My First Date With the Evil Insurgent LB, Park Edition

I recall having some rather realistic toys as a kid. Cars that resembled their full-size equivalent down to the dash radio detail, and functioned as similarly as scale would allow. Other toys were clearly created to stretch and expand our imaginations, rather than representing reality. The Insurgent LB from Evil Bikes feels like an adult size toy that was drawn by fantasy designers.

This version of the 27.5″ trail bike bobs about on 170mm travel up front and 151mm rear, though the frame plays happily with a 150-180mm single or dual crown fork. The “low” and “extra-low” linkage adjustments allow its pilot to dial in the BB height based on their riding style and chosen fork.

I was fortunate enough to borrow this particular Insurgent from Greek MTB tour guide, George Nanos, while touring his hometown trails around Mount Olympus. What a ripper!

George wrapped his Insurgent in some colorful vinyl, giving the otherwise plain yogurt colored frame an aesthetic upgrade.

George’s size large Insurgent felt closer to my own bikes than any other loaner has to date, which was surprising because I largely ride 29ers. He is a fair bit taller and heavier built than me, but his suspension setup was mint from the beginning. I sped up the rebound a click or two throughout the day, but otherwise, the bike felt amazing as it was.

The Delta System linkage is simpler than it looks. There is one main pivot, and the linkage “dogbone” pulls on the larger triangular bits that compress the shock. It seems similar to the pull-shock system invented by Ancillotti Cycles.

The geometry table for this Insurgent LB is not a precise one since George’s whip doesn’t use the factory fork length. If the fork were 180mm, the bike would have an ultra slack head tube angle of 64.4° in the low position, and 63.6° in the extra-low spot. Though this setup is slightly steeper, that is a legitimately slack cut. The rest of the frame’s measurements lean toward the playful end of the spectrum, with a 430mm chainstay length and 449mm reach (size large). Those are not stretched tube measurements by any means, and certainly contribute to the bike’s overall balanced and playful sensations. At only 5’8″ (173cm), the large was undoubtedly the right size for my height and riding style.

The carbon rear triangle has ample space for mud and debris to pass on by, without being excessive. Evil found a good balance between clearance and the performance characteristics of shorter chainstays.

The Insurgent climbed well enough that I would never complain about pedaling it, but I won’t kid you — it is built to descend. The suspension platform feels plenty supportive to climb with the compression switched all the way open and the tire tracks the ground as well as I would expect from a bike of this caliber. The front end definitely wanders around on technical climbs and slower flat trail, but the bike’s shorter reach helped the wandering feel manageable. Is it a bike to ride all day? Sure, as long as you get to enjoy its captivating descent story at some point.

Pointed in the appropriate gravitational direction, the insurgent LB promises a wicked fun time. I felt encouraged to get loose, sideways, and aloft on the bike, rather than pointing it in a straight line and blundering through. Surely it will make a great battering ram if that’s what you need, but its overall demeanor would have you jumping over the castle door rather than smashing through it. Despite its brief chainstays, the Insurgent felt balanced and reasonably composed on rougher tracks, while remaining a little easier to bounce around than others. There are bikes better suited to the line-straightening demands of enduro racing, but for folks who prefer “party mode” this is a bike worth considering.

If you’re feeling overly encumbered with the stodgey 29″ vs.  27.5″ debate, as I sometimes still am, I recommend giving a long-legged 27.5″ bike a shot. This whip seems every bit as capable as my squishy 29er, and left me feeling that it could be better to have two wheel sizes in the bike stable.

As these things go, my first ride on the Insurgent was a great one, and I want more. Maybe the good folks at Evil Bikes will see fit to send one over for a long term review.

George (standing) preparing his beloved Insurgent LB for a brief tryst atop Mount Olympus.