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Old 08-27-12, 02:06 PM   #1
treadtread
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What is this stem?

Just saw this:


What is this stem? The craigslist ad said "softrider" front suspension, but the fork doesn't have a suspension. Is this stem the suspension? How well does this sort of thing work?
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Old 08-27-12, 02:11 PM   #2
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Ok, so I'm answering my own question after some basic googling

It is a suspension stem. So how well does this work? This is the first example I have seen "in the wild", and even that is just a photo of a bike in Berkeley.
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Old 08-27-12, 02:18 PM   #3
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That is correct. It is a suspension stem. The for center bolts work on a cantelever with either bushings or a spring. I have an old school one I'm using on a metro bike. This one looks much more heavy duty but I have no idea how well it works off road.
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Old 08-27-12, 06:55 PM   #4
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Got one just like it on my wife's old Bridgestone mountain bike. It's probably 15 years old or so--I don't remember if it was before suspension forks or a less expensive alternative after they were introduced. I rode with it on my old rigid MB for awhile, and it didn't seem particularly effective. The theory is fine, but in practice, I learned to ride off road long before suspensions came along, and I don't put much weight on my hands anyway (same with suspension seatposts, btw--I can't remember not to stand up over bumps, so they don't do me much good). Might work better for somebody who learned with suspension and just sits and pedals.
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Old 08-28-12, 09:17 PM   #5
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Similar to the Girvin FlexStem which also predated suspension forks. Cheap by the time I tried one in the mid-90's on my C-Dale hybrid.
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Old 08-28-12, 09:47 PM   #6
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The model pictured was the Softride Frankenstem (I think). You will notice that it has a parallelogram design so the bars don't change their angle as the stem flexes. This was about the cream of the crop in suspension stems. I had an older steel version and it was the bee's knees, IMHO. Until about the third generation of suspension forks came out (RockShox Judy) I think the stem was actually a better way to go.

Thomas Frishknecht (sp?) won a bunch of world cup races using one, I believe... but that doesn't prove anything, other than that they were not a complete hindrance.
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