The Following: Refined.
It’s not too often that we see a bike truly shake things up in the mountain bike world. Back in 2015 while all the bike manufacturers were clamoring to get their latest/greatest enduro bikes on the market, Evil had other plans. They had quietly been working on a (gasp) 29’er! But this wasn’t just any 29’er. It was a 29’er that marked somewhat of a paradigm shift. It changed the way many of us viewed 29’ers. It had many of us questioning why we were shoving around a clumsy 160mm enduro bike when all we really needed was a short-travel 29’er with geometry that was actually intended for riders who wanted to have fun on their bike. I know I personally had never even remotely considered riding a 29’er. But there was just something about the low, slack, angry nature of the Evil Following that I couldn’t shake...I had to try it out. I bought one, and honestly never really looked back. It was, and still is, one of my favorite trail bikes of all time.
With two years of smashing success under their belt, the folks at Evil have worked hard to make a great bike even better. The MB Following is improved in many ways, and all-in-all is a more refined bike compared to the V1 Following. That ultimately leads to improved ride quality of course. So what’s changed on the new bike? Let’s find out…
The quick ‘n dirty features
For those that don’t want to read my thoughts/feedback on this bike, here are the at-a-glance features of the Following MB:
- New frame design for improved stiffness
- Metric/Trunnion rear shock with piggyback clearance
- Boost 12x148mm rear dropout spacing
- Compatible with 29” x 2.1" - 2.4” and 27.5” x 2.6" - 2.8” tires
- Threaded 73mm BB shell
- Integrated carbon upper guide
- Approx. 20mm longer reach across all sizes compared to V1 Following
- 120mm Delta System rear suspension
- Designed around 120, 130, and 140mm fork compatibility
- Water bottle cage mount on all sizes
First up, Evil made a very smart decision to offer up two wheel size options with the MB Following. 29” wheels with up to 2.4” tires, or 27.5” wheels with 2.6" - 2.8” tires will be compatible with this bike. I personally have stuck to the 29” wheel, as it suits my riding style and the trails I ride best. I have spent a good amount of time on other 27.5”+ bikes, and never really clicked with them. That said, I am curious to see what it feels like on the Following, but for now, I’m still having too much damn fun on the 29’s. For those planning on building this bike with 27.5"+ tires, it is important to note that you're best off with a 130mm or 140mm fork, and keep the bike in the higher geometry setting. Otherwise the bike will end up being very low, causing unwanted pedal strikes.
With the increased tire clearance on the swingarms comes Boost 12x148mm dropout spacing, which is to be expected. Other changes afoot with the MB Following are all very welcome in my book: threaded 73mm BB shell, integrated upper chainguide, Trunnion/Metric rear shock configuration with piggyback clearance, re-designed tubing for increased stiffness, and a lengthened reach. Some may be surprised to see that the travel has not increased - it is still 120mm. Personally I am totally fine with this - I love the sportiness of the 120mm Delta System platform, it is just incredibly playful and fun to ride. I think many of us have grown accustomed to riding with more travel than we really need, myself included. There is something raw and refreshing about riding a bike with a bit less travel, forcing you to pick your lines better, and thus becoming a more refined rider. Granted, I still love to get rowdy on my monster-truck Wreckoning, but there’s a time and place for everything. For all intents and purposes with the Following, 120mm rear travel is right on the money.
Yay for shock clearance!
With the Calling we saw Evil make the switch to the new metric shock sizing, as well as the Trunnion upper shock mounting system, so it’s no surprise to see the MB Following follow suit. Overall I have been quite impressed with the ride quality and feel of the Rock Shox Super Deluxe RC3 rear shock. It is leaps and bounds better than the Monarch, no doubt about that. Evil learned from the past, and gave the MB Following plenty of shock clearance. The V1 Following was very limited with shock options, and definitely no piggyback clearance. The MB will fit piggybacks, coils, etc. That said, we are still somewhat limited in what’s currently available for metric 165 x 45mm Trunnion shocks. Rumor has it, Fox is working on a compatible Float DPX and Float X2, and Push is working on a compatible ElevenSix. Just thinking about an ElevenSix on this bike makes me giddy with excitement...I really hope Push can pull that off! Until then, the Super Deluxe RC3 is going to be the best option for this bike. It does a great job soaking up the chatter, and it is very smooth off the top of the stroke. I can confidently say that the bike holds momentum better than the last Following, and that can most likely be attributed to the new shock setup.
You guessed it, LONGER is better
Geometry on the MB Following has been tweaked slightly, but largely remains consistent with the V1. We do get a lengthened reach which is nice - roughly 20mm longer across all sizes. I previously rode a small V1 Following, and I continue to ride a small MB. The lengthened reach feels just right, no issues getting used to it. Naturally, this change does increase wheelbase length slightly as well. Other than that, the bike’s geometry remains essentially the same as the V1 Following. Seeing that Evil pretty much nailed it first time around on the geometry, I’m not surprised to see that no major changes were made in this department. I do like my bikes slack in the head angle, so I’ve opted to install a -1° Works Components angle adjustable headset. Along with my Fox 36 Float 140mm fork up front, that gets me down to a 65.4° head angle. I opted to keep the bike in the higher flip-chip geometry setting, as I wanted to keep the seat angle as steep as possible for climbing. This is a pretty aggressive setup, and I only recommend it for the folks who know they like slack bikes. Otherwise, the bike will be most balanced with a 130mm fork and no angleset headset adjustments.
Stiffer is always better...or is it?
Frame stiffness is another big change on the MB Following. Some folks felt the V1 Following lacked stiffness. Evil claims that they purposefully built some chassis flex into the V1 Following to increase traction and cornering compliance. It's impossible to make every rider happy though, and while the compliance likely is a good thing for many riders, there's also an equal or greater number of more aggressive and/or larger riders that could use a bit more stiffness. With the re-designed frame tubeset, along with the beefed up / Boosted rear swingarm, the overall stiffness of this frame has definitely been increased. As a smaller rider myself, I never had any issues with the stiffness of the V1 Following, and I ride fairly aggressive - but I only weigh 130 lbs. With the new Following, I do find that the bike tracks just as well, or better than the V1. It's really splitting hairs for me though, however bigger riders will likely notice this a bit more.
You know you want it
For those of you that loved the V1 Following as much I did, you will not be disappointed with the new bike. As I mentioned before, it is a much more refined bike with numerous improvements. If you’ve given your Following hell for the last two years, I’d say it’s definitely worth considering upgrading. It’s not just a minor refresh, it’s a totally new bike, and it will remind you once again why you fell in love with this bike in the first place. If you haven't had the pleasure of riding or owning an Evil Following, now would be the perfect time to hop on board!