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by Dave Rome
December 17, 2019
Photography by Evil Bikes
Evil Bikes – one of the most gravity-focussed mountain bike brands – is getting into gravel. And the Washington-based company’s first foray into the dropbar world is one that’s sure to raise an eyebrow with geometry numbers that scream trail mountain bike louder than the rock singer that inspired the new bike’s name. This is the Chamois Hagar.
Follow the trends in mountain bikes and you’ll see progressively longer front-centre reaches matched with forever shortening stem lengths. Head angles have gotten slacker and slacker, while seat tube angles have become steeper. And then the bikes have become lower, too, with bottom brackets dropped nearer to terra firma.
Some gravel bikes have been increasingly borrowing bits and pieces from these lessons, too. The new BMC URS gives a big salute to its baggy-wearing brethren, as does the Rodeo Labs Flaanimal 4.1, but neither are anything like the devil horns, roosted-loam and slap across the face with a stinky knee guard that the Chamois Hagar provides.
And I thought my school attendance was slack…
Evil’s foray into the gravel world sees the use of an unbelievably slack 66.67-degree head angle across all four frame sizes. Combine that with a 57mm fork offset and Chamois Hagar features a whoppingly-long 93mm trail figure. That’s some 16mm longer than the already-lengthy BMC URS, and approximately 30mm longer than where the fast-handling Trek Checkpoint and Specialized Diverge sit.
Reach lengths balloon in relation to the use of stubby 50mm stems (something also found on BMC’s URS), with the smallest frame size offering a roomy 400mm figure (where closer to 375mm would be more typical). Out back are 430mm chainstays, the most commonly used figure in modern mountain bikes.
The bottom bracket drop of 80mm is equally extreme (although Specialized’s Diverge is a more radical 85mm), and points to the Chamois Hagar benefiting from some big rubber to add crank clearance. Evil themselves equip complete bikes with 700x50c rubber. And with those longer-than-long front-centre numbers, you can bet that toe overlap is of zero concern.
Perhaps the only area of the geometry chart that seems out of place for this dropbar mountain bike is the relatively slack seat tube angles, although the numbers are deceptive. Evil is listing actual seat tube angles here, which is a key distinction given that the seat tube is offset forward down by the bottom bracket. The virtual figures are more conventional, although still on the slacker end of the spectrum and with perhaps an opposite progression from what you might expect: 72° for the small size, 73° for the medium and large, and 74° for the extra-large.
Regardless, Evil’s own press release isn’t shy about these figures being totally removed from what people have to come expect of gravel bikes. “Most companies start with road and conservatively relax things for gravel—just enough to not stir any feathers,” it reads. “Not us. We went from full-blown mountain bike and sorta, but not really, roadied it out.
“We already know that the longer the wheelbase, the steadier at speed. And we know that a centered riding position puts power directly over the pedals while allowing slight positioning shifts to create direct effects — lean back, you’re in a manual; lean forward, you’re engaging a corner; press your weight and positioning forward, you’re doing that roadie thing, attacking a climb. From a centered position, a bike is wieldy, versatile, and reactive – we know this.”
With a total of seven bottle cage mounts (six for the small size), the frame is built for carrying more water than a camel. Full-length fenders can be used with tires up to 40c, and there’s a braze-on mount for a front derailleur, too. Both fender mounts and rack mounts are hidden until needed, and the frame offers thoughtfully sealed and weather-proof internal cable ports.
The Chamois Hagar features a regular threaded bottom bracket.
And good news: Evil has left the mountain bike Boost wheel spacing and post-mount brake mounts back with its suspension bikes, and instead fitted the Chamois Hagar with flat-mount brakes and road-width (100mm front, 142mm rear) 12mm axles front and rear. Seat tube lengths are kept rather short to aid in standover clearance and dropper-post compatibility, while the now common dropped chainstays aid in the ability to use regular road cranks.
Evil Bikes is currently only offering the Chamois Hagar in a carbon frame with matching rigid fork. That frameset can be bought separately (US$2,799) or as one of two complete bikes. Both complete bikes come with 1x drivetrains, dropper posts, and 50c rubber, with the entry version (US$4,799) featuring a Shimano GRX groupset while the premium option (US$5,899) offers a full SRAM AXS 12-speed 10-50T Eagle setup.
James Huang has the new Chamois Hagar inbound for review. This one may take a little while to get acquainted with – or then again, maybe not.
The SRAM AXS version comes equipped with a low 38T chainring to match the enormous 10-50T cassette. A longer-travel RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post (125mm on small, 150mm on medium and large, and 170mm on extra-large sizes) is included in this build.
The Shimano GRX version mates a 40T chainring with a XT 11-46T rear cassette. A quality BikeYoke dropper is provided, hooked up to the dropper remote version of Shimano’s GRX left shifter.
The lines of the Chamois Hagar remain consistent with Evil’s mountain bikes.
Cane Creek 40-series headsets are provided.
All but the smallest frame size feature space for three water bottles within the front triangle.
The Chamois Hagar comes with integrated rubber frame protectors at key locations.
Evil has included some stealthy mounts and versatile internal cable routing. The Chamois Hagar can be setup with either electronic or mechanical shifting.