Last year, Devinci rolled out its first all-road platform, the Hatchet, in three alloy models. For 2017, the Canadian company added a trio of carbon versions to the Hatchet family. The Hatchet Carbon Ultegra Di2 is the top bike in this line and is an easy-riding option for riders looking to extend their rides in terms of distance and terrain.
- Front and rear thru-axles
- Clearance for 700x40c tires
- Hidden fender mounts
- BB86 bottom bracket
- Modular internal routing
- Weight: 19.18lb / 8.7kg (size medium)
- Available now
Smooth lines for rough roads
Despite the rough-cut name, the Hatchet cuts a sharp silhouette. It has many of the contours we’ve come to associate with bikes designed to balance compliance with performance. The top tube has an upward bend and slims down before joining the seat tube, and the seatstays arc up to meet the seat tube below the top tube junction in a similar fashion.
The goal of this design is to impart a vertical flex into the top of the frame without sacrificing pedaling performance.
The Hatchet’s cable routing is straightforward and uncluttered. There’s a single port, located on the down tube just behind the head tube, where the shift and brake lines converge. Devinci calls it an “intake port” and makes six different replaceable covers to cater to a number of different mechanical as well as wired and wireless electronic drivetrains. The company has also accounted for the possibility that some riders may want to run an internally routed dropper seatpost.
The Hatchet’s fork looks particularly refined, with the thru-axle hole enclosed on the driveside.
Devinci’s 100x12mm thru-axle design isn’t as speedy as the R.A.T. system used by Focus, but it is very user-friendly. With the lever arm flipped open the user spins the thru-axle until it is tight, closes it and then opens it halfway to reposition the lever in any orientation.
Time to grind
I tested the Hatchet Ultegra Di2 on the roads and trails surrounding the small logging town of Quincy, in Northern California. Over the course of three days and 130 miles, the Hatchet proved comfortable and very capable.
The terrain consisted of a mix of pavement, gravel forest roads with a heaping portion of singletrack thrown in for good measure.
Around 60 of those test miles were spent racing the Grinduro, a mixed terrain stage race. Racing the Hatchet up gravel climbs, and down loose gravel descents, along rolling country roads and a final singletrack descent covered the full gamut of where riders are likely to take this bike.
Compared to the company’s endurance road platform, the Leo, Devinci lengthened the top tubes across the five frame sizes, and paired them with shorter stems with the goal of building more stability into the Hatchet. In addition to lengthening the front center, the chainstays are also similarly stretched to 435mm. The long wheelbase gives the Hatchet a reassuring ride when speeding down gravel roads and didn’t seem to detract from its ability to navigate the climbs.
The split personality of a stiff down tube and bottom bracket junction mated to a top tube and seatstays designed to flex does impart a bit of comfort, and the ability to run 40mm-wide tires doesn’t hurt either.
As the name implies, this model comes equipped with Shimano’s second-tier electronic drivetrain. Other kit highlights include Mavic’s Kysrium Elite All-Road Disc wheelset and WTB 700x40c Nano tires. (The stock 700x40c Maxxis Re-Fuse tires were swapped for the knobbier Nanos, which were a better fit for our off-road adventures.)
While the Hatchet handled everything that came its way with poise, there are two items that would make it more a capable machine.
The first isn’t a knock against Devinci, but against Shimano. Gravel and cyclocross bikes need rear derailleurs with a clutch to reduce chain slap and improve chain retention. Shimano, if you’re listening, please add this to your to-do list.
The second item I wish this bike had was a third set of water bottle bosses on the underside of the down tube. According to the Hatchet’s designer, David Veilleux, the company felt that a third set of water bottle bosses would position the bike too far into the touring/bikepacking realm. I contend that it’s better to have them than to be left wanting, especially since they are standard kit on many of the Hatchet’s competitors, such as the Open U.P. and the Salsa Warbird.