For the past couple of years, Gustav Erlank and Gert Stander, two gentlemen with a great cycling history behind them, have gotten together and started Darrvin Electric, an e-bike manufacturer with a focus on building a brand through personalized services with the end rider (always the proper business approach). Beyond this, they’re about to unleash their vehicles upon the U.S. market, so pay close attention.
What initially drew my attention to the Evolve upon seeing it for the first time was the frame design and the slight deviation between the seat stay and top tube; that’s classic gravel bike. However, the front of the bike allows you to modify it into more of a road bike by dropping the cockpit. Speaking of the frame design, the team currently uses a lightweight aluminum alloy specifically shaped for gravel riding, with those minor road bike tweaks.
The front fork offers an aluminum construction and does not include any suspension components; most gravel bikes don’t, except the classic tire. It is the case for road bikes as well, as you end up losing traction and energy the moment you incorporate a suspension.
To give you a smooth ride and one that can be controlled easily, Darrvin equipped the Evolve with D-Tech Crosslite double-wall rims and Kenda Kwick Journey tires. That should help smoothen out some of the shocks and vibrations experienced on gravel roads. I feel the team did a pretty good job, as the video below depicts the level of vibrations experienced.
Now, like any other e-bike, the most important features are the motor and battery. During a discussion with Mr. Stander, I was informed that Darrvin bikes use Bafang motors. Why Bafang? Well, they’ve been working on e-bike motors longer than most other manufacturers. For the Evolve, a G-Power 350-watt motor allows for a top speed of 45 kph (28 mph). Pretty dang fast if you ask me. The settings are to be controlled via a Bafang DP C18 Multi display.
As for a battery to feed this motor, the bike is equipped with a Darrvin Arrowpack carrying a 500-watt-hour capacity. Once drained, you can recharge the battery on the bike or remove it and take it with you wherever you wish. How far you’ll ride with it is a bit difficult to say as road conditions vary greatly from one ride to the next, but I don’t think you should worry too much. A USB port is also available to connect a device.
What surprised me was the inclusion of an SRAM drivetrain for this bike. The smooth and lightweight shifting components include an SRAM, PG1130, 11-speed gear set, and Apex 1 derailleur and lever. Stopping power is also provided by the SRAM team, always from the Apex 1 lineup.
Because it’s a gravel bike, most folks will probably be taking this bike out for nice long rides; Darrvin knows this and has included a water bottle cage as well as rear and front mounts for pannier racks. Don’t like racks? Just throw on a trailer and bring your camping gear along for an extended weekend ride.
Now, the question on everyone’s mind is how much it’ll cost you to Evolve your life. Well, only 37,890 South African Rand, which is the equivalent to $2,692 U.S. at current exchange rates. Not too much, not too little, just right for a bike meant to take a beating and to keep going.