Evil Bikes The Following

SAM_1368

The Following has created quite a stir in the bike industry over the past several months since its release and left other manufacturers scrambling to catch up. Evil carved out a whole new niche in the bike world with its 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 on their site and we’d have to agree they hit their target. I’ve been super intrigued by this bike since I first started reading about it and have been dying to take it for a spin.

I knew Evil would not officially be at the Dirt Demo but I was hoping some component company would use it as a platform to spotlight their product or someone from the small company might show up on the outskirts with a bike our two to loan out to a lucky few. A query on mtbr did not turn up any leads and in fact one poster who is fairly well connected with Evil said they would not be there. I was disappointed but resigned myself to not being able to ride The Following. 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. Vittoria tires 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.

They only had two bikes, an Insurgent and the Following which were both out when I scrambled to the Vittoria tent near the end of the day but I was fortunate to only have to wait a few minutes before this black medium sized The Follwing came rolling back in, its rider still wiping a huge grin off his face.

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 this medium fit quite well. It may have been a bit cramped for long smoother climbs, but for the standing and hammering I was able to do on it, the medium felt great. The Following really encourages a stand up and shred attitude with it’s rally racer low, long, and slack geometry. The short chain stays 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 here at Bootleg Canyon over the years. Super impressive. I was never aware 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.

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. 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 AM bike at the same time. In fact by time I got to the entrance of the same long, super steep, sketchy chute (The Hour Glass) that the Riot navigated with relative ease I’d developed enough confidence in the gnar-capability of The Following that I decided to send it down. Besides, 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 with only slightly more drama than the Riot.

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, thus the extra drama on the Hour Glass super chute as I had more trouble controlling my speed on the Following than the HRII shod Riot.

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 it 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. A very impressive and fun bike.
SAM_1368

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.
SAM_1369

With its black on black color scheme and dark moniker I thought it appropriate that we shoot The Following in a cave… with spider webs. If it were a super hero, The Following would definitely be Batman.
SAM_1366

Vittoria has always 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.
SAM_1372

Wide bars and ultra short stem. Braaap. Get your moto on! It even had moto style grips which I really liked.
SAM_1367

Evil Bikes The Following. Wow.
SAM_1361

22 thoughts on “Evil Bikes The Following

  1. Awesome review – thanks for posting! I was on the cusp of medium and large as well at 5’11” and just ordered a medium without the benefit of demoing. How tall are you if you don’t mind me asking?

    • Thanks for reading!
      I’m 5′ 11.5″ with kind of a long torso but generally fairly average proportions. I think whether a “cusper” like us goes with a medium or large depends a little on what type of riding we do mostly. For instance if I did mostly long, seated not too technical climbs followed by fast, reasonably open but not super technical or stunt-filled descents I might lean towards the large, but if I did a lot of more up and down, technical riding in tighter quarters or my descents where tighter and more technical or droppy or even more “Flow Trail” with tons of berms and small doubles etc (think Demo Flow Trail) where you’re standing much of the time and pumping the bike a lot, I’d lean towards the medium.

      I haven’t ridden a large though, so I don’t know. I’ve ridden mediums in the past that felt pretty good (Mach 6, Devinci Troy, Chilcotin) only to later ride the large size and find that it was better for me in just about every way. So YMMV.

      • Interesting. We are pretty identical in height proportions (I’m probably heavier tho , lol). I’m not an expert on sizing or picking apart geo, but I thought a rider who stood more might want to size up for the extra reach/maneuverability in the cockpit. An I thinking about it wrong?

        • I guess what I mean by that is for trails where there’s a lot of standing, jumping, and maneuvering side to side quickly, I just prefer a more compact bike. For fast wide open downhill bombing runs, then yes, a larger/longer more stable bike with a more centered body position has the advantage.

  2. Thanks for all of the reviews Kent! I ultimately couldn’t wait and ordered an XL Following last week, and after reading this review I’m even happier that I did so. Riot still sounds like a blast, but couldn’t wait for the XLs. Maybe next year, or the following (see what I did there?).

    • Ha ha. Excellent! You really can’t go wrong with either of these. I’m still flip flopping on which one I’m going to choose for “Best in Show”.

  3. Sounds like an amazing bike. I’m also happy not to see boost in the rear. Would you say the Following is a good candidate for a general trail riding, single track slayer? Or would it be a bit too much to lug around and better left to all mountain style riding?

    • Yes, I think the Following would be a terrific all-around trail slayer. As to whether it would be too much bike to lug around for smoother, more tame trails? No, not at all. I think it would eat up fast flowy, more XC type trails really well….. maybe just not quite as well as say a 29er HT or more traditional 100mm FS 29er like the M429, Turner Czar, and Jet 9 or some other more dedicated XC type bike etc….. but it would also extend into the more burly AM type trails and technical steeps better than those by a fair margin.

      • I was thinking Riot but this seems even better. Do you think the Following would be a capable descender on trails like the Whole Enchilada, especially the Burro Pass descent? Very helpful reviews as always.

        • I think the Following would handle The Whole Enchilada trail quite well, especially the upper Burro Pass descent, Hazzard, and Kokopelli (I just got a stupid grin on my face imagining the Following on Kokopelli with a good stiff tail wind), and even UPS/LPS. I think I’d prefer a bit more travel on Porcupine jeep road section with its shark fin square edges, but there’s plenty of smoothish lines through those too if you know your way around or fast enough to fly over the worst of that stuff. I, OTOH, tend to boost the first one or two fins then plow through the rest, letting my fat tires, tough rims, and 6+” suspension carry me through the rest. No, my style is none to elegant. LOL.

          Having said all that….I think the Riot would be nearly the perfect TWE bike, though.

          • Thanks for the input. It sounds like the Following for most trails is the call. Then I can keep my Mach 6 for TWE. It works very well there.
            I love the Porcupine jeep road section. It is so much fun carrying a bunch of speed and launching all the fun stuff. I must admit I do fair amount plowing through a lot of TWE.

          • I didn’t catch that you already had a Mach 6. I was going to add that the M6 and Spartan would also be great TWE bikes along with the Riot and RFX. So, yes, The Following for most trails and Mach 6 for the bigger, more gnarly days would be a great combination. Jealous. Two of my favorite bikes.

  4. A lot us interested in this bike are intrigued by its reported climbing abilities. I noticed that you also praised the Turner RFX and Canfield Riot for their climbing ability (with the limited testing you were able to do on the Riot). Do you have any thoughts on how the Evil Following ranks with those two bikes on (a) shorter, steeper, technical climbing; and (b) longer smoother climbing?

    Thanks again for your insights.

    • Yeah, I wish I had a chance to do more climbing on The Following, but from the little climbing we did I don’t have any reason to believe it wouldn’t be a great technical climber and be fine on long smooth climbs. Several folks on the long Following thread on MTBR.com have attested to its usefulness on longer back country days with tons of climbing. My head tells me that its lower, slacker geometry would not be in its favor for long, steep, seated climbs, but I’m learning that the numbers by themselves don’t tell the whole story. The consensus seems to be that while not strictly a climbers bike per se, it handles long climbs very well.

  5. Hey Krob,
    thanks for all your legwork on the reviews…I find them helpful & enjoyable. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on The Following VS Knolly Endorphin. I will be building a new bike this winter & I’m waffling between the 2. I’m a 6’2″ aggressive trail rider from the PNW. Flow/jump trails, gnar & big back country rides are all on the menu. Would you give up your Endorphin for The Following? Thanks for any insight as I’ve ridden neither.

    • Hey Josh,
      If I still had money in hand and was able to demo both these bikes before deciding and they both cost (roughly) the same, I’m not sure which one I would’ve chosen for my Chilcotin complement bike. (Or would I have sold my 5010 and Chilcotin and bought one of the bigger, all-around bikes like the RFX, Warden, Riot, or Mach 6?)

      Just comparing the Endorphin and Following I’d say they’re both very similar in purpose: Short travel, aggressive trail bikes that can handle all day adventures above tree line, tamer XC flowy trails, rougher more technical PNW or desert SW type trails, as well as take on some fairly substantial gnar. The bigger wheels and short chain stay on the Following make it a very fun, unique feeling bike. So fun to ride fast in choppy, twisty, techy terrain, just boosting every little feature and tossing it back and forth. The Endorphin also rails corners and I imagine handles technical climbs a bit better, though the rear wheel tracts the ground and eeks out traction superbly on both. I like the rear suspension action of both really well….Active and plush on descents while coasting or braking yet still having enough built in anti-squat to climb and accelerate fairly efficiently on smoother climbs and on out-of-the-saddle sprints.

      I’ve owned a couple of Knollys and trust Noel to make a stiff, sturdy bike that holds up well for years even when used harshly and has stellar customer support. Evil, I think, is getting their act together but they’ve been hit or miss and have had some issues so I’d have to consider that. Tough call. They’re both amazing, but I’ll say this: I didn’t cancel my order for the Endorphin after riding the Following.

    • I haven’t done a ton of climbing on either but I think they are close in climbing ability. They both have slightly slack seat tube angles so it may be easier to get in a good seated climbing position on some other bikes depending on your inseam but they both climb well. The M6 probably climbs a bit better despite being a longer travel bike due to its shorter wheelbase, more upright seated position, and more stable DW-link platform that still reacts to and absorbs steps and ledges while pedaling.

  6. Love your write ups. I’ve been on a megatrail for all of 2015 and “think” I am looking for another bike. The mega is just a little overkill for most of the riding I do. 90% of my riders are smoother single track. I am getting tired of trying to find a bike to do it all and think I need to sell the Mega and buy a shorter travel livelier bike for my day to day stuff and maybe build up an older delirium for my more technical riding. Any thoughts on this bike to replace my Mega for all my day to day stuff?
    Thanks in advance
    MIke

    • Thanks. The one reason I don’t own a 140-160mm do all bike like the MT is for the same reason you are selling yours. Lots of great bikes in the lighter, faster trail bike category. I loved my Santa Cruz 5010c and am currently really digging my Knolly Endorphin for most of my more mellow (and even some fairly rowdy) local trails. I’d also recommend the Following, the Mach 429Trail, the Ibis Ripley LS, the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC among others.

Leave a Reply