We’ll freely admit it. A couple of years ago we’d never heard of Stevens Bicycles. Then they started showing up in some interesting places and we began to take notice.
We noticed more and more pro racers slopping around the insane cyclocross courses in Europe, and indeed a closer look at some of our favorite Euro race coverage last fall revealed a startling number of the world’s best racers, men and women alike, were posting some serious results on Stevens bicycles. State-side, perennial national cyclocross champion Katie Compton ripped to her seventh US title and then on to a silver medal performance at the World Championships aboard her Stevens cross bike. (Just behind Marianne Vos; also riding a Stevens.) Obviously there is a race pedigree to the Stevens brand, so we take notice.
Then, we came to notice Stevens as the go-to bikes for some of the fastest masters racers in the country. Masters racers are an interesting breed and we ought to take seriously their equipment choices. The best of them are ex-pros and still some of the fastest guys on bikes you’re likely to find. More interesting is that they also purchase all of their own equipment. Pros are paid to say their sponsors’ bikes are the best; masters racers are elite amateurs who know what constitutes a competent race bike, ride the same rig for multiple seasons, and shell out the cash accordingly. Again, we take notice.
Stevens employs a different approach to cross bike geometry design than many other brands. Most notably, the Stevens bikes employ lower bottom brackets and shorter headtubes than most other bikes in their class. In short, these are race bikes, through and through, built for stable handling at high speeds and a relatively aggressive rider position.
In person the Stevens bikes exude quality manufacturing. There’s nothing overtly fancy about these framesets; they have no unnecessary features and employ a straightforward, Germanic style: quality materials, fine construction and a thoughtful design approach.
Stevens makes three cross bike models: Two high-end, race-specific machines, one in aluminum and one in carbon. They also make an entry-level aluminum cross bike that is both race-worthy and a ridiculously screaming deal of a bike. Each bike has different geometry characteristics to match a different style of rider. We carry the two race models as framesets or as complete bicycles with a wide variety of build kit options, and the entry-level bicycle comes as a complete build only.
STEVENS CROSS BIKE MODELS
The balls-out race bike, rendered in monocoque carbon fiber, designed for going as fast as possible.
Every bit the race bike that the Team Carbon is, but done a light, stiff and bomb-proof 7000 series aluminum alloy.
A well-constucted, multi-use cross bike at an unbeatable price-point.
STEVENS CROSS BIKE FEATURES
Down Tube Shift Cable Routing
Most cyclocross bikes employ top tube shift cable routing. Historically this has been the choice because it keeps the shift cables away from the ground thereby protecting the housings from the worst of the dirt and grit. The downside of top tube routing is that it requires the cables to undergo more extreme bends and utilizes more housing transitions. This leads to finicky shifting performance, especially with today’s 10 and 11 speed systems. Stevens cross bikes employ down tube routing, just like a road bike, which provides much better shifting performance. When used in conjunction with today’s highly effective sealed cable systems, this downtube routing provides the best possible shifting performance right out of the box and over the long-term.
With a bottom bracket drop of 7cm in most sizes, and shorter-than-average headtubes, the Stevens cross bikes sit lower to the ground than many others. This lower center of gravity provides unmatched stability in both high and low speed cornering. This also pushes the rider’s weight a touch farther forward than is common, which helps front tires bite into soft terrain, further enhancing cornering.
High Quality Materials
Stevens uses the highest quality materials for their carbon and aluminum bicycles alike. High modulus carbon fiber in a monocoque platform for the former; 7000 series aluminum alloy for the latter.
Build Kit Options
We’ve spent an immense amount of time working with component manufacturers and parts suppliers to bring highly competitive build kit options to market on Stevens bikes. Each build option has been optimized for the best balance of price and performance possible. You’ll find only high-quality, name-brand parts at all price points. Here’s a little more detail on each one of our build kit options:
SRAM Red Team Edition
This build more than speaks for itself and answers a simple question: What’s the most race-worthy, pro parts spec available for cyclocross racing? SRAM’s Red group is a proven performer on the cross scene. Match this parts group up with Zipp’s 303 cross tubulars and you have a package that’s equal to or better than what the top tier pros are riding.
Joe Racer Build Kit
Our attempt to bring pro-level performance to the work-a-day masses, the Joe Racer kit uses a complete SRAM drivetrain, but mixes parts groups to bring out the best performance level, while keeping the cost to a manageable range. SRAM’s Rival derailleurs have been proven to be as race-worthy as any others; their clean, simple, functional design shifts reliably through the gears, front and rear. SRAM’s top end Red DoubleTap shifters use a more advanced and refined internal mechanism than any of SRAM’s other component groups – Zero Loss technology means shifts are faster, cleaner and smoother, no matter what derailleur they’re used with. The S900 crank from SRAM is basically a cross-specific Force-level carbon option, that uses a metal spider for more durability in off-road applications. And of course, the Joe Racer kit comes standard with tubular wheels and race tires. In this case, we’ve opted for Rolf Prima’s ECX tubular wheelset, which is a cyclocross-specific wheelset, designed and built here in the USA, and offers an unprecedented level of performance at an attractive price.
SRAM Rival Build Kit
Rival redefined the terms “entry-level” and “race-worthy” when it was debuted a few years ago. Normally snobby racers who wouldn’t be caught dead riding Shimano 105 had absolutely no problem rolling on SRAM Rival. Why? Because functionally Rival is every bit as advanced as the more expensive Force parts. And while being slightly heavier than Force, it’s remarkably lightweight given it’s relatively low price tag. It’s really a no-frills race parts group. We spec Rival with the cyclocross-specific Rival OCT alloy crankset, Avid Shorty 6 brakes in the matching black finish, and a suite of high quality parts from 3T. We also use Easton’s EA70 clincher wheelset, which several of our Embrocation team members have found to be fast and resilient over multiple seasons of training and racing.
SRAM Apex Build Kit
Apex is designed to function the same as SRAM’s higher end parts groups but hit the market at a heretofore unseen price level. Probably the most notable thing about our Apex group is less the Apex parts themselves, but rather the other components featured in this group. Usually, Apex-level bikes feature cheap, no-name components and wheels – parts more suited to pulling duty as paperweights than being ridden, let alone ridden hard in cyclocross conditions. Not ours. Our Apex group uses well-known and highly-respected components – Deda Elementi bars, stems and seatposts, Selle Italia saddle and wheels from Easton.
Shimano Dura Ace 7900 Build Kit
While SRAM has come to dominate the US cross scene, Shimano is still the dominant player in the Euro cross circuit. Specifically, Dura Ace 7900 has been sloshing around in the Belgian mud and carrying the likes of Lars Boom and Bart Wellens to victory many times over. We offer the Dura Ace package as a pro-level build kit worthy of the best pro riders. Note: Dura Ace 7900 cross kits will be available in late August.
Shimano Ultegra Di2 Build Kit
There is perhaps no parts package whose introduction is more anticipated the world-over than Ultegra Di2. The skepticism surrounding Shimano’s electronic shifting systems has faded over the past year and been replaced by a sense of confidence and total desire in most riders. Now, the forthcoming introduction of Di2 in the Ultegra level brings the undeniable performance advantages of Di2 to a whole new, and more attainable price point. Note: Ultegra Di2 bicycles will be available for delivery in late September, 2011.
Shimano Ultegra 6700 Build Kit
Mechanical Ultegra is noteworthy for it’s clean lines, similarity in function to Dura Ace and it’s durability at a decent price point. For 2011 cross, however, it’s bolstered with the addition of cyclocross-specific cranks, brakes and front derailleurs, to bring a heretofore unseen level of shifting precision to the Ultegra price point.
See details of our complete bicycle specifications: