The Best of the 50mm Stems | Selecta

What can you say about a stem? It’s a bit of metal that fixes your bars to your forks. To be fair though there is a bit more to stem than that. Perhaps first and foremost the length of a stem can play a big part in the way your bike handles…

From Dirt Issue 120 – February 2012

Words by Ed H. Photos by Ed H.

Over the years we’ve come to love the good old 50mm stem and any test bike that comes into the Dirt office immediately gets fitted with one. On very rare occasions we might feel the need for something a smidgen longer or shorter, but like I said it’s rare so that’s why we’ve decided to show you our favourite offerings in that length. Of course not everyone has the same taste and so we’ve also listed the other sizes that the stems are available in, but if you’ve never tried a 50mm then maybe it’s time you did…

Aside from length the other critical things that you want to get right with a stem are stiffness/strength (especially important in these days of super wide bars), angle, and if you haven’t got much steerer tube to play with you might also want to keep a close eye on stack height. The quality of the bar clamp is also especially important if you want to run carbon bars. Designs that run one side of the face plate flush with the rest of the stem are particularly good at avoiding undue stresses, but in general you want nicely finished smooth edges. Talking of bar clamps, it seems that it’s now harder than ever to find a stem to fit old skool ‘skinny’ bars, so if that’s what you want you might just have to settle with what you can find. Oh, and finally, like pretty much any other bike part weight and looks definitely have a part to play…especially when after all it’s just something to hold a pair of bars.>>


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