I'd tried a couple, a nine-speed mountain bike and an eighteen-speed recumbent. Both made perfect sense, particularly for the recumbent which could do sixty kmh down any kind of hill, but still needed low gears to grind up the other side. That said, the'boxes were heavier than a Rohloff and the frame had to be specially designed. Since then Pinion has produced a lighter 12-speed version; manufacturers in Germany have put Pinion-equipped bikes at the top of their ranges and the costs of the special frames required have come down. The Lock-down revival in bike touring and "trekking" has continued, and bikepacking influencers like Ryan Van Duzer now use Pinion bikes themselves.I finished off a couple of bikes last spring. In funds for once I was idling in a bike shop in Dusseldorf in April, waiting on a meeting later that day. It wasn't a surprise to see Pinion bikes when I walked in to Jung & Volke in Hoffeldstrasse (once I'd got over the huge range of e-bikes). I was surprised when I found one that ticked all the boxes I could think of. Germans go for quality, and equip their bikes properly for daily use with prop-stands, frame-fit locks, lighting systems, mudguards and racks. They ride their bikes every day, in towns and cities with well-designed cycle lanes and parking: every office has a secure, walk-in bike garage. There's no stigma attached to cycling, and people pay attention to what you ride. You wouldn't believe the number of Rohloff-equipped bikes on the streets, and there is something of the kudos of a Mercedes or BMW to a Stevens or a Tout-Terrain.
12 Lite was the bike I was looking at. After a good try, a chat with the J&V team and a good deep breath, I bought one. I'd like to say I rode it home, but it was November and raining, so the guys packed the bike I chose back into its box and I schlepped it home on the plane.
I bought the 2022 model, but the guys humoured me and swapped the 2022 front wheel (which has a Shimano dynohub) for a better, SP-hubbed wheel from a'21 model. Back home I fitted wider SKS Edge alloy mudguards, changed the stiffish Marathons for supple, wider Gravel Kings, and added a Specialised Pizza rack at the front. I upgraded the lighting around an 80 Lux B&M headlight, with better, heat-sealed cabling ducted inside the mudguard to clear the wider tyres. A Brookes saddle for an English touch, an Abus frame lock for town, Rock Brothers pedals, and ready to go.
Everything else - brakes, gears, wheels - escaped unscathed, a first for me. I genuinely couldn't find more to change, and nearly a year later, I still haven't. What's so good about it, then?
From the factory the bike weighs just 14.5kg, or 32lb. Lose the kickstand and it's under 30lb. That sounds like a lot of you're a 7kg carbon bike user, but for something that can carry 40kg of gear, believe me this is light.Even so there's no sign of weight-paring in the tig-welded alloy frame and forks. It's rock solid, not a shimmy in sight, even with me at 100kg and a box full of gear on the front. The 42c Gravel King tyres are comfortable and faster than the OEM Schwalbes. The new and rather better 56mm mudguards give room for at least 48mm tyres and I have a set of 48mm GravelKings too if you would prefer them. But it's not just the tyres.
The instant gearshift makes it easy to maintain a steady cadence, you can keep the power going down and so, even if you're not setting Strava records, you make the most of your effort. At the end of the day you could have gone faster, sure. But you never feel this bike is holding you back, and even after a day's ride I can still enjoy enough of the evening and look forward to the next day too. As for the rest of it...The frame is very well made and finished, with concealed dynamo cabling in the down tube, practical and secure cable routing for gearbox and brakes, two bottle cage bosses, rack bosses front and rear, and every other fitting you might need. Including obligatory bosses for the Abus frame lock fitted now. The wheels are simple and strong, 700c 19mm Oxygen rims and 32 hole sealed hubs. For once there's more dish on the front wheel than the rear. I don't run them tubeless, but you could. The rear hub is a Pinion item, with a 135mm OLN 10mm axle, sealed bearings, a splined freehub and conventional quick release. The front is a Shutter Precision PD-7 with a 12mm through-axle. Brakes are Shimano hydraulic discs, as you'd expect.
The 180mm front disc guarantees enough power under load, and 160mm at the back is ample. I did switch the levers to the "old" front-on-the right standard. Two minutes to switch them back. Ergon grips complete the handlebar set up.
By the time you see this, I'll have fitted a Mirrycle twist-grip bell like those on the Lime eBikes you can hire on every corner in London. And there is a stem-cap Garmin mount for a mobile or, well, a Garmin. I've always been a fan of bags at the front on a touring bike. I still use larger bags at the front than the rear when I'm travelling loaded.Knowing this bike would do duty as my daily ride in London, meanwhile, I fitted a Specialised Pizza rack at the front for a wider platform. As you see in the photos, I use a clip-on wooden box in town to hold my laptop bag, cable for the Abus frame lock and any other bits and pieces. The box, which I'll happily include with the bike, pops off instantly if not required; at weekends I use a Velo Orange Transporteur bag, which is bigger than a'bar bag and is usually all I need for the day. So finally for the gears. The bar shift is lighter than a Rohloff and equally precise. At 600% C1.12 box's range is wider than a Rohloff's 526%, but the steps between a little larger at 17.7% versus 13.6%. In practice both differences are noticeable. I like the Rohloff's closer spacing, but less so the range, which I find a little limited. That said, I do need a good low gear to get up a hill these days with any kind of load. Or without one, if I'm honest.
As an indication, the more conventional Randonneur-style touring bike I'm trying to finish this week has a Shimano 3x10 derailleur set-up with a 570% range, and 10-11% gear spacing in the middle sprockets: internal gears don't have it all their way. Here's the gear sheet for this bike, anyway (thank you Sheldon Brown and worthy successors).Gear chart using Gear Inches. For 700 X 44 / 44-622 / 29 x 1.75 tire with 170 mm cranks. With Pinion 12-speed C1.12 bottom bracket. But on this bike the gears aren't the stars I thought they would be. That honour goes to the Gates belt drive. I wasn't expecting this, but it makes sense now: why have a gearbox that only needs an annual oil change, and then use a chain that in all probability will need to be cleaned three or four times in that time, and may even wear out? The Gates is silent, needs neither lube nor cleaning, and doesn't eat or stain your trousers. No-one has worn out a Gates cog yet; tensioning couldn't be easier given the micro-adjust rear drop-outs and the stunningly simple and effective Gates tensioning app (yes, app). And it'll go at least 30,000km. Hose it down like the rest of the bike, some silicone spray if it squeaks (which this one never has) and check the tension once in a while. Job done, just like the rest of this bike. It'll have the P18 version of the same gearbox for its narrower ratios, a Gates belt and it'll convert to an ebike when I can't make it up the Burway on the Long Mynd on my own any more. In every other respect it'll be the same as this bike.
This bike lives in Central London, and you can come and see it and try it on a midweek evening by arrangement. No offers please, for the first month at least: I don't need to sell and I love riding it! Any questions let me know, but you can find all the frame geometry on the Stevens website via the link in the text above. The Brookes saddle is still wearing in, and I may want to keep it if it keeps getting better: I'll refit the excellent OEM saddle if I do.
This item is in the category "Sporting Goods\Cycling\Bikes". The seller is "argyller" and is located in this country: GB. This item can be shipped to United Kingdom.