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2015 Evil Insurgent Review

Evil Insurgent Complete Build

Evil as we know it today is owned by Kevin Walsh. He purchased the brand from Dave Weagle back in 2008. Since buying Evil they had some problems on the manufacturing side with their first few runs of the Downhill bikes. With manufacturing happening in big quantities it took things awhile to get sorted out. Once production issues where sorted the guys at Evil took care of customers that had problems. Their carbon trail and downhill bike have been very successful and last year Evil came out with a bike called The Following. Now it is time for Evil to enter the 650 market with The Insurgent. Evil bikes is now using the same factory as Santa Cruz bikes for the production of the full carbon bikes and with SC's experience in building carbon bikes it sounds like a good choice. With the overwhelming accolades being bestowed upon The Following it made perfect sense for Evil to jump into the 650b market. Their new bike The Insurgent is their go at the aggressive 27.5" Enduro bike market.

"Do you repeatedly attempt to seperate your tires from your rims in every corner, do you say lets take this ride mellow, does your trail bike find itself going slide ways.. Those up hill both ways days just got a little less sucky. Short snappy chainstays, long top tube and a low BB set the stage for a bike that likes to party.."

Build Kit 

  • Evil Insurgent XL
  • DVO Diamond 160mm
  • Enve DH Bars 800mm
  • Hope 35mm Stem
  • Chromag Grips
  • Magura MT7 Brakes 203mm F/R
  • Thomson Covert Dropper
  • Fabric Carbon Saddle
  • Hope 170mm Cranks
  • Hope 34 Tooth Chainring
  • Hope Pedals
  • SRAM XO Shifter
  • SRAM XO 11 SPD Derailure
  • SRAM XO 11 SPD Casette
  • Mavic Crossmax SL Pro LTD 29 WTS Wheels


Upon receiving our Insurgent we opened it up and began assembling the bike. Again the finish on The Insurgent seemed top notch just like it did with The Following. Thank God for a Threaded BB and a 142 by 12mm rear hub spacing. Having the threaded BB makes assembly a bit easier and keeps the bike from making noises that should only be heard on a bikes purchased from WalMart. (Though we are running SRAM 11spd and that at times can make our Evil bike sound like a department store bike....) Overall our build kit is similar to others we have used. Our area is rocky and rough so a full chain guide, heavy tires, big brakes, and DH based cockpit round out the build.

Evil Insurgent Profile

The Delta Suspension System

"(Dave’s Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus ) Despite Delta representing Dave Weagle’s 3rd cycling specific suspension system, we thought a super tech acronym would be much more appropriate. Well, if we had our way we would say it bends in the middle, stops and goes. But let’s be realistic, we can’t get away with that simple of an explanation. As much as we would like to think that everyone will have the opportunity to test ride an Evil, the reality is most of You will buy based on reviews, friends or Weagle’s past successes.

So the following is straight from the horses mouth ( Dave Weagle being the horse ). The DELTA system was conceived to, among other things, achieve very complex leverage rate curves that can be used to tune for varying track conditions, spring, and damper parameters. The dual progressive leverage rate curve was developed for coil sprung downhill applications to take advantage of the speed sensitive shocks on the market. Mechanically, the system uses very compact links that can achieve a lot of angle and velocity change through the travel. We can tailor the leverage rate curve to really take advantage of the shock’s valving and the way that a speed sensitive damper is designed to work. Ultimately the design achieves a high degree of suppleness early in the travel, with a very predictable high traction stage through the middle and a bottomless ramp at the end of the travel.

The whole suspension system, every attribute, is developed concurrently with each other, with the shock absorber, and with the bike’s intended use and geometry in mind. Main pivot location was carefully chosen to give the best balance of acceleration and braking performance. This careful positioning lets the bike accelerate without the need for excess damping, which in turn helps us push the limits of shock setup as far as possible to achieve ideal damper setup for any World Cup track. One of the biggest advantages of the system is its ability to let riders and mechanics adjust frame geometry without changing leverage rate and wheel rate at all.

Additionally, different link kits can be used to make drastic changes in the bike’s feel. These link kits are something that Evil’s World Cup athletes will take advantage of to fine tune for the drastically different race courses that they compete on over a race season. There is no bad option.It all comes down to personal preference. If you like to run air shocks and a position sensitive damper, we can develop that tune. If you like yourframe geometry low in the BB and slack in the head angle, or vice versa and anywhere in between, it’s covered. Upgradeability, tuneability, and personalization is what it’s all about, finding that combination that’s perfect for you and no one else."

DW D.E.L.T.A. Suspension

Evil Insurgent Head Tube

Rock Shox Vivid Air: Prior to performing shock adjustments, determine riding weight ( fully geared up ). Push the shock O-ring against the wiper seal and push the sag adjuster on the non drive side of the Delta Link forward. Lean up against a sturdy wall, friend, or telephone pole and sit on the bike. Being careful not to tip over, dismount the bike and check the SAG indicator. The SAG indicator should barely cover the 30% mark and the O-ring should measure between 15-17mm from the shock body for ideal setup. The Insurgent uses a high volume air canister which compliments the progressive spring curve of the Delta System Suspension, if a less progressive feel is desired then experiment with different air volume spacers.


NOTE* These are just guidelines to start you on your suspension tuning journey. Its very important to tune your front and rear suspension together to get the best set up possible. Play around and find that special tune, then write it down so you don’t forget! NOTE* The dual progressive leverage rate curve might make some spring rates seem stiff, we encourage you to try different rates that will allow you to sit deeper into the suspension travel and find that perfect set up.

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Evil Insurgent Features 

Evil Insurgent Features

Looking at The Evil Insurgent geometry numbers below it becomes apparent that they went for a slack and somewhat longer frame than many companies making 650b Enduro bikes. The HA and BB numbers are adjustable via The Flip Chips. We opted to run the bike in the LOW setting most of the time. Running it in X-LOW (64.8 degrees HA) with a 35mm stem made climbing some of the steep stuff around here a bit challenging. Keep in mind we tested The Megatrail and it has a BB in low setting that is 12.7" and provides 160mm of travel. The Evil isn't the lowest bike out there but with a 64.8 degree HA, it is one of the slackest bikes. Some people are concerned about crank clearance, but it wasn't much of an issue for us and the 170mm cranks. Our frame was an XL and I am 6' 2" tall.

Evil Insurgent Geometry 

Evil Insurgent Geometry

Overall, The Insurgent built up easily. The frame and shock weighed in at 7.7LBS.  With our part selection we knew we would have a bike that could handle rough terrain day in and day out. One issue we had with the frame was the lack of a water bottle cage mount. We ended up using a Jand Strap to hold a water bottle onto the frame. Wearing a pack is something we do on longer rides but the other five days a week when you're on an hour long lunch a water bottle fits the bill nicely. We opted for the Rock Shox Vivid Air shock for the back. Kevin suggested that we may want to wait for a more trail oriented shock that would provide more mid stroke support and have a climb switch. We decided not to wait and went with the DH shock. Overall the small bump on the shock is impressive. There where times when I would have liked to use a lock out shock like on long extended climbs or when commuting on the road.

Evil Insurgent Drive Side Linkage

The DELTA suspension is very supple at the very beginning of its travel. Also, the bike's suspension seems to cycle well and offers traction by the boatload. Dave Weagel initially designed The Delta Linkage for the Evil Undead and the high shaft speeds sometimes encountered during Downhill Racing. The Insurgent offers two settings through the flip chips either Low or X-Low. X-Low mode lengthens the WB a hair, lowers the BB and slackens the head angle. For a majority of the test we ran The Insurgent in the Low setting.

Evil Insurgent Chain Guide

Overall, we where impressed by The Insurgent as it did many things well. The frame felt stiff, lively, bottomless, planted, stable and pedalled well. We just finished up testing the Following so getting aboard The Insurgent a few things became clear, like The Insurgent being advantageous when the terrain is fast, chunky or steep. Otherwise the 29" bike seemed to have the advantage looking at times on mellower trails. There are a few trails in the area that are rocky and fast approaching the 30mph mark. The stability provided by the longer chassis and added travel proved to be a positive for The Insurgent on these trails.

Evil Insurgent Non Drive Side Linkage

Ian W

Evil seems to have succeeded in creating a very capable, and stable 650b trail bike with The Insurgent. The bike was very light on its feet with the ability to change lanes and rail corners like an F1 car and proved to be a very capable enduro bike. We built our Insurgent up with DH oriented parts. That being said, we have seen many below the 30LBS mark so it could easily have been lighter. This bike has aggressive geometry but it is by no means too aggressive. In fact a bike with such aggressive angles and great suspension makes a great trail bike for the DH racer.

The initial part of the travel is very sensitive and follows the terrain very well. The bike seemed to be pretty linear. We ended up running 2 volume reducer rings in the Rock Shox Vivid Air to keep the bike from bottoming to easily. The frame came with no reducers installed; luckily we had some left from our Following test. Once we added reducers it became a harder to use all the travel without affecting the initial stroke.

Evil Insurgent Downtube Protector

The first trail I took it on was a 900 foot climb. The bike climbs well and offers good traction over loose rock.  It had some bob while putting the power down while standing but not much. The trail has some rocks at the start and the suspension tracked well over the fast rocky sections. Then it changes into a turn filled smooth trail (flow) with a few small climbs. There are a few tight turns on this trail and The Insurgent needs a bit of front end weight to help hold traction in corners. After that getting to know the The Insurgent a little better I started using more body english while turning such as attempting to always have the chin over bars and arms pressing down when needed.

Many people are huge fans of short chain stays The Insurgent is not super short but close enough. It moves quick when you lean on the bars. I did notice that the 650b Evil had a wheelbase that was almost a full three inches longer than The Following we tested last. This showed in fast, steep terrain. The Following even though it has bigger wheels was just not as stable when flying over rougher terrain. The Insurgent's rear suspension does feel almost bottomless. Riding it hard over rocky terrain you cannot tell when the shock is bottoming out.

The next trail is just above the first and is much rockier for the first 300 yards or so. The Insurgent's larger wheel base benefit became apparent by riding over the soccer ball sized rocks at a blistering rate of speed. It handled the rocks well and it was easy to change lines and hop over rocks when the need arose. Once out of the rock garden the speeds increase and you enter trees with turns carving their way down the hill. In the twisty stuff the Evil does a good job of changing lines and carrying speeds through turns. Never did the longer wheel base (48.10") on the bike seem to take away from its cornering abilities.

Across the valley is a trail that many experienced riders have a strong dislike for. This is due to it be loaded with switchbacks or "woodland based crimes against humanity". This is mainly to keep speeds down because this trail is heavily used by hikers. Initially the trail has some rocks and is high speed until you hit the first switchback.  From there you go into five more switchbacks that are spaced about 200 yards between apart. The Insurgent with its long wheelbase handled these in a decent manner. You could tell it had a preference for fast loose corners more than tight slow ones.  However, at the end of the day it can do either fairly well and do them fast.

Evil Insurgent Flip Chip


Overall we liked The Insurgent. It has a great suspension system that works as DW designed it. The platform allows riders to put power down, climb, handle chunky terrain and provide good mid stroke support. The bike has a long wheel base and slack head angle making it stable at speed. Combine that with a stiff frame and the more common 650b wheels and you have a great option for the Enduro racer. We would not hesitate to recommend it to a friend looking for an aggressive Enduro bike.

Evil came at the 650b market in a similar fashion as they did with the 29" market. They created a slack, low, long bike with a suspension system that provides abundant traction, pedals well and essentially feels almost bottomless. Our Insurgent was built to cater to the gravity rider. Those looking for a more trail friendly version can easily shave 2 lbs off our build and get a shock with a lock out like The Monarch.

Evil Insurgent Rear Stay

There where a few things that Evil could do to improve The Insurgent. First put a bottle cage mount on the frame! There is plenty of room for it especially on the XL and LG sizes. The other thing we noticed is that the lower down tube guard could be longer. Maybe adding three to four inches onto it will help protect the frame a bit more. These are simple fixes and at this point we are just looking for anything to complain about.

Evil has produced two great trail bikes with The Following and now The Insurgent. With their newly announced The Wreckoning a long travel aggressive 29" bike Evil has almost all the bases covered. All that is missing would be a short travel XC bike and an actual DH bike. We are looking forward to throwing The Wreckoning down some trails in the near future. Until then we will keep hammering aboard The 650b wheeled Evil Insurgent.

Let’s cut the crap. There is no “one bike to rule them all”. No magical, wheeled-unicorn that can be all things to all people. Here’s what Evil have created: It’s called the Insurgent and it is fun. The uncontrollable-cackling-while-roost-flies-off-your-back-tire variant of fun. Which is exactly what Evil were aiming for. The Insurgent will get you up that long, technical sufferfest in style with plenty left in the tank to shred a trail slide ways—the kind of trail that everyone else calls a “DH trail”.

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