Hamburg-based Stevens didn’t turn their attention to cyclocross bikes until losing a bet in 2003. Brand manager Volker Dohrmann promised retired racer Jens Schwedler that they would produce cyclocross bikes if he finished in the top three of the German Championships. He won.
The Prestige is Stevens’ premier aluminium crosser, with smooth finished welds and no braze-ons, but expect to go down a frame size to maintain standover height. The frame has a subtle hourglass shaped head tube, flattened top tube and a down tube that’s ovalised for rigidity at both ends. A tapered seat tube adds bottom bracket stability; the gently curved seatstays are round, but thicken at the top and brake mounts for strength.
Riding to our local trails, we found the Scorpo bar, stem and seatpost not only resembled Ritchey kit, but felt its equal. Immaculate road manners remained unflustered as things got stickier, the Prestige’s relaxed riding position and neutral handling making it easy to place whatever the conditions, ample frame stiffness offering great response.
Muscling the terrain aside was the broad shouldered high modulus full carbon fork, which tracked very well with no dive or flex, even when heaving on the front brake downhill; the fork crown has a cable stop to prevent brake chatter.
The cables are internally routed through the top tube and down tube, keeping them away from the muck, but making maintenance harder. The wide fork and bridgeless ovalised chainstays give above average mud clearance, while the cantilevers’ open stance keeps them clear of gritty rims, and provides plenty of power to stop the Racing 7 CXs.
The Prestige has an ‘hourglass’ head tube and neat, smooth finished welds
These feature improved hub seals, and ride well, but at 1,850g they are weighty. The superb Challenge Grifo 33 tyres are supple, wide and supremely grippy, with an open tread pattern that clears mud fast, making them an excellent all-round tyre that even rolls well on tarmac.
The Prestige hides its weight well, its nimble ride helping it to feel like a far lighter bike. Add lighter wheels to the faultless Ultegra drivetrain and a potentially racy bike would be much improved.