The Up Side
The D.E.L.T.A. linkage system used on all Evils already makes the company's bikes climb with astonishing efficiency and traction, but the Offering's steeper seat angle makes it perhaps the best uphill bike Evil has made.
With 140 millimeters of travel at both ends, the Offering is a much more a trail bike than an enduro sled. It's energetic, has more of an appetite for munching trail chatter, ripping corners and popping lips than the steepest and deepest lines.
Dollar for Dollar
With a starting price of $5,700, the Offering isn't a steal. Then again, there's no other bike quite like it.
Close your eyes for a second and picture the typical Evil rider. Let me guess, the rider is wearing kneepads, baggy shorts, a T-shirt, Five Ten shoes and a hip bag with a PBR in it. The person is a gravity-focused 'shredder' primarily concerned with 'getting rad' and drives a lifted Toyota Tundra with a North Shore rack. I suppose when you name a company Evil, you're kind of asking for that sort of clientele. And when you make bikes like The Following, that redefine just how 'rad' one could get on a 29-inch-wheeled bike with 120 millimeters of travel, you cement that rep.
Now, close your eyes and imagine the typical Niner rider. Is it a spandex-clad, protein-shake drinking, fitness-obsessed leg-shaver with a heart-rate monitor, one of those Garmin-mount stem topcaps and a Strava sticker on a Subaru Outback?
The bummer about this sort of typecasting is the Evil rider might never know that Niner makes a super legit, shredable steel hardtail. And likewise, the 'Ninerd' doesn't realize Evil makes a bike that might just climb better than any bike that rider's ever been on.
Evil is so strongly seen on the gravity-fed, adrenaline-junkie side of the sport, that it's easy to forget just how well-rounded, easy-to-ride and versatile nearly every Evil model is. There's so much talk about how rad this or that Evil can get, that it'd be forgivable to assume the company's new mid-travel, 140-millimeter 29er would be a full-on enduro sled.
In its stock configuration, the Offering is anything but. Enduro bikes are made specifically to favor descending, but equipped with a 140-millimeter RockShox Pike, the way Evil specs the Offering, it's decidedly undecided about what it'd rather be doing—besides getting off the ground—it knows it likes doing that. And cornering.
The Offering is a perfectly balanced trail bike, with a helping of that unmistakable Evil maliciousness. Descending, it has more of a jumpy, jibby vibe than a plow-through-everything feel. While bikes like the Yeti SB130 and Ibis Ripmo might have slightly firmer pedaling platforms for climbing, the Offering's traction is second to none—cornering, climbing and descending.
The climbing position on this Evil is better than ever. In its steepest mode (flip chips in the high position with a 140-millimeter fork) the effective seat tube angle is 77 degrees, 2.2-degrees steeper than Evil's next steepest models. That's steep enough that even if you flip the chips to the low/slack setting and bump fork travel to 150 millimeters, the seat angle is still 75 degrees. It's also quite long, with a reach on a size large of 480 millimeters. Because it shifts the center of mass forward, the steep seat angle makes the already-efficient suspension system feel even better. For that reason, we think it's actually a better climber than Evil's Following MB.
It's undoubtedly a better descender, with its additional 20 millimeters of travel and nearly degree-slacker headtube angle (65.6-66.6 degrees, depending on fork travel and geometry setting). So why choose a Following MB over an Offering? We couldn't tell you. The Offering has more of that magic-carpet, hover-bike D.E.L.T.A suspension, without any noticeable sacrifice.
We all agreed that the Offering felt more like a bigger Following than a smaller Wreckoning, which can be good or bad depending on one's wishes. Putting a 150-millimeter Lyrik on the front results in more security on steeper descents, and almost identical climbing—not an altogether different beast. Even with the longer fork, the Offering isn't the best in class on the steepest downs, but thanks to a reasonable head angle, normal-offset fork and not-too-crazy wheelbase, the Offering is one of the easiest, most balanced and natural-feeling bikes to ride everywhere else.
Q&A with Kevin Walsh, CEO, Evil Bikes
Steep seat angles are so hot right now. And depending on its setup, the Offering had one of the steepest we've seen. What's the process like during these envelope-pushing days when you guys pick a seat angle? Did you somehow experiment with various configurations? Were there numbers on the table early in the process you were afraid were too steep?
I think this is a tricky process to navigate for a number of reasons. We wanted to do this many years ago, but steeper seat angles—albeit great for climbing, typically force a longer reach, front to center and wheelbase, which can be good or bad depending on what criteria you are designing around. I think increasing these numbers gradually over time allows people to easily adjust their riding styles to evolving bike geometry. We always focus on how much fun we can make our bikes and that boils down to how playful the bike is on the trail. Longer reach, wheelbase and front to center can make the bike more stable at speeds but also make it harder to pull up and can also tire you out on longer rides as you always have to maintain pressure over the front wheel to keep it tracking. We wanted to make sure the Offering was an evolution, but not alienate anyone by producing a bike for a small niche audience.
Reduced-offset forks are also so hot right now. Why did you choose to spec a traditional-offset fork on the Offering? And for those who really want to be on that bandwagon, would you discourage them from building an Offering up with a reduced-offset fork?
I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding going around about reduced offset forks. It's being looked at as a performance upgrade or standard like Boost or Super Boost, when in fact if it's used on a bike whose geometry wasn't specifically engineered around it, there could be negative effects on handling. We chose to preserve the playful nature of our bikes and found a happy medium with seat angle, reach, front to center and mechanical trail, which didn't require a reduced offset fork. We tested both offsets since this bike is considerably longer than our previous models and makes it a candidate for a reduced offset, but most of us at Evil are on 51-millimeter offset forks, but a few of the guys are on 42-millimeter offset forks and love the feel as well. I don't think there is a right or wrong here, just riding preference.
Over the past couple of years, we tinkered around with sizing up on the Wreckoning and pushed the seat forward to mimic what the Offering might feel like, but we were pretty confident in Dave's geometry from the beginning.
Aside from the rear derailleur cable's path through the rear triangle, and of course the dropper post cable, Evil bikes stick to external routing. How come?
We looked into going fully internal but opted to run the brakes and shifter cables externally for ease of maintenance at this point.
We understand there's a 150-millimeter fork option coming for the Offering, but what made you decide to go with 140 as the debut stock configuration? And when will that 150-millimeter option be available out of the box?
There were a couple of reasons. 1.) All of our previous bikes have a 74.8-degree seat angle when used with the proper fork. Most people opted for longer travel forks, which slacken the seat angle, especially when the flip chips are set to Xlow, which actually caused some people to say we had slack seat angles. 2.) We wanted to make sure the Offering was positioned in between the Following MB and Wreckoning LB and not against them. 3.) We really wanted the first impressions of the bike to be on a balanced 140 x 140 trail bike setup before introducing longer travel forks and coil shock options. We will have some different travel fork upgrade options available on the site in the new year.