E-MTB / Test: With the Stevens E-Inception ED 8.7.1 GTF, we take a close look at a very potent eMTB with a lot of suspension travel and a Bosch Smart System. The tested model also comes at a fair price.
Since the previous model year, the sporty E-Inception Fullies from Stevens are no longer only equipped with the Shimano EP8 drive, but are also available with the Bosch Smart System including CX motor. With the second drive system, the portfolio of the eMTB continues to grow and includes numerous models, which also differ in spring travel, frame material and the area of application.
Stevens E-Inception ED 8.7.1 GTF: key data and geometry
Our test bike goes by the somewhat unwieldy name Stevens E-Inception ED 8.7.1 GTF. The number 1 stands for the drive system from Bosch (8.7.2 = Shimano), ED refers to the enduro area of application and GTF is the abbreviation for the meanwhile proven "Gas to Flat" geometry. According to these designations, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the bike is equipped with a generous 170 mm of travel at the front and rear and comes with a mix of mullet wheel sizes.
The dimensions of the frame are consistently modern and also appropriate for enduro use: a modern, long main frame meets a slack steering angle, rather long chainstays and a steep seat angle. This promises good straight-line stability and strong climbing properties. Due to the fairly high bottom bracket, pedal hits should be the exception, especially on climbs. The high front also softens the geometry a bit and doesn't force the rider into an overly active riding position, which should benefit anyone who wants to take a leisurely tour under the tires.
Geometry Stevens E-Inception ED GTF
|seat tube (in mm)||390||430||460||510|
|Top tube horizontal (in mm)||587||607||632||658|
|head tube (in mm)||105||115||125||145|
|Steering angle (in °)||64,3||64,3||64,3||64,3|
|Seat angle (in °)||76||75,8||75,7||75,5|
|chainstays (in mm)||450||450||450||450|
|Bottom bracket drop (in mm)||18,5||18,5||18,5||18,5|
|Wheelbase (in mm)||1227||1249||1275||1302|
|Stacks (in mm)||625||635||644||662|
Carbon frame with beautiful details and permanently installed battery
One of the highlights is definitely the full carbon frame of the E-Inception ED 8.7.1 GTF, especially in this price range well under 10.000 euros - nowadays light carbon fiber is only used for the frame in the rarest of cases. However, reducing the frame to its material alone would hardly do it justice, because Stevens has also paid attention to a few details that make everyday use much easier.
For example, there is the USB-C connection in the top tube for charging your smartphone (or other electronic devices) while riding. It's a really great thing and you have to ask yourself why other manufacturers don't also offer this feature - especially since Bosch itself only offers this option in connection with the smartphone hub. The robust, very easy-to-use flap over the charging port on the frame also catches the eye. Here, too, Stevens could undoubtedly have opted for the cheaper Bosch rubber cover. However, if you are familiar with them, you know how annoying their handling can be at times.
Speaking of the charging connection: As the owner of the Stevens E-Inception ED 8.7.1 GTF, you will come into contact with this a lot above average. This is not due to the battery itself, which promises a long range with its 750 Wh, but to the fact that it is unfortunately firmly integrated into the frame and cannot be removed for charging. A pity! Manufacturers usually go this route for lower weight and/or a slimmer look. Unfortunately, with a weight of well over 25 kg and a quite voluminous down tube, these theoretical advantages of battery integration do not apply in the case of the E-Inception, or only apply to a very limited extent.
Proven Bosch Smart System and CX motor
There is probably not much more to say about the Bosch Smart System and the CX motor. It is not for nothing that the drive system is still one of the best you can get even after a few years on the market - it has also been shown again and again that the Bosch system is also ahead in comparison in terms of reliability. The Performance CX unit delivers a lot of power at the top and supports over a wide range of cadences. Especially the high performance with a (too) heavy gear and low cadence is still almost unmatched. Thanks to its good efficiency both on the flat and on the mountain, the system, in conjunction with the 750 Wh battery, achieves very good ranges, which in most cases should easily suffice for longer day trips.
The LED remote presented with the Smart System is responsible for operating the drive on the Stevens eMTB, which is supplemented by the Kiox 300 display. E-mountain bikers get a reasonably compact control unit and a bright color display that not only shows information about the ride, but can also serve as a navigation aid in connection with the Bosch eBike Flow app. By the way: if you want to do without the display or avoid possible damage from a fall when using it for sporty trail use, you can easily remove it; Unplugging the cable and removing the display is enough. The "brain" of the drive is located in the LED remote and the charge status of the battery and the support level can also be seen via the integrated LEDs.
Reasonable, well thought-out equipment
When you look at the components, you can feel at every corner that the product management has put a lot of thought into how to get the best overall performance out of the E-MTB for the list price of just under 7.000 euros. Accordingly, the "top shelf" was not or only rarely reached here, but the built-in components offer an excellent compromise from A to Z, so that the performance losses should only be small compared to the respective top variants.
A very good example of the successful choice of components is the chassis: Both the RockShox ZEB at the front and the Super Deluxe damper at the rear come in the Select+ version, which only differs from the more expensive Ultimate version in a few small details. The mechanical Sram GX Eagle gearshift is reliable, offers a wide range and can also score with cheap wearing parts. Opinions are divided on the Sram Code RS brakes, but the four-piston brake system, in conjunction with 200 mm discs at the front and rear, offers sufficient performance even for longer descents.
|frame||Stevens Carbon SL HMF|
|suspension fork||RockShox ZEB Select +|
|Power Type||Bosch Performance CX|
|Battery||Bosch Power Tube 750|
|Suspension shocks||RockShox Super Deluxe Select +|
|Wheels||DT Swiss H1900 Spline|
|Tire VR||Schwalbe Magic Mary SuperTrail Soft|
|Tire HR||Schwalbe Eddy Current Rear SuperGravity Soft|
|derailleur||Sram GX Eagle|
|Gear levers||Sram GX Eagle|
|Brake||Sram Code RS|
|Brake discs||Sram centerline 200mm|
|Seat post||Oxygen E-Scorpo DPR-E 170mm|
|Saddle||Fizik Terra Alpaca|
Tires and wheels are robust. The latter come from DT Swiss and the H1900 set is not necessarily one of the lightweights on the market, but the wide aluminum rims are very stable and can also withstand an impact without directly acknowledging it with a deep dent. Tires from Schwalbe are mounted on it. While the Magic Mary with SuperTrail carcass and soft rubber compound at the front can almost be considered a convincing standard tire in this segment, the Eddy Current Rear surprises at the rear, especially in the very stable SuperGravity version. With a weight of approx. 1,5 kg, it is one of the heaviest tires on the market and of course also contributes to the overall weight, but its extremely stiff carcass offers excellent self-damping and the deep lugs ensure a lot of grip when braking and also on climbs.
The retractable seat post with sufficient travel (170 mm in size 20 or L) comes from the company's own brand Oxygen, as do the handlebars, stem and grips, and the saddle comes with Italian quality from Fizik.
Lots of safety and good climbing properties
For the practical test, we drove the Stevens E-Inception ED 8.7.1 GTF on the enduro trails around Lake Reschen as well as on the more moderate terrain in the Swabian Alb. The first thing that catches the eye is the surprisingly upright seating position, which should definitely remain comfortable even on longer tours. If your buttocks then leave the saddle and you turn onto the trail, the bike can be maneuvered very well-natured through the terrain, although with its dimensions, plenty of suspension travel and weight of over 25 kg, it runs more smoothly than playfully.
Even in demanding terrain, the Stevens eMTB conveys a lot of security - provided the speed is not too high and the riding style is not too active. The rear end struggles to keep up with fast and rough impacts – despite the fast rebound setting on the shock. However, as soon as you throttle the speed a little, the bike can fully demonstrate its advantages. It drives almost stoically over root carpets or stone fields and often takes the fear out of such key places thanks to non-slip tires and large spring travel reserves.
A great quality of the E-Inception is its excellent climbing properties. Thanks to the rather long chainstays, the front wheel only climbs very late despite the high front end. The powerful yet sensitive Bosch motor, in conjunction with the Eddy Current tires at the rear, is impressive even on greasy surfaces. Sure: The background noise of the Bosch CX motor is probably its only real weakness. The sometimes penetrating hum on the climbs, as well as the design-related clattering downhill, can only be completely suppressed from time to time.