Size Tested: Medium
- Drivetrain: SRAM X1
- Brakes: SRAM Guide R
- Wheels: RaceFace Turbine
- Fork: Rockshox Pike RCT3
- Rear Shock: Rockshox Monarch RT3 Debonair
- Wheels: 29′′
Travel: 120mm Rear / 130 mm Front
Blister’s Measured Weight: 28.8lbs (13.1kg) size medium, without pedals
Frame only (with Rockshox Monarch RT3 and rear axle): 6.9lbs (3.13 kg)
Reviewer: 5’9”, 155 lbs.
Test Location: Whitefish, MT
Duration of Test: a month
When The Following was released last winter, it garnered a lot of attention. Part of that was because it was a sexy looking bike that looked to be a serious contender in the “aggressive 29er” category, but part of that was because it seemed to indicate that Evil, as a company, was back in the game. It’s no big secret that Evil had some quality control issues over the past few years, but with a new factory making their frames and a three-year warranty backing things up, it seemed a new leaf had been turned over.
The bike itself is unique in a few regards. First, in the “low” setting, with its 66.8º head angle, The Following is the slackest 29er I’ve ever ridden. While I’m sure there’s some odd contraption out there that’s slacker, I can’t think of another 29er that’s as chopped out.
Second, this is the first bike I’ve ever owned that doesn’t have a single weld on it. This is mostly just a curiosity, but it’s maybe a sign of the times. And no, the seam on the rims isn’t welded. It’s sleeved.
A quick aside before we go any further: this bike is officially called “The Following.” I’m going to call it “the Following,” because writing “the The Following” is weird.
No welds means that the Following has a carbon front and rear triangle. And in case it wasn’t immediately obvious from the pictures, pretty much every part of the frame is massive.
The suspension runs on Dave Weagle’s “Delta” system, which is a relatively high single pivot with some linkage to modify the leverage ratio as the suspension compresses.
I get a lot of comments about how complicated the linkage is, but looks can be deceiving. It’s a pretty straightforward bell crank design. Perhaps it looks more complex than it is simply because it’s very compact.
According to Evil, the basic idea of the Delta system is that it’s very tunable, and can be tweaked to achieve a variety of leverage rates to mate well with a given rear shock for a given set of preferences. The same basic system is used on all of Evil’s suspension bikes, but the result on the Following is a fairly progressive rate that seems to be designed to complement the natural progressiveness of an air can like the Monarch RT3.
All of the pivots are running on sealed cartridge bearings, and the hardware is high quality and lightweight. In my time on the bike, I haven’t had any issues with anything coming loose or creaking.
Cable routing is a mix of internal and external. The rear brake runs entirely externally, and the rear shift cable runs externally under the top tube, but then internally through the seatstay. The dropper post runs internally, as would the front derailleur if I was running one.
The internal routing has tubing to make shoving the cables through a bit easier. The only downside here is that the tubing isn’t big enough to fit a SRAM connectamajig, so you still have to bleed the seatpost anytime you need to install or remove the hose.
The rear axle is a straightforward, bolt-on style affair that doesn’t have any sort of pinch bolt or expansion collet. It threads into a nut on the drive side that’s loosely held in place with a set screw. If you bungle the threads somehow, the nut is replaceable. While this system is clean looking and doesn’t leave any levers hanging off the outside of the bike, I’d still like to see a pinch bolt on the non-drive side to help stiffen up the connection a little bit.
In terms of the look of the bike, my only real gripe is the paint. From a distance it looks great, but up close it’s a bit lumpy, and it’s rough around the internal cable ports. It also seems to chip relatively easily.
The frame comes fitted with rubberized protectors at the key locations: under the downtube to ward off rock strikes, and along the drive side stays to deal with chain slap. Some of these protectors seem like they could be a little bigger, but all in all, they work well and they give the bike a really clean look.
The frame has one water bottle mount inside the front triangle, and there’s enough space to fit a full sized bottle.
NEXT: The Build, Geometry and Numbers, Etc.