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2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike

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2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra
2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike 2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike 2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike 2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike 2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike 2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike 2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike 2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike 2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike 2022 Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike
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Vital First Ride - Evil Epocalypse E-Bike

Evil drops a big, bad e-bike just as you'd expect.

Rating: Vital Review
Vital First Ride - Evil Epocalypse E-Bike

Some might refuse to believe that Evil would ever make an e-bike, while anyone who’s spent any amount of time on one might argue it’s long overdue. The Epocalypse is Evil’s inaugural venture into the world of pedal assist bikes but certainly not their first rodeo when it comes to making something rad. Built on the foundation of their wildly capable Wreckoning, it goes without saying the Epocalypse is a heavy hitter built to handle the gnarliest terrain and everything in between. While some die-hard fans may be bummed to see Evil jumping on the pedal assist train, a few laps on this rig will surely leave them holding back smiles.

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Highlights

  • Carbon fiber frame
  • 29-inch wheels
  • 166mm (6.5-inches) of rear wheel travel // 170mm (6.7-inches) fork travel
  • DELTA suspension design
  • Tapered headtube
  • Internal cable routing
  • Shimano EP8 85nm torque motor
  • 630 Wh Battery
  • Integrated downtube protection
  • Bottle Cage Mounts
  • Superboost+ 157mm rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured weight (size XL, no pedals): 50 pounds (22.68kg)
  • MSRP $11,999 USD

Following the low-slung, modern design cues synonymous with the rest of Evil’s offerings, the Epocalypse keeps things sleek with hardly any hints of it being an e-bike visible outside of the obviously enlarged downtube. The power button is hidden beneath the top tube while all electrical wires are very neatly tucked away and only visible between the cockpit and where they enter around the headtube. With DELTA suspension design at the foundation, Superboost rear hub spacing, and integrated injection molded frame protection throughout, the frame looks robust and well thought out.

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Geometry

The geometry of the Epocalypse is a mirror image of the Wreckoning with the exception of a slightly longer rear center length from the addition of the Shimano EP8 motor stuffed into the mix. While the Wreckoning and all other Evil frames feature short 430mm chainstays, the Epocalypse sits at 442mm across all sizes, making them among the shortest of any e-bike on the market and keeping things fun when lifting the front end. With a 77-degree seat tube angle and a 64.6-degree headtube angle, the geometry falls in line with most other long-travel 29ers without going overboard and keeps climbing easy without the front wheel wandering.

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Setup

We made the trip up to Bellingham, Washington for a few days to ride the Epocalypse and get a proper introduction to what the bike is capable of. With a plethora of world-class trails at our fingertips, we were sure to discover just how hard the new bike can be pushed. The bike was set to our provided fit numbers right off the bat with no discussion on what was done or why. Our Epocalypse simply felt good at the suggested 30% sag. After the first couple of descents, we noticed the fork felt a bit softer than we’d like and fairly slow in terms of damping. We added about 20psi to bring it up to the pressure suggested on the RockShox setup chart, with no adjustment made to rebound we immediately felt the improvements in the air spring and damping characteristics we were looking for. We only added a click of low-speed compression to the fork for some of the steeper descents where heavy braking was involved, no changes were made to the rear shock for the duration of the test period.

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We threw on a set of our preferred grips and pedals which introduced us to the new Energybar carbon handlebar from Evil which features a recess for the Shimano Steps controller wires and routes them internally, for a sleek cockpit that eliminates the use of the rubber band fasteners Shimano provides with their system. The seated position proved to be comfortable and not too stretched out. When standing, we felt confident on the bike straight away.

The Epocalypse comes with two different assist tunes with two different philosophies behind them. The first being an all gas all the time setting that will make blasting up hills a priority, and the second is a more economic option that aims to preserve battery life. We were able to access these from the Steps display and used both but couldn’t tell too much of a discernible difference between the different levels of assist in the more economic setting. They all end up feeling about the same.

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The Lineup

At a glance, the Epocalypse design cues fall in line with the rest of the Evil lineup with all of the same features as expected. For their entry into the world of e-bikes, Evil chose a bike with the highest level of capabilities across the board to match the abilities of a pedal assist system. With the Wreckoning providing the foundation for the Epocalypse, the Evil lineup is now expanded to not only a big 29er that allows for big days on the bike, but for those days to be even bigger with the added efficiency from the drive unit.

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On The Trail

Speaking of big days on the bike, in our three days of testing in Bellingham we managed to log 14,268 feet of climbing and around 15,500 feet of descending with minimal fatigue. This was arguably the best way to ride somewhere new as we got to explore a plethora of trail networks in a short period of time. Trail networks included Chuckanut for some super fun high-speed descents, Cougar Ridge for some high-speed but slightly more technical trails, and a few more zones to help round out the overall experience. The Epocalypse gave us confidence attacking new terrain and truly shines on the trails it was developed around. The benefit of having a bike with pedal assist really showed on this trip as we found ourselves completing one big ride, stopping for lunch, and then heading right back out immediately after to do another big one.

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DH/Technical Performance/Fun Factor

The funny thing about an e-bike is you can have arguably just as much fun climbing as you do descending. But it’s no surprise the best attributes of the Epocalypse shine through when pointed downhill. One of our favorite qualities of Evil bikes is the ability to throw the bike into turns as hard as you want and exit with just as much if not more speed than before thanks to the lateral rigidity of their frames. This makes changing direction a confidence-inspiring experience and leads you to push the limit the more you link turns together. Blasting into those turns through rough bits is equally as enjoyable and proved to be as quiet as the EP8 motor will allow, chain slap is kept to a minimum although the knocking sound of the motor can be heard over the buzz of the Hydra hub. If you decide to skip the rough bits the bike is easy enough to get off the ground thanks to the playful geometry and rewarded us for yanking some pretty ambitious trail hucks. Hitting larger jumps feels natural aside from the additional weight of the battery and motor.

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Rear Suspension Performance

Despite the additional weight of the motor and battery, the rear suspension of the Epocalypse is virtually unchanged from the Wreckoning and possesses the same bottomless feeling thanks to the aggressive ramp tuned into the kinematics. We were slightly concerned about dialing in the setup when we saw a coil shock on our test bike, but the folks at Evil had us taken care of with our sag and settings dialed in right from the start which required no additional tuning. We rarely bottomed out the bike with the exception of a few misjudged gaps, and when we did we were pleasantly surprised by the ending stroke support through g-outs and drops. Because of how much the suspension ramps up early in the stroke, we expected to feel slightly more feedback through square edge hits, however, the DELTA system proved to track very well and our feet stayed firmly planted on the pedals over chattery roots and sharp edges. The additional support was much appreciated on trails where rolling speed is a priority and kept things rolling fast allowing us to pump and jump off just about anything in sight.

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Unique Features

One of the coolest features unique to all Evil frames is the integrated sag indicator on the outside of the downtube pivot. With the shock positioned so far inside of the frame even the sag percentages on the stanchion of the RockShox rear shock are very difficult to see, this solves that issue and makes setup even easier than most bikes. Another notable feature is the placement of the power button on the bottom of the top tube which keeps things discrete. Additionally, the reflection off the green light off the top of the downtube looks a little cooler than staring at a green LED right in front of you.

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Geometry

As stated, the bike truly comes to life when pointed downhill and it is clear to see that the Wreckoning influence on the Epocalypse puts it firmly in the same category in terms of intentions on the trail. While those intentions are focused on when gravity is working for you, they have kept things in check when gravity is working against you with a position on the bike that allows you to put the power down while pedaling and remain comfortable while doing so. With things not being overly stretched out or too “progressive” at the front of the bike, the standing position on the bike gives a central and slightly rearward feeling that put our hips in a good spot over the rear axle. The slightly longer rear end compared to other models gives the rear wheel a more planted feeling. We feel the subtle changes to the geometry of the Epocalypse pair nicely with the additional weight of the bike over other Evil models.

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Perceived Weight

We have become accustomed to the additional weight of e-bikes and what to expect them to feel like. The Epocalypse is right on par with the rest, not exactly light but not exactly heavier than usual. On trail it feels maybe lighter than it is thanks to the geometry with fun at the core of its philosophy. The front wheel is easy to lift and the bike changes direction easily, rolling speed is the only drawback of the additional weight but the suspension kinematics seem to maximize efficiency from rider input.

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Sprinting

Being an e-bike, spinning up to speed felt as easy as one might expect and the Epocalypse gets right up to speed with efficiency and little to no bob. We found this to be most beneficial following CEO Jason Moescheler on trails he knows like the back of his hand. We’d botch a turn and then be able to get right back up to speed with just a quick turn of the pedals and not much additional effort.

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Climbing

As previously stated, the fun factor while climbing is very real on e-bikes and we spent most of our time with the front wheel off the ground and a grin on our face doing wheelies pointed up some ridiculous grades. There is surprisingly very little bob if any while pedaling and we never felt any inefficiency out of the single pivot design, while rear wheel traction was generally ample with the exception of some insanely steep sections. While the wheelies were primarily part of the fun factor thanks to the short chainstays, our relatively high saddle height may have been the cause of some unwanted wheelies when trying to keep the front wheel planted. Some steeper grades caused a fair amount of front wheel lift and we had to lean forward to keep down. Despite the front end being light, the front wheel never seemed to wander on us which is arguably more important when climbing all day. Aside from that, pedal strikes weren’t too common and more relative to our unfamiliarity with where we were riding.

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E-Bikes

Battery life is always a big question and with the Epocalypse it seemed to vary for us as expected. On our first day on the bike, we went for two big rides back to back and actually ended up with the battery dying on us 90% of the way up Repeater Road which is somewhere around a 22% grade. Less than ideal. However, we were also about 12 miles and 4000ft of climbing into our ride and we were certainly letting the bike do a lot of the work. Utilizing Eco mode on our last day of the trip allowed for a 19.5-mile ride with 3,500ft of vertical and left us with one or two bars of battery by the end of the ride, so it definitely comes down to planning your ride wisely and using the assist levels accordingly. We experienced no glitches or issues out of the ordinary with any of the electronics on the bike for the duration of our test period.

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Build Kit

The Epocalypse is offered in just one build kit only for the US market but it certainly doesn’t leave anything to complain about. While certain riders will have their individual preferences, Evil has provided a solid kit with what we feel is the right level of performance in all of the right places. Starting with the Industry Nine Enduro S Hydra wheelset wrapped in Maxxis Minion DHF tires, giving riders a solid foundation for slapping turns and hammering through rough sections without needing to think twice. Proper 35mm rise Evil Energy Bar carbon handlebars make for a comfortable stack height and do an excellent job of keeping things sleek with a recess for the controller wires to tuck into beneath control clamps. Shimano Deore XT kit and RockShox Ultimate level suspension make for a simple setup with excellent performance where it counts. Complimenting that performance is a reliable Bikeyoke Revive dropper with the light action and easy maintenance we’ve come to appreciate.

For a hefty price tag just shy of 12 grand, it is nice to see top-of-the-line suspension and wheel offerings as part of the spec along with carbon bars. European markets have only one build kit option as well with the differences being FOX Factory suspension and Evil’s house brand Loopholes carbon wheelset.

Euro Spec

Fork Performance

The RockShox Zeb Ultimate seemed to feel good in every situation with nothing weird happening. The consistency of the damper settings we were given contributed to the level of confidence we felt charging sections we’d never ridden before while maintaining a comfortable ride height and doing an excellent job of mitigating hand fatigue. Paired with the Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil, we were happy with the suspension performance overall.

Tire Performance

The dual Maxxis Minion DHF front and rear provided excellent traction in the wet conditions of Bellingham where traction is ample to begin with. Our bike came specced with EXO casing tires which seems like a bit of a bold move if rougher terrain is involved. We were happy to not have any issues for the duration of our test period despite some less-than-ideal landings.

Wheel Performance

Providing a solid foundation to lean into, the Industry Nine wheels felt plenty stiff for the duration of our test period, they did not burp any pressure when shralping and showed no signs of fatigue after 3 days of hammering. The engagement of the Hydra hub isn't as important on an e-bike, but still great for quick shifts and getting power transferred as quickly as possible.

Brake Performance

Stopping power was ample thanks to the Shimano Deore XT 4 piston brakes. The Servo Wave technology inside of the lever reduced hand fatigue over the course of the long descents around Bellingham. We felt there was always enough bite on tap to get us out of any sketchy situations or control our speed as desired rolling into any of the steep rock rolls scattered throughout the trails.

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Drivetrain Performance

We were happy to experience the high level of performance out of the Shimano Deore XT drivetrain we’ve come to expect. As with all 12-speed Shimano drivetrains, the ability to shift under load is especially highlighted under the power of the motor. While we did need to make a minor cable tension and low limit screw adjustment on the initial ride, no issues were had for the remainder of the test period.

Noise

The primary source of noise on the Epocalypse is from the Shimano EP8 drive unit, just like any other e-bike equipped with the system will have. It is not unbearable but certainly prominent and something most users will be familiar with if they have ever ridden a bike using the system. Aside from that, the only other noises you’ll hear are the Industry Nine Hydra rear hub, the Maxxis Minion DHF knobs folding in turns, and the RockShox suspension doing its thing, all noises most riders would prefer to listen to anyway.

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Long Term Durability

In terms of durability, we don’t foresee any issues coming from the components or the frame. Everything seems to be well thought out for its application and durable enough to hold up to the additional abuse that e-bikes generally dish out. We can’t speak to the durability of the paint as we were riding a pre-production raw carbon frame, but we’re sure riders can expect the same level of quality found across the Evil lineup.

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What's The Bottom Line?

To sum up the Epocalypse, it is an awesome long travel 29er option for anyone looking to buy an e-bike with the maximum number of capabilities in mind. The playful nature of Evil’s geometry and kinematics shines through on this bike, removing some of the drawbacks associated with riding a heavier bike. If you are looking to do big days on the bike in a short matter of time and feel confident attacking anything you might come across along the way, the Epocalypse could be the bike for you. While $11,999 is no chump change, we feel if you're committing to buying a premium-level e-bike this one uses that money wisely with performance where it counts and leaves little to be desired for even the most particular of riders.

Visit evil-bikes.com ">www.evilbikes.com=""> for more details.

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About The Reviewer

Jonathon Simonetti - Age: 28 // Years Riding: 19 // Height: 6'4" (1.93m) // Weight: 225-pounds (102kg)

Jonny started mountain biking in 2003 after taking a trip to Northstar and discovering how much more could be ridden than on a BMX bike. He began racing at age 12 and raced for 12 years until ultimately deciding having fun on a bike was more important. After working in the industry for a few years and developing a deeper understanding of bikes inside and out, he has an aptitude for pairing his riding ability with the analysis of bikes and breaking down what makes them work well. He rides for fun and finds the most enjoyment out of going fast with friends.

Specifications

Product Evil Epocalypse RockShox XT I9 Hydra E-Bike
Model Year 2022
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
SM (Low, X-Low), MD (Low, X-Low), LG (Low, X-Low), XL (Low, X-Low) View Geometry
Size SM (Low, X-Low) MD (Low, X-Low) LG (Low, X-Low) XL (Low, X-Low)
Top Tube Length 596mm, 599mm 613mm, 616mm 635mm, 638mm 656mm, 659mm
Head Tube Angle 65.3°, 64.6° 65.3°, 64.6° 65.3°, 64.6° 65.3°, 64.6°
Head Tube Length 104mm 114mm 127mm 139mm
Seat Tube Angle 77.0°, 76.4° 77.0°, 76.4° 77.0°, 76.4° 77.0°, 76.4°
Seat Tube Length 390mm 425mm 460mm 495mm
Bottom Bracket Height 350mm (23mm drop), 341mm (32mm drop) 350mm (23mm drop), 341mm (32mm drop) 350mm (23mm drop), 341mm (32mm drop) 350mm (23mm drop), 341mm (32mm drop)
Chainstay Length 442mm, 444mm 442mm, 444mm 442mm, 444mm 442mm, 444mm
Wheelbase 1210mm, 1212mm 1231mm, 1233mm 1257mm, 1259mm 1282mm, 1284mm
Standover 719mm, 713mm 719mm, 713mm 719mm, 713mm 727mm, 721mm
Reach 445mm, 438mm 462mm, 455mm 482mm, 475mm 502mm, 495mm
Stack 620mm, 625mm 630mm, 635mm 643mm, 648mm 655mm, 660mm
* Additional Info Geometry adjustable via flip chip in suspension linkage.
All specifications listed are with 170mm travel fork with 571mm axle-to-crown length and 44mm offset.
Wheel Size 29"
E-Bike Class Class 1: Pedal Assist (Pedelecs)
Motor Shimano STEPS EP800, 85 Nm max torque
Battery Shimano STEPS E8036, integrated, removable via quick release
Battery Capacity 630 Wh
Display/Remote Shimano STEPS EM800 remote switch and full-color LED display
Modes Boost, Trail, Eco, Walk Assist
Max Speed with Assist 20 mph (32 km/h)
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details UD carbon front and rear triangles; rubber-padded motor skid plate; molded chainstay, seatstay, and down tube shuttle shield protection
Rear Travel 166mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate, trunnion mount, 205mm x 65mm
Fork RockShox ZEB Ultimate, Charger 2.1 RC2 damper
Fork Travel 170mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered, 1.125" top, 1.5" bottom
Headset Cane Creek 40 Series, integrated tapered, ZS44/28.6 upper, ZS62/40 lower
Handlebar Evil Energy Bar, UD Carbon, 30mm rise, 8° backsweep, 5° upsweep, 35mm clamp diameter, internal wire routing
Width: 780mm (SM), 800mm (MD/LG), 810mm (XL)
Stem Evil 12 Gauge, 45mm length, 0° rise, 35mm bar clamp
Grips Evil Palmela Handerson, lock-on
Brakes Shimano Deore XT M8120, 4-piston, Shimano Deore XT 203mm CENTER LOCK rotors (MT800 front, MT810 rear with integrated sensor magnet)
Brake Levers Shimano Deore XT M8120
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters Shimano Deore XT M8100, 12-speed, I-SPEC bracket
Front Derailleur None
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore XT M8100, 12-speed
Chainguide Evil integrated upper slider
Cranks Shimano Deore XT M8150, 170mm length
Chainrings Shimano Deore XT M8150
Pedals None
Chain Shimano Deore XT M8100, 12-speed
Cassette Shimano Deore XT M8100, 12-speed, 10-51 tooth
Rims Industry Nine Enduro S, 30.5mm inner width
Hubs Industry Nine Hydra, 15x110mm Boost front, 12x157mm SuperBoost rear with MICRO SPLINE driver
Spokes Industry Nine Enduro S wheelset
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF, EXO casing, TR, 29" x 2.5" WT
Saddle WTB Volt Medium, Chromoly rails, 142mm width
Seatpost BikeYoke Revive dropper
Drop: 125mm (SM), 160mm (MD), 185mm (LG/XL)
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Single bolt, 34.9mm
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 12x157mm SuperBoost
Max. Tire Size 29" x 2.6"
Bottle Cage Mounts One inside front triangle
Max bottle size estimates (dependent on cage used): 16oz. (SM), 20oz. (MD), 22oz. (LG/XL)
Colors Wasabi Shadow
Warranty Lifetime frame, 2 years paint, 1 year frame bearings
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous • DELTA System rear suspension design
• Geometry adjustable via flip chip in suspension linkage
• Fully-guided internal cable routing
• SRAM UDH (Universal Derailleur Hanger)
• Power settings customizable via Shimano STEPS E-Tube Project Mobile App
• Includes Shimano 8004-2 battery charger
• Includes Stan's NoTubes tubeless tire sealant
Price $11,999
More Info

evil-bikes.com

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