A Canadian name in the gravel game
Photo: Colin Meagher
Back in 1987 the Canadian-born Devinci brand had humble beginnings that focused on mastering the art of aluminum mountain bike frames. Fast-forward to 2017 and Devinci is now a prominent brand with a full line of road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes and now their first gravel-specific bike.
To showcase their newest product, the minds at Devinci wanted to tie the bike to an event they thought best represented the gravel machine—one with a variety of gravel roads, challenging climbs and even some ripping singletrack. That event was the second annual Grinduro held in the small NorCal town of Quincy, which is nestled in the foothills on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
THE GOAL AT HAND
With the Hatchet, we were told that engineers at Devinci set out to develop a mountain bike-styled drop-bar bike. They wanted to make sure that this was a full-fledged gravel bike, so they lengthened everything out for stability.
The Hatchet family is made up of four carbon models ($5497, $3699, $3099, and $2479) and three aluminum model bikes that start at $1100. We rode the $3099 carbon model that is spec’d with a Shimano 105 drivetrain. The medium size frame has a claimed weight of 1020 grams. The 104cm wheelbase for the Hatchet is 3cm longer than the average cyclocross bike.
Accommodating anywhere from a 28mm tire all the way up to 40mm, the Hatchet can roll on a wide variety of tires. Though the bike is spec’d
with Maxxis Re-Fuse tires, Devinci mounted up some WTB Nanos to best support the loamy traction. Since the bike is designed to be a gravel race bike and not a touring bike, there are no rack mounts, though there are mounts for fenders. In order to deliver maximum stopping power and precision, the Hatchet features flat-mount brakes.
The sleek lines and hard edges of the Hatchet make it look fast and race-ready, which it is. From the very first pedal strokes you can feel the similarities it shares in stiffness and rigidity with a road race bike but with a slight smoothness like that of an endurance bike. This is all thanks to their Dual Core Fusion carbon technology. This carbon layup that Devinci uses allows stiffness in lateral directions with some compliance in vertical directions. This, combined with the 27.2mm seatpost and the lowered seatstays, gives the Hatchet a race-ready feel for an all-day ride.
The front end of the bike is where the Hatchet feels the stiffest. All cable routing is internal through the intake portal, just behind the head tube on top of the downtube. This allows the front end to be as stiff as possible without compromising carbon layup. The 12mm thru-axles and bulletproof Mavic Ksyrium Elite Disc Allroad wheels help you put the bike exactly where you need it without having to second-guess yourself.
Since the bike is pretty long, they encouraged us to run a shorter stem, so we went with a 90mm stem. This goes back to the mountain bike feel they wanted. The 71-degree head angle has a direct effect on the handling, making it quick and predictable. Together, the two characteristics highlight some of the best aspects of the Hatchet.
However, the rear end is no slouch, either. The rear stays are stiff and responsive in many of the same ways the front end is. Torsionally and vertically the bike feels very efficient, making the most of every pedal stroke. Where the efficiency and rigidity comes into play in a positive note on the climbs and flat sections, it plays a slight negative role when the roads get rough. We would have liked the bike to be just a bit more compliant.
Overall, this is one Hatchet that you won’t want to bury. The playful nature of the bike will have you ripping all descents with a smile on your face, and the stiffness will help you get your Strava KOMs. The lengthened geometry of the frame gives it a stable and predictable ride under all circumstances. The build suits any ride you could possibly plan out, and the only upgrade we can think of is to swap the rear derailleur to one with a clutch. Aside from that, the Hatchet comes ready to race or ride hard right out of the box.