Considering Evil Bikes' legacy of perfecting long-travel sleds with a ravenous appetite for gravity-fueled gluttony, it's almost blasphemous to announce the arrival of a mid-travel option that pairs climbing competency with downhill delinquency in a decidedly unholy alliance. The Calling X01 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike is here to sway your preconceived notions of what an Evil is capable of, boasting the same low-slung, slackened DNA of its burlier brethren, but in a sprightly trail package with 27.5-inch wheels and "only" five inches of travel. Its go-fast, have-fun mentality is similar to Evil's other rigs, yet it offers a unique way of playing across tight, technical terrain that's simply not conceivable on bikes with longer travel or bigger wheels.
We hooked the frame up with our own, cherry-picked build kit, which starts with Industry Nine's stout Enduro 305 wheels and ends with the extra low-end of SRAM's Eagle X01 drivetrain. These choices make The Calling adeptly suited for conquering climbs for the joyous reward of turbulent descents, slaloming berms, and flowing jumps that follow. Industry Nine's Torch hubs provide 3-degrees of near-instantaneous engagement with their 6-pawl mechanism, allowing you to get up and over trail impediments standing in your way. Maxxis Aggressor tires further aide in The Calling's trail supremacy, with reinforced side knobs lending plentiful traction for cornering at high speeds. And when your trail bravado exceeds the limits of comfort, Shimano XT brakes serve as a reliable stopping force to be reckoned with. We often find ourselves turning to XT brakes because, pound-for-pound, it's difficult to imagine a better braking system.
But the bike's emphasis is on going, not stopping, and the key is Evil's unique take on linkage design. It's clearly the source of The Calling's category-defying heresy, and it includes flip chips that alter its bottom bracket height and head tube angle, catering the bike to your preferred trail ecosystem. Under the Low setting, The Calling features a low-slung, slack geometry with a head tube angle of 66.4-degrees and bottom bracket height of 13.3-inches, respectively. Dropping the bike even closer to the ground, the X-Low setting features a downhill-devouring head tube angle of 65.8-degrees and a sports car-like bottom bracket height of only 13-inches. And unlike other bikes with flip chips, The Calling's adjustable geometry settings won't change the praised kinematics of its DELTA suspension. Regardless of flip chip settings, DELTA is always ready to party.
Where other full-suspension machines have a living, beating heart, The Calling possesses a wicked soul in the form of DELTA, or Dave's Extra Legitimate Trail Apparatus. Designed by suspension sorcerer Dave Weagle, the DELTA system is a linkage-driven single pivot that achieves a spellbinding level of adjustability not allowed on four-bar systems. DELTA's original purpose was to tinker with highly complex leverage rate curves in the lab, so—once released into the wild—it lets Evil take full advantage of the included shock's valving and speed-sensitive damper. Since the shock tune is so important on the DELTA system, Evil integrates a sag measurement system for quick set-up. Simply reset the tiny toggle, hop aboard to check the sag, and adjust air pressure accordingly.
DELTA's main pivot location was consciously placed for an optimal balance between quick acceleration and pleasant braking attributes. This careful placement reduces the reliance on shock damping, allowing you to run the RockShox Super Deluxe Debonair fully open—even when you're muscling up punchy climbs laced with rock and root impediments. Ultimately, DELTA hits the sweet spot between light suppleness off-the-top with predictable traction through the mid-stroke when you're pedaling. For bigger hits and steep descents, the travel arc ramps up as you approach the business end of its 131mm of travel. This bottomless sensation lends the descending capabilities of bikes packing greater travel.
The Calling's DELTA suspension works seamlessly with the new metric standards recently introduced by RockShox, an effort to get frame manufacturers and shock designers on board with a single set of metric sizes. This makes the frame all the more future-proof should you upgrade the shock in the future. Just as importantly, the provided Super Deluxe shock uses a Trunnion mount that decreases its eye-to-eye length by 25mm yet increases internal real estate to fit an all-new damper. Moreover, the upper shock bolts are now mounted to bearings instead of bushings, reducing friction and creating a smoother, more supple feel than RockShox's previous Monarch.
It's worth mentioning that each frame is laid-up with a blend of T700 and T800 carbon, which are both high-modulus, uni-directional fibers from Toray. This targeted blend of carbon achieves an optimal degree of stiffness while keeping the frame relatively lightweight. Despite all that, The Calling never takes itself too seriously, staying true to Evil's rowdy, fun-loving nature on the trail. Think roosting around berms, popping off rock outcroppings, and throwing whips on park jumps for The Calling's preferred use.
- Evil's most playful and poppy trail machine
- 5in of responsive-yet-plush DELTA suspension
- Low-slung, slack geometry keeps you glued to the trail
- Flip chips adjust the geometry to your riding style
- Sag switch helps get the perfect shock tune
- Toray carbon frame balances stiffness with low weight
- Spec'd with our in-house build of SRAM Eagle and I9 wheels
- Evil Bikes brings a high-tech party to the trails