The Evil Bikes Chamois Hagar is the antithesis of the Canyon Grail. The latter is essentially a road bike with gravel tire adjustments, while the Chamois Hagar is directly from a modern mountain bike design.
Chamois Hagar Embodies the best of what we would all want in a monster cross bike: Easier to get to the trailhead than even your cross country Hardtail.
Evil, Long and Slack Front End
The heart of the Chamois Hagar has an all-carbon monocoque frame and matching fork. Evil thoughtfully put provisions for 7 water bottles and fenders. There are internal ports for cable-actuated derailleurs, front and rear and an internal dropper control line.
For Evil Bikes the devil is in the details with the head tube angle dialed in at 66.6° yielding a trail calculation of 95.8mm with a custom 57mm fork offset and 700C X 50mm tires. This leads to 35mm of wheel flop, meaning the headtube will drop 35mm when the wheel is turned sideways. Most bikes in the gravel category have a head tube angle around 70 degrees with a trail figure between 70-80mm and 25mm of wheel flop on the high end. Most simply put, the figures predict a ‘slower’ steering bike at high speed, with the consequence of the wheel ‘flopping’ right or left as slow speeds. The Chamois Hagar also has a long top tube for a given size compared to a typical gravel bike design. To compensate, the stem is short for ‘normal’ reach measurement. This has the additional advantage of shortening the steering axis which quickens the steering. The longer trail and longer front-center result in no toe overlap and more rider weight over the rear compared to usual. This formula works brilliantly for mountain bikes to confidently traverse technical terrain that includes steep downhill sections, steps and drops. We’ll discuss how this all affects the ride experience.
Low in Back
Chainstays are 43cm long with a dropped design that offers some clearance at the pinch point between the chainring and tire. Due to that, there is a minimum chainring size of 36 teeth and a maximum of 48 teeth so the chain or chainring will not strike the stay. The bottom bracket is 68mm wide with a standard BSA 1.37″ x 24 TPI shell. That bottom bracket drops a low 8.0 cm from the wheel axles. That is low even by road bike standards, with most gravel and road bottom bracket drop somewhere between 6.8 to 7.5 cm. Evil Bikes does not recommend going below 650B X 50 or the risk of a pedal strike is unreasonable. Ahead of the bottom bracket on the underside of the downtube there is a bash guard to protect the frame should you scrape on a steep lip of the trail or a log, but it won’t protect the chainstays.
The maximum recommended tire width is 50mm with a 700C wheel and it is evident that is truly maximum at the narrowest point behind the bottom bracket. A 50mm (2.0 inch) tire was the standard cross country mountain bike tire through the early 2000s but was sometimes knobbier than what will fit in the Chamois Hagar. A 650B wheel with a 2.3 inch XC tire will fit, a common practice among the Evil Bikes employees.
The steeply sloping top tube is 60.5 cm on our medium-sized review bike. The standover of 671mm is not a problem and the clearance allows ample extension for the 150mm dropper post, something not seen on another gravel bike. Reach is 420mm and the stack is a high 594mm to get the bars up where you want them for technical trails.
The headtube is massive and flares to 80mm wide where it meets the fork crown. However, the fork taper is a standard 1 1/8″ to 1 1/2″. Brake provisions are flat mount with a maximum rotor size of 160mm. Wheel compatibility is 12mm X 100mm through axle front and 12mm X 142mm through axle rear. Curiously, the front through axle on our review bike has a 6mm hex fitting while the rear uses a 5mm hex.
The overview of the frame includes a lot of road-oriented fixtures with a mountain bike-oriented front end. The control lines run internally, entering via the downtube. Three of the ports are empty with wireless SRAM AXS on the review bike.
Our review bike has SRAM Eagle AXS including an AXS Reverb dropper seat post and a complete set of ENVE carbon components. The 12 speed Eagle cassette is 10-52 12-speed paired with a 38 tooth X-Sync chainring for a 0.73:1 low, or 19.7 gear inches for the old folks, and a 3.8:1 high (102.6 inches).
If you’ve not used SRAM AXS with a single chainring, it takes a moment to get used to the paddle-shifting method of left-hand low, and right-hand high. In this case, the double-throw of the levers activates the Reverb dropper valve. There are four batteries to deal with: the two coin batteries, one in each lever, and one on the rear derailleur interchangeable with the one on the seat post. In the event one of the coin batteries goes out, you can use the button on the derailleur or Seatpost.
ENVE G23 wheels are a lightweight set for gravel racing with a tire width of around 40mm. I’m not sure if that includes the terrain that Evil Bikes thought the Chamois Hagar could go. The claimed weight of 1300 grams for the set is on the light side of the gravel wheel spectrum. The rim has a hookless wall with a 23mm internal width. WTB 50mm tubeless Venture tires without inserts are on for review.
The ENVE gravel handlebar is 46cm wide at the hoods and flares 16 degrees to 58cm at the ends of the drops. The ENVE carbon M6 stem is 50mm. The envy bar and stem combination easily adds $700 to the cost of the bike and the ENVE carbon wheels another two grand. Built up this way you get an idea of the Chamois Hagar’s true potential.
The weight of our medium review bike as equipped without pedals is 20.0 pounds, 12.2 pounds without wheels.
I’m always riding a bike one level below what’s appropriate for the surface. Though there is enjoyment to the challenge of under biking, perhaps a little less under biking is more fun differently. Sitting on the Chamois Hagar, body position is generally not different than my cyclocross bikes regarding saddle position and reach to the handlebar. The stack measurement limits how low the bar will be in relation to the saddle, but there was an adequate adjustment for my taste.
In the description of frame geometry above, I described the Chamois Hagar to have a longer front-center with more trail and resultant wheel flop. The rear is still short and the bottom bracket is low. The result is less rider weight on the front relative to more typical gravel (and ‘cross) bikes. That said, when sitting on the bike stationary, the wheel wants to ‘flop’ from one side to the other. The wheel flop is not very noticeable and becomes less so at normal cruising speed. On long road sections, I did not think about the geometry much at all even when standing up to sprint for the town limit sign. The long slack front end wanders on steep uphill roads and trails, so requires a forward weight shift to keep front wheel traction and steering control, not unlike when riding a modern mountain bike. In my experience this is noticeable when the pitch is 15% or greater and the speed is slow. The steering geometry requires rethinking your line on tight switchbacks whether up or down compared to your cross or gravel bike but not that different from your mountain bike.
Compared to more traditional gravel bikes with road origins, the Chamois Hagar instills confidence when the bike points downhill. A longer trail and lomger front center change the weight balance towards the rear of the bike as mentioned. One reviewer describes what he calls the endo angle, and that angle is increased with the front end out in front of you, mitigating the chance of going over the handlebars. Add the long dropper post allowed by the sloping top tube and moving the rider’s weight back is easier. The lower post will also allow the use of the drops while descending and lowers your center of gravity for better cornering on flat and off-camber turns.
Despite the low bottom bracket, I did not experience pedal strikes that often. I did grind the chainring over some logs I could roll over with an old-school cross bike with a 6.2 cm bottom bracket drop (and that has a 46 tooth large ring), but that same bike could not descend technical terrain nearly as easily even with top-mount brake levers.
The frame has a stiff quality, which I think aids the responsiveness to rider input whether it be steering or pedaling. However, that also means I had to coax surface compliance by capitalizing on the volume of the tire using low low pressure because the Chamois Hager is a stiff frame in every dimension. The 50mm WTB Venture reaches full 50mm width on the 23mm internal ENVE G23 rim and around 18 to 20 psi seemed the sweet spot for my 155-pound weight and riding style.
SRAM AXS Eagle gives a wide range with enough steps. The steps are large but not a problem for off-road riding. Shift reliability and precision is great-even the difficult step into the 52 tooth cog. I like the Reverb seatpost with the electronic release for its speed. It does require both levers to work which posed a minor problem when one of the coin batteries went out during a ride. There is a button on the post itself that offers release. The Reverb AXS post on the review bike has about 6mm of vertical movement in all positions. That post movement is the bain of many hydraulic dropper posts. In this case, it is minor and did not affect me in any way during the review. Its cause is beyond the scope of this review, but I still like the fast actuation and wireless quality of the Reverb AXS.
You will not see this bike under an Elite racer in any World Cup Cyclocross race, but the Chamois Hagar won every Elite A cyclocross race of the Cascade Cross series of the 2021-2022 season under Eric Olsen. He did not have a ‘cross bike so borrowed the Chamois Hager from his friends at Evil Bikes for each race. 20-pound bike weight is just a bit heavier than a typical gravel or cyclocross race bike and our review bike has the top-end spec to achieve that weight. Regardless, Olsen’s wins prove it’s the rider, not the bike that wins races. Dain Zaffke, the founder of Grinduro rides a Chamois Hagar and sees it as the ideal tool for the race he founded. Evil Bikes will be sending a sponsored contingent to Grinduro 2022 to contest the race. There are a few other elite gravel racers who race and show good placing aboard the Evil Bikes Chamois Hagar.
I did not personally use the Chamois Hagar in my short cyclocross season. With standard 12mm though axle spacing, I rode wheels with 38mm tires on my training course at race speed. Once adjusted to the shifting of AXS, I found the bike capable on the racecourse. The Chamois Hagar takes a wider line through tight hairpins compared to a ‘cross bike, and it is impractical to shoulder the bike for a long run. That said, I like a faster handling bike for ‘cross.
I don’t competitively ride long gravel races often but could see no significant disadvantage with the Chamois Hagar unless there are long climbs over 15% where the required position to keep the front wheel pointing would become uncomfortable as I’m gasping for breath. I think the relative stability, especially on technical downhill would be an advantage as the long race wears on.
The stable platform of the Chamois Hagar with wide tire clearance and multiple mounting points suits it for adventure riding. The smaller main triangle makes the use of a frame bag limited since it obscures some of the bottle access, but with 7 bottle mounting points, you can be creative. AXS wireless shifting and electronic dropper post will pose power reliability and field repair limitations and is not ideal for multiple-day or extended remote rides. I don’t have much experience with overnight mixed-terrain riding, however, on my long off-road day adventures, I felt confident on the Chamois Hagar as long as my batteries were topped off. I borrowed an extra AXS battery from a friend to carry and carried an extra coin battery as well.
Would I buy this bike? If I had a racy cyclocross bike on one end and a bigger mountain bike on the other end this fits right in, so yes. This is a great bike for mixed terrain with a challenging single track as part of the ride. The Chamois Hagar is light with mild road manners and geometry that inspires confidence when the trail is steep and technical. Based on that description, perhaps it would be the one bike to own.
A large order of the Chamois Hagar has shipped to local dealers as this review is being written. More are due in the next couple of months.
2022 Evil Bikes Chamois Hagar Specs:
MSRP: $8640 USD as reviewed, SRAM AXS model without ENVE upgrades $5900 USD
Frame: Carbon fiber monocoque
Fork: Carbon fiber with carbon steerer: 1 ⅛” -1 ½”, 57mm offset
Weight: 20.0 pounds, as tested no pedals; 12.2 lbs without wheels or pedals
Shifters: SRAM Eagle AXS 12 speed wiresless
Crankset: SRAM Force 38T X-Sync single chainring
Cassette: SRAM Eagle 10-52 12-speed
Brakes: SRAM Force flat mount hydraulic 160mm front, 160mm rear SRAM CLX R rotors
Cockpit: ENVE Gravel carbon handlebar 46cm, M6 carbon stem 5.0cm
Seatpost: Rockshok Reverb AXS, 150mm travel wireless electronic dropper, 2-bolt saddle clamp
Saddle: WTB Volt, Ti rails
Wheels: ENVE G 23, 23mm inner width carbon, 24 Sapim CX-Ray spokes, laced X2, ENVE hubs
Tires: WTB Venture 700X50 tubeless
Warranty: Frame and fork, against manufacturer defects for the lifetime of the product to the original owner
Country of origin: Taiwan
More info: Evil-bikes.com