Older I get, Better I was
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Greenfield Lake, Wilmington NC
Bikes: '14 BD Lurch Fatbike, '10 custom road,'06 custom expedition, '94 Yokota Tandem, '88 custom MTB
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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