by Marc Basiliere
October 2, 2013
Slam that stem. And those bars.
Perhaps a reflection of the peculiarities of the German bike market’s love of saddle-to-stem drop or of certain companies’ insistence that even sub-5′ riders should be on 140mm 29ers, but the most unique thing at Syntace’s Interbike booth was easily their Flatforce stem. In essence a dropped version of the Megaforce stem reviewed last month, the Flatforce is intended for riders having a hard time finding a good position on longer-travel 650b and 29in bikes. The 44mm version shown here an extreme example- 55mm, 66mm, and 77mm versions are also available with 88mm, 99mm, and 111mm models in the works.
According to Syntace materials, the 55mm stem puts the bars’ centre 12mm below the headset top. Longer versions go even lower thanks to drop relative to the steering axis. Syntace has tested the Flatforce to the VR-3 downhill standard and gives it the green light with bars up to 800mm wide. Not many will need this stem- but those who do will sure be glad to have found it.
But wait! What if one needed to go even lower (or would like to use a more traditional stem)? For them, there are the Vector Carbon Low 5 and Low 10. That’s right, these 8- and 12-degree sweep carbon bars come in a 5mm and 10mm negative rises. When we asked Syntace general manager Tom Mayerhofer last year what special engineering was needed to develop the Low series of bars, he responded ‘we put the decals on upside-down.’ Syntace is Distributed by OneWay distribution email@example.com, in the US by Radsport USA.