The Insurgent LB GX Eagle Complete Mountain Bike
Seems like every new wonder bike to come out is a long travel 29er, but old habits die hard and no amount of geo manipulation or light wheels and tires can match the playfulness, nimble handling, and in the air controllability like a 27.5in bike. Luckily, brands like Evil still give you a choice and with its updated Insurgent LB GX Eagle Complete Mountain Bike, you'll be hucking this bike and terrorizing trails for a long time to come. Much like the reconfigured Following MB and Wreckoning LB, it didn't have to change much, those bikes were already pretty damn good. Instead, Evil went about making some meaningful changes that didn't detract from what we loved about the ride and focused on things that if we had our way, we'd get it and will touch on that shortly. More or less, the Insurgent is still that terminator trail assassin that's happy hitting every feature in the park, or when it's time to get serious and throw down a fast run to stop the clock, it'll come correct there too. This LB is outfitted up with SRAM's rangy and value packing GX Eagle componentry and rolls on Mercury's Enduro Alloy wheels. This build allows for an Insurgent that leaves some scratch in your pocket so you can go explore some mountain bike meccas or race an enduro series. Oh yes, those changes, new on the Insurgent LB or "little better’er" as Evil calls it, is the long-awaited move to stiffness enhancing Boost spacing, water bottle cage mounting capabilities in the medium through x-large sizes, a new, lighter carbon layup responsible for the half-pound weight reduction while improving lateral stiffness and compliance, and of course, some new paint colors.
One thing that didn't change on this new Insurgent, and frankly, didn't need to change was a departure from the numbers and angles that have given it such universal acclaim. Having a look at the linkage reveals flip chips that alter the bottom bracket height and head tube angle. When dropped to the XLow setting, the bottom bracket hovers a mere 13in above the ground, while the head tube kicks back to a slack 65.2 degrees. Yes, those numbers were commonplace on freeride and DH bikes not too long ago, however, this is a bike that’s also at home pedaling and cornering as if its job depended on it, as evidence of its stubby 17in chainstays, so it's not a chore getting to choice sections of trail, and you'll be glad you're on it when things head downhill.
In contrast to more complicated, multi-pivot suspensions that populate the market, on The Insurgent, Evil uses its own linkage driven single pivot suspension design, dubbed Dave's Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus, or DELTA for short. Dave is in Weagle, also of DW-Link and Split-Pivot fame, worked closely with Evil to create a platform that checked off every ride attribute it sought to achieve in a suspension design. When put to the test in real-world conditions, DELTA is amazingly capable. Looking back at our own field notes reveal words like "supportive cornering, excellent big-hit management, playful pop, and wonderful pedaling efficiency". So versatile is the ride provided from the wonderful suspension package that we wouldn't hesitate pulling it off the rack and subjecting it to any known or unknown trail networks.
The DELTA suspension design was originally a platform meant for testing different suspension curves, and it's most basic, defining attribute is its virtually limitless adjustability. Given this evidence, it becomes apparent that The Insurgent's shock setup is far more important than on a non-DELTA frame. Lucky for us, Evil worked closely with its suspension suppliers for the proper tune and it includes a built-in sag meter to facilitate easy tuning without needing an abacus or slide ruler. Simply reset the dial, mount the machine, and add or relieve air pressure as needed to achieve the prescribed 30% number. Once tuned, DELTA allows for a supple off the top feel with a supportive mid stroke for wallow free cruising and pedaling efficiency before ramping up and preventing harsh bottom outs during park shenanigans and on shuttle laps.
Evil didn't waste this excellent suspension platform to some substandard frame construction process and on all of its newer frames, it invested in building new molds in a new factory that also happens to service most of the high-end manufacturers on the market. Given the logistics of carbon construction, this wasn't a simple process; however, anyone familiar with Evil's history will agree that it was necessary, and the frames we've handled definitely occupy the sharp end of the industry's quality curve.
The LB enjoys a lighter weight carbon layup that helps improve the overall ride quality, which correlates to more compliance without sacrificing stiffness where it's needed. Most impressively, it managed to drop nearly half a pound from the overall frame weight while still retaining the desired ride characteristics. This marvel of unidirectional carbon and one-piece molded construction is able to withstand the hardest hits on the most demanding trail and keep coming back for more.
Evil's website and its copy lead you to believe that it doesn't take itself too seriously and indeed it does have a more lighthearted approach than other staunch and stuffy brands, however, it's no less committed to the highest end manufacturing. Every frame's life begins with EPS and silicone molds. The carbon is laid up around these and then compacted from inside and out, resulting in uniform wall thickness and eliminating excess resin pooling and the kind of imperfections and structural weaknesses that might later lead to frame failures.
- Evil's 27.5 enduro frame receiving a little better'er treatment
- Responsive pedaling and 6 plush inches of DELTA travel
- Long, slack geometry adds confidence on big lines
- Lighter weight carbon construction and increased stiffness
- 1/2 pound reduction from the frame and shock
- Waterbottle cage mounts afford hot lap hydration
- RockShox suspension and SRAM drivetrain bring the party favors
- The new Insurgent LB urges you to send it to the moon on your next trail shesh