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.
Trail Bike of the Year preview
The testers reflect on this year’s crop of bikes
|Name||Glide SX (12)|
|Description||16, 18, 20, 22in sizes|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano XT|
|Front Wheel||Easton XC rim, 15mm hub|
|Tyres||Schwalbe Nobby Nic Evo, 2.25in|
|Stem||Oxygen Scorpo, 80mm|
|Seatpost||Oxygen Scorpo MTB, zero offset|
|Saddle||Oxygen Spark, Litefoam|
|Rear Shock||Fox Float RP 2 Boost valve, 140mm|
|Bottom Bracket||Shimano Hollowtech II|
|Handlebar||Oxygen Scorpo, low rise 710mm|
|Front Derailleur||Shimano SLX|
|Frame Material||Aluminium 7005TB Superlite|
|Fork||Fox 32 Float 140 RL, 15QR tapered, 140mm|
|Cranks||Shimano SLX FC-M660-10, 42/32/24T|
|Cassette||Shimano CS-HG81, 11-34T|
|Brakes||Avid Elixir 5, 180/180mm rotors|
|Rear Wheel||Easton XC rim, 142x12mm hub|