Evil is known for being a “shreddy” brand, concerned far more with building bikes that go fast downhill rather than covering big distances, so it was a little surprising when rumors began percolating that a gravel grinder from the Bellingham, Washington, bike maker was in the works. But this week they dropped their new rig, an all-carbon rigid frame that looks an awful lot like a xc bike with drop bars, but that the brand promises is much more.
The Chamois Hagar is probably not the bike you’d take to set speed records chewing up vast amounts of straight-line real estate. It’s the rig you’d grab for that series of long fire roads with plenty of side hits and wallrides along the way, hopefully with some flowy singletrack connecting sections. Having said that, it looks like it’d be just fine for that straight-line real estate too. A swiss army knife of a bike, maybe.
Evil writes, “Rather than start with a squirrely road bike and relaxing things into borderline manageable, we started with a mountain bike with shred surging through its veins.”
The specs are eye-popping. They’re not really all that different from The Following, Evil’s short-ish travel 29er. The Chamois Hagar boasts a 66.67-degree head tube angle with a 50mm stem. The Following v1 (full disclosure, I own one) is 67.4-degrees and comes standard with a 40mm stem. The wheelbases are similar too: 1,154mm for a size large in the gravel bike; 1,163mm for the mtb. The bottom bracket drop is a whopping 80mm. Evil designed its own fork to fit this bike’s unique angles and measurements up front. It has a 57mm offset and Evil promises no toe overlap (“Noeverlap”) so you can crank those bars over as far as you’d like without bashing your toes. The seat tube will accept long 125mm dropper posts too.
Tire clearance is ample. There is room for 700c x 50mm tires (though it would be cool if it would take bigger 29″ x 2.5″ meats). Though we are a tad concerned about the microscopic-looking clearance between the rear tire and the seat tube. Will a tire loaded with mud and gravel rub there? Hopefully not.
The bike comes in one construction: carbon. One color: “Blackout Drunk” (Oh, Evil). But you can get it in two different build kits: Shimano GRX ($4,799) or SRAM Force AXS ($5,784).
If bikepacking is in the cards, the Chamois bristles with seven bottle mounts, as well as fender and top tube mounts.
Now then, the logical question: What if you just put flat bars on this thing? It’s so, so close to being a hardtail XC bike with a rigid fork as it is. Well, we don’t know. Haven’t ridden it. Maybe all this rowdiness adds up to a rowdy gravel bike, just like Evil intentioned. Lowered into that drop bar, the miles would likely fly by quickly. Plus, that slack geometry could make long-distance riding more comfortable while enabling more stability in the nasty stuff.
It’s intriguing. We hope to test one soon.