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Old 11-09-07, 12:47 PM   #1
noahjz
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Best stem to get to avoid frozen stem syndrome?

Recently I had an unpleasant experience with a frozen aluminum stem in a steel frame, involving hours of banging with mallet, messing around with ammonia, yanking on it with all my might . Now that I finally have that stem off, I am trying to find a stem which won't be prone to this sort of problem. I am not quite ready to spend >$100 on a steel stem, so I was wondering if people could advise about good, somewhat cheaper stem.

Are frozen stems kind of an anomaly, and are most people able to install and later adjust their aluminum stems without difficulty? I know greasing the **** out of it helps avoid the frozen stem, but I DID grease the **** out of mine and it still stuck very quickly after installation. The stem in question was a pretty old used model, so maybe new aluminum ones aren't so bad?

I was looking at some of the cheaper stems on ben's cyclery, and both the Nitto Deluxe and the Nitto Pearl are described as being made from "Cold Forged alloy" ... this is probably a stupid question but does that mean an aluminum alloy? I mean I am pretty sure all aluminum parts are an alloy of some type since they are stronger than aluminum foil, but are there better and worse alloys? Anybody have any problems with Nitto stems freezing in their steel frames? I would really like to go a couple of years, maybe even the rest of my life without having to deal with a frozen stem.

Thanks...
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Old 11-09-07, 01:08 PM   #2
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It is unusual (even unheard of?) for a greased stem to stick after a short period of time. So, I would not be afraid of it happening again if you properly grease it.

I wonder if there was not some other problem going on? Overtightened the stem bolt and bulged out the steerer and then got the wedge caught in that bulge? Really, really crust old stem and/or steering tube? Wrong size stem? (I don't think this is actually possible, but...) A superloose headset that allowed the stem to wallow around and deform the steering tube ?

Stems seldom give me any serious problems compared to a seatpost.

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Old 11-09-07, 01:11 PM   #3
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Grease, and don't go crazy tightening down the stem bolt. I have mine set so that when I imobilize the front wheel, I can get the bars to move by applying moderate twisting force tothe bars. This is all you need.

It has the added advantage that when you crash, the bars twist rather than dent or crack you top tube.
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Old 11-09-07, 01:40 PM   #4
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Never had that problem. I don't say that the "syndrome" never happens, but I don't see it as being common.
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Old 11-09-07, 03:38 PM   #5
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Cheaper stems that may not be anodized, but simply polished, these could oxidize and become stuck IF it wasn't prepped before installation, and if the the bike was subjected to harsh conditions.
Sometimes, it's not the Al, but the steel wedges that are the culprit.

I've never come across stuck stems so drastic it required the ammonia or hacksaw solution.
None of my personal bikes have ever suffered a stuck stem or seatpost.
What a lot of people don't do is inspect and clean the steerer tube and seat tube mating surfaces before stem and seatpost install. Make sure it's dirt and rust free (steel bikes).
Then coat the surfaces with anti-seize compound. Grease is a substitute, but a poor one IMO.

I assume your original stem is beaten to death and looks it, therefore you want a new one. If it's fine, you can re-use it. Otherwise, Nitto is top of the line stuff. Some of the highest quality stems in the industry.

Just remember, anywhere there is dissimilar metals contact, or stainless steel-stainless steel contact, an anti-seize compound is necessary to prevent galling and anodic corrosion.

http://www.permatex.com/products/aut...ubricant_a.htm

Last edited by WNG; 11-09-07 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 11-09-07, 04:01 PM   #6
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^^^ Nitto is excellent quality, but does the OP really need a Nitto stem? If all he/she wants is avoid the stem being stuck, he/she can take precautions (I like to grease it a bit before inserting it), but a Nitto is maybe an overkill.

Last edited by wroomwroomoops; 11-09-07 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 11-09-07, 04:52 PM   #7
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Nitto may be overkill for the OP, but he did post looking at the cheaper stems...so he considers Nitto cheap $$ stems.
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Old 11-09-07, 05:33 PM   #8
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I don't think any stem is going to solve your problem. Only grease cures the frozen stem. Aluminum is aluminum.
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Old 11-09-07, 07:43 PM   #9
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I don't think Nitto stems are really that expensive. I just sold three on eBay, and the most expensive one went for $20.50. As long as the OP sticks with a decent brand and not some 20 year old, rusted SR, and he greases it before insertion, he should be ok.

Last edited by bonechilling; 11-09-07 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 11-09-07, 07:44 PM   #10
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You're asking the wrong question.

Grease your stems and it'll be fine.
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Old 11-09-07, 07:55 PM   #11
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You're asking the wrong question.

Grease your stems and it'll be fine.
+1. It isn't the make of stem it's the installation procedure (plenty of grease) and an occasional removal, cleaning and regreasing that will prevent the problem. A steel stem will corrode and freeze too if it's not greased and occasionally regreased.

I suppose a Ti stem in a carbon steerer would be immune to sticking but that's an expensive way to prevent a simple problem.
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Old 11-09-07, 08:13 PM   #12
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I suppose a Ti stem in a carbon steerer would be immune to sticking but that's an expensive way to prevent a simple problem.
A threadless Ti stem?
In a carbon frame?

Do you really see that scenario happening?


EDIT: what I mean is, I really don't think threadless Ti stems exist. And I don't think anyone with a carbon frame would install a threadless headset and stem. For various reasons, the most pressing one is... side pressure on the steerer tube. I don't think cf would look favourably on such "stimulation".
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Old 11-09-07, 08:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops View Post
A threadless Ti stem?
In a carbon frame?

Do you really see that scenario happening?
Of course not, I was just using it as an illustration of a seizure-proof system.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops View Post
EDIT: what I mean is, I really don't think threadless Ti stems exist. And I don't think anyone with a carbon frame would install a threadless headset and stem. For various reasons, the most pressing one is... side pressure on the steerer tube. I don't think cf would look favourably on such "stimulation".
Threadless headsets and stems are the norm on carbon frames and forks. Did you mean threaded?
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Old 11-09-07, 08:31 PM   #14
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http://cgi.ebay.com/DEAN-TITANIUM-MO...QQcmdZViewItem

Not for the OP, just an example of a threaded ti stem.

Last edited by well biked; 11-10-07 at 08:03 AM.
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