The Evo, Chumba’s six-inch-travel hard-hitting all-mountain machine, can chew up and spit out anything you can throw at it.
The Evo boasts an original looking frame design and big hitting freeride abilities with a well balanced ride. It demonstrates the effectiveness of the company's race program which they say feeds into the geometry of every bike they make today.
Ride & handling: born to fly
The Chumba is a freeride stallion. Its short cockpit and beefy head tube gusset exude strength. The 14.25in bottom bracket height means it sits quite high, but this doesn’t affect its handling. The main reason we didn’t get on with the all-mountain spec on this bike is because it may not be the worst six-inch travel bike to pedal but you wouldn’t want to do too many miles on it. Even with plenty of ProPedal wound in, there is still a fair bit of pedal bob, making it feel sluggish on climbs.
It’s when airborne that you realise the true adrenaline-ﬁlled heart of this bike. All the work that’s gone into the positioning the pivots and weight distribution makes sense. It’s so agile in the air, it feels like it was never meant to be on the ground!
The Chumba really impressed us with its aerial abilities and great ride feel, but we feel it should stick to being a freeride bike well, rather than trying to be a average all-rounder.
Frame: clean & neat
It may not be the Natalie Portman of the frame world, but the clean cylindrical tubing and neat gussets are a refreshing change from all the swoops and bends of its competitors. Suspending the Evo’s frame is a four-bar system, which uses an unusually long swing-link that pivots from the down tube and meets with the seatstays halfway up the seat tube. The kinked seat tube means there’s limited seat height adjustment, but it does allow a sensible seat angle for climbing.
Despite the Fox DHX Air shock sitting fairly high on the frame, it doesn’t seem to have an adverse effect on the handling. We were expecting the bike to feel top-heavy, but it was the opposite. It was surprisingly stable, largely because all the weighty parts sit directly under the rider in the middle of the chassis.
Equipment: wolf in sheep's clothing
Sold predominantly as a frameset for a very reasonable £1,150, the Evo also comes with freeride and all-mountain build kit options. Ours was the £2,500 all-mountain spec, which is good value, but did make us scratch our heads. The 10 degree rise, 100mm stem is a bad idea on a frame like this – it’s no cross-country whippet. With this stem your weight is way too far forward, seriously affecting the handling.
The triple FSA Afterburner chainset, although strong, would fare better on a regular all-mountain bike – the Chumba is a freeride frame and suits a twin ring/bashring set-up. We’d rather it lost the sheep’s clothing and prowled around in it’s true rugged guise, especially when the Lyriks and DHX air rear shock suit to the frame so wonderfully. All this weighs in at just 15.4kg (34lb).