Written by Alan Starrett Thursday, 02 September 2010 02:31
We are finally on the precipice of cross season and new cross products are coming thick and fast. It is like Christmas for a cross fanatic. The latest to arrive at Bikeman headquarters is the 2011 Stevens Carbon Cross Team cyclocross frame. Stevens has been a player in the race cross frame market for several years and for good reason. Their frames are light, stiff and fast!
Stevens didn't make big changes for 2011, rather just some subtle modifications. Neils Albert piloted a Stevens frame to a world championship and multiple world cup wins. Katie Compton won her 6th national championship and multiple world cup wins on a Stevens Carbon Team. So why mess with what works right?
The most obvious change is color and graphics. Again, not dramatic but just some subtle changes to freshen it up. They kept the white/yellow/red pallette from last year and added a white/blue/red configuration. So for the first time ever you actually have a color choice.
The other big addition for tech savy folks (and people that hate brake squeal or chatter) is the switch from a steerer tube mounted front brake cable stop to a fork crown mounted front brake cable stop. For the folks that may not follow such things this may look like a step back to the 80's but in fact it is an advancement. Sometimes we figure out those old ideas actually worked for a reason. The reason here is that a fork mounted front brake cable stop isolates any movement of the fork from affecting the cable pull as you apply the brake. The result is smooth, firm and strong brake modulation with no chatter. Nirvana. They also painted it white to match the full carbon fork so it blends seamlessly into the color scheme of the frame. To top it off they incorporated a barrell adjuster in the stop for on the fly brake adjustment without the need for messy inline cable adjusters. A barrell adjuster for the rear brake is included in the rear brake stop bridge as well.
The bottom bracket shell is traditional English threaded 68mm. With all the talk of new BB systems that are battling for dominance in the market don't be fooled that this BB won't be stiff enough for you. Just take a look at the carbon layup in the BB area. One word, STOUT.
Traditional down tube derailleur cable routing keeps the top tube clean for shouldering and top tube carries. Of course a replaceable derailleur hanger is there in the event of a crash.
What I really like about the Stevens frame is that it is somewhat traditional (if you can call a full carbon frame traditional) yet it comes in at a very lightweight 1240g and that puts it in the elite class of cross frames. What I mean by traditional is that it isn't chasing the trends for the sake of being an also ran. Stevens sticks with what it knows works right now and puts it in a package that still makes any cross nut like me drool.
Stevens includes the integraded headset and seat collar so you don't have to go chasing after those when you are trying to get your sweet new frame built up. We have them in stock now so you can get one in time for your first race and we will even SHIP IT FOR FREE! If you need a complete bike just shoot us an email or give us a call. We can set you up with a great deal on a cross build kit in any flavor you want from SRAM, Shimano or Campagnolo.
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