What's in a stem?
I’m looking for a 60mm or 70mm stem for my second bike (06 Stumpjumber). I’m wondering what’s in the wildly differing prices. It just holds the bars to the steerer right? The only thing that could possibly go wrong is a brakage. Admittedly that would be catestrophic, but how likely is it given that the shocks take up masses of impact? Short stems are inherently strong, no? Has anyone out there broken a stem?Posted 4 years agondthorntonMember
If you want something to attach the bars to the stem then their are plenty of cheap options that will work fine. If you want a beautifully machined work of art with the benefit of shaving a few grams then buy a Thomson stem. Im not ashamed to own 2. I like nice things. Plenty of people wear jewelry that serves no functional purpose whatsoever. Depends weather bikes are a passion or purely functional for you.Posted 4 years agoPeterPoddyMember
Some are pretty flexy, the OEM spesh one on my Pitch for example had a stiffness somewhere between overcooked noodles and erectile dysfunction
Whereas I find the EXACT SAME stem on the EXACT SAME bike absolutely fine and cannot see any point at all in replacing it. 🙂
If you want something to attach the bars to the stem then their are plenty of cheap options that will work fine. If you want a beautifully machined work of art with the benefit of shaving a few grams then buy a Thomson stem
Last time I looked, Thompson stems were a bit on the lardy side actually…..Posted 4 years agochiefgrooveguruMember
Whereas I find the EXACT SAME stem on the EXACT SAME bike absolutely fine and cannot see any point at all in replacing it.
I thought my stem and bars were absolutely fine until I changed them and was shocked to realise how much the previous ones were flexing – the new set-up feels about five times as stiff!Posted 4 years ago
I’d still be interested to know if it’s possible to brake even a cheap 50mm stem. Surely the bars would fail first? And what do the terms XC AM and DH actually mean when applied to products? Is this a crude rating system based on the products strenght? Is DH riding really more stressfull on the bike than FR? Where does AM fit in?
More importantly, why is raining when I want to be out riding, leaving me sat indoors pontificating these pointless questions?Posted 4 years agom1keaMember
Thomson stems are just lush, and more importantly, don’t have sticky out pinch bolts to smack your knees in to.
Aside from the collection of Thomson’s I’ve accrued, my last stems have been brought on: correct length and angle, colour and today, one that fits Giant’s 1 1/4″ ‘new standard’ – 🙄Posted 4 years agounovoloMember
I noted numerous spelling and grammatical mistakes in this thread.Posted 4 years ago
Staying on topic though,I have never broke a stem or handlebars.
I have some road bike handlebars that I noted have some flex to them but have never noticed flex in any stems I have owned,besides a small amount of give in the right direction can give a more comfortable ride.
I have some Control tech stems which are pretty nice.superdaleSubscriber
Didn’t some of the original X-Lite Fly stems which were machined or cast crack. Don’t think I’ve seen a tubular stem break however you did used to get some twisting on longer stems back in the day.Posted 4 years ago
I stick with Thomson or Hope – partly vanity also I never want to wake up in A&E after a failure because I wanted to save a few grams.andylMember
Stem faceplates do break. Thomson are the only manufacturer I know of that admit that a facplate is a consumable item and will eventually fail and sell them for a reasonable cost (unless you want a fancy one).
I do prefer the top lock style faceplates though where you close up the top gap to zero and then the bottom. People trying to match the gap top and bottom, left and right by eye probably puts a little bit of twist on faceplate and possibly means they end up over tightening a bit as it doesnt quite clamp as well.Posted 4 years agondthorntonMember
Regarding Thomson stems Id just like to point out I did say shave “a few” grams. Im no weight weenie and clearly you can go lighter if you want – carbon being the obvious one.
I dont like carbon stems though – no particular reason I just like metal and appreciate the craftsmanship.Posted 4 years ago
That said though – Although I have never (and will never) weigh a component the Thomson felt considerably lighter than the stock stems I removed. I cant imagine you could go much lighter in aluminium and still be safe and none flexy. Given I use these stems on my light weight hardtail and for DH on 160mm big rig I think they are perfect and would not consider anything lighter.hilldodgerMember
I would think that stems are one of the items I’d always be willing to spend a premium on.
More likely to be transferrable to a new frame than most other components, almost zero wear and tear degradation, and penalty for failure pretty catastrophic.
And repetitive ThomPosted 4 years ago
pson bashers should at least learn to spell the brand, especially those “in the trade” 😆rocketmanMember
The only thing that could possibly go wrong is a brakage
Have had a number of inexpensive stems that give the impression that they fit but they only actually touch the steerer/bars in a few places and they move when one least expects them to, even when tightened to one meellion kN.
Quality stems are a precision fit and barely require any tightening of the boltsPosted 4 years ago
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