The Takeaway: Snappy, lively, nimble, a ripping descender, and oh so fun. It’s everything you love about Evil’s bikes and with one of the best e-bike motors going.

  • Based on the brand's Wreckoning, the Epocalypse is Evil’s first e-bike,
  • Carbon fiber frame, 29-inch wheels, 166mm rear travel, with a 170mm fork
  • Shimano EP8 motor with Shimano 630Wh battery
  • One build for the USA market.
  • Optional Loopholes carbon wheel upgrade.

Price: $12,000

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evil epocalypse e bike

And another one goes electric!

While bigger bike brands went electric years ago, boutique and core mountain bike brands approached the space cautiously. But that hesitancy has diminished, and the list of small mountain bike brands with e-bike models now includes the like of Transition, Yeti, Unno, Pole, YT, Propain, and Pivot. You can also add Evil to that list, and, before long, you will be able to add a few more holdouts.

In fairness, Evil wanted to bring this new Epocalypse to market ages ago, but it fell victim to pandemic-related delays. But the bike is here now and, according to Evil’s representatives, will arrive at dealers in Europe and the USA very soon. I flew to Bellingham, Washington, and stole a first ride on the Epocalypse on the city's famous trails.

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In the deep dark woods with Evil

Evil Epocalypse — Evil’s E-Wreckoning

You can think of the new Epocalypse as an electrified version of the Wreckoning, Evil’s longest travel bike. Travel is the same (166mm rear with a 170mm fork up front), as are the crucial angles (65.2° or 64.6° head, 77° or 76.5° seat depending on the flip chips' setting). The bottom bracket drop/height is also the same, and the reach, top tube, and stack lengths are about the same too. Chainstay length is the main difference, with the Epocalypse having 12mm longer chainstays (442mm vs. 430mm). This increased length comes from the motor stretching the wheelbase a similar amount (1231mm versus 1218mm, size medium).

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What a sexy table.

But even though the chainstays are longer than on the Wreckoning, the Epocalypse still has decently short stays for a full-powered e-bike with 166mm rear travel and a 29-inch rear wheel. Comparables include the Specialized Turbo Levo (442mm) and Santa Cruz Heckler MX (445mm), both of which have less rear travel (150mm) and a smaller 27.5 rear wheel. Similar dual 29-inch wheeled bikes include the Yeti 160-E (446mm, 160mm rear travel), Canyon Spectral:ON (440mm, 155mm rear travel), and Pivot Shuttle (441mm, 140mm rear travel). So if you like your e-bike’s travel long, your rear wheel big, and your chainstays short, the Epocalypse offers a compelling package.

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With 166mm rear travel adn a 170mm fork, the Epocalypse is a big bike, but its surprisingly easy to ride.
Matt Phillips

While the geometry and suspension travel is the same as the Wreckoning (and the Epocalypse uses the same DELTA single-pivot design that features on every Evil) the Epocalypse has a unique suspension. The major reason for this change: The motor's size forced the main pivot to move and increased the chainstay length.

However, when I tried to dig up more specific details on the changes I hit a wall. DELTA’s designer, Dave Weagle, keeps the details of his designs a tightly held secret. So closely that Evil’s employees informed me that Weagle doesn't even share some details with them.

Weagle did tell me that despite the similarities between the Wreckoning and the Epocalypse, each bike has unique kinematics, “I don't think that any of the parts other than the bone links and a couple of the bearings and pivots are shared between the two models. Although they achieve a somewhat similar performance feel result (at least in the broadest scope of the marketplace), structurally and kinematically, they are completely unique products that are each built from bespoke parts.”

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Shrouding helps cut motor noise.
Matt Phillips

Evil Epocalypse — Features

The overall feature list is very similar to the Wreckoning. The Epocalypse has a 157mm SuperBoost rear end, geometry tuning flip chips, room for a water bottle inside the main triangle, an Angleset compatible head tube, integrated upper chain guide, SRAM's UDH, and molded rubber chain slap protection. Plus it internally routes hoses, housing, and wires. Compared to its other bikes, Evil improved the Epocalypse's rear derailleur and rear brake hose routing—where it exits the front triangle and enters the rear triangle—to reduce rub when the suspension compresses. Expect to see future Evil bikes employ this same routing.

E-bike-specific features include a shuttle pad on the battery door and a protective shroud around the motor.

Evil Epocalypse—Motor and Battery

Evil turned to the proven Shimano EP8 motor to hustle the Epocalypse along. Overall the EP8 is very good. It has great torque (up to 85nm) and smooth power delivery, especially in its variable assist Trail mode. Shimano’s display is quite good and relatively small, as is the EP8’s handlebar remote. Also, Evil hid the power button under the down tube, where it seems well protected.

My biggest complaint about the Shimano motor remains its signature lash as the assist engages and disengages, as well as some rattling on descents. And this has not yet been addressed. However, the Epocolpyse’s rubberized shrouding around the motor damps a good amount of the noise, and it seems quieter to me than bikes with unshrouded EP8 motors.

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The power button hides under the top tube.
Matt Phillips

For juice, Evil stuck with a Shimano BT-E8036 battery. Brand representatives told me they feel better about the quality and safety of the Shimano-branded battery than other options, even Shimano-approved batteries like the Darfon used by Santa Cruz and SCOR. The drawback to using the Shimano-branded battery is the largest capacity offered is 630Wh. This is a smaller battery than some Shimano EP8-powered competition, including the Santa Cruz and SCOR (750Wh) or the Canyon Spectral:ON (up to 900Wh). Evil did make the battery quickly removable, so mid-ride battery swaps are fast, but the extra batteries cost around $700 each.

Shimano lets its OE customers customize the two assist profiles, an option employed by Evil. From the factory, Evil designed Profile 1 to turn out the most boost while Profile 2’s tuning eeks out more range. Those profiles are not set in stone; riders can customize either profile with the Shimano E-Tube app.

Evil Epocalypse — Build Kit

For its introduction, the Epocalypse features Shimano’s XT drivetrain and disc brakes (203mm rotors front and rear) and a Bike Yoke Revive dropper with frame-size-specific travel (S:125mm, M: 160mm, L:185mm XL: 185mm). It rolls on Industry Nine Enduro S Hydra wheels with Maxxis Minion DHF tires (2.5-inch) and a cockpit consisting of an Evil stem (45mm) and Evil’s Energy Bar carbon handlebar with internal routing for the motor remote.

For the US market, the suspension comes from RockShox with a 170mm Zeb Ultimate fork and a Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil shock, and the complete bikes sell for $12,000. Other markets get a Fox suspension option, and all buyers can upgrade to Evil’s Loopholes wheelset, featuring Fusion Fiber thermoplastic rims. In the USA, that upgrade runs $1,200.

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The Epocalypse motors up climbs.

Evil Epocalypse —Ride Impressions

I’ve long loved Evil’s bikes because they have snap and crackle. They feel more nimble and more playful than most other mountain bikes. And that feeling is paired with one of the smoothest rear suspension systems. Evil's bikes descend super well, climb better than they should, and are extremely entertaining on flatter trails.

Adding a motor and battery doesn't change any of that feel. The Epocalypse rides like a Wreckoning with a motor. It chugs up heinous climbs, not just impressively for a big bike, but well for any bike. The saddle is in a good position for steeper climbs without cramping the cockpit on flatter terrain. The bike pedals with an admirable efficiency that seems shouldn’t be possible from a bike with 166mm travel, a single pivot, and a coil-over shock.

Outside of the climbs, the Epocalypse handles a bit quicker than average and than you might expect. That tracks with the hints given by the geometry. The Epocalypse’s head angle and wheelbase are closer to shorter travel (140 to 150mm) e-bikes than e-bikes with more than 160mm. I love that Evil’s bikes are quicker handling and more lively than most. While there might be a tradeoff for riders who only and always ride the steepest and highest speed terrain possible, the quicker handling Evil feels more natural, making it easier to ride, faster, and more controlled over most terrain.

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The Epocalypse is e-fun personified.
Matt Phillips

The suspension feels every bit deep as you would expect from 166mm. The coil-over shock gives the already luxurious DELTA suspension an even plusher feel. Like the first production bikes that will ship, the Epocalypse I rode was equipped with RockShox's previous generation Zeb fork, not the updated 2023 version. Even so, it is a stout fork with good overall performance, though the sensitivity and feedback disparity between it and the ridiculously smooth coil-sprung rear end is pronounced.

Longer-term and more detailed feedback will need to wait until I spend time on some local trails with my test bike. But my first impressions are enormously positive. Evil added one of the best e-bike motors on the market but kept the brand’s signature playful feel. Those are the makings of a clear winner.

Headshot of Matt Phillips
Matt Phillips
Senior Test Editor, Bicycling

A gear editor for his entire career, Matt’s journey to becoming a leading cycling tech journalist started in 1995, and he’s been at it ever since; likely riding more cycling equipment than anyone on the planet along the way. Previous to his time with Bicycling, Matt worked in bike shops as a service manager, mechanic, and sales person. Based in Durango, Colorado, he enjoys riding and testing any and all kinds of bikes, so you’re just as likely to see him on a road bike dressed in Lycra at a Tuesday night worlds ride as you are to find him dressed in a full face helmet and pads riding a bike park on an enduro bike. He doesn’t race often, but he’s game for anything; having entered road races, criteriums, trials competitions, dual slalom, downhill races, enduros, stage races, short track, time trials, and gran fondos. Next up on his to-do list: a multi day bikepacking trip, and an e-bike race.