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The Mythos Elix stem may look quirky, but it certainly has all of the stiffness and strength required to do the job. At a cool £500 it's not going to suit everyone's budget, but this technology doesn't come cheap – so if you want a show-stopping component for your bike, you're going to need to fork out for it.
Before we all kick off about the price, let's get the Elix in context – or for what I take it to be, at least. It's a showcase for the type of engineering, manufacturing and development that is possible. It's highlighting what we can do... not necessarily what we need to do.
The Elix isn't machined, cast or created from any of the usual methods. Instead, it has been 'printed'.
You may have heard of 3D printing. Instead of machining material away like a CNC mill does, it's an additive process where products are built up in layers, line by line. The printers can build extremely complex shapes this way from 3D models created in CAD (computer aided design) software – including shapes that are potentially impossible to cast or mill in one piece otherwise.
3D printed plastic is common, but the Elix stem is metal. Mythos uses SLM Additive Manufacturing, with SLM standing for Selective Laser Melting, which involves accurately fusing metallic powders to create the layers.
The metal in question is Scalmalloy, an alloy created by Airbus, and it's a mix of zirconium, manganese, aluminium, magnesium and scandium. It's considered one of the strongest aluminium alloys suitable for additive manufacture, and it's also extremely expensive.
I spent quite a few years as a draughtsman for an engineering company, and my main role was creating 3D prototypes of new products via an in-house 3D printer. From this I know the actual printing process isn't necessarily quick, at all – something which only adds to the overall price.
In terms of performance the Elix can't be faulted. Then again, most stems can't really be faulted, regardless of cost...
The lattice design here gives the look of a lot less material than usual, but Mythos says it's actually 15% stiffer under torsion than an equivalent alloy stem, while matching its bending stiffness for comfort.
To be honest, away from a jig that is hard to judge, but hard efforts out of the saddle pushing down hard on either side of the handlebar showed no flex, and it coped with fast paced gravel rides too. If you are a larger or powerful rider (or both) you won't be left wanting.
Mythos is also keen to point out the Elix design has gone through fatigue testing to ISO 4210-5, with each stem having full traceability through its manufacture.
Weight-wise the 120mm stem here tips our scales at 170g, which is light enough but not exactly groundbreaking. For example, the £285.99 carbon fibre Zipp SL Sprint stem is 173g in its 110mm guise (read our review here), and the £54.99 aluminium Easton EA70 is just 140g for a 100mm (review here).
Schmolke's TLO carbon stem is said to be just 81g in a 100mm length. That costs between €498.99 and €645 though (it depends on your chosen colour scheme and internal routing option) – which, at the time of writing, was £424-£548.
The Elix is available in three colours – silver, gloss black or denim black – and lengths of 100mm to 130mm in 10mm increments. They all have a +/-8 degree angle.
So that's the deal. It isn't really lighter than any other stem on the market, and in the real world it's not noticeably stiffer than many either. However, it doesn't disappoint in terms of performance, and the quality is excellent with smooth finishes throughout and super tight tolerances.
It's a niche product created in small quantities, and with that comes a high price tag. If you can justify the cost and like the looks, you won't regret the investment.
High-end price with the looks and technology to match, even if it doesn't outperform traditional offerings
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Mythos Elix Stem
Size tested: 120 mm
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?
Mythos says, "Made in Scalmalloy using state-of-the-art SLM Additive Manufacturing, a material and a manufacturing process typically reserved for the very top level of the aerospace and motorsport industries, the MYTHOS ELIX stem is the first in a line of cycling products like no other.
Having been designed specifically around the most extreme load-paths experienced by a stem, the Elix stem is 15% stiffer in torsion than an equivalent alloy stem while maintaining the same bending stiffness, so you can put more power down when you need to and still stay comfy on the rough stuff."
It's a cool looking stem exploiting the materials and manufacturing processes available today.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Angle: +/- 8 degrees
Weight: From 150g (Including hardware)
Stack height: 45mm
Clamp Diameter: 31.8mm
Hardware: Titanium M5x0.8 x 16 mm
Compatible with FSA ACR Integrated Cockpit System
Designed and manufactured in Great Britain by METRON Advanced Equipment
Tested using the fatigue test methods outlined in ISO 4210-5
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It offers great stiffness and the tolerances are tight.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It looks cool.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No obvious real world advantages over a standard stem design.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
This is probably the most expensive stem on the market, and nothing else is really created in the same way, so it's difficult to compare. For the extra money you aren't really saving any weight over even the cheapest of stems, though.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, if I was building my ultimate dream bike.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The cost is high but the Elix is a showcase of what can be done with the latest technology. Performance-wise it offers great stiffness, and it's finished to a very high quality.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!