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Evil Offering V2 XO1 Hydra review

Is the second-generation Evil Offering the ultimate balance of calm control and mischievous handling?

Evil Offering V2 XO1 Hydra review
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Unholy grip and longer geometry mean Evil’s latest Offering definitely conjures up a calmer spirit, but its infamous devilment is definitely still there if you summon it. You’ll need to sell a big chunk of soul to afford it, though

For

  • - Phenomenally controlled suspension control
  • - Outstanding traction
  • - Impressive Superboost tracking stiffness
  • - Super-visceral ‘harder-is-better’ vibe
  • - Confident but still exciting handling
  • - Sorted kit collection
  • - Variable geometry
  • - Easy to upsize
  • - Big tire clearance
  • - Lifetime wheel warranty

Against

  • - Can hide its fun side
  • - Effective rather than effervescent climber
  • - Expensive bike
  • - Very very expensive wheels
  • - No crash warranty on the frame

Bike Perfect Verdict

Unholy grip and longer geometry mean Evil’s latest Offering definitely conjures up a calmer spirit, but its infamous devilment is definitely still there if you summon it. You’ll need to sell a big chunk of soul to afford it, though

Pros

  • + - Phenomenally controlled suspension control
  • + - Outstanding traction
  • + - Impressive Superboost tracking stiffness
  • + - Super-visceral ‘harder-is-better’ vibe
  • + - Confident but still exciting handling
  • + - Sorted kit collection
  • + - Variable geometry
  • + - Easy to upsize
  • + - Big tire clearance
  • + - Lifetime wheel warranty

Cons

  • - - Can hide its fun side
  • - - Effective rather than effervescent climber
  • - - Expensive bike
  • - - Very very expensive wheels
  • - - No crash warranty on the frame

Evil’s 140mm travel Offering V2 has the trademark Delta Link suspension and distinctive frame construction that has become synonymous with the brand from Bellingham, Washington. 

Creating the best trail bike is a balancing act between efficiency and descending prowess. The Offering V2 sits between the 120mm Following and the Red Bull Rampage-capable 160m-travel Wreckoning, but has Evil managed to find the best of both worlds or is it stuck in MTB purgatory? 

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Evil Offering V2 XO1 Hydra suspension linkage

The suspension uses a single pivot to actuate the shock via short pull arms and a rocker plate (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Evil Offering V2 XO1 Hydra chainstay protector

Chunky chainstay protection helps keep the bike quiet (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Evil Offering V2 XO1 Hydra internal cable routing entrance at the headtube

Cables are fully internal and enter on the side of the headtube (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Design and geometry

The Offering V2 gets Evil’s bold new frame layout, where the super-low top tube is braced by a big diagonal strut that curves into the belly of the bike with the short ‘seat mast’ style upper sitting on top. The iconic bell-shaped head tube is supersized for an even bigger lower bearing ‘jaw’ with the fully routed internal controls vanishing through bolted inserts into the ‘cheeks’ above.

The single-piece swingarm is really stout too, with Super Boost 157mm-width axles at the rear and deep triangular forward projections past the single main pivot, to where the first part of Dave Weagle’s Delta-Link system anchors with three bolts. These triangular plates can be rotated to give a ‘Low’ or ‘X-Low’ geometry setup without disturbing the suspension dynamics. 

These dynamics are created by the short-pull arms that compress the trunnion-mounted RockShox Super Deluxe shock via another pair of triangular rocker plates, pivoting on the front edge of the downtube. That’s a lot of plates, pivots and linkages, but we know Evil riders who are constantly on the bike, and they’re getting more than a year from bearings between replacements, even in UK conditions. 

The Offering is designed to handle debris abuse, with a deep piece of rubber belly armor over internally mounted impact foam on the downtube and molded ‘Sound Mound’ chainstay armor. It comes standard with a removable top chain guide (also rubber-lined for quietness) but has ISCG tabs if you want to use a full DH-style chain keeper. 

In terms of other housekeeping, the shock controls are super easy to access, and there’s still room for a bottle inside the mainframe too. There’s just about space for a 2.6in rear tire, but the busy bottom corner of the frame can take some clearing if it gets claggy.

With a BB height of 339mm, the X-Low setting isn’t actually that low and we’d say the 347mm ‘Low’ is actually medium-high. Flipping the Delta link changes the head angle from 65.8 degrees to 66.4, and effective seat angle from 76 degrees to 77. Reach has been thrown right out to 491mm on this large V2, contrasting with the very tight 432/430mm rear center length allowed by the Super Boost width. A 425mm seat tube makes sizing up easy, and also makes the Offering look properly hunkered down and centered in terms of weight distribution. 

If the default adjustability isn’t enough, Evil also offers an aftermarket angle set. The frameset is also available separately for $3,450 / £3,245 / €3,799.99 in two similarly stealthy colors: 'wasabi shadow’ or ‘black out drunk’. If you’re a regular wrecker it’s worth noting the ‘lifetime warranty’ only covers manufacturing defects, and not crash or accidental damage, like Santa Cruz and others offer.

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Evil Offering V2 XO1 Hydra review

The beefy Lyric with 150mm travel is ready for serious trail taming (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Evil Offering V2 XO1 Hydra kitted with a SRAM XO1 drivetrain

Our test bike was equipped with SRAM's X01 drivetrain (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Evil Loophole rim

Evil offers a discount if you want to upgrade to its new Loophole wheelset (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Components and build

The Offering comes equipped with SRAM components, with our test bike sporting SRAM's mechanical XO1 12sp drivetrain. This sits between the top-tiered carbon Offering with AXS, and the more affordable alloy model with GX. 

Our model tipped the scales at a relatively low 14.2kg for the complete bike weight, despite a chunky Lyrik fork in 150mm format rather than a 200g lighter Pike. Meanwhile, Evil’s brand new lifetime-warrantied Loophole carbon wheels are available as an upgrade, with a claimed weight of 1,940g (RRP $2,200 / £2,299.99). Evil also fits super wide 810mm Evil Broomstick bars and a 35mm 12 Gauge stem for maximum power-assisted steering effect. 

It can keep its double metal clamp ‘Pamela Handerson’ grips though, as palm pain overhanging the outer edge meant I switched them as soon as I’d taken the pictures. Code RSC brakes with a 200mm front rotor are a welcome sight on a bike that loves gaining speed as much as the Offering though, and the long 185mm drop Bike Yoke post is a reassuringly reliable pick. It’s hard to go wrong with the listed Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR tire combo either, although our sample bike actually came with DHF on the rear, too.  

Ride, handling and performance 

'Middle bike syndrome' is definitely an issue in some bike ranges. I've been a massive fan of the Following since it was first released, not just upsetting the ‘short-travel 29ers can’t be fun’ applecart, but tomahawking it into oblivion before vanishing into the woods, cackling with manic laughter. With that in mind, I was apprehensive about what mid-travel and longer, slacker geometry would bring to the Offering. 

Dropping in at the deep end of my local tracks straight away, the increased stability certainly helped lower my heart rate and keep me comfortable at higher speeds than older, steeper Evils did. The Delta Link suspension delivers possibly the most controlled mid-stroke ride ever, managing to feel like it’s barely doing anything while it’s actually doing everything. 

There’s definitely potential for micro-tweaking rebound and sag heights to make sure it drops into every potential traction pot without hanging up on flat slaps, but even with a basic setup, it was a speed-multiplying, stress-eraser on sections I'm normally hyperventilating through. 

The suspension, Loophole wheels and rubber armor keep the Offering spookily quiet both audibly and dynamically, however hard you throw it into the root and rock circle pit. There’s enough progression to calmly file away failed gaps and slammed drops in the ‘it’s fine we don’t need to talk about those’ folder too, and in terms of suspension, the Offering never seemed to tire of tidying up my mess. 

It’s similarly composed and connected under power, too. There was little visual movement to prompt a flick of the low-speed compression lever, except for when I was slow cranking a ‘stair climber’ out of the saddle. While the DHFs trade rolling speed for digging grip, the Evil stayed connected like a short spike on wet grassy, rooty, and greasy one-crank-at-a-time pitches. 

Meanwhile, the 66-degree head angle stops it flopping around or wandering too widely on switchbacks, and because it’s not slammed, it’s not slamming pedals into every ledge either.

However, as safe as it makes the most challenging sections feel, and as much as it shrugs at sketchy climbs, this level of control can actually crush the character of a bike. The Offering certainly lacks the frenetic, frantic ‘I’ve just snorted Space Dust’ hysteria of previous generation Evils and, despite its efficiency and sub-500g weight claims for the Loophole rims, it feels effective rather than effervescent under power. Give it the spurs though, and it doesn’t take long to find that fire that’s always made Evil such a rad rider's favorite. 

Evil Offering V2 X01 Hydra specced with Evil's 810mm Broomstick bars

Evil's 810mm Broomstick bars come stock with the Offering V2 X01 Hydra (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

The backend, being extra wide with a super-sensitive trunnion-mounted shock, does an eerily good job of muting impacts, without muffling sensory feedback. The fact that it's short at the rear as well means you can start sliding and flaring it around through your feet like you’re playing on a skidpan with stabilizers on, not risking wiping your hips on the floor a split second later. 

While the top-spec Lyrik and super wide Broomstick bars keep it grounded and precise through the baseline, there’s still a lightness through the front end that’s very rare on a long-reach bike like this. It’s also steep enough that you can still twist the front tire in tight, rather than having to go the long way. Obviously, that means there are moments when it does that rather than staying straight - especially when that 200mm front brake is involved - but there’s a whole lot more pilot satisfaction, rather than passenger-surrendering as a result.

The short back end and easy mobility around the sag point also make it really easy to pop the front wheel up for show or a sharper line. In other words, while the ground connection is a benchmark for calmness, its dynamic vibe is a whole lot more alive and agile. That means you’ll soon be brushing aside the parental guidance composure and pushing straight into the uncensored section of every power slide singletrack and steep and twisty section you can, and the Offering will love you for it.

Evil Offering V2 XO1 Hydra review

(Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict

The unbreakable traction, unreal suspension control and stretched geometry of the Evil Offering V2 means it can handle the nastiest terrain with the regal composure of your grandma’s ancient autobox Merc. Poke it hard though, and it’s got enough kick down to fling her into the back seat, wedge her false teeth in the headlining, and get you laughing and steezing like a freak. Don’t upset her too much though, as you’ll probably need her inheritance to afford it.  

Tech Specs: Evil Offering V2 X01 Hydra

  • Model name: Evil Offering V2
  • Discipline: Trail
  • Price: €9,549.99 
  • Head angle: 65.8 degrees (X-Low) 
  • Frame material:  UD Carbon 
  • Size: Large
  • Weight: 14.2kg
  • Wheel size: 29 x 2.6in
  • Suspension: RockShox Lyrik Ultimate, Charger 2.1 RC2 42mm offset / RockShox Super Deluxe RCT Debonair, 185x55mm 140mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle 10-52T 12-speed gearing, shifter
  • Cranks: SRAM X01 Eagle 32T chainset
  • Brakes: SRAM CODE RSC brakes with 200/180mm rotors
  • Cockpit: Evil Broomstick Carbon 35 x 810mm bar and Evil 12 Gauge 35 x 35mm stem
  • Wheelset: Evil Loophole 29mm rims with Industry Nine Enduro S Hydra hubs
  • Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 29 x 2.5in front and rear tires
  • Seatpost: Bike Yoke Revive 185mm dropper post
  • Saddle: WTB Volt Medium (142mm) saddle
Guy Kesteven

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He got an archaeology degree out of Exeter University, spent a few years digging about in medieval cattle markets, working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit he’s also coughed out a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too. We trust Guy's opinion and think you should, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel Ltd MTBs, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Di2 Disc road bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg