First Ride: Devinci’s New Gravel Bike
The Hatchet you don't want to bury...
(Photos: Colin Meagher)
The Canadian born company Devinci had humble beginnings, primarily focusing on mastering the art of aluminum frame manufacturing. Fast-forward to 2016 and Devinci is a prominent brand with a full line of road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes and now their first gravel specific bike; enter the Hatchet.
To showcase their newest product, the minds at Devinci wanted to tie the bike to an event of which they best thought represented the gravel machine; one with enough of a variety to have fun, fly down gravel roads, chug up challenging climbs, and even push the limits of gravel riding on ripping single track. What better event to combine all of the above and set in solid time on the bikes than the Grinduro? Up we went to the small town of Quincy, CA, where we spent a few days getting dialed in with the bikes and seeing how the bikes handled.
For the duration of the trip, we rode the $3099 Hatchet with a Shimano 105 build, the most wallet friendly of the carbon builds they offer. In addition to the four carbon frame builds ($5497, $3699, $3099, and $2479) they have three aluminum models that start at $1,100 We rode a medium frame which weighs a claimed weight of 1020grams. The 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 wheelbase for the Hatchet is 1040mm which is 30mm longer than the average cyclocross bike. Since the bike is pretty long, they encourage you run a shorter stem, so we chose to go with a 90mm stem. This goes back to the mountain bike feel they wanted. The Hatchet is stable yet very responsive and quick to handle.
Accommodating anywhere from a 28c tire all the way up to a 40c tire, the Hatchet can roll on a wide variety of tires. Though the bike is spec’d with Maxxis Re-Fuse tires, the Devinci team mounted up some WTB Nanos in order to best support our traction for the Grinduro event. 12mm thru axles which have just about become an industry standard can be found in both the front and the rear to stiffen up the bike a bit more. 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.
Looking at the Devinci Hatchet, it’s sleek lines and hard edges make it look fast and race ready. That it is. From the very first pedal strokes, you can feel the similarities of a road race bike in stiffness and rigidity 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 allow stiffness in lateral directions and some compliance in vertical directions giving comfort when needed. This combined with the 27.2mm seatpost and the lowered seatstays give 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 heads internal through the Intake portal just behind the head tube on top of the down tube which allows the front end to be as stiff as possible without compromising carbon layup. 12mm thru-axles and bulletproof Mavic Ksyrium Elite Disc Allroad wheels help you put the bike exactly where you need without having to second guess yourself. 71 degrees of slackness in the head tube directly effect handling, making is 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 front end is. Torsionally and vertically the bike feels very efficient, making the most of every single 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 to feel a bit more planted and comfortable on the descents.
Overall, this Hatchet is not one you 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 KOM’s. We feel that the Hatchet is an ideal ride for the Grinduro, handling well on all aspects the roads and mountains have to offer. The lengthened geometry of the frame gives a stable and predictable ride under all circumstances. The build suits any ride you could possibly plan out, 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 right out of the box and is a mean machine that is roaring to do just that. You can learn more about the Hatchet by clicking on over to www.devinci.com or by looking for a full test in an upcoming issue of Road Bike Action Magazine.