Named after the iconic Italian pass that’s nearly 3,000m high, the Stevens Stelvio is equipped with a 50/39/30 triple chainset to help get you up lesser – probably – climbs.
The bike is based around a nicely appointed double-butted aluminium frame. While the material has fallen out of favour, excellent bikes from the likes of Cannondale, Canyon and Rose have proved there’s a lot of life yet in lightweight alloy.
The frame features clean-looking full internal cable routing and a distinctive bold red, white and blue colour scheme. It’s not light, but with the bar, stem and seatpost all alloy there is scope for weight-trimming upgrades later.
The Stelvio’s geometry features racy parallel 73.5-degree angles and a metre-long wheelbase. That gives a suitably aggressive riding position, the classic horizontal top tube adding an old-school flavour.
The feel is decidedly firm and relatively smooth. We loved its responsive handling, and it always felt totally assured through tightening turns and quick direction changes.
A full complement of Shimano 105 adds value to the package, and its performance has been faultless, with powerful, controlled braking and smooth shifting; even with the extra chainring we didn’t experience any chain rub or noise.
The Stelvio is further helped by a decent set of Easton budget wheels, wrapped in Schwalbe’s smooth-rolling and tough Durano S rubber. But the overall spec is not only very well considered, the bike’s also been set up perfectly by Hargroves.
Like aluminium, triple chainsets have also lost popularity, in this case thanks to the rise of the all-conquering compact. But we appreciate the wider range offered by the 30x25 bottom gear and 50x11 top, with smaller jumps in between.
The Stelvio’s traditional shape, tough build and stiffness make it a bike that’s suited to larger sizes, and therefore larger and taller riders. Its responsive frame makes it a lot of fun and the extended gear range is a very big help on the climbs – exactly where bigger riders are usually at a disadvantage. We wouldn’t go so far as saying it’s a climbing special, but for bigger riders looking to hit the hills it will give you a decent boost.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.