The Wreckoning LB X01 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike
We've never hidden our affection for big wheels on trail bikes here in the office, and now that the industry is offering plenty of legit options, and some of the biggest enduros and even downhill races are being won on 29ers, the keyboard jockeys no longer have fodder for the forums and we're hoping they're finally able to step away from their computers and hit the trail. A brand that's been instrumental in progressing the modern 29er is Evil Bikes, and even it was a bit pigheaded when deciding whether or not wagon wheels deserved a spot in its lineup. Company head Kevin Walsh was blown away with the rollover ability and playfulness of its first 29er offering, The Following, and knew immediately that the brand needed a burlier, long travel version to wreak havoc on the trails and compete in enduros. Thus the Wreckoning was born and with its 160mm of travel and large diameter wheels, it simply didn't give a damn about a line choice. Two years later and its back with some subtle improvements. Much like we saw with The Following MB, the new Wreckoning isn't a total reboot, the bikes were so good it didn't warrant it, instead, it listened to its faction of hardcore athletes and consumers and updated it with water bottle mounts (on medium through x-large frames), a lighter carbon layup, and of course, some fresh paint to make it, as it says, "just a little better'er". What remains is a bike that's on our very short list for one we want to be on during shuttle laps down gnarly natural terrain, lift access to the jump lines on repeat, or during enduro stage racing where we value a bike that's efficient on the transfers and a demon against the clock. Welcome to The Wreckoning LB X01 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike, a bike we've never felt so comfortable scaring ourselves on.
Evil has an addiction to gravity-fuel fun and there's no doubt that it's reflected in its frame designs. As such, The Wreckoning is built to go fast and mob the rowdiest terrain. It would be absolutely unheard of to think that a bike with over six inches of travel and 29in wheels would actually corner and be one you would want to pedal for hours just a few years ago, but modern technology is an amazing thing and we'll accept progression as we're all about having a more capable bike that we can pedal on our favorite trails. Luckily, one thing that was untouched on this new version and adheres to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality is the v1's long, low, slack geometry. The first version already sported Boost axle spacing, so Evil was able to refine the angles and lengths making the first version such a shredder and it didn't want to mess with a good thing. Naturally, if you're looking at this bike you might be on the fence with it and its little brother The Following. While The Following is a little more sports car with a taut feel whereas The Wreckoning is a full-on monster truck that's always in plow mode with an almost two degrees slacker headtube angle at 66.1 and 65.1-degrees, depending on what setting you have the linkage's flip chip in. The now ubiquitous Boost spacing lets Evil hack the chainstays to position the rear wheel right up against the seattube, for a rear end that's virtually the same length as its 27.5in Insurgent. Berm busting and line adjustments have never been easier on a big wheel bike and you'll quickly discover that this bike loves back wheel.
The suspension travel is governed by Dave's Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus (DELTA), which Evil designed in collaboration with Dave Weagle, also of DW-link and Split-Pivot fame. Dave holds more patents than you can shake a stick at and has achieved wizard status in the mountain bike suspension world. Essentially, DELTA is a linkage driven single pivot that's chosen to achieve a level of adjustability that's not allowed on DW-link's mini-link design. In fact, DELTA was originally designed as a platform to test different suspension curves, so it's most basic, defining property is its limitless adjustability. On the new Wreckoning, Evil redesigned this linkage for simplicity, weight savings, and increased strength. The redesigned dog bone links use integrated forged bosses that connect the linkage to simplify maintenance while boosting lateral stiffness.
Naturally, shock setup is very important on a DELTA bike and Evil works very closely with its suspension partners for the proper tune and hooks up The Wreckoning with a built-in sag measurement meter so you can dial in the prescribed 30% quickly and easily. Just reset the little toggle, hop on the saddle, and add or remove air as needed. This particular version gets the excellent RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir that we feel fantastically matches the plushness and adjustability of the Lyrik RC2 DebonAir fork up front.
Riding a DELTA equipped bike is a revelation as it offers an amazingly light-off-the-top early stroke while transitioning into a supportive mid-stroke that simply creates traction as you claw up and over loose, rock ledges and slippery root balls. As you peg the fun meter deeper into its six-plus inches of travel, the kinematics create some ramping to help maintain a bottomless feel and prevent harsh bottom outs so you'll have the confidence to hit that double, huck-to-flat, or stomp that gap you've been eyeballing with the confidence that comes from its refined suspension platform. It takes a lot to find DELTA's limits which is fantastic for those looking to up their game and even Evil's own pro factory pilots.
With all that talk of suspension design and geometry, it'd be easy to dismiss the frame's carbon construction. While Evil has had some issues with carbon manufacturing many moons ago, its unidirectional carbon and one-piece molded frames are now constructed in a factory that also happens to service most of the high-end manufacturers on the market. The new frames simply exude quality and after logging some hard trail miles and subjecting the bikes to a few seasons' worth of general abuse, we can wholeheartedly say that they're built to a caliber reserved for certain outhouses constructed from cinder blocks.
The v2 Wreckoning is built up with a new, lighter layup further enhancing that engineered chassis flex that makes Evil bikes a beast under hard cornering with sure tracking at speed through chunky rock gardens. The marketing hyperbole of increased stiffness with more compliance isn't lost here and while we don't have specific numbers to reflect this, we do have quantifiable metrics on its weight loss that comes in at the tune of a half-pound lighter for frame and shock over the previous version.
This build features a custom curated collection of parts and was selected specifically for how we would want to ride this bike, because, well, we chose them. Rolling stock consists of an office favorite Industry Nine Enduro S wheelset with its lightning-quick engagement and healthy internal width plumping up the Maxxis Minion DHF/Aggressor rubber that's simply one of the most ideal combos that balance speed and grip. The SRAM X01 drivetrain was chosen to match the frame's durability and newfound weight loss while providing the gear range needed for traversing up mountains, along alpine ridgelines, and blasting down blistering descents. And if the fun starts getting a little out of control, Shimano's Saint brakes offer DH-level power for 1-finger control.
- A long travel 29er built for high speed over gnar
- 161mm of plush, Dave Weagle refined DELTA suspension
- Boost rear spacing allows for a short rear end with big wheels
- Customizable geometry courtesy of flip chips at the linkage
- Sag meter makes for easy shock setup
- New, lighter carbon layup drops half a pound and boosts stiffness
- The medium through X-Large frames now receive water bottle mounts
- SRAM X01 drivetrain and RockShox suspension conspire with the frame to tame the trail