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Verdict: 
Nicely made and genuinely useful stem-mounted accessory
Weight: 
33g
StemCAPtain Clock
7 10

The StemCAPtain Clock is designed to replace the humble stem cap and give you an easy means to keep track of the time while riding. I'll admit, this concept smacked of gimmick, since phones and most bar-mounted computers have a clock function. However, I've been pleasantly surprised by its rugged convenience, and the option of other inserts may widen its appeal.

  • Pros: See the time at a glance, well made, choice of inserts
  • Cons: Mounting options limited

The StemCAPtain comes in two parts: the base is made from CNC machined 6061aluminium alloy and is available in several colours, from traditional to the exotic, which should satisfy most people's tastes. This is compatible with both standard and old fashioned 1inch steerers.

StemCaptain1 - top.jpg

StemCaptain1 - top.jpg

The base replaces your stem cap, while serving as a seat for the clock. Both components are available separately should you wish to swap between bikes, or the clock somehow gets damaged. Spares are also available.

Staying with the base a moment, there is one that accommodates a Garmin mount and another with a bottle opener. Ours was the clock insert but there are others, including a compass.

Clock

The clock insert seems well sealed from the elements, with scratch-resistant optics and a replaceable battery. You'll also find a clear, rubberised band which basically acts like a shim, ensuring a precision, chatter-free fit within the base.

There are two different diameters, the standard 36mm for road riding and a 32mm counterpart for 'enduro'. The latter is primarily aimed at mountain bike audiences, but will probably appeal to gravel riders too.

Fitment

Cyclorise says fitting is a 40-second job. Provided you have a very conventional setup, whipping off the top cap, exchanging it for the StemCAPtain's base and snugging the preload bolt home is as technical as things get.

StemCaptain3 - cup.jpg

StemCaptain3 - cup.jpg

Setting/adjusting the clock is simply a question of pulling the pin out and turning it. Smaller than typically found on a wrist watch, it's easily tackled with trimmed nails. Remember to wind it fully home or you'll run the risk of rain and moisture creeping inside.

That done, seat the clock into its silicone grommet and press evenly into the base. A quick shot of Green Oil or similar non-petrochemical lube can help here.

StemCaptain2 - side.jpg

StemCaptain2 - side.jpg

Things get trickier if, like me, you're running an expander wedge type or Gusset headlock system (which uses a long chromoly bolt and T-nut to secure and tension the Ahead assembly, pictured below). I found it easiest to slip the wedge from my fork steerer and then loosely reassemble with the StemCAPtain cup in place of the cap. Snug everything back down, check for play and reconnect the front cap: 15 minutes all told, 5 of which were spent re-packing my Holdsworth's lower headset race with fresh ceramic grease.

StemCaptain6 - Gusset headlock.jpg

StemCaptain6 - Gusset headlock.jpg

Headlock type systems usually employ a thicker bolt, so expect to bore out the StemCAPtain's base drilling. Even so, I had everything installed and correctly tensioned within 30 minutes.

Time's up!

Once installed, slap bang in the centre of my eye-line, the stem clock proved a cinch to read, at a glance, right up to around 30mph. The black face on ours has, for me, an aesthetic edge over its white counterpart.

StemCaptain4 - cockpit.jpg

StemCaptain4 - cockpit.jpg

Luminous digits and hands come into their own on dull overcast days, compared with a digital clock, but it was trickier to read than I was expecting on dark, rainy night rides. It was still a damn sight quicker than waking a sleeping android device, and easier than a computer without a backlight or grappling with gloves/jacket and jersey cuffs to check my watch.

It's also proved a really convenient way of keeping track of time when servicing or generally fettling.

> Christmas gifts for cyclists: Affordable gadgets and gizmos

Judging by some fairly long stretches of washboard tarmac, the shim system is also genuinely effective and up to the job. I've swapped ours over to my rough stuff tourer for some mixed terrain fun with no problems, though riders regularly venturing beyond metalled roads might be better served by the trail-specific version.

To date, there are no signs of scratches, either around the face or the anodised cap. It's also reassuringly weather resistant, laughing at heavy rain and being engulfed in warm sudsy water then rinsed off with the garden hose.

Admittedly, removal, say when changing a stem or servicing the headset will add a couple of minutes, but by the same token, it could also fox an opportunist thief looking to snatch a stem while your bike's parked outside the cafe.

Conclusion

The StemCAPtain has grown on me. Clock and host are well made, though personally I'd also like to see a version catering for headlock type systems, especially as these are going to be more common among trail and, possibly, gravel audiences.

Verdict

Nicely made and genuinely useful stem-mounted accessory

road.cc test report

Make and model: StemCAPtain Clock

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for

Distributor Cyclorise says: "StemCAPtain is a Quarz powered analogue time-piece that helps you keep track of time while out shredding your favourite gnar!

Don't dismiss this as a gimmick. When was the last time you had a finite amount of time to get out on the bike and left most of your kit at home? StemCAPtain keeps the time clearly and accurately in-front of your eyes, proving itself way more useful than you may - at first - give it credit for.

The StemCAPtain top-cap is really easy to fit. Just replace your existing stem cap. Then place the cradle/spacer on your steerer tube and clamp in place (acting as your top-cap). Finish by insert the time-piece which will stay securely and snuggly in place. See the video below for more clear instructions.

It looks great too, available in an all-black design and fits 1 & 1/8th steerer tubes (tapered or otherwise)."

It's a nicely executed and surprisingly useful concept that is generally very straightforward to fit, though some configurations have required lateral thought and a bit of filing.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Cyclorise lists these features:

* CNC machined 6061-T6 aluminium mounting base

* Precise Quartz clock movement

* 1.305" outer diameter

* 28g weight

* Replacable off-the-shelf battery

* Sealed weather-proof

* Colours

o Face: Black/Black or White/Polished

o Base: Black, Silver, Red, Blue or Green

o PLUS... Ltd Edition Cyan

We also sell the bases and clocks individually. Check out the StemCAPtain brand page for more.

Got a teeny tiny stem? You might need the Enduro32 Clock which is only 32mm across, to fit on 30-40mm stems that may have a small steerer tube clamp.

Rather keep an eye on the temperature instead of the time? Check out our StemCAPtain Thermometer.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Easy to read at a glance. White fascia might prove slightly easier at night.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Very attractive and seemingly durable.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

Adds a few grams but unless your TT bike is on a minimal gains diet, the clock is a surprisingly useful trade-off.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Depends on your vantage point. Some riders may feel a smartphone mount represents better value and, arguably, there's no need if you've already got a computer with clock and backlight. Nonetheless, it's very convenient and neatly executed too.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Overall, the StemCAPtain does exactly what it promises in the blurb. Despite some initial scepticism, I found the clock easy to read, in a glance, it looks pretty and is extremely convenient. The build quality is also reassuringly good and the other mounting options broaden the appeal.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Nicely executed, rugged yet attractive design.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing given the design brief, although a version with bigger drilling to accommodate headlock type systems would be welcomed.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Generally speaking, yes. Would make a lovely gift too.

Use this box to explain your overall score

A surprisingly useful stem adornment that's well made and looks good.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

15 comments

Avatar
nortonpdj [193 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

Silly.

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Beecho [216 posts] 2 weeks ago
5 likes

Oh Jesus. So hope the family don’t get wind of this, or it’s under the tree with my name on it.

Would appreciate 25 sheets worth of inner tubes, but guess that’s not sexy enough.

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Bigneilsmith [13 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

A review or a description of Shaun's engineering prowess? And it's squint.

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Tass Whitby [39 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Bigneilsmith wrote:

A review or a description of Shaun's engineering prowess? And it's squint.

Hercules Poirot...

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Scottish Scrutineer [10 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

A potential waste of money. Beware on rough roads/parths the unit can bounce out, or it can easily be removed when stopped for coffee.  Buy some decent lights, spare tubes, a bell, saddle bag or something else instead.

Avatar
Simmo72 [672 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

Don't mind this at all, not all of us have a small laptop sized garmin straped to our handlebars so we can quote to the person riding next to you how many watts you have burned.  It will sell, not masses but there is a market.

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r.glancy [9 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Buy a watch..

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djbwilts [6 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes
r.glancy wrote:

Buy a watch..

Commuting to work in the freezing cold with layers of gloves/clothing can make it a bit awkward to see your watch without fumbling about/getting cold.

...and I haven't used a computer/gps for about a year a half and find that cycling is much more enjoyable without so that option is out. I get that you could just use it for the time and ignore the other data but the appeal of having something you can fit-and-forget is appealing.

Having said that, this particular product does look a bit cheap.

 

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BehindTheBikesheds [995 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Either buy a basic computer with the time on it or leave plenty of time to arrive at your destination given what you already know about it. if timing/arrival time isn't a problem then a watch/clock isn't needed.

Dumb idea anyway as it's located too far back and you'll be craning your head down more than something on the bars.

Avatar
fukawitribe [2051 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Either buy a basic computer with the time on it or leave plenty of time to arrive at your destination given what you already know about it. if timing/arrival time isn't a problem then a watch/clock isn't needed.

Dumb idea anyway as it's located too far back and you'll be craning your head down more than something on the bars.

Ye Gods man, cheer up or go for a ride or something. It's a wee bit of fun that some clearly might find useful or enjoyable, you really don't need to be going off on one again for this surely ?...

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sodit [100 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

I have one of these with a locking grub screw to keep the timepiece in place on my mountain bike and a different type from Rose cycles on my road bike. Even with a computer I find them very useful. Cannot understand the negative comments.

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Deeferdonk [85 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

I've got one. I find it useful.

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Eton Rifle [45 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Great Scott! What is wrong with fishing one's half hunter out of one's weskit pocket to check the time? Mind you, I came a cropper on the old Penny Farthing the other day whilst trying to screw my monocle in with the other hand...

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Paul__M [39 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

A thermometer is more appealing to me - it's actionable info to know, for example whilst descending into a hollow,  that black ice is possible. However that would probably require a digital version, rather than the analogue option.

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BikeJon [197 posts] 22 hours ago
0 likes

Nobody else agitated by this particular example being mounted on the piss?