Evil Bikes could be considered the hard-partying younger sibling of the bike world, with their cheeky paint color names and rowdy geometry. The Chamois Hagar is precisely what we should have expected when Evil designed a drop-bar bike: genre-defying and stoke-providing. The Hagar may not be called purely a gravel bike, for it is much more nimble to ride, but nor is it simply a drop-bar mountain bike, for it is much more efficient on smooth surfaces. The Chamois Hagar Force AXS leaves it to you to define where and how you want to ride and will happily come along for the journey, be it gravel or dirt, singletrack or fire road, adventure commute or bikepacking trip.
Where most companies start from a road bike to get to a gravel steed, Evil started from the opposite end of the spectrum with their mountain bikes like the Following to create a stable and fast gravel machine. The Hagar’s geometry might make the pure gravel racers balk: a 66.67° headtube angle, long top tube, 80mm bottom bracket drop and designed around a 50mm stem. These mountain-inspired features all contribute to the superior off-road handling. The Chamois Hagar climbs with more agility than an XC mountain bike, and with clearance for a longer travel dropper post thanks to the sloping top tube, we can descend with greater confidence than most rigid bikes too. The frame’s unidirectional carbon construction provides the stiffness we need for responsive maneuvering on trails and keeps the frame light so we have less weight to haul up the next pass. The slack headtube and 57mm fork offset give the front wheel greater contact with the ground for smoother handling especially at speed while descending on rough terrain or singletrack. Riding a rigid bike off-road can feel choppy already, so the 80mm bottom bracket drop helps keep the wheels planted both as we pedal through washboard and rocks as well as through corners. With the headtube angle and fork offset placing the wheel further out front than on a typical gravel bike, Evil eliminates the chance for side-swiping our toes with the wheel on those tight turns.
Evil completes this build with a suite of components perfectly matched for getting after it on the trail. SRAM’s Force AXS group provides smooth and precise electronic shifting across a 12speed cassette. The XX1 rear derailleur pairing better handles shifting on bumpy roads thanks to the clutch mechanism and faster shifting time. On long, even multi-day, rides, we love the smaller motion required to shift gears with an AXS group over a mechanical one, saving our hands from preemptive fatigue. The AXS Reverb dropper post may get some envious looks from the mountain bike crowd as it sits atop your drop-bar Chamois Hagar, but there is something delightful about the electronic-actuated dropper post when we start the descent and need to better maneuver through turns. Rounding out the build, the WTB Proterra wheels and Venture tires help resist puncture and grip through corners, while the Easton AX-series handlebar’s slight flare gives us a stable position for launching the attack to the snack stop.