In the not-so-distant past, 27.5-inch mountain bike wheels were all the rage. The promise of being small enough to stay nimble and big enough to roll over trail debris seemed like a dream come true. But in a world where bigger is often mistaken for better, 29-inch ones quickly became de rigueur.
Way out in Bellingham, Washington is a small company that cares little for what the world thinks, however. No surprise then, that Evil’s latest iteration of its Insurgent mountain bike brings the forgotten 27.5 back into the spotlight — so well, in fact, that it sold out in the blink of an eye.
Seriously. The bike launched last week, and every size and spec was gone by the next day. But we have good news: The Pro's Closet, our favorite site for top-notch used bikes, is now carrying the new release in some sizes and trims. (TPC also carries a certified pre-owned Evil Chamois Hagars, one of our favorite gravel bikes, and both bikes can be found here.)
The appeal? You can have a hell of a lot of ridiculous BMX-style fun on a mountain bike with slightly smaller wheels. Or as the brand itself so beautifully puts it: “If necessity is the mother of invention, then the pursuit of useless is the father of joy.”
Just check out Evil's promo video to see what we mean. You’ll see Evil riders busting all kinds of tricks that seem more fitted for the X-Games than a mountain bike trail. We’re talking wheelies, bar spins, nac nacs, Superman seat grabs and so much more. Obviously, high levels of skill make these tricks possible, but an agile set of wheels encourages every “useless” carve, slash and aerial maneuver — and makes it just a bit easier to pull off.
Complementing the revived wheel size are a few other notable updates. Evil boosted the rear travel from 150mm to 168mm (5.9 inches to 6.6 inches) and paired it with a 180mm (7.1-inch) fork. The extra suspension provides plenty of cushion for ripping over trails, coasting over crunchy stuff and bouncing through rock fields.
The bike features a steep 78.2-degree seat angle and DELTA System suspension platform, supporting an upright position that makes for smooth and efficient pedaling when it’s time to climb. A longer reach and wheelbase also ease difficult ascents while maxing out stability during fast and furious descents.
It’s worth mentioning that there are in fact two versions of the new Insurgent — the aforementioned 27.5er and the Insurgent MX 29. Yes, that number stands for the wheel size…of the front wheel. The MX means mixed because even the big-wheeled build is a mullet design with a back wheel that is, you guessed it, 27.5 inches.