Another EVO Review- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    182

    Another EVO Review

    Like some lucky others, I had the chance to ride an EVO for a few weeks, and I'm going to earn my keep now by finally posting a review of the bike. Disclaimer 1: This will be long. Disclaimer 2: I didn't like the bike as much as a lot of Chumba's other testers, but that's not to say that I didn't like it at all... The truth is that I think the EVO is a killer bike with some hang-ups that may or may not be limitations, based on your riding style and preferences. After working at a bike shop for two years, my basic question that I answer when reviewing anything is, "Would I feel confident selling this to a customer at its retail price?" The short answer with the Chumba is: "Maybe, depending on the customer."

    Aesthetics: You need to see this bike in person to behold it. It looks kind of funky in pictures (especially when you first see it), but no picture I've seen of it does it justice. In my opinion, it is the coolest lookign mountain bike I've ever seen. From the CNC machined yoke and rocker arms to the wrap-around gussets to the welds, it really is a work of art. Most high-end bikes at this price range look the part, but the EVO really stands out from the usual suspects (Turner, Intense, etc.) here. Of course, this is awfully subjective, but so is everything when you're reviewing a bike.

    Build Kit: I had a 35 lb. all-mountain EVO. Fox 36 Talas RC2, DT Swiss 340/EX 5.1d wheels, Truvativ cockpit, WTB saddle, WTB/Maxxis 2.4" tires, SRAM X.9 transmission, XT crank. Heaveir than I expected with this build, due to a 9lb frame weight (my guess, as confirmed by Alan at Chumba). I usually ride a Foes FXR (2004 version) with a very similar build (same fork), so I was gaining 1/4" of travel and a few pounds of frame/component weight.

    Angles/Geometry: I really like that the EVO is the first bike to consciously take advantage of adjustable travel forks. Rather than trying to nail the geometry at a fixed position, they admit that with a 150mm fork, the head angle will be too raked-out to climb, but that with a 120mm fork, you're gonna have a twitchy front end to descend with. I'm a fan of slack head angles, but the Chumba also has a really slack seat angle (although it's 72 degrees effective). This allows you to extend the cockpit for climbing, which is something I like and have grown used to on my FXR. Although the seat tube is kinked, you can still drop the seatpost all the way for steep descents. The chainstays and wheelbase feel short on this bike- they aren't on paper (both are within .5" of my FXR), but I could instantly tell the difference on the EVO.

    Climbing: Compared to the Foes, this bike doesn't climb well. That's not to say that it doesn't climb well at all... I ride what I consider to be the best climbing bike in its category. The lack of sensitivity in the Foes Curnutt shock is a cause for complaint from some Foes riders, because it is decidedly not plush. The upside is that the bike feels firmer uphill than any bike I have ever tried (including bikes from most of the big hitters at the Interbike dirt demo), while not giving up traction on sketchy climbs. Moving over to the EVO, I was disappointed in the climbing of the bike. But... after monkeying around with the DHX Air, I decided to firm up the rear end to a ridiculous degree (Fox calls that "bracketing") to see if it was just a suspension issue. It's not. With correct pressure and a good but compliant pro-pedal setting, the FCC suspension on the EVO really doesn't move all that much. So, by design, the suspension works as advertised. The problem that I realized on a 13-mile fire road climb is that, with the seat extended to climbing position, you're too far over the back wheel to stay comfortable while climbing. Despite the claimed 72 degree effective seat angle, my legs just got more tired (as did my lower back) pushing the bike uphill in that position. I was dying for a steeper seat angle so I could put more power straight down, rather than down and forward. So, like I said... whether or not this is an issue for a someone considering the EVO comes down to whether or not you care how the bike will perform during a 2.5 hour fire road climb. If I were picking out a Chumba, I would probably take a long look at the XCL, because long climbs are a big part of my rides, and I just couldn't do it on an EVO, even if it were lighter.

    Descending: This is a bike for twisty, tight, rocky, rooty singletrack. With its short wheelbase, it doesn't have the high-speed stability going down a steep fire road as a bike with a longer wheelbase, even with the slack head angle. But who rides downhill on a fire road all the time? By the time you hit the singletrack, you'll be in awe of how you can carve on the EVO. I'm not a very skilled rider- I ride hard stuff, but I get tripped up pretty often, and the EVO was pretty kind to me. It took some getting used to coming off of the FXR (a very competent descender in its own right), but the plushness and small bump sensitivity, plus the overly DH-oriented geometry made this bike feel great any time I finished laboring it up the grueling climbs. Plus, the thing is bombproof. With all the gussets and reinforcement, I doubt that anyone could really injure this bike, even if they were trying to.

    Stiffness: The stiffness of the bike is well-advertised by Chumba, so what did I think? Well, it doesn't pass the hold-the-seatpost-and-bend-the-rear-wheel-to-see-if-there-is-any-deflection-in-the-swingarm test as well as the FXR. According to Alan, they are working on a design for the rocker arms to limit this deflection. Honestly, I don't care if they do. I cross-rutted the bike, leaned on it in corners, and tried to feel rear-end flex during my rides, and I couldn't (I weigh 220 with gear, by the way). Regardless of what happens during parking lot tests, this is a stiff bike. Keep that in mind if you hear some dude whining about how flexy it is based on a simple test- I think anyone that has ridden this bike will agree that it's very stiff.

    Conclusion: Chumba bills the EVO as an all mountain bike, and the category of all mountain is getting bigger every year. While the EVO is a climbable bike, I really don't feel that it's an all-day bike or an epic ride bike or whatever you want to call it. This isn't a weight issue, it's a design issue. The geometry just doesn't lend itself to climbing like most 5-6" travel trailbikes (I've tried the 6-pack, 5-spot, Moto-Lite, Blur LT, even the Foes Inferno... they all out-climb the EVO). That being said, if you climb a decent amount but are into stunts and more freeride type stuff but are wary of getting a dedicated freeride bike, I think the EVO is for you. Interestingly, there are a lot of bikes coming out for 2007 that are in this category: 6-7 inches of travel, weight in the mid-30's, and they're kind of on the border between all-mountain and freeride... and this is where the EVO sits, in my opinion. If I were ordering a custom Chumba, I'd ask for an XCL with 5.25" of travel and a 68 degree head angle. Finally, thanks and big thumbs up to Chumba for solicitng these tests- I wish more companies would look for the input of real riders... we deserve the respect.

    Disclaimer 3: Clearly, this is all my opinion. Feel free to disagree, but I'm really hoping not to get flamed because of this review. I took my time with the bike, and I rode it hard and tried to come up with some honest feedback beyond the standard "This bike ROCKS" or "This bike SUCKS" that you see too often on the net. Hopefully it is helpful to you if you're considering buying an EVO.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    182
    One thing I forgot to add:

    The slack seat angle thingy: Ted recommended an I-beam seatpost, since you can position the saddle really far forward and correct for the rear-ward-biased seating position. To me, this is a band-aid solution, especially considering how horribly uncomfortable most I-beam seats are (at least to me, and to a lot of people that came into my shop wanting to swap out the I-beam saddles that came on their bikes).

    After reading the other reviews, it sounds like I'm not the only one who noticed this problem. Like I said, I'm definitely a fan of variable-length effective TT lengths, but the EVO is just too extreme. Steepen by between a half-degree and a full-degree, add .5" to the TT, and then it would be a whole different ballgame.

  3. #3
    Compulsive Bike Builder
    Reputation: DirtDad's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    1,512

    Great review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    The problem that I realized on a 13-mile fire road climb is that, with the seat extended to climbing position, you're too far over the back wheel to stay comfortable while climbing.

    Finally, thanks and big thumbs up to Chumba for solicitng these tests- I wish more companies would look for the input of real riders... we deserve the respect.

    I...tried to come up with some honest feedback beyond the standard "This bike ROCKS" or "This bike SUCKS" that you see too often on the net.
    Jordan,

    Great review. I can see you like the Foes. I have not ridden an FXR, but its reputation is very good.

    Your comments remind me of a few other impressions I have of the bike. I had the same issue when I extended the seatpost. The stock seatpost has an incredible amount of setback, totally the wrong post for a bike with a seat tube angle like this, IMO. I liked the Thomson with zero setback, and the SDG I Beam would be a good alternative, too. I also decided that the small/medium would fit me better than the M/L that I rode.

    I also found that Syntace makes a 38 mm seatpost QR clamp that fits the bike. Personally, I think a qr seatpost clamp is very important on a bike like this. When I first got the bike, it looked like the OE clamp was the only 38.0 available. But now that Scott and others are going to 34.9 seatposts, 38.0 clamps will not be so rare.

    No one has mentioned bb height, so everyone else must love the monster truck riding position and feel of high clearance. I spoke with the guys at Chumba, and due to rider input, they will be lowering the BB a little, which will probably be a popular change.
    Disclaimer: ComCycle USA

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    182
    I am a huge fan of high bottom brackets- I think they're great once you get used to them. My first real full suspension bike was a Slayer (15" BB height), and now I'm on an FXR with a 6" fork, giving me at 14.5" BB height. Needless to say, I'm used to it by now. Too bad they're lowering it on the Chumba- I liked having the high BB in really rocky terrain, and I didn't think it affected the cornering.

  5. #5
    Compulsive Bike Builder
    Reputation: DirtDad's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    1,512

    I agree

    I measured my EVO, the BB was like 15.5". That is really up there, but the bike still handled very well. I loved leaning it over in corners, it tracked very nicely. When they are talking about lowering it, it is only by an inch or so I believe.
    Disclaimer: ComCycle USA

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    2,494
    I have owned an RFX with a 150mm fork and the EVO climbs as well, if not better. I also found the Evo to pedal a tad better than the Pack. The RFX/Six Pack suffers from a light front end with a 150mm shock as well. An adjustable travel fork is a must on the Evo. You stated that the Evo weighs a few pounds more than your FXR, which would show on the climbs. I also found that pedaling this bike results in a down and forward pedal stroke, which takes a while to get used to. It is quite a strange feeling. Bikes like the Evo and the RFX are heavy duty trail bikes and do not climb as well as their xc counterparts for obvious reasons. BB height, frame weight, and slacker angles to name a few.

    With that said, I have had my Evo out on rides in the Rocky Mountains that involve long technical climbs and I feel it is a capable all day bike. The power seems to go right to the pedals. There is always a compromise with these type of bikes and it is almost always in the climbing department. The pay off is in when you point it back down. Huge grin factor here.

    I also agree about the flex statement you made. There is a small amount of flex when you push on the post and frame, but when riding on rough terrain, there is no detectable flex. The Evo tracks a burly line very well and just rails the corners. Very intuitive on the dh.

    The bottom bracket height is high, but comparable to the RFX and changes with fork height and sag. The extra height is nice when pedaling over and ripping down technical terrain.

    Thanks for the review.
    Last edited by ronny; 08-20-2006 at 06:25 AM.

  7. #7
    Made in China
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    378
    Nice review. I have to agree with ronny on the climbing part. I took my EVO to many 2-3 hour climbs and it climbs great for me(rockier the better), maybe try your seat forward a little. In my opion the EVO climbs quite bit better than some of the XC bikes I've tried. I can feel the pedaling force go straight to forward motion....kinda strange really because it make all the other bikes I've tried feel like I'm just spinning my wheel........except for my full rigid 29er SS.

    Sounds like you might have a position issue when you tried the EVO. Once you get the position setup correctly the EVO is very comfy going up or down(DH is really comfy).....at least for me.

    I don't notice the high BB height because the bike's handling is really natural. But the stand over is a little high, I have inseam of 33in and my boys are a little close to the TT, that's my only real complain.

    BTW I have mine built just under 33lbs with lighter rear wheel.
    "Didn't your doctor tell you to stop smoking and drinking?" George Burns "Yes but they all died"

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    174
    Inititally, I too noticed that the seattube angle was a bit strange. I was mostly concerned about being able to get my weight forward enough in steep climbs. I don't find this to be an issue anymore, however. As for having to push forward, it's true, but i don't think it adversly affects my climbing...i actually kind of like it.

    At the very least all i can say is that as i have continued to ride this bike, putting in a couple hundred miles thus far, i find the bike so enjoyable and comfortable during long 3-5 hour rides (and this is coming from a former weight-weenie). I certainly feel a little slower than i am on my 25 lb steed, but not much, and i continue to ride with people on their lighter xc bikes (motolites, ets's, 5-spots) ...but my AM Chumba also only weighs 31 lbs.
    In fact, I think the lightweight xc fully is going to have an early retirement! I am mostly impressed by how well the bike climbs in the rough stuff...i feel like i can sit down and accererate through an uphill rock garden because the suspension design doesn't get bogged down on hard angled hits.

    I too like the high bottom bracket, and think that the bike corners very, very well (with a Pike it is 13 3/4"). I hope they don't drop it too much!

    I'm not sure how many times you got out during those two-weeks, but i know for me the evo just took a little getting used to (now i wouldn't trade it for anything). Great review by the way, thanks.

  9. #9
    nerfherder
    Reputation: scruffylooking's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    1,674

    Evo Climbing Prowess

    Jordan - thanks for the honest review. Like some of the others I thought the Evo was a great climber. Better than my 6 Pack with the TALAS 36. It should be noted that the Evo I had was 2 lbs lighter than yours with a Mav DUC32 and light XC tires and wheels. I also didn't mind the ridiculous seat angle. It was nice to be able to drop the seat and move it forward out of the way for DH. I typically ride my bike with the seatpost in one of two positions - tall for pedal efficiency and slammed for descending. It's the SoCal staight up/straight down terrain.

    Bikes are pretty relative to the preferences of the rider and there's nothing wrong with that. So, thanks for sharing your thoughts. (BTW, for me the bike truly does rock. )

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    182
    I'm glad I seem to be out on a limb in terms of the EVO's climbing ability. I think it's a really cool bike, I just decided it wasn't for me. But I've seen how certain ideas really take hold on MTBR and start becoming solidified as facts (eg: everything Turner makes is better than everything anyone else makes), and I was hoping people wouldn't latch on to things like "oh, there's flex in the swingarm" or "it climbs like crap".

    So, I'm glad everyone who owns an EVO so far is really happy with it.

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.