At first glimpse one of the best mountain bike stems could seem easy, however they’ll nonetheless have an effect on the efficiency of your bike. Components like weight, stiffness, measurement all play a component, so we’ve examined a spread of various stems to seek out out not solely which one of the best ones on provide are, but in addition which stems are finest for a spread of various situations and driving preferences.
Trying to refresh your complete cockpit arrange, to enhance consolation, efficiency and management, then try our guides to the finest mountain bike handlebars and finest MTB grips.
With a rainbow palette of anodised colors, the Race Face Turbine R stem indulges your artistic aspect. Whether or not you select to go delicate or wild, the sturdy cast and CNC’d physique is stiff sufficient for the widest of bars and burliest of builds and even is available in a stubby 32mm size should you’re searching for a very direct steering response.
Its gapless clamp holds bars securely and spreads hundreds evenly, whereas the rounded-off edges of the steerer clamp hold the opposing bolts away out of your knees.
What we actually like concerning the Race Face Turbine R35 is that it’s fairly stiff for a light-weight machined stem. It’s crafted from a lump of 7075 aluminium billet and is outsized within the midriff in addition to having an outsized Overbite faceplate.
This will get the corporate’s High-Lock clamping system, the place the highest two fasteners are clamped totally, with the underside two then snugged as much as shut the hole. This method eliminates uneven clamping and creates a stiffer union between bar and stem. Even with an identical 800mm Subsequent R bar fitted, the steering feels exact and rapid, with simply the correct amount of resilience.
Professional: Does all the pieces you want for minimal money. Good rounded design is knee-friendly
High worth for a stiff, handsome stem out there in stumpy 40mm and 50mm lengths, the e*13 Base actually impressed us with its operate and detailing.
Opposing stem bolts with T25 heads are only one such characteristic, whereas the gapless faceplate is one thing usually reserved for a lot pricier fashions. Appropriate for 35mm bars, this can be a nice possibility should you’re searching for a snappier cockpit with out breaking the financial institution.
Operate is delivered to the fore with this wonderful e*13 Base stem. It comes with opposing stem bolts, which can be properly recessed to maintain them away from knees, and use T25 fasteners for much less likelihood of rounding.
The gapless face plate means you cinch down the highest bolts till the hole disappears, then torque the decrease bolts to the beneficial setting. It’s simpler to put in and it extra evenly unfold the hundreds. The bar is held by a large clamp and all the perimeters are softly rounded off. A wonderful stem at an incredible value.
Weight: 129g | Colors: Crimson, orange, blue, black, gray, inexperienced | Lengths: 35, 50mm | Score: 9/10
Funn is a model to go to if you’re a bit bored of the trad manufacturers and boring black, squared-off shapes. Funn stuff has a particular aesthetic and vibe to it. That aesthetic is certainly one of flowing traces and natural pseudo-muscly shapes. Fact be advised, not everybody digs this look however should you do, we are able to safely say that this stem is basically, actually good from a efficiency perspective as nicely.
The Crossfire can’t be faulted in efficiency. Little or no flex might be perceived throughout driving even when hauling on the bars. Establishing was easy and regardless of working all of the bolts dry (sorry!) and driving it in desert situations it by no means developed a creak. There are many colors to select from and it has a mode suited to any bike. There are barely lighter stems on the market however the Crossfire is tough to beat on each different issue.
One factor to notice is that the Crossfire is a zero rise stem, though from some angles it doesn’t seem like it’s. It’s the decrease offset hole that creates this optical phantasm. This off-set hole is a deliberate design to make sure there’s extra materials instantly beneath the vertical airplane of the forces coming from the handlebar above. Whether or not that is true is debatable however we do reckon it helps push back annoying creaks if nothing else.
Learn our full take a look at overview of the Funn Crossfire stem
A uncommon quick stem with a low stack top
Weight: 174g | Colors: Black, silver | Lengths: 35mm | Score: 9/10
Professional: Tremendous safe. Raises your entrance finish while having low stack top. Good value.
Con: Sometimes strong weight. Sq. edge aesthetic could not swimsuit some bikes.
The Defy stem is designed to be good match (aesthetically talking) to DMR’s personal Wingbar however has just a few options that make it a really enticing bundle for any cockpit mixture.
Twin face plate clamps use a High-Shut clamp design the place you tighten each high bolts till they contact the stem physique earlier than tightening the decrease bolts, making certain easy, secure and efficient bar set up. The 2-piece design does make issues barely fiddlier in set up (there are two face plates to maintain a watch quite than one) however as soon as put in they do look actually cool and really trendy.
The 6061 aluminium Defy has a form that trims down the steerer clamp stack top to create certainly one of lowest available on the market. At simply 28mm this makes the Defy good if you wish to play a bit extra with stem/bar top (and thus you bike’s efficient attain distance) or have a fork with a lower than ideally suited steerer size. We had so as to add extra spacers to take up the surplus steerer.
Top-of-the-line – and fairly distinctive – features of the Defy stem is that it’s a stubby 35mm size stem that additionally packs in a little bit of rise (at the least 5mm), which is basically helpful if you wish to increase your bar top with out resorting to stem spacers or a brand new handlebar.
Positive, this stem just isn’t going to win any weight weenie competitions nevertheless it’s crisply made, stiff as heck, affords a uncommon little bit of rise for a dinky stem and, all the time importantly, has loads of fashion while doing so.
Learn our full take a look at overview of the DMR Defy 35 stem
Nice low-stack possibility
Weight: 142g | Colors: Eight | Lengths: 35 or 50mm | Score: 9/10
Execs: Nice consideration to element
Cons: On the costly aspect
What does “low-stack” imply you ask? It’s how a lot vertical area the stem takes up round your fork steerer. If a stem has low-stack top it may be a lifesaver in conditions the place the fork steerer has been trimmed down and there isn’t a lot actual property to suit a stem on there. On this regard it’s just like the DMR Defy stem (above) however with out the rise.
Though the Copperhead is CNC’d from 6061 T6 aluminium and never cold-forged (which tends to be the development methodology that outcomes int he stiffest stems) it’s however nonetheless impressively stiff. We attribute this stiffness to the comparatively broad face plate with its 55mm width.
Though the worth just isn’t precisely funds basement, there’s a degree of high quality and thought gone into the Copperhead stem that’s nicely definitely worth the cash. For instance, the bolts have deep-set recesses for Allen keys and this actually does assist stop the bolts being rounded or in any other case broken by ropey multi-tools or inattentive and rushed mechanic-ing (we’ve all been there).
Learn our full take a look at overview of the Deity Copperhead
Accessible in ‘Goldilocks’ 42.5mm size
Weight: 155g | Colors: 9 | Lengths: 35, 42.5 and 50mm | Score: 8/10
Execs: Distinctive size providing
Cons: Break up entrance clamps are fiddly to put in
Taking our reviewer’s hat off, there actually isn’t something to complain about with the most recent Burgtec Enduro stem. Sure, the 2 piece entrance clamp design is fiddly however, for heaven’s sake, how usually do you really set up/take away a stem in the actual world? It’s completely live-with-able. And there will likely be some riders who just like the ensuing window for his or her handlebar decals to be displayed via.
For this, their third model of their Enduro stem, Burgtec have switched to a cold-forging development methodology. This has actually upped the stiffness quotient of the stem in comparison with the earlier Enduro MK2 stem. The bar clamping width has additionally been elevated. So too has the steerer clamp depth, which has resulted in a larger stack top so this may increasingly now not be a viable possibility for riders with cut-short fork steerers.
Maybe the primary USP of the Burgtec Enduro MK3 is that’s out there in a 42.5mm size. It might sound daft and all quite Princess-and-the-pea however a few mm right here on there with stems can definitely be felt by skilled riders. So should you’ve tried 40mm and 45mm stems and never fairly gelled with them, right here’s the (42.5mm size) stem for you!
Learn our full take a look at overview of the Burgtec Enduro MK3
Accessible in 31mm size
Weight: 110g | Colors: Black & gold | Lengths: 31, 33, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90mm | Score: 8/10
Execs: The entire lengths
Cons: Not absolutely the stiffest
We expect you both love the look of Renthal stuff otherwise you actually don’t. And that’s going to be just about the be all and finish all for lots of people. For these bothering to learn this, we’re going to imagine that you simply just like the Renthal gold and black externally-ribbed aesthetic, so what’s the stem like out on the paths?
As with earlier Renthal stem designs, it advantages to take your time and do issues correctly when putting in. The dual face plates are 240° wrap-around affairs so take care to side-slide them on to the bar clamp space to keep away from scratching the bar or ending up with a cockeyed alignment. It’s additionally a very good thought to make use of a torque wrench to make sure the bolts are achieved up just-so.
There are two different issues to notice concerning the Renthal Apex. Firstly, it does provide a little bit of rise (roughly 6°), which is a welcome and all-too-rare characteristic on sub-50mm lengthy stems. Secondly, as with their handlebars, their is tiny however noticeable flex obvious when actually heaving on it. Now then, whether or not that is really a foul factor is up for debate. In the event you’re presently feeling like your 35mm commonplace entrance finish is overly harsh, it’s nicely value happening the Renthal route.
Learn our full take a look at overview of the Renthal Apex
Weight: 133g | Colors: Crimson, orange, blue, purple, gun smoke, black | Lengths: 35 and 50mm | Score: 8/10
Execs: Hope’s signature CNC aesthetic
Cons: A bit flexier than some
Reducing straight to the chase, the pinstripe and crisp CNC vibe is both your thang or it isn’t. Fact be advised, even when it’s your thang, it could simply merely not fit your bike. The swoopy, sweet color, gloss end of sure carbon frames doesn’t lend itself to being paired with a little bit of lasered alloy.
For these of you fortunate sufficient to have style and a motorcycle that does match the invoice, you’ll be served nicely by the Hope AM FR stem. Very like their fellow Brit model Renthal, the Hope stem just isn’t absolutely the stiffest possibility on the market if that’s what you prize in entrance finish really feel. Tremendous stiffness although, as we’ve already acknowledged, is maybe not a sense to have anyway.
The usage of stainless-steel bolts is a pleasant contact. As is the trendy use of a zero-gap faceplate design. All of it lends the AM FR stem the everyday Hope vibe that can merely float lots of people’s boats. Honest sufficient.
Learn our full take a look at overview of the Hope AM FR
How we examined one of the best mountain bike stems
With loads of stems to judge, we initially unfold them between a mixture of take a look at bikes and trusted testers to place the early miles in and assess long-term sturdiness. The testing course of was topped off with a ultimate spherical of back-to-back evaluation on our take a look at observe.
The stems have been examined on a Large Reign with a 800mm Spank Spike Vibrocore handlebar and an aluminium Renthal Fatbar, additionally at 800mm, to generate most leverage an torsional forces. The primary observe blended man-made g-out berms with technical, twisty, rock gardens that demanded loads of physique language to stabilise the bike.
All bolts have been greased as crucial, and tightened to the beneficial torque settings utilizing a torque wrench.
What to search for with one of the best mountain bike stems
A mountain bike stem connects the handlebars to the fork steerer. They arrive in several lengths and completely different rises, permitting you to tune your cockpit place Fashionable stems are sometimes beneath 70mm in size, with 40mm and 50mm being the most well-liked measurements. Usually there are twin bolts to clamp across the steerer tube, and 4 bolts on the face plate to connect the handlebar.
First job is to work out what stems will really match on to your bike. You’ll must know your fork’s steerer measurement and handlebar diameter.
Your fork steerer is nearly definitely going to be the standard 1-1/eighth” diameter (the opposite possibility is 1.5in nevertheless it’s very uncommon lately). Use a tape measure or vernier calipers to measure the diameter of your headset high cap and also you’ll immediately see if it’s not for a 1-1/eighth” fork steerer fork. You’ll additionally must verify the handlebar diameter. This may both be 31.8mm or 35mm on trendy mountain bikes. Be sure you measure the world on the clamp, not the ends on the grips.
Handlebar and stem clamp diameter
Handlebar diameter is a bit much less easy. Fashionable period mountain bikes will both have the more-common 31.8mm diameter handlebars or the newer 35mm diameter handlebars. Older bikes should be sporting skinny 25.4mm diameter handlebars. Once more you need to use a tape measure to rapidly assess what diameter your bike has.
You must get the identical stem clamp diameter as your handlebar diameter ie. 31.8mm clamp stem for a 31.8mm diameter handlebar.
30mm is about as quick as you’ll be able to go on an ordinary stem. There are some newer designs that allow even shorter stems however they require specifically designed handlebars. Stubby stems are one thing we’re large advocates of right here, since decreasing the space the bar extends past the steerer will sharpen the steering response, supplied your bike is roomy sufficient.
We suggest becoming the shortest stem you will get away with however keep in mind that some older bikes with quick high tubes could find yourself with cramped attain and compromised bike management, wherein case we wouldn’t go shorter than 50mm and we’d additionally take into consideration becoming wider handlebars as a method of widening your attain and bettering stability, management and luxury.
4mm and 5mm Allen bolts are most typical on mtb stems, with the heavier, larger-diameter bolts sometimes enabling greater torques and subsequent clamping forces. Cheaper bolts spherical off extra simply, and anodised bolts can lose color. Chrome steel or titanium bolts keep seems and are extra proof against corrosion.
The vertical actual property the stem calls for on the steerer tube. It may be a difficulty in case your fork steerer is just too quick, and may also relate to the handlebar top achievable and total stiffness of the stem.
Zero hole fastening
Increasingly stems at the moment are that includes a zero-gap bar clamp design, whereby one pair of clamp bolts fasten totally, and the remaining bolts tighten to lock the bar in place. The design prevents uneven tensioning and reduces the variety of bolts you could repair to a exact torque setting, making set-up simpler.
Rise is the distinction in top between the clamps. Most stems are zero-rise, which suggests should you flip them over they don’t change the bar top. Nonetheless, a six-degree rise stem permits you to impact a plus or minus six-degree change in bar top by merely turning the stem the other way up.
CNC v Cast
Stems are both 3D cast or CNC machined from an aluminium billet (principally a piece of steel). Forging sees aluminium squeezed beneath immense pressures into (near) the stem’s ultimate form. The method compresses the fabric round excessive stress areas, and it’s argued produces a stiffer product with a better-aligned, denser grain construction.
The preliminary forging price is pricey and the end is usually much less angular, though you do see stems which can be cast initially after which tidied up on a CNC machine.