The ITM Ergal (Alutech A) 7075 Alloy Stem does a good job of holding your handlebar to the front of your bike, and it won't break the bank – but this means you get less-than-premium screws...
There are only so many variations on the easiest, lightest way to bolt two perpendicular tubes together, and at 117g for the tested 100mm version (60-120mm available) the Ergal is pretty good. The £53 3T Arx II Pro Stem Dave tested last year is 159g, albeit a 130mm length, and although you can get down to near 80g for this size stem, you'll have to pay a lot more money (the Extralite Hyperstem 0-6 will set you back about £150). As the name suggests, it's designed to work with ITM's Alutech-A Alloy bar, reviewed here.
Stems are such a relatively small and light component that achieving major weight savings for your spend is difficult; maybe triathlete weight weenies will sweat the grams, but for most people it's just not an issue let alone one worth spending a fortune on.
And stiffness – absolute or by weight – is no arbiter either. The über-geeks at Fairwheel Bikes did a lot of testing (see here) and found a £30 stem could be lighter and stiffer than one costing four times as much.
Looks-wise, the Ergal isn't bad, the 3D forging removing the need for lumpy welds, and the tidy graphics work in either orientation. It's a 6-degree angle, which you can flip for negative or positive rise.
Both clamps are 37mm wide, so not likely to cause trouble with your available steerer length or handlebar real estate. All six cap screws are 4mm Allen head, the two for the stem clearly marked as needing tightening to 7Nm and the four on the faceplate 5Nm. This could be a bit annoying if you are travelling as multiple torque wrenches may be needed if you are sticking to the factory settings (which you should be).
The handlebar clamp measures the ubiquitous 31.8mm diameter, and the steerer clamp 1 1/8in. Disappointingly, ITM has used chromoly-steel cap screws and after only a month's use slight traces of rust could be detected on the inner faces where the 4mm hex bits had applied torque. If you like things pristine, fork out a fiver at your reputable ironmongery for some stainless screws.
So at 117g and £28, the Ergal is a perfectly sensible performer, weight-wise. Sprinting hard-out or wrenching the bars on the worst climbs I could find, there was no noticeable movement.
I claim no relation to Messrs Greipel, Cavendish or Kristoff, but if you are operating at that level then money's no object and your stem is probably made of unicorn horn and costs as much as my entire bike. For the rest of us, for under £30, the ITM Ergal 7075 is a sensible option should you need to change length, rise or clamp diameter from your current stem.
A sensible, low-cost option that looks good and doesn't weigh over the odds
road.cc test report
Make and model: ITM Ergal 7075 Alloy Stem
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
ITM says: "AL 2014 alloy stem, made by 3D forging for an absolute lightweight accompanied by high rigidity and resistance."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Weight 130g (120mm)
Steerer Tube 1 1/8"
Angle 6 °
The lack of welds makes for a very tidy look.
Felt stiff and nothing came adrift.
I'll put 'rust' in here as a mark-down.
117g is very good going.
£28 for something of this weight and looks is extremely good.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The price. Hard to argue with £28.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The rusty screws.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Had the cap screws been a higher, rust-free spec it would have warranted a 7.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling