Reviews / Stems
“A stem is a stem” I often hear muttered from the mouths of even the most seasoned mountain biker, and I guess for a large percentage of the market, this could be true. Two pinch bolts on the steerer and four holding your bars firmly in place on the front (hopefully).
Every now and then a product comes along that makes you take a second look, The Joystick Builder Stem, in my opinion, is most definitely one of those. It stands out from the crowd, with its sleek design, all in black, only broken by the subtle, sharp white logo placement on the side. There is a definite lack of material in this stem, but the engineering is evident just at a glance, and the claims that it is “light enough for your race bike and strong enough for freeriding” I think have been justly tested. The guys at Joystick have chosen a team that are willing to send it big, so I'm confident it can handle pretty much anything I'm capable of.
With the 50mm model coming in at 150g, this is a strong contender in the weight stakes, and as for strength, I may not be the chunkiest of riders, but most people would vouch for the fact I don't give components an easy life. At present the stem is at five months and going strong, paintwork included.
The Builder Stem uses the Joystick controlled clamping system, providing a larger clamping area. This not only adds to a secure bar set up, but is an ideal alloy or carbon interface. In essence the bars clip into the face plate which then bolts down onto the top two bolts on the stem body. The bottom two bolts then provide the tension to hold the bars tight. This eliminates the need to even out the four bolts when tightening, and the fact the bars are, admittedly lightly, but still, held in place makes it really simple to align and set your bars to the preferred roll then clamp down the bottom two bolts to the recommended torque.
When testing the stem I was running a set of 8Bit Alloy bars, also from Joystick, which have a neat little logo graphic and markers printed on the centre that aligns perfectly with the cutouts at the front of the stem. One of the most intuitive setup procedures I've come across, for one of the tasks that really infuriates me most.
I ran the 35mm length, 31.8mm clamp model of the stem, but it also comes in a 65mm and 50mm and 35mm options, so you can enjoy the intuitive set up and engineered styling, whatever setup you run. With a 40mm stack and 0 degree rise it's a reasonably neutral stem on that front. It really is simply a matter of choosing your length, probably ordering the matching bars, and enjoying being part of the Joystick Ride!
For more information visit Joystick.
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Dan, Joe and Edgar