Although many bike brands are currently touting the development of slack and long 29er trail bikes as if it’s a new thing, brands such as Evil Bike Co. have actually been doing it for a while already. In fact, the original Following was released nearly two years ago.
Sure it’s true that early 29er mountain bikes were steep, short, twitchy messes that were largely designed with XC intentions in mind. But with advances in frame construction, components and the adoption of nu-skool geometry, many companies are beginning to realise the real-world benefits of a larger diameter 29in wheel. With more stability, added momentum for clearing rough terrain, and faster straight-line speed, 29in wheels offer some significant advantages for technical trail bikes and long-travel enduro race sleds. Indeed, even downhillers are starting to get in on the 29er game.
Looking to harness the rock-gobbling tendencies of a 29in wheel wrapped with decently wide rubber, the Evil Following is one such nu-skool trail bike that sits in the four-model Evil full suspension lineup.
With 120mm of rear wheel travel, the Following is the shortest travel option from Evil. It sits alongside the Wreckoning 161mm travel 29er monster truck, and two models with 27.5in wheels; the Insurgent (151mm travel) and the new Calling (130mm travel). Despite being shorter on travel than its siblings, the Following is assuredly a bike built for getting rowdy on.
“The Following was designed with FUN in mind and uses 120mm of progressive Delta System suspension in conjunction with 120-130mm forks to change its personality from aggressive XC to All Mountain styles of riding. You could call the Following a Trail bike, but the lines between categories have become so blurred that we like to think that this bike can handle All Day Epics to All Mountain Shredding” – Evil Bike Co.
Evil Following Features
- Full carbon fibre monocoque frame
- 29in wheels
- Max tyre clearance: 29×2.4in
- 120mm rear travel
- Delta single pivot suspension design
- Designed for 120-130mm travel forks
- Adjustable geometry via the Flip Chip system
- 66.8-67.4° head angle
- 73.4-74.3° seat angle
- PF92 bottom bracket
- ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
- 142x12mm rear hub spacing
- 432mm chainstay length
- Internal routing for brake, gear and dropper post cabling
- Available sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
Each Evil frame possesses a similar overall shape that’s carved with a carbon fibre monocoque construction technique. With a mixture of flow and angular tube profiles, the Following utilises a one-piece swingarm that’s connected to the main frame via a single main pivot, and the Delta linkage.
The Delta (Dave’s Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus) system comprises of a small alloy rocker link that drives the top of the rear shock, with a small dog bone link connecting the rocker to the swingarm. Despite using a straightforward single main pivot, the Delta system allows for more complex tuning of the shock rate.
The Delta system also keeps things nice and low in the frame, with the rear shock mounting just up from the bottom bracket.
Evil has built the Following with a huge 15mm thru-axle main pivot, which also helps to keep things taut through the back end. There’s a 92mm wide press-fit bottom bracket shell, with Race Face bottom bracket cups pressed into service.
A tidy bolt-up rear axle keeps the back wheel on lockdown, though you won’t find any weird axle standards here – just a regular good ol’ 142x12mm system. Post mount tabs for the rear brake allow for a direct mount system with a 160mm rotor, or compatibility with a 180mm rotor with the addition of a 20mm adapter (as our test bike features).
There are two spec options available from Evil, and ours is the cheaper X1 spec. That sees a largely SRAM X1 1×11 drivetrain used, with a 10-42t all-black cassette whirring gears out back.
A 30t direct mount chainring from Race Face is beautifully CNC machined from alloy, and mates up the Aeffect SL crankset and press-fit bottom bracket cups.
However, you can fit a front derailleur onto the Evil Following frame should you choose. Our test bike came fitted with a neat blank for the upper direct mount tab, though this is the spot where a mech would hang from if you had one.
The Following frame massages in some added standover clearance via the split top tube that supports the extended seat tube. Seat tube lengths are short, with our Medium test bike running a 432mm length that allows the use of a longer stroke dropper post.
Braking comes from SRAM in the form of Guide R 4-pot bangers. Cockpit is handled by Race Face, with a 780mm wide Chester handlebar that uses a the oversized 35mm clamp.
Suspension on the Following X1 comes from RockShox, with the Monarch DebonAir controlling the rear’s 120mm of travel, and a RockShox Pike RCT3 fork dishing out a touch more up front at 130mm. You can also run a 120mm travel fork on the Following frame, which will have the affect of steeping the angles nearly half a degree.
The Evil Following X1 is scheduled for an upcoming bike test in Issue #113 of Singletrack Magazine, where it will go up against two other bikes in a showdown that you’ll hear about in due course…
2017 Evil Following X1 Specifications
- Frame // Full Carbon Fibre Monocoque, 120mm Travel
- Fork // RockShox Pike RCT3, 130mm Travel
- Shock // RockShox Monarch RT3 Debonair
- Hubs // Raceface Aeffect, 100x15mm Front & 142x12mm Rear
- Rims //Raceface Aeffect, Tubeless Ready
- Tyres // WTB Vigilante AM TCS 2.3in Front & Rear
- Chainset // Race Face Aeffect SL, 30t Direct Mount Chainring
- Front Mech // N/A
- Rear Mech // SRAM X1, 11-Speed
- Shifters // SRAM X1, 11-Speed
- Cassette // SRAM XG-1175, 10-42t, 11-Speed
- Brakes // SRAM Guide R, 180mm Front & Rear
- Stem // Race Face Chester 35, 50mm Long
- Bars //Race Face Chester 35, 780mm Wide, 35mm Rise
- Grips // Evil Lock-On
- Seatpost // RockShox Reverb Stealth, 30.9mm, 150mm Travel
- Saddle // WTB Silverado
- Size Tested // Medium
- Sizes available // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
- Weight // 13.28kg (29.21lbs)