STEVENS enter the race with a new frame platform developed around the Shimano EP8 motor and a big 726 Wh battery. The top-end model offers 150 mm of travel and responds to the name, E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF, where the GTF acronym stands for “Gas to Flat”. Did Stevens manage to deliver on their promise of combining a capable chassis with lightweight components and creating the perfect eMTB all-rounder?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best eMTB of 2021 – 25 models in review

STEVENS E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF | Shimano EP8/726 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r)
22.50 kg in size L | € 7,999 | Manufacturer’s website

For 2021, STEVENS took the Shimano EP8 motor and developed a brand-new carbon frame platform around it. This offers 150 mm of travel and relies on mixed wheel sizes. The top-of-the-range E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF model weighs in at 22.50 kg and was built with weight optimisation in mind. The special feature is the 726 Wh Darfon battery, which is a little wider than its 630 Wh Shimano counterpart but also shorter. This allows for a lower centre of gravity and is responsible for the chunky, square-edged downtube, which reminds us of the Thömus – both bikes share the same battery. Unfortunately, the battery cover proved more annoying than practical, rattling its way through the test sessions. It even fell off while charging through a very rough rock garden. Apart from this, the Shimano system is seamlessly integrated into the frame. The speed sensor, charging port and all other details are neatly solved, just like the cable routing through the Acros headset. Unfortunately, the rear end of the E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF doesn’t offer enough tire clearance, resulting in the tire rubbing against the chainstays through corners.

The spec of the STEVENS E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF – Sensible weight saving?

The spec of the € 7,999 STEVENS E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF was chosen with weight optimisation in mind. Unfortunately, shaving off grams by compromising on safety-relevant components is a huge mistake. For example, the MAGURA MT Trail brakes rely on a two-piston calliper at the rear, which provides limited braking power and overheats too easily. A FOX DPS shock manages 150 mm of travel at the rear and a 150 mm FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 fork takes care of the front end. RaceFace provide the stiff Next R handlebars and carbon wheels, the latter of which roll on 2.6” Schwalbe Magic Marys in the Super Trail casing. Shifting is taken care of by a mixed Shimano drivetrain with XTR and XT components

The speed sensor is safely tucked away inside the dropout and the matching magnet is attached to the rear brake disc.
Too tight
The rear end of the E-Inception doesn’t offer enough tire clearance to accommodate the wide 2.6” Magic-Mary tire, which rubs against the carbon frame when cornering. Will it work well in the long run?
Bring a ladder
In theory, the short seat tube of the STEVENS should provide plenty of freedom of movement. However, in practice the short insertion depth of our prototype caused the saddle to get in our way on descents. STEVENS have said they will solve the problem before releasing the final production bike.

STEVENS E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF

€ 7,999


Motor Shimano EP8 85 Nm
Battery Darfon 726 Wh
Display Shimano SC-EM800
Fork FOX 36 Factory 150 mm
Rear Shock FOX DPS Factory 150 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory 125–175 mm
Brakes MAGURA MT Trail 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 1x12
Stem Race Face Turbine R 50 mm
Handlebar Race Face Next R Carbon 800 mm
Wheelset Race Face Next R 36 29"/27.5"
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.6"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 22.50 kg
Perm. total weight 140 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 117 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount yes

Specific Features

USB-C charging port

Not for eMTBs!
The MAGURA MT trail brakes rely on a two-piston calliper at the rear. This is far too weak, overheats very easily and could potentially be dangerous!
Loud and loose
Despite the elaborate locking system, the battery cover makes a loud rattling noise when riding downhill. The noise only ceased when the cover fell off through a rough rock garden.
Tourers, in particular, will benefit from the integrated USB-C port on the top tube, which can be used to charge a GPS device or smartphone while riding.

The STEVENS E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF is available in four sizes. As with the Levo and Bullit, the short seat tube allows you to choose between at least two frame sizes – at least in theory. Unfortunately, our pre-production model has a very short seatpost insertion depth. As a result, some of our test riders weren’t able to ride with the dropper fully extended. While STEVENS have promised to address this before releasing the final production bike, there was nothing they could do with our test bike. The STEVENS shows its real strength on long rides. The pedalling position is comfortable with weight evenly distributed between the bars and saddle. The sensitive rear end and the relatively voluminous tires ensure a high level of comfort. However, the rear suspension tends to wallow on climbs, especially when riding on hard surfaces – here we recommend activating the climb switch. That being said, the comfortable riding position and big 726 Wh battery make the STEVENS E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF a great companion for long rides.

Size 16 18 20 22
Seat tube 390 mm 430 mm 460 mm 510 mm
Head tube 105 mm 115 mm 130 mm 155 mm
Head angle 65.0° 65.0° 65.0° 65.0°
Seat angle 76 76° 76° 76°
Chainstays 450 mm 450 mm 450 mm 450 mm
BB Drop 23.5 mm 23.5 mm 23.5 mm 23.5 mm
Wheelbase 1,222 mm 1,243 mm 1,270 mm 1,298 mm
Reach 442 mm 450 mm 480 mm 500 mm
Stack 615 mm 626 mm 640 mm 663 mm
Helmet Fox Speedframe Pro | Glasses 100% Glendale | Backpack Fox Utility Hydration Pack | Jersey Fox Ranger | Pants ? | Shoes ION Scrub Amp | Gloves Fox Defensiv D3O
Lean forward
On steep climbs, the shock sinks into its travel which means that you’ll have to actively weight the front wheel to prevent it from lifting.

Gas to Flat – Does the STEVENS E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF deliver on the trail?

The E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF is good-natured and easy to handle on flowing uphill trails. While it’s not as nimble and fun as the ROTWILD or MERIDA, the STEVENS implements fast direction changes willingly and reacts quickly to steering input. However, on technical and steep climbs it’s a totally different story. Here, the shock sinks deep into its travel, requiring the rider to actively weight the front wheel to prevent it from lifting. This turns out to be tricky especially when negotiating ledges and steps, as you’ll also have to time your pedal strokes to avoid clipping them on obstacles – we experienced the same issue with the CUBE Stereo Hybrid 160.

The GTF acronym stands for ‘Gas to Flat’. For no other bike in the test are marketing and reality this far apart. While the E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF is easy to handle at low to medium speeds, it reaches its limits on fast, rough descents.

Downhill, the geometry of the STEVENS feels modern and trail-oriented. The long reach (480 mm in L) and high front (640 mm stack) position the rider centrally on the bike, which, apart from the aforementioned problem with the saddle height, offers plenty of freedom of movement. The E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF isn’t particularly keen on rough descents and prefers to cruise at a leisurely pace on moderate and flowing trails instead. Here the balanced weight distribution ensures easy handling while the excellent traction lets you negotiate obstacles effortlessly. When riding fast on challenging terrain, the weak brakes and undefined rear end spoil the party. The two-piston brakes require so much strength that even short trail sections cause painful arm pump and cramps in your forearms. On top of that, STEVENS haven’t managed to tune the shock to match the rear end of the E-Inception, with the shock blowing through its travel abruptly and without warning. Finally, the lack of a reservoir causes the shock to overheat quickly on long descents, limiting constant performance.

Tuning tip: MAGURA four-piston calliper at the rear

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. stable


  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Riding fun

  1. boring
  2. lively

Motor feeling

  1. digital
  2. natural

Motor power

  1. weak
  2. strong

Value for money

  1. poor
  2. top


Forest road


Flow trail uphill


Flow trail downhill


Technical single trail uphill


Technical single trail downhill


Downhill tracks



With its comfortable pedalling position and long range, the elegant and relatively light STEVENS E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF is the ideal companion on long tours and leisurely rides – that’s where it shows its real strength. However, on technical trails, the bike goes anything but “Gas To Flat”. As far as trail performance goes, it falls far behind in this test, both uphill and downhill, showing the drawbacks of a weight-optimised spec and suspension.


  • big battery despite balanced weight distribution
  • tidy cockpit


  • saving weight in the wrong places
  • seatpost insertion depth
  • spongy suspension
  • rear tire rubs on chainstays through corners

You can find out more at

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best eMTB of 2021 – 25 models in review

All bikes in this test: Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 1 (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral:ON CF 9 (Click for review) | CENTURION No Pogo F3600i (Click for review) | CUBE Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC SLT Nyon (Click for review) | CUBE Stereo Hybrid 160 C:62 SLT Kiox (Click for review) | Ducati TK-01 RR (Click for review) | FLYER Uproc6 9.50 (Click for review) | FOCUS JAM² 6.9 NINE (Click for review) | GIANT Trance X E+ 1 (Click for review) | Haibike AllMtn 7 (Click for review) | KTM Macina Kapoho Prestige (Click for review) | Lapierre Overvolt GLP 2 Team (Click for review) | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K (Click for review) | Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR (Click for review) | Moustache Samedi 29 Trail 8 (Click for review) | ROTWILD R.X375 ULTRA (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Bullit X01 RSV Air (Click for review) | SCOTT Ransom eRIDE 910 (Click for review) | SIMPLON Rapcon PMAX (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL (Click for review) | STEVENS E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF (Click for review) | Thömus Lightrider E2 Pro (Click for review) | Trek Rail 9.9 X01 (Click for review) | Whyte E-150 RS 29ER V1 (Click for review)

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of E-MOUNTAINBIKE, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality cycling journalism. Click here to learn more.

Words: Photos: various