Editors Note: Evil Bikes’ The Offering is officially released today. To see the full specs and build kits available, head over to Evil’s website. Otherwise, read on about Will Ritchie’s dream build of The Offering.
Moving is real. And when you leave the trails you know--trails you grew up on--it adds another layer to dis-ease. Vivacious riding motivation evaporates as Redwood ribbons are replaced by baked, treeless chunk. Scorched earth that you drive to.
So, I knew I wanted something rad. Fodder for fueling trail stoke. Something I'd spring out of bed for--go to sleep giddy, already impatient for an early morning. Something where it only matters that you're riding. Something irrefutably fun. Shamelessly fun.
During Marquette's Bible of Bike Tests, I finally rode an Evil for the first time. I'd certainly heard about them. Enough so that I almost snarled my way into throwing a leg over the Following MB. But damn, the hype is real.
So why stray from the MB's surefire success? SoCal is littered with square edges lodged in conglomerate. I wanted enough squish to swallow mistakes, not something saggy to discourage big days. The Following MB's 120 millimeters ride bigger than advertised, but I still wanted more.
And then I found out, somehow (I shouldn't have) that a 140 bike was coming. That's all I knew. One forty and that it preferred a 51-millimeter-offset fork. I may reside in SoCal, but I do dream of hoisting around a trunk into a line-choosey riddle of roots, so a slightly nimbler 'traditional' offset was a welcome addition may I occasionally find myself back in Marin. A rumbling of a 76.5-degree-seat-tube angle and that sealed the deal. We've had a steady stream of 76-degree shredders cruise through since fall Bible and once you go steep seat tube, you don't go back. That was that.
Next, how to attire the Evil Offering--things to augment capability while not dragging it down. I've long had the fantasy to ride without a pack--not even a fanny pack, but still tote about enough what-ifs, food, water and repair supplies. Seemingly impossible without hanging enough bikepacking doodads to shame a stunning sled to the dunce corner. Still, I went for it.
I started off with Porcelain Rocket's Calgary-made Charlene seatpack, which I love because it works great with both jam-packed loads and pared-down handfuls. I've also been quite impressed with the Bedrock Bags Black Dragon dropper seatbag, but I don't need something that big, and it doesn't fold down as small when carrying small helpings, so the Porcelain Rocket Charlene wins for this application. I can easily fit a tube, pump, food, layer, med kit, drink tabs, anything else that takes up space and weight. Threaded into the 150-millimeter RockShox Lyrik RC2's steerer tube is a OneUp EDC Tool System and Plug & Pliers kit. So long as I head out with things adjusted appropriately, I won't need to be quickly accessing any tools unless something goes wrong, and if so, I've got all I need. A Ti King Cage fits a full Tam Bikes 24-ounce bottle within the front triangle, and, be that not enough, I do have a Wolf Tooth B-RAD Double Bottle Adapter awaiting deployment if SoCal heat gets the better of me. Running a U.S.-made Wolf Tooth Valais clamp prevents any marring of the RockShox Reverb Stealth’s 170 millimeters, and it’s made from thermoplastic, which must be from the future. The 170 length on the Reverb allows me enough exposed post to not buzz my light and comfy (the two can coexist) WTB Volt 135 Carbon saddle and seatpack on the Maxxis Agressor 2.5 WT EXO rear tire and still has enough drop that even while slightly limited by the Valais, there's enough travel for excitement, which is nice. This concludes my carry-too-many-things-but-not-on-my-back fantasy.
Up front, I have a Minion DHF 2.5 3C EXO Maxx Terra. The DHF might as well be the first non-human inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame based on its unwavering reign ruling the kingdom of tires. Paired with the Aggressor, I have incisive dig up front engaging a corner, a somewhat more-sprightly rear and a slight chance of slowing down in freeze-dried dirt. Perfect.
Rounding things out, I went with an XX1 rear derailleur, chain and shifter, opting for black but allowing hints of gold to pop, tying in to those on the WTB Carbon 135 Volt as well. An X01 Eagle cassette keeps things black and less-than-garish, also matching the crankset.
Hope actually calls it the Crankset--such a boring name, so much excitement. The Crankset touts a set-it-and-forget-it approach so long as one has patience for the 'set it' part. Having witnessed their installation, including two YouTube consultations, animated, though uncertain discussion over the order of operations, several specific tools (shipped with the cranks thankfully) and a lot of mentioning of the "collet thingy," I can attest to their particular nature. But I'm someone who loosens cranks, always. And these Hopes have a patented expanding spline interface burying wiggle alive before seedlings of movement can germinate. So I'm Hope-ful. And excited. I even have an oval Hope 32-tooth chainring. A Hope bottom bracket designed to withstand a British winter should last a SoCal eternity and there's a sense of joy I get looking at robust, forged and CNC'ed aluminum mounted to a frame with two settings: 'Low' and 'X-Low.' Bring on the rubble.
Wheels. I like what Enve has done with the 6 Series rims creating a hookless bead with a spacious surface to dissipate an impact strike. This makes sense to me. Combine that with a focus on the appropriate balance of compliance melding with torsional rigidity, and you have a winner. When I rode the Following MB this past fall, I was shocked by its unapologetically huge carbon tubes. So, I went with a 35-millimeter-inner-rim width producing bulbous, here-I-am wheels to balance the Offering's voluptuous nature.
The M635s lace to White Industries CLD Boost hubs. I love White Industries. The people and products have an unwavering commitment to quality. Spin a White hub and it won't stop, ever. No drag whatsoever. For a made-in-U.S. brand, White's products are reasonably priced and though dreams don't have price limits, knowing price is at least somewhat considered is refreshing. I went with a White Industries headset top cup (Evil's 62 lower size isn't available from White) paired with a Cane Creek 110-series lower, which is conveniently hidden though my secret's now out. West coast meets east in the headtube is how I see it.
Also clashing are my brakes and rotors. I can't help it. Visually, I love the look of Shimano's RT99s with deep-dish-esque cooling fins complementing the deeper profile of the M635 rims and big tires. Big, symmetric circles. Functionally, I can't argue with cooler brakes and in the last couple Bible Summer Camps, I've been astounded by the feel and consistency of SRAM's Code RSCs. So, blasphemous or not, Biggie and Tupac get to sing a duet on this track, and both are holding key so far.
A 35-millimeter 35 millimeter Enve M7 stem and 800-width bar keep the big-boned party going and a set of Chromag Squarewave XL grips add a hint of soul. RockShox's Super Deluxe RCT has an aggressive platform, a decent weight and incredible sensitivity for an air shock. Mission success. Maybe SoCal ain't so bad after all.