On the face of it, the stem may seem like a fairly mundane, if essential, bike component, connecting the fork steerer to your handlebars. However, the stem has a significant effect on your bike’s geometry and, as a result, the handling and your ride position.
There’s plenty to consider if changing or upgrading your stem, from its length and angle to the material a stem is made from and compatibility with your handlebar and steerer tube.
With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about bike stems. You can also use the links below to jump to the relevant section. What is a bike stem?
On a basic level, the stem has a simple job: to connect your handlebar with the fork steerer tube and, with it, the rest of the bike.
At one end (nearest to the rider if sitting on the bike), the stem has a hole through it top to bottom, with pinch bolts to clamp it to your bike’s steerer tube. Here, the stem holds the steerer tube in place in the headset .
At the other end of the stem, there’s usually a faceplate connected with four bolts, two at the top and two at the bottom, to hold your handlebar in place.
Between the stem faceplate and steerer tube, the stem is made up of a length of aluminium or carbon fibre, though titanium is occasionally used.The length of your stem can have a significant impact on the fit and handling of your bike. There’s also […]