For All of Your Evil Intentions
Evil Bikes describes the new Following Mountain Bike Frame as "same same but different." That’s not a typo. Bottom bracket and angles remain the same. Evil made the conscious effort not to slacken or lower the geometry since the bike's angles are so universally accepted. So what’s different? Well, if you are wondering what the MB moniker is on the new Following, naturally it stands for "more better'er." Evil picks up right where everybody’s favorite short-travel 29er left off and lengthens the reach and stiffens up the frame with the addition of boost spacing. New features making the new Following eviler is a trunnion mounted metric piggy-back shock and integrated chain guide like the ones we've seen on Evil's newer frames. Evil's recipe for big bike fun in a shorter travel package is alive and well and put the entire industry on notice. We defy you to find a review on the Following that isn't full of praise. We also love that Evil doesn't take itself too seriously, but the quality, features, and dialed geometry that comes out of this Seattle outfit is second to none.
Sometimes less really is more and the versatility of the Following is the secret to its black magic. Built up with a 120mm fork and the frame's flip chips in the low position, you have a bike you can pedal all-day and even give the XC set something to worry about. Or, throw a 140mm fork on it and flip the chips to x-low and you'll have an all-mountain ripper that won't back down from any enduro stage and can tackle trails way better than you would believe 4.7in is even capable of doing. We generally subscribe to n+1 when making a new bike purchase but the new Following is a serious quiver killer. Oh yeah, we almost forgot to mention that the new Following is now 27.5+ compatible. At first glance Evil reserved judgement and chalked up plus as just another industry ploy to sell more bikes. After spending some serious time on plus wheels Evil feels like they definitely have a place. After all, Evil's head honcho, Kevin Walsh, wasn't immediately warm to the idea of 29ers when developing the Following but after getting it dialed in and some saddle time, he and most of the Evil crew almost always reach for the Following or Wreckoning, depending on the conditions. Evil doesn't see plus replacing conventional tire sizes anytime soon and acknowledges that they are a lot of fun in the right conditions.
Key to the Following's versatility is Evil's ability for geometry customization allowing a short travel trail bike to ride like a mini-DH bike if the pilot wishes. The frame's linkage includes flip chips that alter both the bottom bracket height and head and seattube angle. With a 120mm fork and dropped to the x-low setting, the bottom bracket is a berm slashing 12.86in from terra firma The head tube has the ability to slacken out to 66.8 degrees with a 130mm fork also in the same x-low setting. Geometry like this aggressive was unheard of on a 29er when the original Following launched 3 years ago and was reserved for 27.5in enduro machines. Once enough Followings were released into the wild and reviews surfaced, journalist, riders, and even other bike brands realized how much fun could be had on big wheels and slack angles. When the dust settled several bike brand's engineering team began burning the midnight oil in an attempt to replicate the fun had on the Following. Evil brings a mosh pit to the woods and the new Following isn't afraid to get rowdy. The bike eggs you to push the pace and get out of your comfort zone. Hell, its great fun to scare yourself a little and get the heart racing similar to watching horror flicks the brand so idolizes. Although there is an additional 20mm of reach across all sizes opening up the cockpit a bit and providing a longer, more stable wheelbase, Evil's signature short 430mm chainstays still exist encouraging riders to jib off any feature you can find on the trail and manualing (or attempting to at least) down the singletrack whenever you get the chance.
The leverage rate has been slightly updated to handle those days when landings are an oversight. Evil increased the frame's clearance to support various piggy-back, coil, and inline shocks so you can build a lightweight XC/trail slayer or all mountain/enduro shredder. A newly designed Trunnion mount works flawlessly with the new metric shock standard and the upper shock bolts run on bearings for a super sensitive initial stroke that is much smoother and more active throughout the travel. The assembly appears overly complicated, but it's actually a single pivot configuration at heart using short links between the swingarm and the shock so a dual leverage rate curve can be achieved. Riding the bike, we notice a supple beginning stroke that ramps up for improved pedaling. Further in the travel, comes a great linear feel before ramping up to avoid harsh bottom outs. Dave Weagle is responsible for the amazing suspension kinematics and is most likely some sort of sorcerer as every suspension design he has touched (DW-link, DW split-pivot, and here with Evil with the DELTA) is pure gold. DELTA is an acronym for Dave's Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus and we feel DELTA is appropriate, because after pedaling the bike around, we are fairly certain Dave Weagle, and not Robert Johnson, sold his soul to the devil in the Mississippi Delta in exchange for his suspension design prowess. There's simply no other explanation for how versatile, adaptable, and surprisingly capable DELTA renders the bike's five-inches of travel and Rock Shox Super Deluxe RCT shock. While bike's featuring a DW-link four-bar design are pretty well rounded, much of the focus is still placed on pedaling efficiency. Given the Following's intentions, pedaling efficiency is still great and the bike we have here does indeed pedal quite well, but where the design really shines is the level of adjustability on offer from the linkage driven single pivot. Shock tune is important on a DELTA bike, maybe more so than on any other suspension design, and thankfully Evil added a fancy integrated SAG meter on the non-drive side Delta Link to make suspension set up easy. Simply push it forward, sit on your bike, adjust air pressure to 30% sag, then shred.
The Following's DELTA pivot location reduces the need for excessive shock damping and you can ride the included RockShox Super Deluxe wide open for rock crawler like traction on water bar-laden singletrack climbs or hucking into root-riddled gaps. Since the Following doesn't have to run an abundance of damping and with the increased sensitivity from the trunnion-mounted metric shock, the DELTA design gives you a perfect balance between a supple, light-off-the-top early stroke and a mid-stroke that keeps the rubber glued to the trail. As you get closer to pegging the fun meter, the travel arc ramps up to maintain a bottomless feel and you will forget you only have 4.7in to play with. If you find that you can push the limits on the Following on the regs, congratulations Evil makes another bike for that and it goes by the name of the Wreckoning.
DELTA suspension isn't the only star of the show here. The carbon fiber and special construction methods allowing Evil to construct the Following to such exacting tolerances deserve a mention. Weight savings, increased stiffness, and long term durability became achievable once Evil found the right factory and materials. All of Evil's carbon frames are laid-up in EPS and silicone molds known by One Piece Molded construction. A blend of T700 and T800 carbon, which are high-modulus and unidirectional from the carbon experts at Toray, is laid up and compacted from the inside and out, resulting in uniform wall thickness and eliminating excess resin pooling and the kind of imperfections and structural weaknesses that may have plagued Evil frames of yesteryear. Worry no more. A move from a PF92 to a threaded shell with get you nothing but praises from us as we prefer the creak-free performance and reduced maintenance that comes with the threaded unit.
With dual wheel compatibility and the ability for geometry manipulation, the new Following MB Mountain Frame from Evil really allows for four bikes on offer from one frame. Build it up to whatever serves your evil intentions but know that the dark soul of this frame is bent on slashing everything in sight and leaving charred remains in its wake.
- A trail 29er hell-bent on a good time
- Dave Weagle's 120mm DELTA suspension with big wheels
- Longer reach increases confidence in steep and fast terrain
- Flip chips raise or drop the bottom bracket and adjust angles
- Sag meter makes suspension set-up so easy a zombie could do it
- Stubby stays cut trail faster than a chainsaw wielding madman
- Carbon monocoque construction keeps things light and stiff
- Evil's Following wants to slam-dance down the singletrack