The Bosch 1617evs is a pretty typical fixed base router from a well known maker of quality tools. This particular 1617 motor is the same as that used in a similar D-handled base as well as a "combo" plunge / fixed base kit. Included with the 1617evs is both ¼" and ½" collets, two wrenches, and a separate guide bush holder (that must be installed by the owner).
Fit And Finish
In the areas of fit and finish for the most part this tool is pretty typical of the high level of quality I have come to expect from Bosch. The exception is that the base is not as flat as I would expect (about 0.018" total dip) and there were several burrs on the base itself. The burrs would wear off soon enough but I would rather not have them scratch my workpiece before that happened. This last is easily fixed if you know to look for them. The base could be made flatter also but this requires more effort.
Bosch introduced a new method of adjusting the depth on the 1617 model. Instead of the rotating the motor body in an ascending or descending spiral motion , an external screw is used that is more akin to a fine depth adjustment on a plunge router.
To adjust the depth one releases the cam lock on the base and then turns the adjustment knob to raise or lower the bit. To lock the height the cam is returned to the locked position. It isn't immediately obvious but the adjustment screw is not capable of moving the cutter in its full range of motion. To move up or down a range one must disengage the half-nut and position the router motor until it "clicks" into the next adjustment detent. The adjustment knob is pretty easy to turn, a knob extension is available separately to make it a little easier.
To pull the motor out of the base one releases the cam lock and depresses the adjuster half-nut; the motor can then be rotated out of the base. It is very quick and easy to do.
The router handles are two honest to goodness wood knobs mounted low on the base, This seems like it would offer pretty good control but I'm of the opinion that it isn't as balanced as the Bosch 1613 or perhaps even the Triton router. This is a kind of subjective opinion though and could be because I am simply more accustomed to using plunge routers. The switch and speed controls are pretty easy to get to but (as expected) not in range of the handles. The motor does have the soft start function.
For hand held use the 1617 is pretty much what you expect of a fixed base router. Height adjustments and bit changes require a little more effort than most plunge routers and the cutter is more obscured too; that is to be expected. When it comes to power the 1617 has all you would ever want for hand held operations, the variable speed feature operates in typical Bosch smoothness.
With the motor fully retracted there is 1.5" between the base and the collet, this a quite respectable. The cord is 12 feet long, a nice length for working on the job site.
I did find an oddity with respect to the use of an edge guide. I have a RA1051 Bosch edge guide that I got long ago to use with the 1613. I assumed that this guide would also fit the 1617, it does not. The guide bars are spaced apart properly however the bottom of the base interferes with the guide, the bars are too close to the guide to fit the 1617 properly.
I got this router specifically for use in a table mounted in a Woodpeckers PRL so the issues related to hand held use and the edge guide are not really an issue for me. Mounted in a router table the 1617 performs well, it has plenty of power and the switch and speed control are easy to get to.
The 1617evs is a solid no frills machine but it would not be my choice for the first router in a shop. I say this because for as little as $5 to 85$ more one can buy a much more capable plunge router of at least equal quality and power. As a table mounted router is makes a good choice if used in conjunction with a lift.