Evil Wreckoning GX Eagle first ride review

Scott Gambler 911

Evil’s latest Wreckoning packs a significantly different shape and more travel than previous iterations.

When it launched back in 2016, this hulking carbon beast was one of the first long-travel 29ers and was often labelled ‘enduro’, even though its meathead looks belied a surprisingly lively feel and it never came over like an out-and-out race rig.

Its energetic ride relied on slightly conservative geometry (compared to many of its rivals, that is) and progressive suspension, which encouraged messing about and having fun more than any bike with more than 160mm of travel should. But does a longer, slacker version upset this winning formula?

Evil Wreckoning GX Eagle frame and geometry

Built like a tank with huge chainstays, everything’s updated on the Wrecker’s fat unidirectional carbon fibre frame, from the more angular lines and sculpted shape, through to wholesale changes in geometry and sizing.

It’ll fit properly tall people now, and each frame’s about 20mm longer. The Wrecker’s Achilles heel used to be its climbing position. This has been improved, but the 76.5-degree seat angle still isn’t the most upright compared to other new rigs, which put the hips further over the bottom bracket for extra efficiency.

The chainstays remain short (430mm) and now use a 157mm Super Boost axle (which may cause headaches if you buy a frame only or want to upgrade the wheels). Evil has upped the travel provided by its DELTA system by 5mm, to 166mm.

Seat angle (degrees)76.376.376.376.3
Head angle (degrees)64.664.664.664.6
Chainstay (cm)43434343
Seat tube (cm)3942.54649.5
Top tube (cm)5960.963.265.4
Head tube (cm)10.411.412.713.9
Fork offset (cm)
Trail (cm)12.812.812.812.8
Bottom bracket drop (cm)
Bottom bracket height (cm)35.535.535.535.5
Wheelbase (mm)1,2051,2261,2511,276
Standover (cm)71.872.773.574.6
Stack (cm)62.663.564.765.8
Reach (cm)43.845.547.549.5

Evil Wreckoning GX Eagle kit

Three different build kits (in the UK) stretch up to the best part of eight grand for the wireless SRAM AXS version. What’s smart is that Evil prioritises the suspension, so you get a top-tier RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork even on the cheapest GX Eagle model I tested.

Article continues below advert

This new, stiff, 38mm-stanchion fork works great. Here it’s specced with 170mm of travel and the shorter (44mm) offset, which delivers a neutral, calm steering feel on 29ers.

The rear suspension has been updated to a trunnion-mount RockShox Super Deluxe coil shock, with the same top-tier damping. Dave Weagle’s ‘dual-progressive’ DELTA design effectively runs completely sealed bearings at every point of shock rotation too, for superior suppleness.

The Evil Wreckoning Gx Eagle

The SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain spares some expense, but works well.

Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

The high-quality Industry Nine enduro wheels have a sensible 30.5mm internal width for good tyre footprints. Out back, the Super Boost spacing splays the spokes wider at the flanges for greater stiffness.

While the rear hub engages almost instantaneously, it whines like a swarm of bees. The Maxxis Minion DHF tyres roll pretty well, but aren’t the best in UK mud. You get the 2.3in size (not the 2.5in pictured) with the EXO casing, which may not be tough enough if you ride rocky terrain.

Cash is saved on the alloy-cranked GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain (which functions fine) and SRAM G2 brakes. These four-piston models have sufficient power and lever adjustment but aren’t quite as DH-orientated and sturdy as the brand’s Codes. The smaller 180mm rear rotor is a bit ambitious too, considering how hard you can push the bike.

Article continues below advert

Evil Wreckoning GX Eagle first ride impressions

This new Wreckoning retains its predecessor’s uncanny ability to feel like it has 650b wheels. It pops out of berms like there’s a booster button in your shoes, yet the coil-sprung suspension simultaneously irons out chatter, deeper hits and rocks, without impacting any ability to pump for speed and feed back information about the terrain with what feels like explicit detail.

Totally rock-solid and with 5mm more travel than before, the chassis almost replicates the sensation of riding a full-on downhill bike. It surges down the roughest trails calmly, stably and well-isolated from bumps, but with enough dynamism to react on blind trails or simply shred berms and hits on manmade tracks.

A trump card is the trait of first railing turns with amazing grip and then spitting you out at the perfect instant, just as the suspension is fully loaded and the rear tyre starts to break away.

The single-pivot DELTA suspension provides perky pedalling and a more ‘urgent’ feel than the majority of competitors too, so there’s no penalty in terms of responsiveness on mellower trails either, although it doesn’t track as well as some designs under braking.

Evil Wreckoning Gx Eagle

The Wreckoning is a lot of fun and urges you to ride faster.

Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

This Wreckoning does everything an enduro bike can, while also coming over like a snappy freeride or jump bike half the time. Evil appears to prioritise ride quality above all else, so while the mud clearance and seat angle are improved, they seem almost nonchalant about these aspects maybe still not being perfect, content with the way the frame looks amazing and testers are left grinning.

But no bike’s perfect, and I guess you can afford to be cocky when you’ve sussed out a handling formula that gets the rider buzzing like this.

Evil Wreckoning GX Eagle early verdict

Dare-you-faster character and berm-slashing agility make the Wreckoning stand above all other enduro rigs for big-mountain riding.


0 Comments Write a comment

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *