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Not trying to start an argument here, it’s a legitimate question from a prospective Evil Bike’s buyer.

I’m gonna jump right into the question and then explain myself after: are The Following and The
Offering exceptionally fun bikes regardless of wheel size? Or are they garnering so much adulation purely because they are so fun FOR being 29ers?

There seems to be an industry-wide oh-my-god-29ers-finally-don’t-suck moment... and so I’m asking in all good faith whether or not these bikes are actually more fun and agile and poppy and playful than 27.5, or are they simply excellent examples of what 29ers specifically have evolved into?

Backstory: in 2015, back when I was shopping for a new bike (first time exploring buying something beyond 26”) when the Santa Cruz 5010 started making waves, The Following was simultaneously making a splash. I opted for the 5010 because to be honest the 29ers I’d ridden at that point weren’t all that fun. I absolutely LOVE my 5010, it’s a mountain bikers mountain bike for sure... but I’m ready to acquire an additional bike now and I’ve had my mind set on The Following ever since 2015. But have 29ers really come so far that they’re superior to 27.5 in terms of agility/playfulness/pop/attitude?

My cynical side tells me “no”... that 29ers are simply the bike du jour and so the industry (journalists & testers included) are simply pushing them because they’re the hot thing right now. Or maybe I’m wrong and The Following and The Offering rip so well that they ARE I fact superior to 27.5 now... another way to put it is that I’m not interested really in the superior rollover ability of a 29er. But I am interested in a bike that has been universally praised just for being so rad, wheel size be damned.

Obviously, I need to ride both to really know. But another truth is, very very few riders can tell what their long term feelings about a bike will be after one demo or rental.

So... thoughts? Do these bikes really take the cake because they’re just so very good? Or is it more that they ride surprisingly well for 29ers?

Hope this makes sense... and definitely not out to prove which wheel size is better. It’s a bike purchase and I wanna crowd source some objective info if I can!

Thanks!
 

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aka bOb
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I have spent the last few years on fun 27.5 bikes (not Evils but fun nonetheless) My background is I love to jump and play around and being only 5'9" the 27.5 seemed to fit me really well. Last summer my HD3 went down for some shock work so I broke out my Kona Wozo fat bike and hit the jump lines and it was a blast so it got me thinking about trying a new 29er. Along came the Offering and this thing nails it, I really feel no loss in the fun factor department at all. Just my .02 cents and a pic just because we need more pics.
 

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i think they are fun regardless of their wagon wheels. i've ridden 27.5 bikes that aren't nearly as fun as evil 29ers (wreck,fmb, offering) at least for me. the SOLO is a benchmark bike, for sure, tough to beat but i think you would be happy on a following mb which will be more playful than the offering, esp if you like shorter travel rigs. i found the offering not quite as poppy and playful, i think due to the longer wheelbase and reach, but it still rode like an evil, that's for sure. they aren't the lightest bikes, nor the heaviest, but they are fun a hell to ride.
 

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Bodhisattva
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This is a fair and common question. Honestly, you're going to have to decide for yourself.

Around here, there are a bunch of us on Evils. I ride a Calling, two friends have Insurgents, several have Offerings. We're all real happy and ride the same terrain, essentially at the same pace.

At 5'9", I'm comfortable on either 27.5 or 29. Most of the guys smaller than me, around here, prefer the 27.5 format. Most of the guys bigger than me like the 29.

One friend on an Offering prefers his v4Nomad and so just sold his Offering.

I've yet to really demo my friend's Offering - but will be doing so shortly - but my sense is that Offering and Calling are more alike than different.

Right now, I prefer the lighter weight and quicker spinup of the smaller wheels over the increased traction and roll-over of the big wheels. I'd think the smaller bikes are a bit more playful in the tight corners but will reserve judgement until I have proper time riding one.
 

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I’ve thought about ditching my Calling for bigger wheels, then I go for a ride in it and I’m completely happy. Are there times where bigger wheels wouldn’t get caught up in the chunk? Of course, but I found with more speed I don’t drop into the holes. Now if I can only find that switch and turn it off in my brain.
 

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I think your questions are legitimate, and I totally agree about not being able to get a true, accurate impression from one or two demo rides. I think about how many rides I had to do on each of my last two bikes to get them dialed, and how much difference the suspension adjustments, and even tire pressures made from ride to ride. I came straight from a 26" bike with 150/150 and bought a Following MB in Fall of 2017. I rode that bike exclusively for over a season (1500 mi or so). I wanted to give the wagon wheels a try, and the MB was hyped as the 29er that even guys that don't like 29ers would like. It's a great bike for sure, and yes very playful and poppy as everyone says. It's a blast to ride, but in the end, it's going to come back to personal preference. After riding a friend's SC Bronson a couple of times, I ended up picking one up myself. The smaller wheels feel more natural to me, particularly laying them down in corners and when the bike is in the air. I also realized how I miss the quicker acceleration of the smaller wheels. I'm more of a power sprinter than a spinner, so the smaller hoops compliment my strengths.

So, for me, I would say my preference is for the smaller wheels. Now, with that said, the main reason I picked up the Bronson is because I felt undergunned on the MB on some of the trails I ride. Yes, the MB rides like it has more than 120mm of travel, but it doesn't ride like a 150 bike. To be honest, I was a little worried about this when I bought it, and my fears were confirmed to some extent (I can still ride everything, just some things not as fast or with as much confidence). If the Offering had been out when I got my MB, I would have definitely gone with that, and my guess is that I wouldn't have felt the need to get the Bronson as a compliment.

If all that sounds like I'm down on the MB or 29" wheels, I'm not. There are days that I would rather ride my MB, and there are days I would rather ride my Bronson. The MB climbs better and is definitely more playful and more responsive to rider input than the Bronson, so when the trails aren't gnarly, the MB fits the bill better. The MB is also the best bike I've ever ridden when it comes to out of the saddle climbs (e.g., desert trails in southern Utah). Now, would I recommend pairing your 5010 with an MB? I'm not sure there is a ton of separation between those bikes and their intended purposes. The Bronson and the MB are further apart to compliment each other pretty well. An Offering is probably the better compliment if you plan to keep your 5010.
 

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Yesterday I had my first official trail ride on my Offering (29" wheels) I can't say that being only 5'7" was a hindrance on the bigger wheels. I did notice the wheels roll over things a bit different than my 27.5 bike. Also had too much air in the 29s lol (still trying to fine tune the bike) So I'm not sure if the shorter person=better on a 27.5 holds up anymore with bikes nowadays being specifically designed to be poppy/playful with 29ers. My Offering is a small frame and size wise is comparable to my medium 27.5 Stumpjumper.
 

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Not Evil-specific, I like how fast the 29" wheels let you roll and I find that to be fun. My local terrain suits it, with long, smooth stretches of trail where you can really pick up speed. When I get on a bike with smaller wheels it feels like someone left the parking brake on one or two clicks. I was an early-adopter and have been on the big wheels since 2004-ish, so it's what I'm used to.

I have a Wreckoning LB and I don't find it lacking agility but throwing Red Bull Rampage type tricks off massive air isn't in my skillset. I do like straight air though. Maybe a tiny baby whip once in awhile...
 

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last year I bought an Evil Insurgent, 27.5, a friend who had a custom built 27.5 Stumpjumper took it for one ride and then bought an Insurgent. Evils in general are just really fun bikes.
 

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There seems to be an industry-wide oh-my-god-29ers-finally-don't-suck moment... and so I'm asking in all good faith whether or not these bikes are actually more fun and agile and poppy and playful than 27.5, or are they simply excellent examples of what 29ers specifically have evolved into?

My cynical side tells me "no"... that 29ers are simply the bike du jour and so the industry (journalists & testers included) are simply pushing them because they're the hot thing right now. Or maybe I'm wrong and The Following and The Offering rip so well that they ARE I fact superior to 27.5 now... another way to put it is that I'm not interested really in the superior rollover ability of a 29er. But I am interested in a bike that has been universally praised just for being so rad, wheel size be damned.

So... thoughts?
Comparing apples to apples a 275er is going to be more poppy and playful than a 29er. That said you can find a 275er that's less playful than a well designed modern 29er. To me it's not a better or worse thing. It's just two different flavours of mountain biking. There is no wrong answer if you buy a well designed bike that's suited to your terrain and riding style. The size of the wheels is not that important.

I'm stoked on 29ers at the moment and if I bought a new bike tomorrow it would be a 29er, but I'm not fooling myself into thinking 29ers a some life altering magical experience.

If you handed me a sweet 26er and said I could go on a free 6 month MTB road trip if I rode the circus wheels I wouldn't think twice about it and I'd have a blast on the small hoops.
 

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last year I bought an Evil Insurgent, 27.5, a friend who had a custom built 27.5 Stumpjumper took it for one ride and then bought an Insurgent. Evils in general are just really fun bikes.
Agreed. I sold my 1 year old Stumpjumper 27.5 after test riding an Offering. The Offering jumps easier, more often, and is more stable in the air than the SJ. Even with the 29s. I am a much more confident rider now on the Evil, than I ever was on the SJ. Hitting more and bigger drops too. Was literally an overnight thing. Jumps/drops on the SJ always took effort. The bike felt big and heavy and I was always jerking the bike to try and get it in the air. Complete opposite with the Offering. It gets me into the air with little to no effort. I was worried about going from the 27.5 on the SJ to the 29 on the Evil. Sure, I can feel the lack of acceleration. Nothing that changes my outlook though. It's just up to me to get better at maintaining speed if I want to set some Strava PRs now. lol Meanwhile, I'm having fun popping off whatever lips I can find on the trail and bombing drops as they appear. Another thing to note, the Offering is quite the climber too. Easily out pedals the soft and spongy suspension on the Stumpjumper.
 

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I have spent the last few years on fun 27.5 bikes (not Evils but fun nonetheless) My background is I love to jump and play around and being only 5'9" the 27.5 seemed to fit me really well. Last summer my HD3 went down for some shock work so I broke out my Kona Wozo fat bike and hit the jump lines and it was a blast so it got me thinking about trying a new 29er. Along came the Offering and this thing nails it, I really feel no loss in the fun factor department at all. Just my .02 cents and a pic just because we need more pics.
Sweet shot! Are those your home WI trails? The dirt looks amazing... Also, what rear tire?
 
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