At a glance
The Evil Sovereign has been at the top of the hardcore hardtail pile for sometime now and there have been some changes that have bought the price down from very, very expensive to just very expensive!Buy Hard Tails on
There was a scuffle when the Sovereign arrived as we were all keen to get out on it and see whether it could live up to its billing as a living legend.
The frameset is now made from Tange 4130 custom butted tubes. The top tube and down tube are slightly oversized and the top tube slopes dramatically, piecing the seat tube low and continuing on to create a mount for the seat stays. There is a brace from the top tube to the seat tube for support. ISCG05 mounts are provided should you wish to run a chainguide.
The seat stays are skinny in comparison to the front triangle and the chain stays use a wishbone set up but the drive side has a plate that the stay is connected to.
The Sovereign has XX-Rated adjustable dropouts that mean you can run your Sovereign pretty much however you like and can easily adjust the chain stay lengths if you like to fettle.
Geometry on our 17’’ Evil is a 68º head angle, 71º seat angle, there is a decent length 592mm top tube with the chainstays setup at a shortish 420mm making the wheelbase a short 1080mm.
Frame weight is around 6lbs.
Our test bike came kitted out with a 140mm Rockshox Revelation with Maxle and lockout. Shifters and mechs are Shimano SLX with a Race Face AtlasAM double chainset.
Stopping power comes courtesy of Hope Tech X2 brakes and the wheels are Hope SP-AM4 hubs to Mavic EN521Disc rims. These are shod with Intense System 4 EX Lite tyres.
Finishing kit is the excellent Race Face AtlasAM range with a 70mm stem and 710mm bars.
Complete bike weight is 29lbs without pedals.
On the trail
It takes just seconds to understand why this bike is so expensive and why it has hero status!
Just push on the pedals and you are off, power transfer is smooth and effortless and you will think you are riding a much lighter bike. Control and balance are spot on and there is attitude in spades, the bikes riotous nature will soon overwhelm you.
Heading up hill is easier than it has any right to be and the Sovereign begs to be popped over obstacles rather than just ridden over them. An adjustable fork would be a plus but to be honest we were in such a hurry to get to the top so that we could play that the climbs were barely noticeable.
Once into fast singletrack it is like cycling nirvana, the bikes angles are spot on and the decent length top tube lets you really open up, the relaxed seat angle and short chainstays make manuals a piece of cake and rough sections can be taken on the back wheel whilst still putting the power down. Up front your weight is placed just so when out of the saddle, driving the front aggressively though turns, the rear almost constantly drifting. Those skinny rear seat stays take just enough sting out of the trail to make this a surprising smooth ride when cranked up over rough ground.
Hitting the downs is a case of seeing just how far you can push the Sovereign and yourself, the bike is super fast in tight turns and control is just about maintained as speeds start to turn everything to a blur. Launching off anything and everything becomes compulsive and the bike handles well in the air too.
The Sovereign is a living legend and owning one will give you a warm glow inside, it is beautifully made and the quality of the ride is a pleasure to behold.
Speed comes as standard as does fun and the way this bike carves singletrack came as a surprise to us, we were expecting the riotous behaviour once gravity became involved but we simply had not bargained for the joy we have had sliding round loamy woodland tracks and power wheeling out of corners.
Cost is probably the main thing that springs to mind.
The other factor is weight, the Sovereign is a touch on the heavy side and while it climbs better than it should it will begin to wear a trifle thin on long days out.
Fast, drifty and darn right blooming good fun the Sovereign is a debauched party of biking fun that your mother would definitely disapprove of so if you can get around the cost and you love to ride a bike that challenges you to go harder and faster than you have ever dared before then find a way to get a ride on a Sovereign.Buy Hard Tails on
This review was in Issue 5 of IMB.For more information visit Evil Bikes