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The Frame


The Following, like Evil's other full suspension bikes, is built from unidirectional carbon with a one-piece molded construction. Geometry is adjusted by flipping the left and right dog bone links in the DELTA System. In the low setting, the head angle is 67.2° with a 325mm bottom bracket height and 432mm chainstay length. In the high setting, the head angle is 67.8° with a 333mm bottom bracket height and 430mm chainstay. These numbers are all based around a 120mm fork. Evil recommends using either a 120mm or 130mm travel fork with a 51mm offset. A 130mm fork will slacken the head angle by about 1°.

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If you're still not happy with the adjustments on offer, there is an optional integrated headset that was developed by Dave Weagle in collaboration with FSA to offer four independent geometry configurations without any change to leverage rates.

At the heart of The Following is a revamped version of Evil's DELTA suspension system, designed and tested closely with Dave Weagle. The DELTA System is a modified single pivot design that provides a dual-leverage rate curve. In layman's terms, this gives The Following a very supple feel at the very beginning of its travel, then ramps up in the mid-stroke for pedaling performance. The latter half of the suspension travel is fairly linear, with just enough progression to prevent against harsh bottom-outs.

The Following's DELTA System has been refined to provide improved lateral stiffness and easier maintenance. Evil designed the DELTA System and suspension kinematics around the RockShox Monarch RT3 Debonair rear shock, which is the stock shock on the frame. Thorough testing across several rear shock options proved that the Monarch RT3 offered the best performance. Note that piggyback shocks and Cane Creek's DB inline are not compatible with this frame.

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The Following features internal cable routing for a dropper post and front derailleur. The rear brake line is routed externally under the top tube, and on the top side of the seatstay. The rear derailleur line is routed next to the rear brake line, then internally through the seatstay. Another nice detail is a built-in sag meter, located on the non-drive side Delta Link. Just sit on your bike, and the dial will show you when you've reached the target 30% sag.

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The Following can run either 1x or 2x drivetrains, with a max 34T on a 1x and a max 38T on a 2x. A direct mount front derailleur tab is fitted for those running a 2x drivetrain. Other frame details include the ability to run wider tyres, with a 2.3" Schwalbe's Hans Dampf fitting with around 10mm to spare on each side. Even though the advent of 12x148mm rear spacing is on the horizon, Evil chose to stick with 12x142 spacing for The Following, citing the current lack of hub options for the evolving standard.

Setting Sag


The SAG indicator, located on the non-drive side Delta Link, should barely cover the 30% mark and the O-ring should measure between 10-13mm from the shock body for ideal setup. The Following uses a high volume air canister which compliments the progressive spring curve of the Delta System Suspension, if a less progressive feel is desired then experiment with different air volume spacers.


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Features

  • 29" wheels
  • 120mm rear travel
  • DELTA System suspension
  • Two position adjustable geometry
  • 430-432mm chainstay length
  • 67.2° head angle with 120mm fork
  • Claimed Frame weight from 2.8 kg
  • Actual weight as tested: 13kg
  • Colours: Don't Shoot Me Orange, Black
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL


Specification


Fork: In case you missed our review of the RockShox Pike earlier this year, let me sum it up by saying it is a brilliant piece of gear and all of us need to be thankful for the shake up it caused when it was unleashed a couple of years ago. It perfectly matches the rear suspension of the bike.


The model on our test bike was a RCT3 with 140mm of travel.

Drivetrain: Powering the Following is SRAM's 1x11 X0 groupset using a 32T XSync Narrow/Wide chainring. It performed flawlessly throughout the test and as always never dropped a chain or skipped a beat although the MRP guide may have helped in that regard.

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Seatpost: Yet another bike that came fitted with a RockShox Reverb with stealth routing.

Wheelset: This was my first time on Easton's new Heist wheelset. They are available in three different internal / external rim widths starting at 24mm / 28mm, then 27mm / 31mm and finally 30mm / 34mm. The Following was equipped with the Heist 27's which sit in the middle of the three. Personal preference would have been to go for the widest option, but these were already a big improvement over the average rim width out there. The wheels were stiff but it would be nice to have faster engagement through technical bits

A great feature of the Heist wheels is that the end caps can be swapped out to accommodate different axle sizes and widths.

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Tyres: We covered Onza's Ibex tyres in a recent review over here. The more I ride them the more I like them.

Brakes: I have SRAM's Guide RS brakes on one of my own bikes so I am familiar with their feel and performance. These were consistent with what I'm used to and paired to 180mm rotors front and rear did a great job of scrubbing speed where needed.

Cockpit: Race Face's SIXC carbon handlebar is held in place by a 60mm Turbine stem. The combination showed no sign of flex and, even with the relatively thin Ruffian MX lock on grips, did a good of of keeping trail vibrations in check. ODI have added a Half waffle pattern to the Ruffians for more grip without adding too much width.


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Saddle: The WTB Volt saddle is definitely worth checking out when you're shopping for a new saddle. It is comfortable from the off with a nice "in the saddle" feel.

Specification List:

  • FrameThe Following
  • SizeSmall, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • ForkRockShox Pike RCT3 140mm
  • ShockRockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAir 184x44 HVI
  • SeatpostRockShox Reverb Stealth 125x30.9
  • HandlebarRace Face SIXC 800 Semi-rise carbon bar
  • StemRace Face Turbine 60mm
  • GripsODI Ruffian MX
  • SaddleWTB Volt
  • WheelsetEaston Heist27 29"
  • TyresOnza Ibex 2.25
  • Chain guideMRP AMg V2
  • Crank and ChainringSRAM X0 with 32T X-Sync
  • Rear DerailleurSRAM X0 11-speed
  • ChainSRAM PC-XX1
  • CassetteSRAM X1
  • ShiftersSRAM X1
  • BrakesetSRAM Guide RS with 180mm rotors

Pricing and availability


Recommended retail pricing on the frame with the Monarch RT3 Debonair rear shock is R 49,850.00 based on current exchange rates. Each build is a custom build so pricing on complete bikes is specification related. Frames are available in small, medium, large and extra large.

On the Trail


Firstly, it should be noted just how easy the sag meter makes setting the bike up. There was the usual tweaking to get it to where I liked it, but getting the base setting 30% sag according to Evil, was easier than usual. A clever design.

Taking the bike for its first ride, I wasn't 100% sure what to expect. There have been many bikes with bold claims and excellent international reviews with the pool of great bikes seeming to get bigger and bigger by the day. To the point where there are actually very few bad bikes out there today.

That being said, some bikes are like vanilla flavoured vanilla. They do exactly what it says on the box, but fail to excite. Those who ride motorbikes should recognise this as the BMW vs KTM debate. The Evil The Following however does not fall into that camp. It is a rip-roaring, fun-loving bike that (almost) knows no bounds. I have no doubt that the top end components on the bike we had on test helped, but I reckon most riders who spend this kind of money on a boutique frame will dive in head first and fit parts that are worthy of the bike.

The Following, with its 120mm Delta rear and 140mm Pike, just about crushed everything in its path. The rear suspension linkage offered supple small-bump sensitivity at the top of its travel, a firm pedaling platform in the middle with enough pop to chuck the bike around and just enough ramp-up at the end to give it a bottomless feeling out on the trails.

In full open mode, where I spend much of my riding on most bikes, climbing is good rather than stellar on long open sections. A flick of the dial helped, but I felt it was almost too firm for my liking and meant I had to bend down to reach the lever when the fun started. On technical climbs the traction is great and every pedal stroke results in forward motion keeping you upright.

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Verdict


My review notes read like this "bottomless, snake through corners, super capable, park the thought that you are riding a 29er". That should sum it up for you. I got the feeling that the design brief was not a long list of tick boxes, but rather a one-liner that read "the best damn trail bike out there.

Like my notes said, park the thought that this is a 29er or has only 120mm of travel and that you need to compare it with Bike X, but not bike Y and you will get The Following. This is a bike. Just a bike. One that will happily rip, pop and rail all day long. It is truly category defining with its "what it can't do" list much shorter than "what it can do".

I would happily dive in head first myself and say that as far as Trail / All Mountain bikes go, this is one of the best I've slung a leg over and one of the most well-rounded 29er bikes I've ridden yet.