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  • Evil Bikes - The Following XTR Complete Mountain Bike - 2016 - Gun Metal

Evil Bikes The Following XTR Complete Mountain Bike - 2016


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    • Gun Metal

    2 Reviews


    Lead the way.

    In a world of corporate marketing lingo and overinflated claims of percentage points and marginal gains, Evil Bikes brings a darkly refreshing take by channeling what we all really want out of a bike—fun. Or in the company's words, "FUN". All caps, no holds barred, unabashedly enjoyable, trail shredding radness. In the case of The Following XTR Complete Mountain Bike, this translates to a whip endowed with huge hoops and an alarmingly capable five inches of travel that defy our expectations. One would not be stretched to say that this is a bike that can do it all, combining one part trail rocket, one part all-mountain monster, and 100% maniacally laughing fun. Kitted out with Shimano's top-end XTR componentry and renowned Industry Nine Trail 245 hoops, this rig leaves the competition straggling in its wake and awash in dusty confusion.

    Evil's 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 is definitely down for a party, and its long, low countenance is finished with 17in chainstays (16.8in in the High setting) that dice techy lines with the unbridled alacrity of a previously melancholy feline unexpectedly encountering a plethora of high-grade catnip.

    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.

    We'll admit that the above is a bit heavier on the hyperbole than we'd typically go in a product description, but the spirit of FUN 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 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 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 121mm, 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.

    • Evil's ultimate trail machine does it all
    • A responsive pedaling platform with 5in of DELTA travel
    • Longer, slacker geometry attacks fast lines
    • Revamped construction process for lightweight reliability
    • Evil Bikes brings fun to the trail with uncompromisingly capable whips
    • Item #EVB0004

    Tech Specs

    Frame Material
    Toray T700 and T800 carbon fiber
    Rear Shock
    Rock Shox Monarch RT3 Debonair
    Rear Travel
    120 mm
    Fox Racing Shox 34 Float 29 130 3Pos-Adj FIT4 (51mm Rake)
    Front Travel
    130 mm
    FSA Integrated Tapered No.57/68
    Shimano XTR
    Front Derailleur
    Rear Derailleur
    Shimano XTR
    ISCG Tabs
    yes, ISCG05
    32 t Shimano XTR
    Bottom Bracket
    Crank Arm Length
    175 mm
    11 - 42 t Shimano XT
    Shimano XTR
    Brake Type
    hydraulic disc
    [front] 180 mm Shimano XT SM-RT86, [rear] 160 mm Shimano XT SM-RT86
    Race Face Next Riser
    Handlebar Rise
    20 mm
    Handlebar Width
    760 mm
    Lizard Skins Moab
    Race Face Turbine
    Stem Length
    50 mm
    Fizik Tundra M7
    Rock Shox Reverb Stealth 125mm travel
    Seatpost Diameter
    30.9 mm
    Industry Nine Trail 245
    Front Axle
    15 x 100mm
    Rear Axle
    12 x 142mm
    Maxxis Ardent EXO TR
    Tire Size
    29 x 2.4 in
    Recommended Use
    Manufacturer Warranty
    3 years

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    Rips like a much bigger bike

      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.
      The build kit that we've made up is super killer, and an amazing value, with one caveat: the tires. I feel like the tires specced on the bike are not aggressive enough for what this bike is meant to do. Fortunately, since it is a house build, it is something we can swap out. Give me a call or email, and I would be glad to help out set up a build or answer any more questions about the bike.

      Luke Dordai

      Evil is Fun.

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times

      I got a chance to give the Evil a few rides in, and came away not just impressed- but BLOWN away. This bike is all about having fun. The short stays just let it zip around... and sure this term may be overused-but its applicable as this bike is 'playful'. Ripping the descents, this thing was railing corners like a bat out of hell attached to a high-speed train on well engineered train tracks. The Long and Slack Geometry that has been gaining traction across several manufacturers is also the DNA of The Following. This helped keep the bike in control and my confidence up when the trail pointed down. I'm the weird guy who also gets a kick out of climbing- and this bike is no slouch at that either. I didn't feel like the trail geometry was slowing me down compared to a xc rig. The complete bike with our XTR build is a spectacular value, and truly compliments the frame.

      If you have any questions on the frame, custom build, or complete builds- feel free to reach out and I would love to help you out!

      Scott Gartman
      Direct: 801-204-4588

      Evil is Fun.