An instant classic
The lines are once again blurred as Evil introduces a new big wheeled steed to their lineup. Being a pioneering company of the 29'er revolution, Evil knows a thing or two about making the most of the 29"-wheeled platform. When the original 120mm-travel Following was introduced back in 2014, it largely changed how people perceived this wheel size - it was a bike that bucked the trends, and said “HEY, you can have FUN on 29" wheels!”
A couple years later, the 160mm-travel Wreckoning hit the market, and captured the hearts of big-hit enduro style riders looking to monster-truck everything in their path. And while Evil brought into the mix a couple of 27.5" bikes (Insurgent and Calling), there was still something missing from their lineup - something in between the Following and Wreckoning.
That is exactly what Evil has brought to the table with the Offering. A 140mm-travel 29'er that lands right smack in the middle of Evil's other two 29'ers. As it turns out, it's the bike many of us have been waiting for, and with updated geometry, this Evil has impressed me more than any other model in their lineup...and that's saying a lot, considering some of my favorite bikes of all time include the likes of the Following MB and Wreckoning.
The quick specs
- New frame layup style for improved stiffness and reduced weight
- Metric/Trunnion rear shock with piggyback clearance
- Boost 12x148mm rear dropout spacing
- Compatible with 29” x 2.1" - 2.5” and 27.5” x 2.6" - 2.8” tires
- Threaded 73mm BB shell
- Integrated carbon upper guide
- 140mm Delta System rear suspension
- Designed around 140, 150mm fork, but can also be run with 160mm fork. 51mm offset recommended for all travels.
- Water bottle cage mount on all sizes
It should come as no surprise that the Offering boasts a longer reach than any other bike currently in their lineup. That's just the way of the mountain bike world these days, and for good reason. Short bikes tend to be twitchy, and give you an "on-top-of-the-bike" feeling versus an "in-the-bike" feeling. I've certainly questioned how long we can go before we start to feel like we're riding bikes that resemble a 1980's Cadillac. At what point do we sacrifice agility for cockpit length?
I've ridden size-small Evil bikes since the first-generation Following, and I've owned all their bikes to-date. With each bike, the reach has trended longer and longer. With a reach of 477mm on the large Offering, this bike measures 25mm longer than the Wreckoning and Following MB in their respective sizes. That being said, I've never felt like I've really lost any ride qualities, and that remains true with the Offering. After my first ride on the bike (size small, in my case), I couldn't help but reminisce about my experiences on all the previous Evil bikes. The giddy feeling of tossing a leg over a new bike, especially an Evil, is something special. And even more so once you start tearing it down a trail. Yes, it's a longer bike - and that does require some adjustment - but trust me, it still rides like an Evil, and of course, it still looks like an Evil too. The 1980's Coupe DeVille will have to wait, and that's a good thing.
Another welcome change to the Offering is a steeper seat tube angle - about 2° steeper than any of their other bikes. It baffles me why it's taken so long for steep seat tubes to catch on, but I think we're finally there. With a seat tube angle hovering around 76° - 77° (depending on flip-chip setting and fork travel), the Offering is right there with the most current geometry trends. This puts you in a more powerful climbing position, which has become increasingly important to many folks, especially taller riders using super long dropper posts.
- Head Tube Angle: 65.6-66.2
- Travel: 140mm Rear, 140-160 Front
- Reach, size Large: 477mm
- Effective top tube, size Large: 632 mm
- Seat-tube angle: 76° - 77°
- Chainstay Length: 432mm
Choices, choices, choices
Similar to the rest of Evil's latest bikes, the Offering utilizes metric shock sizing and a Trunnion upper shock mount. Stock shock options include the Fox Float DPX2 Factory, Rock Shox Super Deluxe RC3, and the Push ElevenSix. The Push ElevenSix has always been an awe-inspiring shock in my experience, and after a few days testing this shock on the Offering, I can say for certain that once again, Push has knocked it out of the park. For the aggressive riders out there pushing the limits of their suspension, look no further than the ElevenSix. It is so supple and so responsive that it just seems to magically erase the unwanted chatter. Yet, it’s still lively and wants to pop around, so you’re not sacrificing the agility of the Offering. That said, it is not an absolute necessity, and may be overkill for some riders.
As more of any every-day rider bike, or for those who aren’t smashing every rock garden at break-neck speeds, the lighter-duty Rock Shox Super Deluxe and Fox Float DPX2 are excellent options. They are lighter in weight since they are air shocks, easy to adjust, and will save you a bunch of cash compared to the ElevenSix. During my testing, I was quite impressed with the Super Deluxe - it was nice and lively, easy to tune, and managed to soak up some pretty rough hits without complaint.
Up front, the Offering is designed to be run with either a 140mm or 150mm fork. Although Evil doesn't explicitly recommend it, a 160mm fork is certainly an option on this bike. I tested a 51mm offset Cane Creek Helm at 150mm travel (558mm axle-to-crown) as well as a 51mm offset Fox 36 at 160mm travel (567mm axle-to-crown). I found the bike to feel a bit longer than any Evil I’ve ridden in the past, which makes sense considering the reach of the Offering. That can lead to a bit of front-end wandering on lower speed/tech or switchbacks, and requires you to ride a bit more over the front end of the bike. That said, I personally settled on the 160mm Fox 36 with the 51mm offset for a more aggressive do-it-all style of build.
A handful of new bikes these days are running reduced offset forks (Ibis Ripmo, Transition Sentinel to name a couple). As bikes are getting longer top tubes and slacker head tube angles, a reduced offset fork helps to bring the front wheel back and reduce wheelbase length. It also affects the "trail" which is a geometry term referencing the tire contact point trailing behind the steering axis. Evil opted not to design the Offering around a reduced offset fork for a number of reasons. Most importantly, a reduced offset fork (and the geometry changes that would have needed to accompany the offset) would have drastically changed the ride characteristics, and likely would have resulted in a bike that didn't quite ride like the Evil bikes we've all come to love. Without getting into the nitty gritty of fork offsets and geometry (we'll have a video explaining all of this in great detail soon), just know that the folks at Evil did their homework, and they found that the 51mm offset is the ideal offset for this bike.
Throwing another variable into the mix, the Offering utilizes adjustable flip-chips, just like the rest of Evil's bikes. Your two options, as etched on the chips, are "LOW" and "XTRA LOW". That said, the Offering isn't quite as "low" as we've seen in the past from Evil. While many of their BB heights hover in the 330mm - 338mm range (depending on XTRA LOW or LOW flip chip setting), the Offering sits at 338mm in XTRA LOW setting, and 346mm in the LOW setting. After thoroughly testing both settings, I settled on the XLOW setting, as I typically prefer slacker head angles and lower BB heights. For those doing a lot of technical/rocky climbs, the LOW setting may be best to avoid pedal strikes.
As if that's not enough choices to make your head spin, there's yet another option to discuss: 27.5"+ and 29". Much like the Following MB, the Offering can be run with either 27.5"+" tires, or 29" tires. While it's nice to have these options, I have always found that Evil’s dual-personality bikes tend to ride best with 29" wheels, and judging from our history with the Following MB, most folks agree (Fanatik sells FAR more 29" Following builds versus 27.5"+). But the option is there for those looking to go 27.5"+. For those going 29", the Offering has clearance for tires in the 2.4" - 2.5" range, depending on brand/model of tire.
When all was done and dusted with my first day on the Offering, I came away from it feeling that it’s definitely an Evil, through-and-through. It possesses that super lively nature that I’ve come to love with all the Evil bikes, eager to pop around and play in the dirt. This has always been a huge selling point for me, and a major reason that I’ve always been a fan of these bikes. The Offering, being a solid 25mm longer in reach and wheelbase than any of their other bikes, is a bit of a departure, and as I mentioned earlier, requires that you ride a bit more aggressively with weight positioned slightly further forward over the front wheel. Once you unleash the bike on the fast/rough/steep, you forget about everything and the bike does the rest. The 140mm of travel is just enough to smooth out anything but the roughest slams. It’s not quite as monster trucky as the Wreckoning, but it is more nimble. Of all the Evil bikes, I would say the Offering will appeal to the widest range of riders. Many folks absolutely loved the Following (myself included), but couldn’t help but want just a tad more give. And just to hammer it home, that steeper seat angle does wonders for the climbing ability of this bike - I would go as far to say that this is the best climbing Evil to-date. It’s certainly what I’ve been waiting for, and I can’t wait to get more ride time on this dark-hearted beast of a bike.