A RIP-ROARING TRAIL BIKE THAT DOES IT ALL
One might wonder why Evil is only just now releasing a 27.5" trail bike, years after many already jumped on the bandwagon. The reason is simple: they had to blow away the world first with a 29'er that put into question all pre-conceptions about 29'ers, bucked all trends, and broke all sorts of sales records. Yep, we're talking about The Following. But that's besides the point - the real story here is The Insurgent, Evil's foray into the 27.5" trail bike market that is sure to shake things up once again.
Evil has posed themselves quite a challenge. They made such a damn good bike with the Following, now they have to insure that any new bike they release brings something new to the table, and steps things up yet another notch. One thing is for sure though, and that is Evil will never release a bike that they don't enjoy riding. When the Insurgent was still a prototype, I went on a few rides with the folks at Evil, and asked them their thoughts on the new bike. A couple of them still preferred riding the Following, and a couple swore by the new 27.5" rig. At the end of the day, both bikes are incredibly capable machines, but the Insurgent brings 27.5" wheels to the table as well as 150mm travel. For those who are still weary of 29'ers and 120mm of travel, the Insurgent will put your concerns to rest. It is a bike that can be absolutely throttled down/up/over/across the most challenging terrain you can find. It is a bike that can be built just about any way you can imagine - there are virtually no restrictions on tire sizes, shock types, etc.
Evil bikes always tend to push the envelope when it comes to geometry. They are very forward-thinking folks at Evil, and the geometry is one of the main reasons why their bikes are such a treat to ride. The Insurgent utilizes the same adjustable geometry system found on their other bikes, adjusted by flipping the left and right dog bone links in the DELTA System. In the low setting, the head angle is 64.8° with a 13.2" BB height and 17" chainstay length. In the high setting, the head angle is 65.6° with a 13.6" BB height and 16.9" chainstay. For those that want to make further adjustments, you may opt for the Evil Angleset headset, which allows you adjust only the head angle +/- 1°. These numbers are based off a 160mm fork with a 542mm axle-to-crown measurement (aka, Rock Shox Pike). The bike can easily handle a 170mm fork though if you're looking for a bit more up front. Naturally, the 170mm fork will slacken the angles about a half degree or so. Likewise if you want the bike setup a bit less aggressive, a 150mm fork will still feel balanced, and will steepen the head angle and seat angle for better climbing performance.
As usual, the Insurgent uses Evil's DELTA suspension system, designed and tested closely with Dave Weagle. DELTA System is a modified single pivot design that provides a dual-leverage rate curve. In layman's terms, this gives the Insurgent a very supple feel at the very beginning of it's travel, then ramps up in the mid-stroke for for pedaling performance. The latter half of the suspension travel is fairly linear, with just enough progression to prevent against harsh bottom-outs. The DELTA System has been refined to provide improved lateral stiffness and easier maintenance. Evil designed the DELTA System and suspension kinematics around the Rock Shox Monarch RC3+ Debonair rear shock, but for those who desire other options, this frame is fully compatible with most other shocks on the market in a 200 x 57mm size. Please note, the frame WILL NOT fit a Cane Creek DB Air.
As with the rest of Evil's full suspension bikes, the Insurgent is built from uni-directional carbon with a one-piece molded construction at one of the most reputable carbon bike factories in the world (VIP for those who are curious). Evil is claiming "DH stiffness" with the Insurgent, which we don't doubt. Just by looking at the bike, it's not difficult to see that it is built tough, and built to last. After selling a record number of Followings, we can truly speak to it's reliability with virtually no warranty issues. We expect the same to be true with the Insurgent.
With 1x drivetrains becoming more prevalent over the last couple years, Evil opted to keep things simple and ditch the front derailleur mount altogether on the Insurgent, which means it is only compatible with 1x drivetrains. The frame will accommodate chainring sizes ranging from 30T - 36T. The dedicated 1X setup also allowed Evil to include a nifty new integrated carbon upper chainguide attached to the swingarm, a truly innovative addition. There are also ISCG tabs which will allow the use of a custom Evil/E13 lower guide with a taco bash ring. Evil also opted to go back to a threaded 73mm bottom bracket on the Insurgent as opposed to a press-fit setup. It seems press-fit bottom brackets are hit-or-miss, so the decision to go back to threaded makes perfect sense to us.
The Insurgent features internal cable routing for the dropper post, and external routing for the rear shifter and rear brake lines. The rear derailleur line is routed next to the brake line on the top tube, then internally through the seatstay. Another nice detail is a crafty built-in sag meter, located on the non-driveside Delta Link. Just sit on your bike, and the dial will show you when you've reached the target sag. This is merely meant to be a ball-park indicator on sag though, it's better to use the sag gradients on the rear shock when you're setting up the bike to insure proper sag.