We'd be remiss if we didn't begin any discussion about The Wreckoning Mountain Bike Frame, Evil Bikes' latest twentyniner-stein, with a warning: This bike doesn't give a damn about your lines. Or rather, it doesn't give a damn about whether or not you give a damn about your lines. Other Evil models—The Following, for instance—are built for more artful trail surgery, strategically picking apart rock gardens and root lattices with occasional moments of abandon. Conversely, The Wreckoning is built to wreck trails. Bully them into submission. It just goes, leaving nothing but broken trails and crushed dreams in its shuttle-lap wake. If we were to sum the frame up in one word, it would be "bully," because The Wreckoning is so overbearingly aggressive that, to paraphrase Evil's fearless leader, Kevin Walsh, it's pretty much impossible not to ride it like a jerk.
Evil's gravity pedigree is on full display here, and The Wreckoning is most at home when the going gets rowdy. That's not surprising. What is surprising is that the bike manages to combine over six-inches of travel with 29in wheels in a platform that can actually corner. It owes this combination to two things: a long, low, slack geometry and the spacing afforded by a Boost axle. Compared to the riotously popular 29in Following, The Wreckoning is almost two degrees slacker at 66.1 and 65.1, depending on what setting you have the linkage's flip chip in. The addition of Boost spacing lets Evil jam the rear wheel up into the seat tubs, so its chainstays are also virtually the same size as the 27.5in Insurgent. So if you want to adjust lines or, you know, turn, you can. Or you can just ride roughshod over everything in your way with its 160mm of travel.
That travel is governed by Dave's Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus (DELTA), which Evil designed in collaboration with Dave Weagle, who is himself aptly described as extra legitimate. Before going any further, a disclaimer: this isn't a DW-link suspension. Evil (at Weagle's behest) stuck to what it's calling a linkage driven single pivot in order to achieve a level of adjustability not allowed by DW-link's four-bar design. In fact, DELTA was originally designed as a platform to test different suspension curves, so it's most basic, defining property is virtually limitless mutability.
Given that fact, shock tune may be more important on a DELTA bike than on any other suspension design, and Evil tools The Wreckoning with a built-in sag measurement system to make tuning a quick, painless affair. Just reset the little toggle dial, hop in the saddle, and air up. For reasons we can't fathom, Evil doesn't assign this indispensable feature a playfully overwrought epithet like the Sag-o-Meter or Sir Sags-a-Lot—a glaring oversight considering the hyperbolic self-deprecation the brand uses to define itself and its proprietary tech. (We refer you again to Dave's Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus.)
Once the tune is set, DELTA strikes an apparently contradictory balance between a supple, light-off-the-top early stroke and a mid-stroke that keeps the tires glued to the trail. As it approaches the deep end of its six-plus inches, the travel arc ramps up to maintain a bottomless feel that belies Evil's gravity roots and informs the bike's fearless approach to trail furniture. It takes a lot to find DELTA's limits, and that's fortunate since The Wreckoning is, essentially, a long-travel 29er possessed by ungovernable demonic rage. In the words of Kevin Walsh, Evil's resident warlock-in-chief, "you can get away with murder on it"—largely because its spirited compression arc and aggressive mien mean you never actually need a bailout.
If DELTA is The Wreckoning's evil intent, then the carbon frame is the weapon via which those slasher intentions manifest. Evil has had some issues with carbon manufacturing in the past, but it recently 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 put our hands on definitely occupy the sharp end of the industry's quality curve.
Each frame is laid-up with a targeted blend of T700 and T800 carbon, which are both high-modulus, unidirectional fibers from Toray. Toray is a name that we'd expect to see associated with a lightweight climber's road frame, not a brutally aggressive trail ogre that refuses to die. The same is true for these moduli. The insistence on using this material tells a story that's kind of at odds with the approach that Evil takes to itself. It's not what you'd expect from a goofy, fly-by-night operation.
Despite that, Evil really is as lightheartedly goofy as it makes itself out to be, and it really doesn't take itself too seriously. But the brand's idea of FUN at play requires uncompromisingly capable toys, so it takes everything from the lay-up pattern to the carbon compaction deadly seriously. Every frame's life begins with EPS and silicone molds. The black stuff 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 impertinent trail gremlins exploit to cause frame failures. That sort of structural soundness is especially important given The Wreckoning's penchant for bullying trails into submission.
- The crossroads of 29er speed and gravity-inspired aggression
- 160mm of Dave Weagle's eminently tunable DELTA suspension
- Boost rear spacing allows for stubby chainstays with wagon wheels
- Customizable geometry courtesy of flip chips in the linkage
- Sag guide makes for easy shock tuning
- High-modulus carbon monocoque construction
- Evil Bikes privileges on-trail competence over marketing palaver