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Verdict: 
A great option for transforming a harsh ride into a smooth, fatigue-reduced cruise, while looking discreet
Weight: 
297g

The Redshift Sports Shockstop stem does exactly what it says on the tin: it stops shocks. Suspension stems have never had a good reputation, but that's about to change. In the Shockstop, Redshift has engineered something that arguably should be on the list for any rider dealing with rough surfaces, natural or man-made.

  • Pros: Reduces road buzz and hand and arm fatigue, looks like a normal stem, 10 options of rise/length
  • Cons: Weight, only 10 options of rise/length

If you're riding long distances over rough surfaces (that would be 'roads' here in austerity Britain) you will likely have experienced sore wrists, hands or arms because of the constant vibration. The Shockstop alleviates this by having a large sealed bearing at one end, damped by adjustable elastomers internally, which then allow the whole stem to pivot and afford up to 20mm of vertical movement in the handlebar.

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The Shockstop fits standard 1 1/8in steerers, with an adapter available if you have a quill stem and shims needed for smaller diameters. The handlebar diameter is a stock 31.8mm.

Redshift ShockStop 9.JPG

I replaced a 117g 100mm ITM Ergal stem with the 286g 110mm Shockstop, and it's fair to say didn't notice the extra weight – that 169g being exactly 1.9% of my bike's weight, or a few decent slurps from a bottle.

The five swappable colour-coded elastomers are fitted two at a time, a handy table giving you starter-for-ten suggested combos depending on your weight, from sub-52 up to over 98kg. The clear instructions are easy to follow but there is a hefty bolded warning not to try playing with the elastomers when uninstalled from the bike, lest ye permanently knacker the threaded preload wedge gubbins.

Redshift ShockStop 5.JPG

The elastomers go in the front of the stem, and the trial-and-error elastomer swap process is one I'd have been happy to do out on the road with a handy 5Nm torque wrench in my pocket. As it was I found the recommended elastomer settings for my weight to be spot on over the long term, so I never tried to go up or down.

Redshift ShockStop 6.JPG

During much of the test period I was riding 50mm carbon aero wheels with 25mm tubeless tyres – a rather radical departure from my usual 24mm alloy rims and 28mm tubeless.

How does it feel?

When on the tops, you can't sense movement pressing down – perhaps due to the lack of weight leverageable through your bent forearms. Handlebar movement is only really noticeable with your arms locked and weight much more forward.

In the drops, with more weight forward, under hard pedalling efforts you can feel the bar give forwards, but it's a small movement and doesn't detract or distract from getting on with the effort.

Under hard, dry cornering, switching back and forth, I couldn't sense any degradation in the bike's handling – at least none that was anywhere close to the limit of tyre traction/an NHS visit. Likewise under hard braking I couldn't feel the handlebar 'dive' – the suspension effect seemed to remain active, which is handy as you'd assume that's assisting traction under braking.

Does it work?

With your hands in any position, the ShockStop does an admirable job of removing road buzz and smaller hits from pock-marked and fractured tarmac surfaces. The state of chip-sealed roads when they are due another surface dressing can get pretty bad, and the Shockstop does a sterling job smoothing out that noise.

Off-road on large gravel (yes, on 25mm tyres/50mm carbon rims) handling and vibration both felt 'improved'; it's hard to tell if the extra give translates into improved traction, with the front tyre less likely to depart contact with the ground, but you'd assume that if the bike wasn't bouncing you about as much, the front wheel must be tracking the surface better than with a rigid stem.

> 9 ways to make your bike more comfortable

Going properly off-road, off-road.cc guru Pat commented: "I put it on and after two normally unpleasantly jarring gravel rides on the rutted towpath in and out of Bath, I was sold. I had to change the elastomers which was a 10-minute job, but after that I've been impressed on every surface I've used it on. It's just a shame it was a couple of days late for the Gritfest Event in Wales.

"My only slightly negative comment is that the first time or two you get out of the saddle and haul on the bars it feels a little like a fork on lockout with some give on the 'system', but you soon get used to it and I don't even think about it at all.

"I reckon the price is excellent, too, considering the cost of a Fox AX or MRP Baxter or Lauf Fork: around £700."

While I don't own one, so can't comment, there are internet reports of happy users fitting Shockstops to time trial bikes to ease the impact of riding over rough surfaces in aggressive, unforgiving positions.

Reduced fatigue

Over several months I noticed a distinct reduction in tricep fatigue past the three-hour ride mark, which was not attributable to anything other than the Shockstop and its fatigue-reducing properties. This was quite a feat given I was mostly riding the stiffer, less-cushioning carbon wheelset at the time.

If I had to make a comparison, I'd say the overall effect of the Shockstop is like going from a 23mm tyre at 100psi to a 38mm at 50psi or less – although it's for the front wheel only obviously. If you've never made that leap, take it from me – it feels loads better.

It's not cheap, and it's not overly light, but it actually works and doesn't detract from handling. If you need a bump/buzz-taming bike but can't manage fatter rubber, a new fork or a new frame, the Redshift Sports Shockstop could be a reasonably priced option for you.

Verdict

A great option for transforming a harsh ride into a smooth, fatigue-reduced cruise, while looking discreet

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Redshift Sports ShockStop Suspension Stem

Size tested: +/-6 deg,110mm

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?

It's for people wanting more comfort/less hand and arm vibration from the roads, without going to wider tyres.

Redshift Sports says: "An adjustable-stiffness suspension stem that smooths out your ride that's perfect for performance cyclists, recreational riders, and commuters.

"The patent-pending ShockStop Suspension Stem smooths out road imperfections, reducing fatigue and strain. Whether you're on a local group ride, or exploring gravel back roads, the ShockStop will make your ride smoother, faster, and more comfortable. The minimal, subtle design blends seamlessly with the aesthetic of modern road bikes."

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

Redshift Sports:

Available in +/-6 degree or +30 degree high-rise versions

+/-6 degree available in 90, 100, 110, and 120mm lengths.

+30 degree available in 100mm length.

Includes 5 swappable elastomers (2 pre-installed, 3 additional) to customize the ride feel for your bike, weight, and riding style.

Effective suspension travel - Up to 20mm (drop bar road bike), up to 10mm (flat bar road bike).

Minimal design blends with modern road bikes.

Fits standard 1-1/8 inch steerer tubes

Fits 31.8mm handlebars (25.4mm and 26.0mm shims available)

The ShockStop Stem package contains the following:

1 x ShockStop Stem

5 x swappable elastomers (2 pre-installed, 3 additional in box)

All required hardware

Weight

264 g +/-6 deg, 90mm

274 g +/-6 deg, 100mm

286 g +/-6 deg, 110mm

298 g +/-6 deg, 120mm

274 g +30 deg, 100mm

Steerer Clamp Diameter (A)

1-1/8 inch (28.6 mm)

Handlebar Clamp Diameter (B)

31.8 mm

Effective Travel

Up to 20mm on drop-bar road bike.

Up to 10mm on flat-bar road bike.

Material

6061 T6 aluminum

Rider Weight Limit

135 kg (300 lb)

Steerer Tube Clamp Stack Height

40mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well done indeed – high quality throughout.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

It really adds to the ride, in a good way.

Rate the product for durability:
 
10/10

It's forged form alloy and looks like it will outlast you/your bike.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Acceptable for what it is/needs to do.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

It's well comfy!

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Is it less, more or about the same price as other similar products? There's nothing really comparable this side of the year 2000. I'd say if it reduces fatigue and lets you ride further, that's got to be a huge win.

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

Very decently.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It works.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Maybe the chunky looks.

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 overall score

It works, very well, and is of acceptable cost and weight.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is: Velocite Selene

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.

25 comments

Avatar
spurious [1 post] 1 month ago
1 like

Fantastic piece of kit by the looks of it.  Simple idea, no naff springs or dampers (or jumping back to 1990).

Perfect for a gravel bike.   If a little pricy..

Avatar
billymansell [47 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Have ShoskStop stems on a couple of bikes and find them great particularly on fast descents where high impact bumps can throw your hands off the bars and affect your vision.

I preferred to go softer on the elastomers than suggested (10 on one bike and 20 on the other) but as said there's no sense of compression with normal riding and no diving under braking but going down hill above 30mph and the stem absorbs the impacts with little change on handling feel.

Avatar
sizbut [50 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Nit picky but can you really list the same thing as a "Pro" and a "Con".

Avatar
James Walker [12 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I put a shockstop stem on my Orro Terra C when I got it. I get quite numb hands on long journeys and I found the Shockstops really make a big difference. I have the softest elastomers on my setup and don't really feel any movement in the bars, just that my hands feel much better. Looking forward to trying their shockstop seatpost damper when it comes out soon.

Avatar
iandusud [113 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Same idea as the Girvin Flexstem that I fitted to my mountain bike nearly 30 years ago and which was very effective in those pre suspension fork days. Nothing new under the sun.

Avatar
cm2white [3 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

I've also been very pleased using the RedShift ShockStop stem on a gravel bike and an ultra-distance road bike; read my full review on the RideFar blog: https://ridefar.info/2018/02/road-gravel-bike-front-suspension-specializ....

In regard to the comment about it being nothing new compared to MTB stems from 30 years ago, the idea is similar but the execution has been massively updated and improved.

Avatar
Disfunctional_T... [339 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Quote:

(that would be 'roads' here in austerity Britain)

I don't understand the claim that Britain is in austerity. The Government Debt to GDP ratio keeps growing and growing. Perhaps the problem is waste and corruption, not lack of spending?

Avatar
davel [2710 posts] 1 month ago
7 likes
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:
Quote:

(that would be 'roads' here in austerity Britain)

I don't understand the claim that Britain is in austerity. The Government Debt to GDP ratio keeps growing and growing. Perhaps the problem is waste and corruption, not lack of spending?

The Party of Social Mobility (stop spinning, Orwell) has repurposed the word. It doesn't mean austerity like the dictionary means it. It means:  less money for libraries, schools, welfare claimants and the disabled, road repairs and generally facilities that normal people use, but the bulk of the cuts will be imposed by local councils so we all blame them and not the government.

More money for banks and banks' liquidity, though: £400bn is a conservative estimate (I work for a bank, have done all the way through the financial crisis [so has my wife], I understand the essential role that banks play, and that bankers aren't inherently evil. And I think that amount of funnelling of state money into banks is dismal). And we've also managed to find tens of billions (thus far) for Brexit, a few billion for HS2, thus far, and £1bn for Arlene Foster to not spend all in the one shop.

It's ideological, not practical, and it's horrible. If you judge the government on what they have spent on, and what they have cut, surely the true test of government actions, this bunch are fucking vampires. 

Avatar
IanEdward [228 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Quote:

It's ideological, not practical, and it's horrible. If you judge the government on what they have spent on, and what they have cut, surely the true test of government actions, this bunch are fucking vampires.

What about the £40 million for BoJo's bridge across the Thames that never had a brick laid? Or the £140,000 they spent hiding the fact that their 'Minister for the North' never left London? or the £120 million for a 'Festival of Brexit'?

No such thing as a magic money tree though! ; )

Anyway, I only came here to post this

//www.sjscycles.co.uk/images/products/medium/41986.jpg)

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/stems/100-tranzx-st146a2-antishock-1-18-inch...

Nice looking bit of kit for 1/3rd the price, no idea what the internals look like though.

Avatar
brooksby [3828 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
IanEdward wrote:
Quote:

It's ideological, not practical, and it's horrible. If you judge the government on what they have spent on, and what they have cut, surely the true test of government actions, this bunch are fucking vampires.

What about the £40 million for BoJo's bridge across the Thames that never had a brick laid? Or the £140,000 they spent hiding the fact that their 'Minister for the North' never left London? or the £120 million for a 'Festival of Brexit'?

No such thing as a magic money tree though! ; )

Anyway, I only came here to post this

//www.sjscycles.co.uk/images/products/medium/41986.jpg)

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/stems/100-tranzx-st146a2-antishock-1-18-inch...

Nice looking bit of kit for 1/3rd the price, no idea what the internals look like though.

The unbuilt garden bridge threw a lot of money the way of the friends and relations of Alexander boris de pfeffel Johnson, so it served *a* purpose...

Avatar
ktache [1016 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Don't forget tax cuts for the rich.  We are all in it together, hey Dave.

And that 1Bn bribe to Arlene Foster, which was of course not shaking the magic money tree, equates to more than £500 for every man, woman and child in Northern Ireland.  And you just know that it's not going to every man, woman and child in Nortern Ireland.  It only just covers the bill for the ridiculous barn heating exercise.

Nice idea for the stem.  When I park my bike in town on a Saturday there is an early 90s Kona with a Girvin FlexStem, I wanted one back in the day and I still want one.

Avatar
KiwiMike [1383 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Avatar
StraelGuy [1601 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Saw this a few months ago and it is seriously tempting me. You can pay in dollars (which at the moment equates to £114.03) which is much better value and they claim to offer free postage if you're within Europe, better get a move on then, eh yes ?

Avatar
janusz0 [208 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I can't see a quill stem adaptor on Redshift's website.  Looking elsewhere, I can't find any that say "Cinelli", but PlanetX have a pleasing Nitto adaptor:)

This stem is a nice idea, but it needs to work well to justify the outlay (£139.99 on Amazon UK).

Avatar
tomski [4 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

I've got one, I backed them when the Kickstarter campaign launched.

I use on my Kinesis Tripster and I mostly ride bridleways and towpaths and it has made a big difference to my comfort levels. 

Highly recommended.

 

 

Avatar
SK [5 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

What shifters are these? Microshift?

Avatar
Ratfink [212 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
StraelGuy wrote:

Saw this a few months ago and it is seriously tempting me. You can pay in dollars (which at the moment equates to £114.03) which is much better value and they claim to offer free postage if you're within Europe, better get a move on then, eh yes ?

It works out nearer £128 as they add VAT at the checkout.

 

Avatar
billymansell [47 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
IanEdward wrote:

Anyway, I only came here to post this

//www.sjscycles.co.uk/images/products/medium/41986.jpg)

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/stems/100-tranzx-st146a2-antishock-1-18-inch...

Nice looking bit of kit for 1/3rd the price, no idea what the internals look like though.

Have tried one of these as well as the ShockStops.

Even with setting it at the lowest torque setting to allow most movement I found little difference between this stem and a standard stem and certainly not comparable to the ShockStop.

Avatar
KiwiMike [1383 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
SK wrote:

What shifters are these? Microshift?

yup: https://road.cc/content/review/229659-microshift-centos-11-groupset%3Famp

Avatar
thehill [10 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
James Walker wrote:

I put a shockstop stem on my Orro Terra C when I got it. I get quite numb hands on long journeys and I found the Shockstops really make a big difference. I have the softest elastomers on my setup and don't really feel any movement in the bars, just that my hands feel much better. Looking forward to trying their shockstop seatpost damper when it comes out soon.

 

@JamesWalker - I too have one on a Orro Terra C, it has did me proud on the Dirty Reiver and Yorkshire True Grit.
i find absolutely no downside to it when the Terra C performs its other role of winter bike on 32c tyres.
I too am interested in the seatpost, maybe we will reconvine when road.cc tests that

Avatar
contender [21 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

This is just the FlexStem reinvented. And why did they go away?

  1. they failed at the pivot. You don't want that to happen. Hopefully the different design here isolates them 
  2. rockshox showed us there was a better way. 

Suspension forks don't just give your arms a rest, the way gel bar tape can do,they stop the frame from bouncing up when it hits something, forgives you on the landing as you do dropoffs, and convert "Rocky" to "smooth"

if you want that softer ride, I wouldn't waste time with a flexstem reinvented, I'd look at short travel front forks. Or just fatter tyres at a lower pressure, which, as the reviewer points out, smooth things out too

Avatar
Phil H [71 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I have had one since the kickstarter campaign. On London roads it works a treat. I cant see any components failing as it built to excellent engineering standards. There was talk of a carbon version, but unless weight obsessed dont see the need. Would not be without it & several friends have got them too after seeing/trying mine (no I dont get any kickbacks from them)

Avatar
KiwiMike [1383 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
contender wrote:

This is just the FlexStem reinvented. And why did they go away?

  1. they failed at the pivot. You don't want that to happen. Hopefully the different design here isolates them 
  2. rockshox showed us there was a better way. 

Suspension forks don't just give your arms a rest, the way gel bar tape can do,they stop the frame from bouncing up when it hits something, forgives you on the landing as you do dropoffs, and convert "Rocky" to "smooth"

if you want that softer ride, I wouldn't waste time with a flexstem reinvented, I'd look at short travel front forks. Or just fatter tyres at a lower pressure, which, as the reviewer points out, smooth things out too

If by 're-invented' you mean , 'made much better using modern design and materials', yes.

The gel bartape comparison is not applicable - gel bar tape compresses by maybe a mm and damps higher-frequency vibration, the stem shifts 20mm to smooth out bigger hits.

Road bike suspension forks start at £750, and weigh around 1.3kg+. Most people would prefer to spend £150 adding 160g to their bikes, than 4-5 times as much to add a kilo, for similar benefits.

Yes, they can add fatter tyres IF their frames can fit them - there's an awful lot of bikes out there can't go past 30mm, and to get suspension advantages close to the ShockStop's 20mm of travel you're looking at a 40mm tyre at least. 

I'd say none of your suggested comparisons really pan out as reasons not to consider the ShockStop.

Avatar
armb [148 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
KiwiMike wrote:

Road bike suspension forks start at £750, and weigh around 1.3kg+.

The Lauf Grit claims 900g / 1.98 lbs, though the road.cc review says 1000g (and £799).

There's the SR Suntour Swing Shock, which has 30mm of travel in an unconventional design, which is a lot cheaper than that, in fact cheaper than the ShockStop, around £100 (e.g. https://www.bike24.com/p261755.html), but the complete absence of any reviews that I can find is offputting. (road.cc did cover its introduction: https://road.cc/content/news/7311-eurobike-2009-urban-suspension)

But it seems to be a simple undamped coil spring, and Suntour's web site no longer seems to list it, and it would change the geometry of the bike, even if not by as much as most forks.
 

Avatar
StraelGuy [1601 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I've bought one but I really want to run 70/70 elastomers. Does anyone have a spare 70 they could swap? I can happily post you back a 50, 60 80 or 90 elastomer.