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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
The insurgent is currently Evil's longest travel 27.5 bike, and it is a blast. I mostly rode it at the bike park during the time that I had it, and it ripped. Like Jeff said, I would add a spacer into the shock, because I found the O-ring off the end of the shock at the end of a long descents, but other than that it was pretty spot on. It does not climb as well as some other offerings, but it makes up for it by being super fun on the way back down. I ran it in X-Low at the bike park, and Low for the rest of my riding, and it was amazingly fun to throw it into a berm and feeling it hook up and rocket forwards.
The suspension is pretty progressive, which gives it a good trail feel, but it feels good when you have to eventually come back down to earth a little harder than you anticipated. Towards the middle of its travel it did feel a little harsher, but I would imagine with a little more tuning that would be remedied.
If you value fun over beating your buddy to the top of the hill, and breaking Mach 7 on the way down, with your bars dragging in the dirt while you corner, this is your machine.
Come to the Dark Side.
Likes to go fast
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I was lucky enough to get out and ride with one of these over the summer, and was quite blown away. My first thought was it couldn't climb as well as I thought it would, but that thought was quickly corrected. It climbs much better than I anticipated. It may not be as fast up hill as some other longer travel bikes, but it never left me looking for more gear to get up. Once at the top the bike comes to life. Point this down anything, and hang on. Many people say it is a mini DH bike, and I couldn't agree more. It wants to attack anything that is out front. The bike is very supple, and the suspension feel is excellent. I would add a few volume spacers for a little more ramp up, but other than that, it was a blast. Super stable feel, comfy in the air, and it loves corners. It is a longer bike, so tight corners are a little slower, but swing a little wide and you won't really notice. I have not dropped the geo to the X-low setting, as it is not needed here in Utah, but dropping if needed will rake it out to a 64.8 degree head angle, compared to 65.6 in the Low setting. The bottom bracket is quite low, 13.6 inches in Low setting, 13.2 in X-Low , so I would recommend running a 170 crank regardless of frame size. Warranty is 3 years with these guys, and I feel their new stuff is much better than previous, quality has gone up for sure. Hit me up if you have any questions as I am happy to help you out.
801-736-6396 extension 4695
- 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!