The ShockStop suspension stem has only been on Kickstarter for a few days but it has already blasted through its funding goal by some way, with a lot of backers clearly interested in a stem that has been designed to smooth the ride on a road bike.
What is the ShockStop?
It’s a pivoting suspension stem that isolates your body from bumps, shocks and road buzz. You can expect between 1-2cm (6°) of movement. What we could do with now is a juicy stat, right? Good thing ShockStop has provided one, it reckons the stem reduces impact forces by up to 70%.
“The ShockStop stem does what gloves and extra bar tape can't: it isolates your upper body from the imperfections of the road, letting you ride further, faster, and more comfortably,” says the company.
The damping is adjustable, so it can cater for the different demands of performance and recreational cyclists. Firmer for a sportive, softer for a commuter, perhaps. There are a pair of elastomer bumpers inside the stem that can be swapped out, by removing the stem faceplate, allowing you to tune the damping for your requirements or tastes.
The stem is constructed from aluminium and uses a fully sealed cartridge bearing at the pivot. A wide selection of lengths and angles will be provided to you can get the right fit for your bike, from 90 to 120mm and +/- 6° and 30° rises. Claimed weight is from 238g.
We’ve been here before haven’t we?
Yes, anyone into cycling for long enough will remember the first attempt at suspension stems, most famous of all the Girvin Flexstem. The company behind ShockStop acknowledges these early attempts at suspension stems and their flaws, but reckons its solution is better suited to road bikes.
And just last year we reported on the StaFast, a more complex suspension stem with a pneumatic air cylinder to provide the damping. Maybe we can expect more suspension stems in the future?
Bike manufacturers have been incorporating elastomers and suspension devices into road bikes at an alarming rate in recent years. There's the Pinarello Dogma K8-S with a small rear elastomer bumper, Trek's IsoSpeed decoupler and don't forget Specialized has been pushing its Zertz inserts for many years. But suspension stems have yet to be adopted on a larger scale.
That the ShockStop is proving popular is hardly surprising. Comfort has been a big driver of development on road bikes in recent years, with bikes like the Specialized Roubaix intended to provide a smooth and more comfortable ride than a regular race bike. The interest in wider tyres has been motivated by a quest for more ride comfort, especially given the poor state of our roads.
I want one. How much will it cost me?
You can currently pledge support for ShockStop and get a stem for $99, with delivery scheduled for April 2016, with worldwide shipping. Pay $134 and you can get an integrated bike computer or utility mount thrown in as well.
Discover more here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/redshiftsports/shockstop-the-shock-...
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.