Ryan at Beaufort Cycles was kind enough to let me try an Evil The Wreckoning yesterday. Evil bikes are not common in my neck of the woods so an on trail demo was a great opportunity. Thanks to Beaufort Cycles for being so generous with what looked like a brand new our of the box Wreck and to Jerry my local riding buddy for vouching for me.
I did a quick parking lot spin on a large Wreck just to make sure the fit was decent and nothing was a deal breaker right off the bat. I’m 5’11” with 33″ pants inseam and 185lbs without gear. The large Wreck [~40mm stem] fit pretty good. I pushed the saddle back on the rails to slack out the STA a bit and rolled the bars forward a touch to open the cockpit. If I was buying a large Wreck I’d use a 1″ setback post and a 40-50mm stem.
The Wreck I demo’d was setup with Eagle and E13 tires. Total weight was ~31lbs based on feel when lifting the bike. The bike looked great with a gun metal paint and black parts. The fit and finish was lovely. How a bike looks isn’t a deal breaker, but if you are going to drop $7K-$8K on a ride it doesn’t hurt if you really dig how it looks! If I was buying one I’d get the blue though.
Of course we hit the steep climbs right away. Damn BC riding! First off was straight up steep fire road. My time was right in the ballpark of my current bikes after 5 days of riding in a row. So that was a good start. I climbed in the mid-LSC setting.
Then we hit singletrack for some techy climbing. The Wreck was pretty decent for these sections, but definitely more awkward than my smaller bikes. Part of that was adapting to a new bike so that would get better, but part of it is just a large bike that takes more energy to accelerate the big wheels for short bursts. Traction climbing was as good as my DWLink/VPP bikes and not quite as good as my Knolly. I climbed in both the mid-LSC and open modes to test them out. Mid-LSC seemed the best compromise unless I was really hunting for traction then I’d use open on the shock.
Coming down was a mixed bag. As you’d expect on any section that was open enough to let the big wheels roll I just crushed it. I set a PR on a popular trail and kept up pretty well with faster riders. I am not the greatest descender so that was nice. In the tighter slower stuff the benefits of the big wheels were cancelled out by the extra effort of moving them around and constant accelerations. Given its size, travel and wheels I’d say the Wreck was a playful bike once speeds picked up. At slower speeds not so much.
All in all the Wreck was really impressive. It’s a far more all around bike than you would think at first glance. If you have the trails to really open it up it can handle the slower tighter stuff well enough to be a one-bike solution.
That said I came away thinking I’d spend more time frustrated at pushing the Wreck through my tighter local trails and not enough time on fast search and destroy missions. I’m definitely going to give The Following Mk2 a demo [if I can once it gets dropped] it could be the perfect solution for where I live. On the other hand if I lived in Moab I think the Wreck would be perfect for fast chunky desert riding.
Overall I thought the Delta suspension was nice. Lots of platform when you pounded the pedals and the shock LSC switch was really useful for changing the feel of the suspension easily. It gobbled up the big fast hits well. I didn’t find the slower stuff as plush as I would like for a 160mm bike, but I think that’s something I could address with some time spent setting up the bike.
Two component spec choices I really liked were the Eagle drivetrain and the E.13 TRS tires. The drivetrain shifted very well and the big 50T cog was welcome when I had to pedal the Wreck up very steep climbs with that 32T chainring. The E.13 tires were big enough volume to keep me happy [stated 2.35” width] and gripped well while still rolling along nicely.
Update: I wrote this ^^^ as soon as I got home from the Cumby trip. Having had some time to think about it I am warming up to the idea of a Wreckoning as my second bike. The Knolly Endorphin I am riding is an amazing Southern Vancouver Island shredder, but I can see wanting a longer travel rig for trips to the desert or even just the other side of the Strait of Georgia. My work has moved back to part-time so road tripping is easier than ever. This isn’t me deciding to buy a Wreckoning, but I am feeling more open to it than I was at the end of the demo.