the top, Zevenwacht's Bottelary Hill Trails. Apart from pure DH tracks there is nothing in the WC the The Following won't handle with confidence. 

 

I reckon this clip sums it up though: http://www.vitalmtb....0/iceman2058,94

 

Yes!

 

What else are you considering to buy?

NicoBoshoff, Apr 19 2016 08:22

Like a 27.5" bike with 150mm of the best travel around that is on rails

 

 

Welvanpas Black, Jonkers Red, Contermans from the top, Zevenwacht's Bottelary Hill Trails. Apart from pure DH tracks there is nothing in the WC the The Following won't handle with confidence. 

 

 

Yes!

 

What else are you considering to buy?

I'm leaning towards the Transition Smuggler, but will first test ride it in the next week or so along with a Banshee Phantom.  From what I've read these are basically the little brother and cousin of the Following, which is the Sith Overlord of small travel, slack AF 29'ers.

 

My decision is however made easier by the economic reality that I'm simply not in a position to fork out R50k for a frame.  Was considering the Following because it's everything I'm looking for in a bike, but I had a harsh wakeup call when I got the pricing.  My entire build will come in under the frame only price, so it's a bit of a no-brainer.

 

I think it's clear that our market has far more superbikes than it used to.  Two years ago it was the S-Works Enduro; now it's also the Following, the HighTower, the Nomad C etc.  In fact people sneer at those S-Works Enduros now. "Pfffft, stay away commoner!" 

 

And by the sheer number of these bikes on our trails I'm finding it incredibly hard to believe economists when they say our economy is struggling (then again those economists also point out the ridiculous levels of indebtedness of Saffas, so...).

Thermophage, Apr 19 2016 08:29

Biggest question I'm left with though is "How does it descend?".  Where was it tested and what were your findings?  Especially since this is exactly what lead to all this bike's hype - it's basically a DH sled you can take on a long XC ride from what I've read elsewhere.

 

Perhaps this clip sums it up: http://www.vitalmtb....0/iceman2058,94

Then there is THIS,.....

 

http://www.mbr.co.uk...29er-trail-bike

Iwan Kemp, Apr 19 2016 08:32

Then there is THIS,.....

 

http://www.mbr.co.uk...29er-trail-bike

 

 

:eek:

Thermophage, Apr 19 2016 08:42

:eek:

Yep...this is not a marathon bike and putting a 120mm fork on it would hurt its soul...Any re-seller allowing that should have their licence revoked  :whistling:

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Apr 19 2016 08:48

Yep...this is not a marathon bike and putting a 120mm fork on it would hurt its soul...Any re-seller allowing that should have their licence revoked  :whistling:

Yeah, but that wasn't the Following that he was on. It was a proto version of the Wreckoning. They got it wrong on the article... Just because Evil only "made" the following and insurgent then, they assumed it was the Following. But he's been riding the Wreckoning for a while. 

 

http://www.pinkbike....-bike-2016.html

 

http://www.vitalmtb....31125/sspomer,2

 

http://www.vitalmtb....28614/sspomer,2

 

http://dirtmountainb...wreckoning.html

Thermophage, Apr 19 2016 08:54

Yeah, but that wasn't the Following that he was on. It was a proto version of the Wreckoning. They got it wrong on the article... Just because Evil only "made" the following and insurgent then, they assumed it was the Following. But he's been riding the Wreckoning for a while. 

 

http://www.pinkbike....-bike-2016.html

 

http://www.vitalmtb....31125/sspomer,2

 

http://www.vitalmtb....28614/sspomer,2

 

http://dirtmountainb...wreckoning.html

Ahhh...always thought it was the Following :|

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Apr 19 2016 09:02

Ahhh...always thought it was the Following :|

Nope. Following  120mm. Wreckoning = 160mm 29er. 

Thermophage, Apr 19 2016 09:03

Nope. Following  120mm. Wreckoning = 160mm 29er. 

Yea i know the difference, just previously thought he was riding the Following in that vid. 

Either way...damn impressive some of the other vids of The Following and the ethos behind the design of it :)

Iwan Kemp, Apr 19 2016 09:30

Nope. Following  120mm. Wreckoning = 160mm 29er. 

 

In other news, we will be riding one of those soon...

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Apr 19 2016 09:32

In other news, we will be riding one of those soon...

SQUEAL!!

Bibi, Apr 19 2016 10:16

Biggest question I'm left with though is "How does it descend?".  Where was it tested and what were your findings?  Especially since this is exactly what lead to all this bike's hype - it's basically a DH sled you can take on a long XC ride from what I've read elsewhere.

 

Perhaps this clip sums it up: http://www.vitalmtb....0/iceman2058,94

Yes, that sums it up perfectly ;)

Bibi, Apr 19 2016 10:22

;) VERY soon ....