This Zipp Service Course SL stem looks good, does its job without any fuss and features some high quality hardware - but at £90 it's a lot of money for an alloy unit.
The ControlTech Ti Mania stem claims to be the world's first monocoque constructed titanium stem, and it's a performance component that's well worth considering if you're looking for the finishing touch to your Ti pride and joy.
Control Tech are well known for alloy and carbon fibre components mostly stems and seatposts, though the Ti Mania range heralds a new move into the magic metal. I've been using this 90mm (lengths from 90-120mm in 10mm increments), 123g Ti Mania stem for about a year and it's proven itself in battle.
Ritchey's WCS C260° stem is the company's lightest aluminium offering and uses a unique handlebar clamp with more of the stem wrapping around the bar.
What's there to get excited about a stem? Most look the same – a cylinder of aluminium with clamps at either end – but Ennello have endeavoured to break the mould by offering interchangeable faceplates for their Primo stem, adding flair to any bike.
Weight-weenies will wince and the budget conscious wail at the wonga expected for Nitto's lugged steel stem but for an admittedly small niche it will do just the job.
You probably don't have to try too hard to imagine the problem I had with my lovely old steel road bike. What was once my best racer used for randonnees and reliability trials long before the new-fangled sportive events were overrun with 15lb carbon marvels is now used fitted with fatter 28mm tyres for riding to work, muddy winter miles with mudguards and generally pottering about.
If you've got a restoration project on the go, you can pay plenty of money for an original quill stem. That's fine if you're after something special, but even very ordinary ones can set you back a fair wedge. You can still buy a new one though, like this Genetic Hyoid, which is a perfectly serviceable, classically proportioned quill stem. It's not cheap at nearly thirty quid though, and there are other, bigger names still in the market.
A stem that allows you to adjust the angle of rise, the Highsix is straightforward to fit and comes at a decent price.
Getting the right angle might take some tweaking but it's a simple enough Allen key job. A higher angle suits riding comfort and offers better control whereas a lower angle gives less wind resistance. It really is a case of 'suck it and see'.
It's hard to make a Carbon stem as stiff as an alloy one at the same weight. It gets harder when KCNC are knocking out units like this that are sub-100g and are still plenty stiff. Some of that weight saving comes in the form of some rather fiddly bolts so there's a bit of an ease-of-use trade off
It's not often that I get to play with the same pimpy kit that pro-teams use, but according to Oval, this is the stem of choice for Silence-Lotto and Garmin-Chipotle. Ok, so Garmin have changed sponsor a few times since they were paid to advertise Tex-Mex fast food, but even so, this is the same stem that chaps like Millar, Evans and McEwen used. The question is, it may have been good enough for them, but is it good enough for a portly middle-aged kit reviewer?
Pro are doing an excellent job of supplying top quality, attractive components to bicycle lovers everywhere and with the PLT stem they have continued in the same vein. It's a very good looking and lightweight stem from Shimano’s component arm but for an alloy offering this isn’t cheap.