PRODUCT REVIEW: THE EVIL WRECKONING
TAMING THE TRAILS WITH AN AGGRESSIVELY EVIL MONSTER TRUCK
The Wreckoning was born after the folks at Evil Bikes rode the Following – the shorter travel (120mm) older brother of the Wreckoning, and wanted something more. This bike shows us just how aggressive a 29er can be, with a pinch of style added for more flavor. We befriended this monster truck recently and live to tell the tale.
CHECKING OUT A MONSTER TRUCK
Designed with the intention to overcome the shortcomings of short travel 29ers when shredding more unforgiving terrain, the Wreckoning (161 mm of rear travel) allows for rider's mistakes when a wrong or harder line was chosen and would still reward with a challenging yet fun exit. In short, the Wreckoning took the best feature of 29er mountain bikes – fast rolling trailer eater – give it more muscles and equipped it to wreck the trails into submission. Evil Bikes are not the first to come up with an aggressive 29er, but this bike could be one of the most stylish till date. We go beyond skin-deep looks and into the nitty-gritty of it all.
THE DELTA SYSTEM
No Evil Bikes article is complete without a mention of the Delta System – the linkage system on all Evil Bikes and designed by Dave Weagle.
A departure from Dave Weagle's famous DW Link (in essence a floating pivot), the Delta System, is a linkage driven Single Pivot setup that is able to achieve the essence of Dave Weagle's suspension design albeit with Evil Bikes' ideals on how their bikes should behave in all riding conditions.
The Dual Progressive leverage rate curve uses compact links that can achieve a lot of angle and velocity change through the travel. The leverage rate curve can be tailored to take advantage of the shock's valving and the way that a speed sensitive damper is designed to work. 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.
In simple terms, the Delta System is a highly adjustable and tuneable linkage driven single pivot suspension system with Dual Progressive rate curve. Initial stroke provides maximum efficiency for climbs and rides high, mid stroke gets more playful and responsive with lots of "pop", and finally an increased end stroke that provides that bottomless feel with predictable ramp.
HOW THE WRECKONING RIDES
OUR TEST BIKE
At the front end of our test bike is the Rockshox Lyrik fork, a perfect match for the frame and performs just the way we liked it from the minute we mounted the bike. The stiffness of the frame is further matched with a set of carbon wheels, which gives the bike a precise feel. Cockpit is decked with Deity Components and Sensus Swayze Lite Lock-on Grips. With an on-point choice of components for this custom build, the bike feels quick and response to our intentions with split second accuracy. (More on that in a while)
The Wreckoning comes standard with Rockshox Monach rear shock. But there are options to upgrade the shock to Rockshox Vivid Air Shock or Push Industries 11.6 Shock. Our test bike was fitted with Push Industries 11.6 coil shock which allows for 2 ride settings – Patent Pending Dual Overhead Valve (with a soft and a hard setting). Adjustable settings on the shock are Low Speed Rebound, Low Speed Compression, and High Speed Compression.
Another upgrade available, at time of ordering, is the option to add in either a 150 mm or 170 mm Rockshox Reverb Stealth Dropper Post. In our opinion, a versatile bike like the Wreckoning should not miss out on a dropper post, since it could be flowing through the trails one minute and taking big hits the next.
In terms of frame design, it can be seen that the folks at Evil Bikes put in 110% of effort and thoughts.
A quick look at the geometry figures and you will notice a few vital points. The Wreckoning can switch between 66.1 deg (Low setting on the Flip chip) and 65.5 deg head angle (X-Low setting on the Flip chip) – which is extremely slack for a 29er! This is made possible by the frame's Flip Chip. This flip chip design is so convenient that it takes a rider (who knows his Evil Bike well) the time needed to change a tyre to fully complete the flip chip procedures. The Wreckoning can also accommodate the Flip Cup (sold separately) which allows for a for either a +1° or -1° adjustment to the head angle of the frame.
At the rear end, the chain stay measures only 430 mm in the Low setting and 432 mm in the X-Low, which is even shorter than many 27.5" mountain bikes. At first glance, the wheelbase is just about right for a medium sized 29er at 1182mm (Low) and 1183 mm (X-Low setting). But on mounting the bike, we noticed that the cockpit is spacious. This would be due to the extremely short chainstay and the comfortably lengthed front section. All these should add up to a bike with a playful personality. The frame has a rear wheel spacing of 148 mm by 12 mm – in line with current "industry standard" and ready for all the 1X drivetrains.
On inspecting the bike further, we noticed more cool bits that are worthy of mention:
There are 2 colors available for the Wreckoning – Blue and Gun Metal, both an easy canvas to build a truly personalized custom bike with.
The bike's axle bolts into to the derailleur hanger directly. This should add that little bit more stiffness to that part of the bike.
The frame has an integrated chain guide and custom ISCG05 tabs, to accommodate the option of adding E13 Components' bash guard and lower guide.
Dotted across the frames are spots with integrated rubber protection – downtube, chain stay and seat stay. These are nice touches which, though not exactly rare to find in today's mountain bikes, shows that additional attention to details and aesthetics.
Internal routing design for this frame is also very thoughtful. The dropper post is completely internal routed, the rear derailleur is internal only at the drop out and the brakes are completely external. This setup allows for easy servicing.
And one final point – the Delta System's non-drive side has an integrated sag meter to help the rider with easy sag tune. Nice touch!
During climbs, and shock set to hard mode, we had to consciously weigh the front of the bike to maintain good traction and control. We tend to slide our body towards the nose of the saddle to keep the bike's front end planted. (This ride characteristic could be rectified with a adjustable travel fork? It's just a guess at the moment but nonetheless worth considering should one be building one.) We also tried climbing in the soft setting but found that it bobs a little too much to our liking. Do remember this is a 161 mm aggressive 29er afterall! For riders who are on tight reserve energy tanks, this setting would be inefficient for long climbs. Good thing the Push Industries 11.6 respond well to switching settings on the fly. Throughout the ride, the bike showed its competence, and its stiffness helped us maintain good speed and control.
We tried both settings on descends. On hard setting, the Wreckoning rolled over everything with minimal effort. On more technical sections, the feedback from the bike did increase but it prompted the rider with confidence to take the descent with more speed, more aggro all the while assuring the rider that it is ready for more speed and gnarl. The mid stroke support from the 11.6, working along with the Wreckoning's Delta System really did a good job in giving that level of confidence, with no excessive squats at times when we preload the rear to enter into corners or jumps.
Switching to soft setting was another experience, the bike slowed in its response and the mid stroke's responsiveness became less prominent. This became more obvious when we tackled square edged bumps (eg big roots). And due to this slower response, preloading or pumping the bike as we enter into corners or prepare for jumps gave the feeling that the bike stayed compressed a tad too long. We reckon that we would reserve this shock's soft setting for big hitters only. (Think: the long descents of Chiangmai when you want to bomb down fast)
One thing though, we are curious just how the bike would behave if it is fitted with a set of rear air shock (Rockshox Monach or Vivid Air). The property of air shocks may offer an alternate feel when activating the Delta System's Dual Progressive leverage ratio.
With a spacious cockpit and a rear biased geometry (as mentioned above), it also means that there are lots of allowance for body English. But too much of a good thing could confuse you sometimes and movements have to be slightly more exaggerated than when you are on a tighter cockpit. But we like the geometry and space so we are not complaining.
During descends, we felt assured and were prepared to push ourselves a little harder than usual. The Wreckoning was indeed confidence inspiring and has the competence to back that up.
HOW DO WE LIKE IT?
The Evil Wreckoning is a human-powered monster truck, the kind that would put a smile on your face after each ride as you feel you have out-rode the trail! Point it in the direction of the gnarliest rock garden, hold on tight, and let this monster truck eat the rocks up! Just be sure to set the suspension in the setting that you ride best in.
We have always felt that aggressive 29ers are great ideas that are tough to perfect. The Evil Wreckoning proves that long travel aggressive 29ers are definitely here to stay. All said, the Evil Wreckoning is definitely a very desirable bike with all the right features and appeals. Customize it to the way you like it, shred the trails often and you could apply for the position of "Monster Trail Tamer". Ride.
All information by Unsprung, Evil Bikes and Push Industries.
Photos by Bikezilla
To get your hands on an Evil Bike frame, contact Unsprung through their website or send a quick message to them at their Facebook Page to arrange for an appointment to view the bike at Blk 18B Circuit Road #15-250 Singapore 372018.
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