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Is the Evil Chamois Hager the gnarliest gravel bike yet?

17 Dec 2019

Weird name, mad looks, and huge tyres; is this the end-point of gravel bike design?

Since gravel cycling officially became ‘a thing’ manufacturers have been involved in an arms race, with each vying to outdo its competitors in the radicalness of its designs.

Teased since the American edition of the Grinduro gravel-festival this summer, the Chamois Hagar has since been the prime contender for the coveted title of 'none-more-gnarly'.

Made by Evil, an American mountain bike company with a reputation for producing aggressive machines, it sports a dropper post, super-slack 66.6-degree head angle, and stubby 50mm stem, along with space for huge tyres.

'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 and created the Chamois Hagar,' explains the brand in its marketing.

Now appearing to buy on the Evil website, bike nerds can finally get a look at its full spec.

Based around a carbon frame with a short reach, the Hagar combines this with a custom fork to promise absolutely no toe-overlap; a boon for riders who find most gravel bikes sketchy on account of their tendency to catch your feet at inopportune moments.

Despite this, the bike’s huge tyres are instantly obvious. Indeed, it’ll swallow models up to 50c wide when used with 700c wheels, or even broader 2.2-inch treads when fitted with smaller 27.5-inch rims. Held in place by a 12x142mm axle at the back, this standard, along with several others, are borrowed straight from the mountain bike market.

In fact, all things considered, it’s as close to a rigid mountain bike as you’ll find, but with geometry designed to make it play nicely with drop handlebars.

Finished with seven separate bottle-style mounts for drinks or luggage, it’s ready to take both you and your kit deep into the woods.

But is it necessary?

Proving there are no new ideas under the sun, older and more pedantic readers might be reminded of when John Tomac used to rock road handlebars on his mountain bike back in the 90s. Which raises the question; how gnarly does your riding need to be before you’d be better off with a conventional cross-country bike?

Rather than tiptoeing around the question, Evil has gone fully off the deep end. In doing so its created a seriously mad looking bike, but one we bet few riders wouldn’t fancy taking a spin on.

The gnarliest gravel bike ever? A whole genre unto itself? A little bit silly? Or all of the above? Either way, it’s got rack mounts, so it could always double up as a practical commuter.

Price: €3,000 (frame only)

€3,000 (frame only)