The original Evil Following was so far ahead of its time, it hasn't needed a remodel since it was introduced in 2014. And you could hardly call the Following MB a remodel. The travel remained unchanged, and geometry updates are negligible, save for the 13-16 millimeters added to the reach and wheelbase. But Evil did switch to Boost spacing, a threaded bottom bracket and a trunnion mount. And the Following MB can now accommodate a piggyback rear shock, which it always deserved.
Of course, Evil's magically supportive DELTA linkage is down there doin' its thang. Run the shock wide open, and you'll still have a defined but sensitive mid-stroke platform to push against. It's why the Following may be the best-climbing trail bike we had this year. We say "may be" because we've been spoiled by the brands leading the trend on steep seat tube angles. In the saddle, more forward-balanced bikes like the Transition Smuggler were quieter on the quads. But depending on where you set the Following's geometry flip chips and which fork you choose, its seat angle is no slacker than average. And out of the saddle, no bike gets you more power per pedal. With a lighter tire spec, the Following would probably be the punchiest climber this year. The e*thirteen TRS treads on our build weren't made to be light and sensitive on uphills, but only to be brutish and uncaring on the descents.
The Following MB, on the other hand, is not only meant for brutish, uncaring descenders. Aggressive 29ers have gotten more versatile and plentiful since we first saw the Following. Back then, it was the best and perhaps only choice if you wanted a 29er that could get rowdy but didn't feel numb. To compare another Transition to our 120 rear, 130 front travel Following, the 140/160-millimeter Sentinel adds significant travel and gives up only moderate playfulness and efficiency in the process. If your trails put you somewhere between the Following and Evil's beastly Wreckoning, there may be other options out there.
But by showing some restraint in its updates, Evil maintained the Following's preference for precision and control. It just happens that the more capable rear shock makes the new MB noticeably more comfortable outside its comfort zone, and the extra bottom-out resistance built into this year's linkage helped it descend even further beyond its category. For riders whose ADHD keeps them from being satisfied staying on the ground or in the middle of the trail, there's no better choice than the Following.
Q&A with Kevin Walsh, owner and CEO for Evil Bikes
We sensed some excitement around rumors that the Following frame might have been getting an extra ten millimeters of travel this year. Why did you guys stick with the same travel range?
Well … despite most of us riding the Following more like a Wreckoning, we opted to keep the same travel so it was versatile as a light-duty trail bike with an in-line shock and 120 fork. The way we spec it is more of a Pacific Northwest build, but we didn't want to alienate anyone.
Why didn't the Following MB jump on the ultra-steep seat angle movement?
I guess because we designed the bike a few years ago and we were really happy with the overall geometry and seat angle at the time. We kept the geometry very close and basically extended the reach 20 millimeters and focused more on chassis improvements.
The bike is otherwise pretty straightforward, but it feels odd to have just two questions, so I'll just ask, have you watched the second season of "Stranger Things?"
Yes, and I always feel like I'm in the Upside Down … haha.