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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 08-07-06, 07:52 PM   #1
squeakywheel
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cromo vs aluminum stems

I have several stems. Older ones are closed face aluminum ones. One is a light weight cromo steel one I harvested last year from the LBS clearance table. It's lighter than the old aluminum ones, but seems to flex more. Latest aquisition is an open faced aluminum one. It's the kind with two bolts and lets you swap out the stem without removing the bar tape and brake levers. Haven't used that one yet. Oh, and my old MTB had an imoveable steel stem that weighed a ton.

Can someone enlighten me on the intended purpose of these stems and the relative trade-offs. My limitted experience indicates these categories:

Heavy aluminum or steel stems are cheap.

Thin walled chromo stems are light, but flex.

Lighter aluminum stems are stiff, but expensive.

I'm just inviting general comment on stem materials and their relative merits. Who would want a light stem? Who would want a heavy but stiff one?
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Old 08-07-06, 07:59 PM   #2
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is the nitto steel jaguar stem worth the premium?
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Old 08-07-06, 08:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sers
is the nitto steel jaguar stem worth the premium?
I don't know. Mine is a "z-stem" brand I got for $10 off the clearance table. I was pretty happy with it until a couple weeks ago when the bars came loose during my commute for no apparent reason. I have since tightenned it up and it's doing fine again. Those bars are on my SS road bike conversion with 48x17 gearing. It is rocking moustache bars. I think that the flex in the stem combined with climbing hills in the relatively tall gear loosened the bolt. You know...flex left...flex right...equals a potential loosening action. Probably would have been fine on a geared bike with narrower handlebars.
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Old 08-08-06, 07:06 AM   #4
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aluminum doesn't rust in the rain. i've never worried too much about stem weight, but flex really gets on my nerves.
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Old 08-08-06, 07:28 AM   #5
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I've got all kinds of stems. Chromo, or aluminum, quill or threadless they all do a good job of attaching my bars to my fork.
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Old 08-08-06, 07:36 AM   #6
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I got that alum Jag w/ steel bars and that set up is stiff.
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Old 08-08-06, 07:56 AM   #7
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I got that alum Jag w/ steel bars and that set up is stiff.
[cynicism]

It's also the cheapest way to get meet your NJS quotient, which is why so many people use that combo. Don't forget to just put grips next to your stem.

[/cynicism]
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Old 08-08-06, 08:06 AM   #8
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It's also the cheapest way to get meet your NJS quotient...
Actually an $8 DA lockring is the cheapest way I know to meet the NJS quotient.
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Old 08-08-06, 08:09 AM   #9
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Actually an $8 DA lockring is the cheapest way I know to meet the NJS quotient.
Sorry, NJS "bling" quotient.
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Old 08-08-06, 08:16 AM   #10
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I have a Nitto Technomic (26.0) stem, but it won't allow my new Cinelli Altera handlebars to fit through! Won't get through that last bend without crazy force that i'm not willing to apply. Could I solve this by maybe getting a stem with 26.4 fitting and then using a shim? If I can't get a quill stem to work with the Cinelli Altera, I guess I need to find another ergo bar...these Nitto B-123s suck with the over-the-top grip position.
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Old 08-08-06, 08:27 AM   #11
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i have the steel steel nitto combo and it is sweet. stiff but not vibration-numbness rigid.

i like peeing try 125s. track shape but shorter drop


Last edited by eddiebrannan; 08-08-06 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 08-08-06, 09:18 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by I Like Peeing
I have a Nitto Technomic (26.0) stem, but it won't allow my new Cinelli Altera handlebars to fit through! Won't get through that last bend without crazy force that i'm not willing to apply. Could I solve this by maybe getting a stem with 26.4 fitting and then using a shim? If I can't get a quill stem to work with the Cinelli Altera, I guess I need to find another ergo bar...these Nitto B-123s suck with the over-the-top grip position.
Good luck. There are very few ergo drops meant to work with older stems. Your best bet is to get a stem that opens rather then trying out different bars... something like and ITM 800. Anything really ergo will probably have too sharp of bends to fit through a non-opening stem. Alternatively you could get something less ergo and older off ebay.
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Old 08-08-06, 09:33 PM   #13
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The steel Jaguar stem is a lot stiffer than the aluminum version, plus you can get it in a 65 degree drop in addition to the 58 degree drop (which is the only one the aluminum one comes in). The alloy one just doesn't compare. The quality of the cromo is so high that mine have never rusted despite lots of sweat and heavy use. It looks and acts like stainless steel. Yes, it's twice as expensive, but it's definitely worth it. I'd be selective about less expensive steel stems -- the fillet brazed threadless Nitto cromo stem is superbly stiff, as are the steel Salsa's. Otherwise, I'd generally go for the quality if you really need it.
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