It wouldn’t be The Bible without a new introduction from Evil Bikes. And it wouldn't be an Evil if it didn't make us re-think what a bike in its category is capable of. With 130 millimeters of rear travel and 140 up front, the Calling brings Evil's signature characteristics to the mid-travel, 27.5-inch platform.
It's as long and low as we'd expect from Evil, and has the slackest head angle in the mid-travel category. The essentially single-pivot design of the DELTA link delivers a fancy leverage curve instead of a fancy axle path. There's a subtle ramp-up around the sag point for pedaling and pumping, then a steep ramp-up just before bottom-out. The magic of the DELTA linkage is particularly valuable on a bike like the Calling that lacks the benefits of big wheels or big travel. Its natural pedaling platform allowed most testers to climb comfortably and efficiently all day with the rear shock wide open. And thanks to its supple feel in the early stroke and bottomless feel in the late stroke, it descends like a 150-millimeter bike. But because of that firm platform in the middle, it's more playful than any long-travel bike could be. One tester observed that at high speeds, it expertly walks a fine line between agile and twitchy.
We spent our test loops pumping and wheelie-ing the Calling around like a BMX bike, but when the time came to straightline through the frequent rock gardens of our test loops, the stable geometry and techy suspension would pull us through every time. One tester partially credited this to some moderate lateral-front-triangle flex, though we never agreed how noticeable it was. We did agree that the Calling held its own on the jumps and drops. We repeatedly subjected it to hucks that most mortals would prefer at least another inch of travel for.
The frame has thoughtful details like a return to the threaded bottom bracket, a clever and quiet integrated chainguide and a trunnion-mount rear shock. This revived trend in shock design allows frame manufacturers to run longer rear shocks in less space–space Evil uses for a full-size bottle mount.
Evil has again shaken our longstanding definition of an established category. By now, we should know better than to let that surprise us.
Q&A with Kevin Walsh, Owner – Evil Bike Co.
What do you think is the perfect trail for the Calling?
All day adventures with a constant FLOW of skids,wheelies and jumps. So basically a mountain bike trail.
Who is the Calling aimed at?
Criminals, corner abusers and anyone who likes extra credit trail hits. Really just an alternative lifestyle to 29" wheels. We don't discriminate based on wheel size so we made a bike thats parties as hard as the Following but with smaller yet equally fun wheels. Both bikes can drink the same amount of shots at the bar.
This question may come off as a little too “Terry Gross,” but I get the sense that you personally like 29ers over 27.5ers, It makes me wonder if making the Calling was a similar experience to when you made the Following back before you had embraced big wheels. Like, maybe 27.5 inch wheels don’t fit your riding or trail style personally, but there's a demand out there for mid-travel 27.5 bikes and you want those riders to have access to what Evil bikes can do. Is that a fair statement?
I definitely lean towards the 29ers for sure, but this bike really surprised me. Its a trail bike that slashes like a snowboard, it just wants to stab corners and get the wheels in the air. We wanted to give more options to our customers and support their alternative wheel choice.