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While the spectacle of its development and the intricacies of its carbon lay-up may initially shroud The Insurgent Mountain Bike Frame in a most intimidating aspect, the iconoclasts at Evil Bikes assure us that it is, in fact, "a bike that likes to party." Upon filtering our own experiences aboard The Insurgent through the process of abductive reasoning, we're compelled to issue a full-throated endorsement of Evil's assessment.
Every aspect of the bike's construction is undertaken with that end (the "party" of a long, low-slung, six-inch bike) in mind. Understood as such, the design is elegantly simple—elementary, even—however, despite its relatively simple suspension construction, The Insurgent's approach to all-mountain terrain is every bit as subtle as a phosphorescent, predatory canine that might be seen prowling the moors near Baskerville. Which is to say it's not subtle at all. The trail game is afoot, and the irreverently playful Insurgent is the chief antagonist.
Though it ended in an opiatic euphoria wherein any considerations of technical features and engineering specifics were laid aside, our own personal investigation of The Insurgent's capabilities began with a coldly logically consideration of the suspension. Specifically, we put the linkage under the magnifying glass because it includes flip chips that alter the bottom bracket height and head tube angle. When dropped to the XLow setting, the bottom bracket reposes a mere 13in above the ground, and the head tube slacks out to as low as 65.2 degrees. You'll be excused if you'd only expect to see angles like that on bikes with more travel. We are of the same mind—or rather, we were until the insurrectionists at Evil staged this irreverent coup. The cumulative effect of the bike's 17in chainstays, long, low posture, and aggressive tilt conspire to drive the bike through corners, all but daring the tires to shuffle off.
Our inquiry next carries us to the rather conspicuously titled Dave's Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus (DELTA). If we were to limit our deductive efforts to the tech sheet alone, we might conclude that DELTA's linkage driven single pivot design is something of an anachronism—especially considering the indelible impression that sometime Evil collaborator Dave Weagle's DW-link suspension has had on the industry as a whole. We'd be mistaken. When put to the test in the conditions of an actual ride, it transpires that DELTA is alarmingly capable. Our own la-BOR-atory technician describes the experience thusly: "blistering rolling speed, poised cornering, big-hit management, lively pop, and pedaling efficiency." In the subsequent field report, that impressive catalogue earns The Insurgent the title of "the best suspended trail bike" we've had the privilege of pedaling in a state of elevated ire.
It further transpires that the DELTA suspension design was originally a platform meant for testing different suspension curves. It's most basic, defining property is virtually limitless mutability. Given this evidence, the astute observer might posit that The Insurgent's shock tune is far more important than on a non-DELTA carriage, and Evil includes a built-in sag measurement system to facilitate tuning without the need of an erudite machinist. One must simply reset the dial, mount the machine, and adjust as appropriate to achieve the recommended metric of 30%. The mechanism is so artfully simple that only one deduction eludes us; namely, we're uncertain as to why the sag tune dial was not a co-beneficiary of the tendency toward jocular overstatement exhibited elsewhere in Evil's catalogue. (We refer our interlocutor again to the playfully christened Dave's Extra legitimate Travel Apparatus.)
Once the shock is tuned, DELTA presents a devilish conundrum: travel initiates with light input, maintains a constant stream of generous trail feedback through the mid stroke, and ramps up in a manner fit for park shenanigans and shuttle laps in the end stroke. Evil mastermind Kevin Walsh makes the alarming claim that The Insurgent is a bike that will allow you to "get away with murder." We must caution you, dear reader, to understand Monsieur Walsh's rhetorical flourish as a purely figurative statement meant to encompass the act of slaying big-hits and roll-overs in a perfunctory, brusque manner rather than committing violence on members of your fellow species.
You might deduce that such intricately laid suspension plans might be matched with an equally meticulous frame construction process. We applaud your astuteness. For this latest generation of carbon insurgency, Evil has 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 takes playing in the dirt very, very seriously, so it requires uncompromisingly capable toys. 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.
- An all-mountain detective that deduces the best lines
- DELTA single link pivot with 150mm of DW DNA
- Adjustable geometry drops the head tube into DH party territory
- Includes a sag dial to hit the ideal recommended shock tune
- Efficient climbing that detonates after dropping in
- 27.5in platform inspired by Evil's gravity past
- Newly refined carbon construction process
- Evil Bikes is self-deprecating but deadly serious about shredding
- Item #EVB0002
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This bike shreds. I built up a size large in May (6'1" - 160 lbs) for primarily northern Utah riding. There are quite a few more in depth reviews out there on this frame, and they all pretty much relay its a good pedal going up and an absolutely ripper heading down- they are right on. The bike is just plain fun and finds a great balance of snappy scrubbiness with the ability to point err through the rough stuff. I've only ridden the bike in the "Low" setting, which is more then enough for descending our Utah trails. I've had no issues with the frame at all, well built - the Evil guys are super responsive when I've had a couple questions. The frame rips - you'll have fun on it!