I'm curious and I'd like to try one, but since these two are very different - threaded (quill) vs. threadless, extension, rise, and suspension type - I thought maybe someone has some experience with one of these or another type. Any information about your experience is appreciated!
yeah, I had 2 or 3 suspension stems over the years. I had a Softride, and I had
a CNC machined beauty that I put on Sis' bike. I forget the name.
Avoid that one at Nashbar. As it goes down it also goes forward. Not good. That can help throw you over the bars. The other one is a parallelogram and is much better. They drop straight down when you hit a bump; which takes some getting used to at first.
They work, they weigh a pound or more. They cost a lot less than they used to.
My best one had a list of $350. Of course years and years later it still works.
I am a bit surprised you feel the need of one on a tourer.
a bunch of them, most made by me, a couple made by others
The old Girvin flex stems work very much like the Nashbar stem. I have two Girvins , one on my touring bike and the other on a rigid mtb. The legendary getting-flipped over the bars-because-they-rotate I have never seen nor heard of happening to any one. First of all they don't have much travel, at best 3/4 of an inch. Secondly the amount of rotation in the handlebar is at most 3-5 degrees. I don't recall ever noticing it, and after 15 years they both still work good.
The Softride stem works much better as off road suspension because it has more travel and a damped return. But for rough roads and dirt trail use the Girvin soaks up the frost heaves and washboard well enough to keep me in the saddle on 100 mile or more days.
If your touring is all paved road I agree there isn't much benefit to a flex/suspension stem.
Problem with the Nashbar stem is the stem reach is very short so be sure it matches your reach. Girvins usually sell on Ebay for $20-$25
I don't know what brand mine is - it has rubbed off after 15 years. It wasn't expensive - and it looks like it has less range than the Flexi or Girvin - just enough to take the edge off washboard dirt roads. And I've toured a lot of dirt - loaded down - over the last 15 years. I swear by it. Of course, last summer I had this little squeak that I thought was in my headset that drove me crazy - finally stopped in at a bike shop in Gunnison, Colo and they couldn't figure it out either until they decided it was the flex-stem.