The Izoard is the most affordable carbon-fibre road bike from German company Stevens. It’s a new offering for 2013 and comes with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels. It weighs a competitive 7.76kg (17.10lbs) and costs £1,749.
Stevens Bikes is one of the latest German brands to find a home here in the UK, following the successful reception of Canyon, Focus and Cube. Stevens have been brought into the UK by Hargroves Cycles since 2011, when we first had a ride on the Xenon race bike.
The Izoard has a new 1.1kg (2.43lb) frameset developed with modern details like a tapered head tube, PressFit bottom bracket and even full carbon dropouts - the sort of details you normally find on top level bikes.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but I find the Stevens pleasant to look at. A well proportioned frame with oversize tubes in the front triangle, tall chainstays and skinny seat stays, and Stevens' own carbon fibre fork give it a good presence on the road. A white finish always looks good and the yellow dashes give a bit of flair. Internal cable routing gives the bike a clean look too, and there’s a metal scuff guard at the chainstay behind the chainset.
Onto the frame is bolted a Shimano Ultegra groupset, with the notable exception of a non-series Shimano R565 compact 50/34 chainset. The brakes calipers are Ultegra branded, as are both derailleurs. Rolling stock comprises a set of Mavic Aksium wheels with Mavic’s own Aksion 23mm tyres.
And for finishing kit it’s Oxygen branded components. Never heard of Oxygen? It’s Stevens own brand line of accessories, and from initial impressions it all looks top notch.
Rolling it onto the road.cc scales reveals an impressive weight of 7.76kg (17.10lbs). That’s only a kilo above the UCI minimum weight limit, and goes to show just how far mid-level bikes have come in the last decade. Out of the box the Izoard clearly makes a good argument for itself.
Let’s talk geometry... This is a 56cm, Stevens offering seven sizes from 50cm to 62cm. Our test bike has an effective top tube measuring 55.5cm. The front is kept on the low side with a 15.5cm head tube, putting it towards the racier side of the divide. The head and seat angle are parallel at 73.5 degrees, half a degree steeper than the most common geometry. Stem length and bar width corresponds to frame size, a 11cm stem and 42cm bars on this size. Interestingly, the crank arm lengths are 170mm on sizes 50 to 58cm, and 175mm on the two larger sizes. We’ll see how that pans out when we put it to the test.
The Stevens has some good competition at this price point. Most notable, perhaps, is the Rose RS-3000 which we also have on test at the moment. That offers an aluminium frame and full Shimano Ultegra groupset, including the chainset. You do get lighter Ksyrium Elite S wheels, though, and branded Ritchey and Selle Italia finishing kit.
Of the carbon competition from the US is the Trek Madone 3.5. It’s another 50 notes at £1,800 and you get an OCLV frame that owes much to the very top-end Madone’s that are raced by the professional teams Trek supports. This model comes with a mixed Shimano/105 groupset.
Another option is the UK designed Mekk 3G Potenza SL5.5 we reviewed last year. It comes with a carbon fibre frame and fork and Shimano Ultegra groupset, but it was let down by heavy wheels with a total weight of 8.45kg (18.62lb).
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.