Stevens Glide SX review

Well-balanced, top value all-rounder

BikeRadar score3.5/5

If you’re a radical rider looking for a low-slung, downhill-styled sled for throwing roost out of every corner and going insane over rock heaps, the Stevens Glide SX probably isn’t for you. If you want a bike with a decent amount of travel and great componentry that’s as balanced climbing as it is on singletrack or dropping and rolling red-run descents it’s a real bargain.

Ride & handling: Really versatile, well balanced, tuned and equipped ‘vanilla’ ride

While the 69-degree head angle of the Glide is slightly steep for a 140mm-travel bike,  the 80mm stem and 710mm bar are authoritative enough for most techy trail situations. Combined with a reasonably light overall weight for its travel and smooth pedalling manners they mean steeper climbs don’t become a precarious balance of extra wide cornering lines or exaggerated weight shifts.

The FSR-style four-bar suspension setup is equally neutral. You might want to flick on the ProPedal platform damping for a prolonged climb or particularly determined effort. Otherwise medium compression and light rebound base settings on the long-stroke Fox RP2 shock mean there’s consistent control, feedback and a balanced progressive feel through a full range of hits. That’s certainly a welcome relief compared to the trapdoor-style tunes specified by some other German brands.

Sorted damping, decent cockpit leverage and a useful increase in tracking stiffness from screw-through axles front and rear increase overall confidence and create a quiet can-do attitude. Up, down, along, twisty or straight, lumpy or flat, you can sit even on the Stevens, concentrating on the trail or the scenery rather than coercing the bike through it. There’s nothing in the kit spec that suggests this easy, enjoyable and efficient ride will stop anytime soon either, making the complete bike an all-round alternative-brand bargain.

Frame & equipment: Great value; angles are a bit upright for getting loose and lairy

The frame gets off to a good start with conjoined hydroformed main tubes forming a big box section behind the tapered head tube. A sloped top tube gives decent standover clearance and there’s reasonable mud room even with a 2.25in tyre. Bottom bracket and front mech use conventional mounts for easy spares sourcing, while Syntace 12mm screw-through axles pin Easton wheels in place.

A tapered steerer and 15mm axle equipped Fox 32 Float fork continues the theme up front while the transmission is a super-tough Shimano Deore XT/ SLX blend. There's no shortage of stopping power from the Avid Elixir 5 brakes thanks to 180mm rotors front and rear, and Stevens' own-brand Oxygen kit is well shaped too.

This bike was tested as part of What Mountain Bike magazine's Bike of the Year shootout. You can read the full feature in this month's mag, in shops now, and available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Trail Bike of the Year preview

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The testers reflect on this year's crop of bikes

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Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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