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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nicely made and genuinely useful stem-mounted accessory
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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
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.
Easy to read at a glance. White fascia might prove slightly easier at night.
Very attractive and seemingly durable.
Adds a few grams but unless your TT bike is on a minimal gains diet, the clock is a surprisingly useful trade-off.
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.
About the tester
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)