Are you ready to rock?!? Because the new Evil Chamois Hagar gravel bike is. Not just the dirt roads, but your sense of what a “gravel bike” should be. What it could be. And after riding it, why a standard off-road drop bar bike might leave you wanting. Or not.

Evil provided their new bikes for us at Blubird’s Gravel Camp, an annual retreat for folks to ride, test, and talk about the sport, the people, and (naturally) the products. We’ll have plenty more to share on this soon, but the tech highlight of the trip was this bike. Love the looks or hate them, it absolutely changed our minds about what a “gravel” bike can be…

Evil Chamois Hagar tech details

evil chamois hagar gravel bike review and tech details
From some angles, it just looks weird. Or small.

We have the complete specs, tech info and geometry chart in our original launch coverage. Here, a few highlights and actual photos of all the key points. And we’ll dive deep on that frame design.

OK, maybe from any angle. But dang if it doesn’t work.

The most striking thing about the Chamois Hagar is the looks, but it follows the design ethos (literally and figuratively) of their Following 120mm mountain bike.

In fact, it’s based very closely on The Following’s geometry, with a few tweaks made to help it work without suspension.

evil chamois hagar gravel bike review and tech details

Basically, they wanted to start with a mountain bike and come down to a gravel bike. Much the same way they start with a DH bike and come down to enduro, trail and XC bikes. In other words, keep the fun element of a bigger travel, more capable bike, but adjust it for the use case.

what size tires fit on the evil gravel bike

So, compared to a regular gravel bike, which they say is typically designed as an upscaled road bike, Evil’s design philosophy goes in the other direction. They put the rider a little lower and a little further back. The saddle position sits on the very edge of UCI legality for road bikes. This wasn’t done because they expect anyone to race this in UCI events. Rather, it’s because it keeps it within the range of good pedaling positions, letting you lay down the power.

evil chamois hagar gravel bike review and tech details

A slacker 66.67° head angle and shorter offset give it more trail, which means more stability. It’s definitely their own fork, and no, you can’t put a suspension fork on it. It’s not tall enough, you’d throw the geometry all off. It has 93mm of mechanical trail, which is a lot. The result is a massively stable bike…in most conditions.

How does that compare? Traditional gravel bikes get head angles between 70-72º, and trail figures from 56mm to 64mm.

evil chamois hagar gravel bike review and tech details can you run a front derailleur on the evil chamois Hagar gravel bike

The other big difference is the BB drop, which measures 80mm. That’s 5-10mm lower than a typical gravel bike. That, combined with the ultra low top tube and dropped stays give it that weird, low slung look that makes even this size XL I tested look more like a kid’s bike. There’s a good reason for keeping everything so low, keep reading…

what size tires fit on the evil gravel bike

But those are, indeed, full size 700×50 tires on there! That’s the max recommended size, and honestly, if you need more than that, it’s probably time to switch to your mountain bike. Surprisingly, it doesn’t look anemic if you switch to a 38mm or 40mm tire, though.

can the evil chamois hagar gravel bike take racks and fenders

The bike is setup with fender and rack mounts, too. If you’re looking for a stable, comfortable bike for light touring, this one may surprise you. There are mounts on the fork legs and crown, under the BB, plus three bottle cage mounts inside the front triangle, and Bento box mounts on the top tube. I used the Apidura bag there to keep snacks and a GoPro handy.

Evil Chamois Hagar ride review

is the evil chamois hagar good for singletrack and mountain bike trails

The second thing you notice about Evil’s gravel bike (after the looks) is the stability. In that, when you first hop on it and are wiggling around slowly, how little it has at 2mph. Don’t try to sneak between cars in a parking lot on this one!

But as soon as you’re moving for real, it’s planted. As in, this is one of the most stable and predictable bikes I’ve ridden. Perhaps the most telling example is when it hits the soft sand sections. Whether dipping between dry river beds or hitting those inevitable soft patches on farm roads, deep soft sand sections are just part of gravel riding. And they suck.

But the Chamois Hagar sails through them. Yes, 50mm tires offer crazy good floatation, but that was only part of it. The bike held an incredibly stable line. As in, I could actually keep riding straight and didn’t lose momentum (and, thus, waste a lot of energy). This was, for me, the most standout feature on a bike that pretty much did everything really, really well. If you ride in soft, sandy conditions, check this one out.

is the evil chamois hagar a good gravel bike

This bike was designed to crush rough courses like the Grinduro. That’s why they spec’d a 185mm (!!) dropper post. Because the lower and farther back you can get, the faster and safer you can descend gnarly, loose, chunky sections. So they designed the bike to help you get low. And to encourage you to get into the drops on faster descents so you have more control and a better hand position. Hence the extremely low slung shape, dropped BB and ridiculously long travel dropper seatpost.

The ENVE G-Series gravel handlebar was a great fit for this. The tops come to a sharp L-bend at the corners, offering a big hand rest patch, and the 120mm drop does put you pretty low when you use them. Brake levers remained in easy reach in either position.

evil chamois hagar gravel bike review and tech details

The low BB didn’t present any pedal-strike issues, but there was very little for it to strike upon. The trails and roads we used were gloriously fast and smooth. That slightly rocky descent in the video? That was the most technical terrain I encountered over two days and 90+ miles of riding. Your results may vary.

I was initially concerned that the front end was too far forward, that I’d have a hard time weighting the front tire enough to maintain traction. And the dry kitty-litter surface certainly challenged us. But it turned out to be a non-issue. Again, 50mm tires have a lot of grip, but the geometry just worked. I could imagine ripping this thing pretty hard on hero dirt. Er, sorry, hero gravel.

So, is it really just a mountain bike?

No. It’s a really aggressive gravel bike. You can’t put a suspension fork on it. In fact, doing so would kinda make it too slack. And it’s not designed for flat bars. It’s designed around 700×50 tires, which isn’t quite big enough for proper mountain biking. It basically comes the way they meant it to be ridden. So much so that we get the impression that making changes would adversely affect the handling.

Would I want it in my permanent fleet? Yeah, definitely. While I’d probably still choose a “traditional” gravel bike for some rides, particularly ones primarily ridden on actual road, the Chamois Hagar was, quite literally, the perfect bike for the flowing singletrack in Scottsdale, AZ. And there’s at least two local (to me) trails where it would shine. It could totally work as my only gravel bike, too, if I had to limit myself. If you get the chance to ride one, check your preconceptions at the door and get ready to have a blast. Mountain bikers will get it instantly. Roadies? Well, you’ll figure it out eventually.

Evil-Bikes.com

37 COMMENTS

  1. This seems a bit like the big shift that Mondraker and Pole helped initiate on the MTB side of life years ago. Not everyone is at those same extremes, but it seems that much of the industry followed in that general direction.

    This may well be the spark that starts a shift on the gravel side. The basic approach is sound, but maybe there is a happier medium to be struck between this and other “current gen” gravel bikes?

    • I had bikes with geo like this back in 2008-2013, ahead of the curve. I’m stoked to see it finally really becoming widely adopted

    • You need that extra BB drop to ride 50mm 700c tyres (361mm from axel to road). I would argue that the BB drop is not low enough.

      Remember these tyres has a 5-10mm larger diameter than a 40-45mm tyre (351 & 356mm from axle to road).

      650b 47mm has has an axle to road at 339mm wich is identical to a 700c 28mm – those two tires are interchangeable and works well with a BB drop arround 69-72mm – just like any roadbike.

      In order to fool the consumer manufactures of gravel bikes are now standatizing on a 70mm BB drop AND advertizing to the consumer that that their frames are optimized for both 650b 47mm AND 700c 43mm which is imposible since if it will affect both BB height and especially trail.
      A bike may be able to fit a 700c 43mm but handling due to trail and BB hight will be horrible if its designed for 650b 47mm.

  2. With the exception of the huge bb drop and fork offset the geo on this is super close to a progressive hardtail. I always thought that those drop bar conversations rode weird, but the early reviews of the Evil are positive enough to make me curious.

    But “blackout drunk” as the color name? Cmon guys.

  3. Why can’t we just put mountain bike brakes on all the cross over / gravel bikes? I am asking honestly here. is it a level throw / main piston compatibility problem? i absolutely love my mountain bike brakes (mostly Magura), but so far am not very impressed with my hydraulic discs for road. They were both professionally set up by the shop, but I just can’t get enough power and the rotors are maxed out per frame manufacturer.

    I wish it was the same brake for both

    • How is “spec’d” not an appropriate contraction of the word spec[ifie]d? As in “this bike is specified with an Ultegra groupset.”

  4. I’m surprised Tyler didn’t break out his scale. Didn’t they allow that? I see Evil doesn’t list weights on their site. I would guess 22 lbs., with a burly frame, the dropper and fat tires.

    Also, Tyler says that it should be used with a drop bar, but their site says you can set it up with a flat.

    • Yeah, wish I would have brought my scale…oversight. Next time. But I’m not sure if this was a stock build option anyway, since it was a full ENVE build as part of their gravel camp.

  5. I love seeing Evil and others challenge “tradition”. Our industry is just so often stuck in the past. I’m not a dropbar rider but this one has me thinking maybe.

    • That top tube bag was a new item and still getting final tweaks. I gave them some feedback that they’ve incorporated and we have new versions on the way for long term testing. But we’ll fill in the details on the new bags with a regular post soon.

  6. Riding progressive hardtails for the last 5 year years, I can testify that geometry trumps everything for being fast and stable at speed. That speed and stability, however, comes at a price. The rest of the components have to be up to the forces that will be at play – primarily the tires. I found this out the hard way a couple of years ago on my drop bar rigid mountain bike with a dropper post, speed and rocks led to a cut 2.1 XC tire… on a fire road. The entire system of the bike has to be in alignment.

  7. The BB height from the ground is NOT low on this bike. The number 80 freaks people out, but BB height from the ground is 282mm (assuming a nominal 362mm tire radius). To achieve the same pedal clearance as a road race bike the BB drop would have to be around 90mm. With a 15% tire drop and 175mm cranks the distance from the pedal axle to ground on this bike is 100mm. For a road bike with a 70mm BB drop, 25mm tires and 15% tire drop will have an pedal axle to ground measurement of 91mm.

  8. This is the second time that Evil has encouraged radical change in the industry. First was the Wreckoning for long and slack now this. Cheers to Evil, keep up the good work.

  9. How did the 1x GRX shift with the 11-46 cassette? Shimano claims the max tooth is 42 for the RD-RX812, but it seems that it can run well with the 46T? Just curious if you noticed an impact on shift/ride quality through the low end?

    • We didn’t have very many climbs that needed the easiest gear, but I did get into it a couple times with no problem. There was a hint (and I do mean just the slightest hint) of that noise when the upper pulley wheel just barely grazes they large CSG as you’re shifting into it, which you typically only hear when the B-screw is adjusted in too close. But it never presented any shifting problems. And if you wanted to play it safe, pretty sure you could just run a Shimano MTB derailleur.

  10. 57mm of offset is not short! That is a ton of offset compared to any other bike on the market like this. Also the 428 A2C is very much compatible with the AX fork and the short fork from MRP.

  11. I’m close to pushing the button on one of these but a couple of reviews talk about difficulty getting the bike to turn, I can’t imagine it’s that bad thinking about my hard tail with similar head angle albeit wider bars. Did you have any issues?

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