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First Ride Review: Evil Bikes The Following

Believe the hype. The Following is a true game changer

By Kent Robertson

Evil Bikes The Following. Wow.

Editor’s Note: We’re excited to welcome longtime forum member Kent Robertson to the front page of the website. Kent (or KRob) has been riding — and evaluating — bikes for almost two decades, and his insightful analysis is a welcome addition to the Mtbr editorial team. You can read more of Kent’s bike reviews here.

The Following has created quite a stir in the bike industry. Evil Bikes carved out a whole new niche in the bike world with this short travel, aggressive geometry 29er trail shredder.

“Monster truck wheels with a sports car feel…. A FUN, versatile, yet aggressive short travel, big wheel trail bike with progressive geometry that could be at home on all day adventures, slashing trails or riding jump lines.” is how Evil Bikes describes the Following. We’d have to agree they hit that target.

Evil was not officially at Interbike’s Dirt Demo, but as I was sitting eating my lunch a guy rode up on an Insurgent, Evil’s just-released 27.5? enduro rig. I quickly dropped what I was eating and asked him where he got it. Turns out Vittoria has a new mountain bike tire line they were wanting to showcase and could not have picked a better bike to get attention drawn to their tent.

Dave’s Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus (Delta Link). I don’t know how the mad scientist Dave Weagle does it, stuffing all the good suspension action in that tangle of shock and linkage down there but I know it’s effective and keeps the weight low, down by your feet where it belongs (click to enlarge).

Long Effective Top Tube

I’d read with interest the long sizing discussions on the Mtbr.com Evil Bikes forum and wondered, with The Following’s long effective top tube and reach if I’d be more comfortable on a medium or large. I’m still a little undecided which I’d order if I were ordering one today, but I will say the medium I test rode fit quite well.

It may have been a bit cramped for long smoother climbs, but for standing and hammering the medium felt great. The Following really encourages a stand up and shred attitude with its rally racer low, long, and slack geometry. The short chainstays make you want to pump and manual everything in site. All the while the big wheels and well-controlled but short suspension travel are just gobbling up some pretty nasty trail conditions that have flummoxed many much more DH-specific bikes I’ve ridden.

Wide bars and ultra short stem. Braaap. Get your moto on! It even had moto style grips which I really liked (click to enlarge).

I was unaware of the bigger wagon wheels doing anything that compromised the ride in any way, even though when looking out over the bars the front wheel sticks out there quite prominently.

Going Up — and Down!

Climbing was exceptional on the short steep, sometimes loose and often rocky ascents on the way down our usual run. The rear tire stuck to the ground and did not spin out or bounce you around when putting down the power. We didn’t have an opportunity to test it on any long, sustained climbs but it pedaled very efficiently both seated and standing and the seated position seemed to put the rider in a good position for long climbs…..although I must admit, I didn’t sit much on the Following. It was all about the BMX style pumping, gapping, and railing.

We can’t imagine a better blend of fun and aggressiveness and a wider range of usefulness in a mountain bike than is offered by The Following (click to enlarge).

Handling can be described as slot-car effective. I did not have any trouble getting the big wheels around in tight spots and switchbacks, yet it still felt incredibly stable on fast, rock-littered, and ledgy descents. It was almost unbelievable how The Following could feel both like a small, quick handling bike and a big bruiser all-mountain bike at the same time.

By time I got to the entrance of the same long, super steep, sketchy chute (The Hour Glass) that bigger bikes I’d ridden had navigated with relative ease I’d developed enough confidence in the gnar-capability of The Following that I decided to send it down.

Besides, my bike testing partner Nate was sitting at the bottom with a video camera waiting for the show so I was pretty much obligated to do it. I’ve come to realize over the past while after riding some pretty capable short travel bikes that descending and gnar-tech ability has more to do with geometry than travel and the Following with its excellent progressive geometry confirmed this theory in spades, as it took me safely down the Hour Glass.

Being a showcase for Vitorria’s new line of MTB tires, The Following was shod with Vittoria’s excellent 2.3? Morsa tire front and back that resembles a cross between a High Roller II and Minion DHF. They had good volume and exceptional traction in the loose, rocky, and dry Bootleg conditions but not quite the same ultimate braking grip on steep rock faces as the 3C High Roller II.

Vittoria has long been the parent company to Geax MTB tires, but they have recently decided to gather all their lines under the Vittoria brand. This is the Morsa. An aggressive tread, dry to loose to loamy terrain tire. It worked quite well (click to enlarge).

Bottom Line

In summary, I can’t imagine a better blend of fun and aggressiveness and a wider range of usefulness in a mountain bike than is offered by The Following. Outside of XC racing on one end and bigger drops and super chunky, fast World Cup DH type rock gardens on the other where more suspension is really required, this bike can just about do it all. Believe the hype. The Following is a true game changer and will redefine how other manufacturers design bikes for years to come. Count me as a one of The Following’s followers.

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Technical specifications are for guidance only and cannot be guaranteed accurate. All offers are subject to availability and while stocks last. Errors and omissions excepted. Silverfish UK Limited acts as a credit intermediary and only offers credit products for Close Brothers Retail Finance. Its registered office is: Close Brothers Group plc, 10 Crown Place, London EC2A 4FT. Credit is subject to application and status.

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