Evil The Calling X01 Eagle [frame] first ride review£2,750.00

Short-travel corner-carving monster

Although Evil’s bikes all share the same suspension platform and boast similar contours and curves, each maintains its own distinctive ride characteristics and feel on the trail. Evil says The Calling is The Following’s (their ferociously fast 29er) delinquent little brother. I hit the trails to find out if it really is.

Evil The Calling X01 Eagle spec overview

  • Frame: Carbon fibre, 131mm (5.2in) travel
  • Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air, 140mm (5.5in) travel
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 DebonAir
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle (1x12)
  • Wheelset: e*thirteen TRS Race Carbon wheels
  • Tyres: e*thirteen TRSr (f) and TRS+ (r) 27.5x2.35in
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC, 180mm rotors
  • Handle: Race Face Next R Carbon 35, 780mm
  • Stem: Race Face Turbine R 35, 40mm
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth 150mm dropper
  • Saddle: WTB Volt Comp
  • Weight: 13.27kg (29.2lb), medium size with pedals

Evil The Calling X01 Eagle frame and kit

The Calling is built around 650b wheels and delivers 131mm of rear-wheel travel, courtesy of Dave Weagle’s linkage-driven single-pivot DELTA system. It comes with RockShox’s new metric, trunnion-mounted Super Deluxe RC3 shock, which has cartridge bearings in the upper eyelet to help make things even smoother.

There’s integrated protection on the down tube and driveside seatstay and chainstay to ward off trail debris and hush down chain clatter. Tidy little features include a sag meter on the non-driveside DELTA link to help with set-up and a neatly integrated upper chain guide.

The Super Deluxe shock and DELTA suspension offer excellent support and grip
The Super Deluxe shock and DELTA suspension offer excellent support and grip

The DELTA link also features a set of flippable short links, which let you switch the geometry from ‘low’ (which is already pretty low) to ‘extra low’. This gives you 8mm of bottom bracket height adjustment and alters the head and seat tube angles by 0.6 degrees. Even in the higher of the two modes, the head angle sits at 66.5 degrees, which is pretty slack for a bike with this sort of travel.

Our test bike was decked out with some seriously fancy kit. The e*thirteen TRS Race Carbon wheels were shod with the American brand’s TRSr and TRS+ tyres. SRAM’s X01 Eagle 1x12 transmission provided us with a massive gear range, while their Guide RSC brakes ensured I could stop with plenty of control. I wasn't the biggest fan of the Evil lock-on grips though, due to the big logo that stands proud on the grip surface.

Evil The Calling X01 Eagle ride impression

From the first pedal stroke, The Calling encourages hooliganism. Its low (I'm talking a bottom bracket height of around 335mm in the ‘low’ setting), well-balanced nature means you can pile-drive it into each and every turn and try your hardest to tear the shoulder knobs off of your tyres.

The supple initial stroke of the RockShox Super Deluxe shock coupled with the tacky e*thirteen rubber means that finding grip limits takes a serious amount of bottle too. When you do want to string a series of berms together, it’s surprising just how much you can load the bike, thanks to the mid-stroke support on offer.

As you start to get accustomed to the low-slung feel and learn when and where to pedal to avoid crank strikes, the sheer pace The Calling can maintain is beyond grin-inducing.

The Calling delivers an exhilarating ride
The Calling delivers an exhilarating ride

The slack head angle and decent 440mm reach (medium) mean things feel confident at speed too. When you do enter a rough section, although it’s not pillowy soft, The Calling skips across bumps with little fuss and near enough no noise.

At 13.27kg it’s not exactly a brute to climb on either, with the suspension staying relatively neutral while seated. There’s a low-speed compression-damping lever on the shock to help make things even more efficient if you so wish. You will notice the slow-rolling tyres on longer rides though.

Evil The Calling X01 Eagle early verdict

A capable, hellishly fun bike that feels amazing through the turns and isn't shy of getting wild.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Rob Weaver

Technical Editor-in-Chief, UK
Rob started riding mountain bikes seriously in 1993 racing cross-country, though he quickly moved to downhill where he competed all over the world. He now spends most of his time riding trail bikes up and down hills. Occasionally he'll jump into an enduro race.
  • Age: 34
  • Height: 172cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Natural trails where the loam fills my shoes on each and every turn
  • Beer of Choice: Guinness

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