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Fun for all.
In its own words, Evil Bikes describes The Following Mountain Bike Frame as, simply, "FUN." While we typically favor subtlety in our own writing, we're happy to forgive Evil this moment of enthusiastic Caps Lock excess because the bike actually delivers by turning "FUN" into a four letter expletive, as in "This bike is FUNking awesome." In terms of ride quality, "FUN" translates to a bike whose huge wheels and alarmingly capable five inches of travel defy all of our expectations—which leads us to the three letter word we might use to describe it: "all," as in "This is an all-day trail rocket and an all-mountain sled." And it's not just us. Chances are good that if you're a literate mountain biker who keeps up with product news, you're aware of The Following's growing body of glowing reviews. Evil is known for not taking itself too seriously, but the rest of the industry isn't afraid to bathe it in the accolades it deserves.
Evil's sexy approach to geometry customization is one of the key aspects underwriting The Following's all-ness. The frame's linkage includes flip chips that alter the bottom bracket height and head tube angle. When dropped to the Low setting, the bottom bracket sits a scant 12.83in off the ground, and the head tube slacks out to as low as 66.8 degrees. We're used to seeing such lewd dimensions on six-inch, 27.5 enduro monstrosities; needless to say, they make prim and proper 29er trail bikes blush. The Following definitely likes to party, and its long, low countenance is finished with 17in chainstays (16.8in in the High setting) that dice techy lines with the horror flick alacrity of a hockey-masked mama's boy set loose on a drunkenly lascivious spring break camping trip.
Compared to the gravity designs from whence it sprang, The Following's shock sits further up in the main triangle. This makes for a simplified construction process that hinges on dual row angular contact bearings and a 15mm thru axle. We know the assembly appears intimidatingly complicated, but it's actually a refreshingly simple design that places the emphasis on trail feel, not marketing palaver. It also looks pretty damn cool, and those expansive, meaty swing arms are every bit as stiff as their comically oversized diameters suggest.
OK, so the above is a bit heavier on the hyperbole than we'd typically go in a product description, but the spirit of FUN (yep, we're sticking with Caps Lock, too) that Evil infuses The Following with is contagious, and the infection begins in the suspension. Where most full suspension machines have hearts, The Following instead has a black void in the shape of Dave's Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus, which the brand abbreviates with the acronym DELTA. DELTA is appropriate, because after a few minutes on this bike, we were certain that someone (Dave Weagle himself, perhaps?) made the crossroads bargain so often depicted in the Delta blues while the design was in development. There's no other explanation for how versatile, adaptable, and surprisingly capable DELTA renders the bike's five-inch travel and Monarch shock.
Before going any further, a disclaimer: this isn't a DW-link suspension. Evil (at Weagle's behest) stuck to 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 a platform for testing different suspension curves, so it's most basic, defining property is virtually limitless mutability. Given that pedigree, shock tune may be more important on a DELTA bike than on any other suspension design, and Evil tools The Following 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.)
The Following's DELTA pivot location reduces the need for shock damping, so you can ride the included RockShox Monarch fully open—even while ascending root-latticed treescapes and rocky switchbacks. Since it doesn't have to fight bob with heavy handed damping, 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 triple digit end of its 120mm, the travel arc ramps up to maintain a bottomless feel that belies Evil's gravity roots. It takes a lot to find DELTA's limits, and that's fortunate since The Following 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 provides the perfect alibi for when you need a timely bail-out.
If DELTA is The Following'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. We wouldn't quite call the result perfect, but we're hard pressed to think of any manufacturer whose frames come closer to perfection. And in this case, perfection would be pure, playful evil, so the near-perfect Following isn't quite the devil—more like the neighbor of the beast.
- A trail 29er possessed by ungovernable demonic rage
- Takes Dave Weagle's 120mm DELTA suspension to 29in heights
- Long, slack wagon wheels chassis cleans lines and climbs
- Flip chips in the linkage drop or raise the bottom bracket
- Integrated sag-o-meter practically tunes the shock for you
- Stubby stays for dicing sinister terrain
- Carbon monocoque construction for lightweight stiffness
- Evil Bikes' playful irreverence translates to on-trail fun
- Item #EVB0001
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Ordered the 2107 Following and have completed my build. The machine is a slayer, much better climber than I would have expected. I love it! I have ridden MTB for over 30 years and riding a new geometry 29er is awesome. EVIL has done their homework and created a trail shredding masterpiece. If you are thinking about a Frame upgrade, add this one to your short list.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
The Following should have a much bigger following than it currently has. handling is spot on in the high position for me. This bike dominates any trail that goes down and climbs great for a bike that is so plush. I'm very happy to have bought this frame.
Rides like a bigger bike
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Got a chance to take this bike for a nice 20 mile blast, and I was completely impressed by what it was capable of. I was a bit worried to be honest, because I've ridden quite a few of the mid to long travel 29ers, and I always felt like I was trying to maneuver a boat (i'm much more a 27.5 guy normally). The short chainstays combined with the relatively short wheelbase makes for a bike that is substantially more playful than I was anticipating.
Lets get this out of the way first. This bike is not going to climb as well as a DW-link bike or a Switch bike. That being said, I found that it's seated climbing manners are actually really good, I never felt like I was fighting for traction or the suspension was bobbing excessively. Getting out of the saddle and really cranking on it did get the suspension to move more than I would like, but again, this bike is not about the climb.
Pointing it downhill however opened up a completely different animal. Point it down a straight, gnarly downhill, and it gobbles up trail so fast I found I had to look further down the trail than I was used to because I was moving so fast. I was a bit worried how it handled tighter, narrower turns, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Center or even get your weight a bit over the front of the bike, and the Following was amazingly easy to flick from turn to turn without feeling like you were muscling a way bigger bike.
One thing I did notice about the rear suspension, the first couple inches of it feel like a downhill bike. Super plush, soaks up all the smallest trail buzz, but then it ramps up so well that it feels like a bike with much more travel.
Overall, this bike is one of the best 29 inch bikes I have ridden so far, and now that we have the sale on these frames, we can build them up into completes and get great pricing. Give me a call at 801.736.6396 x2344 and I'd be happy to talk shop and get you set up with a sweet ride!
Bike of the decade
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I swapped out my Yeti ASRC for this bad boy and haven't looked back. This bike does it all. Kevin Walsh, Evil's CEO is quoted saying you can get away with murder on this bike and he's not wrong. The rear travel is 121mm (leave it to Evil to add that extra 1mm) but it honestly rides like a 130 - 135mm bike. It tracks extremely straight while hammering descents, corners like a bandit and equally important, climbs efficiently. Keep in mind, Evil designs their bikes to take a beating so the bike is beefy. You will have to haul more bike up the hill than your traditional XC setup but A) when you're out of the saddle and the shock is closed, the bike barely compresses and B) when you get to the top and open the shock up, you've just registered for your license to kill.
I'll ride this brand for many years to come - really excited to see what the Evil team develops in the future.