Evil Insurgent - Bike Test - Dirt

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Evil Insurgent – Bike Test

A bike that likes to party. Snappy, low and slack say the Evil guys.

A bike that likes to party. Snappy, low and slack say the Evil guys.

 

Words: S Jones     Images: C. Philpott

 

 

Evil Insurgent – the review

Shape and Purpose. A bike that likes to party. Snappy, low and slack say the Evil guys. And correctly so. Certainly with a 334mm bottom bracket and 64.8 head angle in the low setting with a 160mm fork this bike goes to new levels for a bike of this travel. In fact the Insurgent scores on pretty much all angles for a 150mm bike except for reach, of which it’s a shade short but that’s just being picky for an otherwise incredibly aggro bike. And more than this, a crazy light bike at sub 28lbs.

UK importers Silverfish say “lets cut the crap” – that this isn’t a bike you can pigeonhole as trail or enduro. In reality (and in black and white) however they’re still pushing that up the hill/down the hill prowess that pretty much every bike manufacturer in the world talks about.

Meanwhile, “one bike, four positions, endless possibilities” say Evil. And you have to agree. We really love the low and extra low position when many brands are making a high and low position bikes when in reality you’d never go anywhere near the former setting. A good start.

 

Suspension/Chassis. A bike simply slammed with fine detail and visibly one of the all-time lookers. Featuring Delta system linkage, the bike comes with love, and indeed we’re loving the carbon integrated chainguide, the downtube protection, sinister paintwork, part internal cabling, in fact the overall build quality – on the frame at least – is very good too.

The Evil Insurgent has a high volume air canister to complement the progressive spring curve, whilst the linkage has been completely redesigned and Evil say the focus in now on simplicity, weight reduction and strength. We won’t go into our last Evil bikes encounter seven or eight years ago for it was nothing short of a disaster. This time it’s very positive. Up front a 160mm Lyrik will always do the job admirably and it matches the paintwork. Nice.

Componentry. Decked. This is one stealthy bike with Guide RSC brakes, X0 gearing and Reverb Stealth from SRAM whilst E Thirteen takes care of the wheels, tyres and cranks in the TRSR system and Race Face on bar and stem duty. The colour co-ordination is pure and simply faultless.

Pretty too then. But does is there any substance behind the make up and hype?

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Feeling. On the hoof the Evil has an immediately lively ride as a result of its light weight. It’s also pretty sharpish on pedal drive too although having said that it’s not a bike that will derive power from the ground quite as easily or as powerfully as some. Where it does outscore many other 150mm bikes is in blown out ground, big holes, big roots and horrible rock. The rear suspension is very impressive and beautifully understandable in such situations.

It’s a good all-rounder for definite and the light weight makes sure of that to some degree. The compression settings did not offer large differential between settings which meant that climbing could have been better in the firm setting. We found the front a touch low on the front and had to raise the bar. The E Thirteen tyres were an impressive part with excellent shape and grip.

Evil have truly delivered on the numbers here and overall it’s a great all-round bike, light and fast. For our size recommendation we just think as a large size it’s a shade short for a six footer.

 

Limitations. After a few runs there was creaking and after a few more there was knocking. We sourced this to loose link bolts and was nipped in the bud pretty rapidly to remedy the noise. Our large was recommended for a 6’ – 6’ 4” rider but is clearly a touch small for such riders both on paper and in reality.

The sag indicator was a touch vague as we had two riders with a twenty kilo difference getting pretty much the same readings. Work on it and get it correct is the recommendation here, maybe getting the shock measurement is a better option. Anything else? Noisy wheels, such very noisy wheels. Love, hate on that one though for the performance, and indeed bearing life has been much better than previous E Thirteen’s. We liked the tyres too but the pedals pulled out of the aluminium inserts in the crank after a couple of rides.

Verdict. Without doubt visually one of the stand out bikes of the bike world. It comes with marketing attitude, good looks and a weighty price to go with its lightweight build.

But looks alone would count for shit if it failed to deliver.

On the flat we found ourselves over the back and on the real steep found slightly too much weight being placed forwards. In other words it’s a bike that takes a while to adapt to. There’s still some rattle, and a knocking deep into the stroke which is a touch distracting. Noise was certainly not evident on our Airdrop 150mm bike which we rode side by side during the test period. As much as the Lyrik delivers in big terrain a Fox 36 would take the bike a small step further as would a silent set of wheels further still for that full deadly feel. The loudness kind of goes against the stealth vibe.

Overall though? We really like the feel of this bike, the low swooping frame, the powerful rear suspension character, the banging angles and just the right amount of flex in its bones. It’s under the radar looks rather than loud, garish colour gives it a modesty many garish carbon bikes could learn a lesson from. It’s very much a stand out bike, certainly one of the more impressive carbon bikes and definitely a bike that you’d be proud to own. We’re liking this bike a lot.

Looking forward to the Wreckoning and Following.

PRICE: £5999

evil-bikes.com

What are your thoughts to the Evil Insurgent? Let’s us know what you think.

New to enduro bikes? Check out our buyer’s guide HERE.

 

see also

MARIN HAWK HILL 2017

NORCO OPTIC

TRANSITION PATROL

ROCKY MOUNTAIN SLAYER 2017

SPECIALIZED S-WORKS ENDURO 29

TREK LAUNCH THE ALMIGHTY SLASH 29

 

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