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Evil The Calling & The Following MB Review

By Bruce Lin
Photos By Chris Motta

The Evil The Calling and The Following MB are aggressive short travel trail bikes that encourage you to descend with reckless abandon. Few bikes in this category are as capable, and few can give a rider as much confidence and fun on the descents.

Evil Highlights

  • Full Carbon Frame and Rear Triangle
  • D.E.L.T.A. Suspension
  • Adjustable Geometry
  • Metric Shock Sizing
  • Trunnion Mount RockShox Super Deluxe Shock
  • SRAM GX Eagle Drivetrain

The Calling Highlights

  • 27.5” Wheels
  • 130mm Rear Travel
  • 140mm RockShox Pike Fork
  • 66.4/65.8° Head Angle

The Following MB Highlights

  • 29” Wheels
  • 120mm Rear Travel
  • 130mm RockShox Pike Fork
  • 67.4/66.8° Head Angle

Evil The Calling & The Following MB Details

Based out of Seattle, Evil made a name for themselves building bikes for riding the rough and tumble trails of the Northshore, and that pushed the boundaries of geometry and suspension capability. Every model in their current lineup uses their unique D.E.L.T.A. suspension linkage. D.E.L.T.A. was developed for Evil by famous suspension designer Dave Weigel, the father of the DW-Link and other designs. It’s a linkage driven, single pivot setup that is supple off the top, but provides ample support and ramp up through the mid-stroke to improve pedaling, pumping, and bottom out resistance. It has two plates that can be switched to adjust the geometry between a "low" and an "x-low" position. The fact that D.E.L.T.A. is an acronym for “Dave’s extra legitimate travel apparatus” speaks to both its performance and Evil’s own fun-loving attitude. There’s no denying that every bike in their range is an absolute riot to ride.

The Calling and The Following MB are Evil’s entries into the shorter travel trail bike category. The Calling is the 27.5” option with 130mm of travel in the rear, while The Following MB is the 29” option with 120mm. Though these travel numbers may not seem extreme, they disguise the bikes' true capabilities. Thanks to how progressive and supportive the suspension is, the rear end absorbs big hits in a way that makes them ride like much bigger bikes. Yet they're still able to retain the snappy responsiveness of a shorter travel bike. This makes them perfect for fast flow and tech trails that require fast changes in direction, and the ability to instantly manual, jump, and pop over features like roots and rocks. High-speed performance is helped by short rear ends, paired with low bottom brackets, longer reach, and relatively slack head angles. They maneuver with ease and then stay stable when speeds rise.

The move to metric shock sizing has allowed Evil to fit a larger, higher performance shock in a smaller space. Both the Calling and Following MB feature the new RockShox Super Deluxe, which is trunnion mounted, meaning it moves on bearings at the upper linkage instead of bushings, adding a whole new level of smoothness to the already supple initial travel. For downhill focused riding, it’s hard to improve on the Super Deluxe without upgrading to a full-on downhill shock.  

Evil's full carbon frames aren’t the lightest out there, but they’re built to be durable and survive abuse. When you handle one in person, the robustness of the frames is obvious. Both the Calling and Following MB are built up with SRAM’s reliable GX Eagle drivetrain, which provides good range. Though not lightweight, XC style bikes, they behave well enough on climbs. Thanks to the platform provided by the rear suspension, most climbs can be tackled with the shock fully open. The rear end squats predictably and gives great traction up rough sections of trail. Using the full lockout is really only necessary on the smoothest fire road and pavement sections.

Evil The Calling & The Following MB Rider Type

  • Aggressive Trail Riders
  • Quiver Killer Seekers
  • Occasional Enduro Racers and Bike Park Riders

Evil’s bikes have a unique aesthetic and are definitely eye-catching out on the trail. For some, the good looks are reason enough to ride one. Otherwise, the type of rider who The Calling or The Following MB will really appeal to is the aggressive trail rider. This is the rider that likes both climbing and descending but enjoys going hard downhill, jumping off trail features, and cornering at high speed.

Both The Calling and The Following MB excel when pointed down and will easily inspire confidence and joy in any rider. They’re the type of bikes that make you rethink what a shorter travel bike is capable of. Only in the steepest and rowdiest rock gardens and downhill tracks will you wish for one of their bigger siblings like The Insurgent (27.5”) or The Wreckoning (29”). If you’re doing more serious enduro or bike park riding, then those would be better choices.

When choosing The Calling vs The Following, it will really come down to your preference in wheel size. Smaller riders or those who prefer a more playful bike that is easier to throw around and air off jumps may prefer the Calling, while bigger riders or those who prefer to plow over obstacles at high speed may be better served by The Following. The Calling is a degree slacker with a slightly longer reach, for those more concerned with the numbers. Be sure to check the D.E.L.T.A. linkage hardware from time to time, as some bolts may need to be occasionally retorqued or regreased after hard use.

The Calling and The Following MB are also capable of being run with a larger or smaller fork. Our shop employees running Evils as their personal bike have nearly all upsized their forks 10mm longer than stock. In whatever form you choose, however, The Calling and The following MB are bikes that are capable of functioning as a single, do-it-all, bike. They pedal well enough for long, epic trail rides, and can handle terrain that might make lesser trail bikes shy away.

 

Bruce is a writer who loves getting his bikes dirty, trying new tech, and riding tough trails that make him suffer for hours at a time.