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Handlebar Suspension Stems . . .

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Handlebar Suspension Stems . . .

Old 04-18-20, 03:29 PM
  #1  
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Handlebar Suspension Stems . . .

The latest big thing, i believe, for folk with dodgy wrists, elbows, etc. or those wanting a bit of comfort over the bumps we have to put up with.these days. Fat tyres may be a better option, but on a road bike?
The only one I've found to date worth considering is the Redshift Sports ShockStop Suspension Stem which is a tad pricey.
Like, half the price of my bike!
So, here I am asking if anyone here has experience o' this stuff! I just hate parting with money unnecessarily but it sounds like I might well appreciate this ride. Potholes abound the streets where I like to go. . . . . .Advice, guys please!
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Old 04-18-20, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
The latest big thing, i believe, for folk with dodgy wrists, elbows, etc. or those wanting a bit of comfort over the bumps we have to put up with.these days. Fat tyres may be a better option, but on a road bike?
The only one I've found to date worth considering is the Redshift Sports ShockStop Suspension Stem which is a tad pricey.
Like, half the price of my bike!
So, here I am asking if anyone here has experience o' this stuff! I just hate parting with money unnecessarily but it sounds like I might well appreciate this ride. Potholes abound the streets where I like to go. . . . . .Advice, guys please!
They have been around for quite a while so you should get some responses. Haven't had experience with them myself - I have a Specialized with futueshock and it works well, Other solutions are carbon bars an wider or more plush (higher tpi) tires. You don't need anything as drastic as fat-tire, but tires make a big difference.
What kind of bike do you have? What tires and wheels and tire clearance.
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Old 04-18-20, 07:42 PM
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I had one road bike that was hard riding on the front till I switched from the old Continental Ultra Sports to a Vittoria Rubino Pro. Before making the switch in tires, I'd wrapped foam pipe insulation on the bars. Quite comfy, looks like crap. <grin>

I've found that better tires in the upper price ranges that have less rolling resistance are just naturally more comfy riding tires. Of course the wider the tire, the better the ride too, if your bike can handle it.

I'd be skeptical of suspension stems, but who knows? Maybe users of them will chime in.

Depending on how long and what your goals are for riding, I might would keep that fat tire bike as an option. Or........ and many probably think I joking when I say this, but a beach cruiser type bike. Those for short rides are real comfy, IMO.
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Old 04-19-20, 02:52 AM
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My bike is a Halfords Carerra which I got 10 years ago when I retired. It now has those Frankenstien handlebars I put on for a better riding position, which got a laugh here, and work well. I have foam grips which, too are good considering my fourth finger is triggered. and doesn't like to bend too much. I also have a Gym seat cover which I use now on my road bike. I would highly recommend this cheap addition; it makes so much difference.
Tires are standard 700 by 25; 23 is probably more usual. It would take larger but not too much
I have ashopper with knobbly mountain bike wheels. Even when soft, you still feel thiose bumps uncomfortably; in that respect there's little difference.
Reviews, the few there are, are very positive. I shall think about it!
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Old 04-19-20, 09:08 AM
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The suspension stems from the past sucked - whether springs or the elastomer versions.
I think I still have a model from Softride with springs that squeak.
New models (i've seen) aren't designed much differently from those produced in the 90s.

On my mtb, bouncy bars gave a less than solid steering experience. Guess there was a reason they failed in the market.

just get fat tires. 28s or 30s soften a lot.
or get a bike with minimal suspension fork,
or ride slower,
or become an indoor cyclist = no bumps ever, what a great experience.
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Old 04-19-20, 12:31 PM
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I agree with Wildwood. Just get the fattest tires that will go on the bike. Unless you weigh less than 100 lbs, 23mm tires are ridiculous and 25mm will still be a hard ride. I weigh 185 and have either 32 or 28 mm tires on my road bike. Wider = more comfortable, lower rolling resistance, better grip in the corners, fewer pinch flats. Win, win, win, win. The only advantage to skinny tires is weight and in some cases aero (which is irrelevant at speeds under 20 mph).
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Old 04-20-20, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
The suspension stems from the past sucked - whether springs or the elastomer versions.
I think I still have a model from Softride with springs that squeak.
New models (i've seen) aren't designed much differently from those produced in the 90s.

On my mtb, bouncy bars gave a less than solid steering experience. Guess there was a reason they failed in the market.

just get fat tires. 28s or 30s soften a lot.
or get a bike with minimal suspension fork,
or ride slower,
or become an indoor cyclist = no bumps ever, what a great experience.
I like the bit on the end . . .dry wit is the best! Anyway, I thought about it; the price of the thing was such that I'd gladly risk a fatter tyre. I've been happy with the 25's; they're generally firm over the bumps like cars seem to be these days. But that was then, things are worse now. I got a 700x32 on its way. . . .Thx for the advice.
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Old 04-20-20, 04:46 AM
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I used a suspension stem way back when. It was OK compared to a rigid set up but it didn't add anything as it related to better control. IE steps or other obstacles.



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Old 04-20-20, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
I used a suspension stem way back when. It was OK compared to a rigid set up but it didn't add anything as it related to better control. IE steps or other obstacles.


That's identical to the one I still have. The elastomer one deteriorated rather quickly. Mine were for 1" headtubes and I have a sleeve for 1 1/8".
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Old 04-21-20, 06:49 AM
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I remember when the suspension stems came out, never owned one. Sounds like I didn't miss a lot. Be great if someone could develop one that worked well, and was reasonably priced.
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Old 04-25-20, 02:59 AM
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I too, had the Softride stem mounted to a mountain bike. It worked very well and did what it was intended to do, take the edge off the bumps. I only ride road now and no longer use a sus stem. Have arthritis in the wrists and elbows so I run 28mm Conti at 90psi along with Serfas gel pads under the bar tape. Must point out the frame is custom built for my body and this resolved a lot of the issues I was having in the wrists and back.
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Old 04-25-20, 04:06 AM
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Consider raising the handlebars, so there is less weight on your hands, wrists and elbows. I think this will give you a better result.

Raising the handlebars
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Old 04-25-20, 04:17 PM
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Besides fat low pressure tires, which don't fit all road bikes or indeed most road bikes, especially up front, there are a couple other things:

Carbon frame and fork. Not the biggest bang for the buck, but quite effective. There's a lot of variation between brands, worth testing a few on rough roads with same or similar tires and pressures. That last is important.

Light hands, a good bit of saddle to bar drop, and plenty of reach. This fix is almost free and makes the bike a whole lot more fun.
You want your saddle back far enough that you can be riding down the street on the hoods and briefly lift your hands off the bars without sliding forward on the saddle.
You want your bars at or below saddle height, measured with a level. 10cm is a nice amount of drop. That gives you an nice hinge at the hips which takes the sting out of big hits and lessens perceptible vibration at the head and shoulders.
You want enough reach that your upper arms make a ~90 angle with your straight torso. That's while looking in a mirror with your hands on the hoods and your forearms level. That, when added to the already light pressure on your hands, allows your hands to easily move up and down. One does still notice vibration, but it doesn't bother than hands or arms anymore.

The above is the traditional road fit which has been in use for over 100 years. It's not just because of wind resistance. It's also the most comfortable, which is the big reason for its almost universal adoption by recreational road riders.
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Old 04-25-20, 04:33 PM
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I used a Girvin Flextem for several years on a flatbar '94 Cannondale hybrid. Those stems were probably relics of the days when MTB's were unsuspended? Seemed to smooth things out a bit but don't remember what size tires I was using at the time. When I upgraded to a Novara Big Buzz hybrid in '03, I replaced the aluminum bars with CF bars, which was somewhat helpful.
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Old 04-26-20, 08:56 AM
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Op....do you wear a pair of quality padded gloves? Maybe a simple solution along with raising the handle bars a bit.
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Old 04-29-20, 07:44 PM
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My Trek Millennia came with some sort of stem suspension-intended gizmo. It was really interesting to look at. And liked loosening itself internally while I rode.

Tires, riding position and choosing one's line more judiciously are better options.
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Old 04-29-20, 08:34 PM
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I used a Girvin flex stem back in the early 90's, it worked before I got my Judy XC. It was kinda noodly... I have the Redshift, on my touring bike and I love it. It's a little portly, but my bike weighs 60lbs+ full loaded so, not a great concern. Best bag for your buck I've seen.
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Old 04-30-20, 08:07 AM
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Thanks guys. I just fitteda 32 tyre so I'll try that out. The Redshift sounds good . . . .it's handy having someone here to confirm the reviews.
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Old 05-04-20, 01:55 PM
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I have a Redshift Shocktop stem on a road bike and like it. Feels a little odd at first but you quickly get used to it. Not a lot of travel, just enough to take some edge off the bumps. Also somewhat tuneable with different elastomer inserts. There are some review videos on YouTube and a thread about these on BF from last year. Redshift Shockstop Stem first impressions

Last edited by alandmor; 05-04-20 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 05-04-20, 02:13 PM
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I have the Redshift Stopshox stem and seat-post on my touring bike, and I also have 700C x 55mm Antelope Pass tires.


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Old 05-10-20, 02:03 AM
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A gel seat cover and you've cracked it! Most comfortable Bike Award, 2020. Guess where it's pinned . . . .
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