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The Best Mountain Bike Stems to Improve Your Riding Experience

best mountain bike stems

The function of a bike stem may be simple, but it also has a modest effect on the bicycle’s performance. That’s why it is crucial to keep a bike stem tightly attached to the bike for comfort and safety.

However, choosing the right stem that goes well with the bicycle can be a challenge. There are a lot of prevailing stems with different factors to evaluate first, like the following.

  • Stiffness: Believe me or not, a bicycle’s stiffness can hugely affect the ride experience. The best mountain bike stems have an instant connection between the rider and the bike thanks to efficient power transmission and receptive handling caused by the right stiffness. So, it’s crucial to have the correct stiffness in areas like the bottom bracket, head tube, and fork.
  • Bar diameter: It is important to note that a remotely new MTB usually comes with a 31.8mm handlebar hold diameter. Previous models come with a diameter size of 25.4mm, which is way smaller than the present diameter.To ensure a precise total bar diameter, measure it using a tape measure. This will guarantee an easy and accurate way of determining the handlebar clamp diameter. There is a new standard for clamp diameter in the market, which is 35mm.
  • Length: Remember that a bike stem’s specified length does not equate to its whole distance. The total span starts from front to back. It is measured starting from the center of the headset top bolt to the handlebar’s mid.Length is also vital because it rules out the bike’s reach. From the tube length, saddle bar placement, and the bike stem’s angle. It is an essential factor in mountain bikes because it hugely affects comfort and control.

Stay tuned as I introduce to you the different stems that will transform your biking experience. I also included a complete “Buying Guide” that helps you understand how critical these factors are.

short-mtb-stem

Best Mountain Bike Stem Reviews

1. Wake 45mm Mountain Bike Stem

There are several remarkable features that the Wake mountain bike stem has to offer, and here’s my verdict on this well-made product.

This mountain bike stem only weighs 130 grams, so we won’t tire out our arms from maneuvering this item even for a long time. I can enjoy a good trip with excellent control with its handlebar diameter of 31.8 mm and a steerer diameter of 28.6 mm.

It is a universal short mtb stem, a feature that I find handy because I can use it on any of my adventures. My brother can even attach this stem to his trail bikes, so I can attest to how versatile it is.

This 6061 T6 Aluminum alloy bike stem is my fave. Such alloy is known for its good formability and malleability. I am a busy person, so I prefer to do things in a quick and easy way. Luckily, this one only needs a direct mount to the front stem quickly as it comes with a four-bolt bar clamp that secures the stem position.

 Heads-up:  I can even modify and upgrade my bike because this stem is very convenient to assemble. However, I noticed that the clamping area on its steerer clamp and tube is shorter than other products I tried. Not to worry though, we can always assemble it accurately by buying additional spacers.

 What We Liked: 
  • Lightweight stem (130 grams) riser for mountain bike
  • Easy to maneuver with 31.8 handlebar and a 28.6 mm steerer diameter
  • Universal mountain bike stem for various outdoor cycling.
  • Very malleable due to 6061 T6 Aluminum alloy
  • Easy to mount with a four-bolt bar clamp
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Steerer tubes’ clamping area is shorter than other prevailing stems
 Bottom Line:  Everything about this bike stem is solid, snug, yet lightweight and versatile. I really appreciate how I have no trouble with securing this stem to my bike.

2. FOMTOR MTB Handlebar Stem Riser

Find out all the incredible features of this mtb handlebar stem and know why it’s one of the bestsellers many bikers, including me, appreciate.

This bike stem perfectly fits my liking. Its handlebar diameter of 25.4 mm and forward branch stem diameter of 28.6 mm gives me excellent control throughout the trip. This item is also longer than a 50mm mtb stem because its length is 60 mm from the middle distance of its two holes. What an incredible reach indeed!

We can also adjust its angle for + or – 35 degrees, allowing us to turn the handlebar’s height up or down depending on what makes us comfortable.

When I travel using my bike, I want everything to be lightweight. And that includes the components of my bicycle. Thankfully, this mountain bike handlebar stem only weighs 106 grams.

 Heads-up:  I love to use this bike stem for most of my road trip adventures because of its versatility. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that this bike stem is only ideal for a 25.4 mm handlebar. So, anyone who plans on getting this should thoroughly and accurately measure their handlebar diameter first.

 What We Liked: 
  • Gives excellent control with just the right bar and stem diameter
  • Offers incredible reach with a length of 60 mm
  • Adjustable angles of + or – 35 degrees that fit your comfort.
  • One of the lightest mtb stem as it only weighs 106 grams
  • Universal and versatile bike stem, ideal for all road trip adventures
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Bike stem is only ideal for 25.4 mm handlebars
 Bottom Line:  I love how I can enjoy my adventures with this bike stem because it makes me comfortable throughout the ride.

3. Wake Short Adjustable Handlebar Stem

It is not exaggerating to crown this mountain bike stem riser as one of the best in the market. It’s indeed one of my favorite choices for my mountain bike.

With a steerer tube diameter of 28.6 mm and a handlebar diameter of 31.8 mm, I can quickly install this one on my bicycle with no worries. All we have to do is plug and connect the bike stem’s front fork, and we are good to go.

Enjoy pain-free riding with the proper riding position thanks to its 110 mm length, which is the perfect size for long-term riding style because it’s not too long or short. I also love its hollow design that comes with four nut bar clamps, ensuring that the bar is held tightly in place for optimum safety.

I can’t ask for more because this bike stem is universal. We can even adjust its angle for up to 60 degrees. This design will give us the proper inclination that we need to avoid tiring out our arms.

 Heads-up:  This high-intensity bike stem can withstand all outdoor adventures, no matter how fast you go down the road. However, I noticed that it is slightly heavier than others on the list because it weighs 290 grams. But for people who prefer it that way, this bike stem should have no issues.

 What We Liked: 
  • Has a steerer tube diameter of 28.6 mm & a handlebar diameter of 31.8 mm
  • Easy to install, only plug and connect
  • Has the right length of 110 mm to avoid ride pains
  • Four-bar clamps ensure a snug and secure installation
  • Adjustable angle up to 60 degrees
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Heavier than other bike stems as it weighs 290 grams.
 Bottom Line:  With all those remarkable features, I can say that I never regret trying this bike stem for my everyday journey.

4. FOMTOR 31.8 MTB Bike Stem

FOMTOR has served us with excellent mtb stems for years. They are known in the market for providing bike stems with reliable functions.

I am so happy that FOMTOR made this mtb stem 31.8 mm in handlebar diameter and 28.6 mm in stem diameter because it exactly fits my liking. It has a mountain bike stem length of 70 mm, perfect for people with a shorter reach like me.

My brother and I take turns using it, especially when we go for long rides across the country. It offers good versatility that makes it suitable for most bike types such as MTBs, track bikes, BMX, and more.

We can even adjust its angle for + or – 35 degrees, helping us easily control the height of the handlebar in vertical directions.

And the robust build can keep up with our adventures anywhere, whether we are on the highway or in the rocky terrains. What makes this possible is the high-strength 6061 T6 Aluminum alloy, a strong material that handles shock and impact well.

 Heads-up:  However, it is a bit chunky and hefty compared to other bike stems. This one can add some weight to our bicycle.

 What We Liked: 
  • Has standard diameters of 31.8 mm and 28.6 in handlebar and stem
  • Short length of 70 mm; ideal for people with a shorter reach
  • Very versatile and compatible with MTB, BMX, track bikes, etc
  • Adjustable angle for + or – 35 degrees
  • Robust bike stem thanks to 6061 T6 Aluminum alloy
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Bit chunky and hefty, which adds weight to our bicycle
 Bottom Line:  It is an excellent value for my money. I never regret buying this bike stem from FOMTOR because it lasted years.

5. Bavel FBA_dms1400013_1 Mountain Bike Stem

This next sleek entry is ideal for anyone looking for a super affordable upgrade option. The Bavel’s Aluminum Alloy fits the shoe, as it is jam-packed with incredible features!

I cherish the quality of this new mountain bike stem that left me in awe right at the beginning. This short mountain bike stem with a length of 35 mm is suitable for several bike types like road bikes and fixed gear bikes.

Like most bike stems, this one is made with high-quality Aluminum alloy material, the 6061 Aluminum. When I bought mine, I knew I could rest easy because such quality material is known for its excellent durability. It makes the product last for years, even with continuous use.

This stem comes with a handlebar diameter of 31.8 mm and a front fork span of 28.6 mm. These measurements keep me worry-free on the road. Add to that the black finish that gives off a classy vibe that perfectly blends with any bicycle.

 Heads-up:  One thing to remember when using this bike stem body is the need for grease. I always lubricate all contact points to ensure that every part of it is tightly torqued to the spec. This gives me excellent control throughout the trip, helping me stay comfortable no matter how long my rides are.

 What We Liked: 
  • Short mountain bike stem (35 mm) ideal for different bike types
  • Made of high-quality 6061 Aluminum alloy material for optimum durability
  • Measurements for easy rides: 31.8 mm handlebar & a 28.6 mm front fork span
  • Black classic finish that blends with any bike styles
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Needs constant lubrication to all contact points.
 Bottom Line:  Overall, it’s a good investment for my bicycle. It also lasted longer than I expected, so I am pleased with it.

6. Wake Short Handlebar Mountain Bike Stem

Wake never fails to wow me with the best mtb stem in the market. Check out why I consider this model a good buy for bike enthusiasts.

With a handlebar diameter of 25.4 mm, it offers more comfort than what a 35mm mtb stem can offer. The sole reason is we can have more control with the proper reach it provides.

Furthermore, the bike stem also weighs 150 grams, not too heavy and not too light. This weight is a perfect choice for me because I don’t quickly tire using this bike stem.

What I like most about this bike stem is the easy installation. Wake is known for this plug and ride feature, where I only have to connect the original fork stem and start my journey.

It also comes with four nut bar clamps which hold the bike bar in the right place. Thus, the bars secure the placement of our bar to keep us cruising on the road with incredible grip and control. Plus, the Aluminum alloy material keeps it road-ready anytime and anywhere.

 Heads-up:  This bike stem comes with huge compatibility that it can fit different types of bicycles. From gear bikes to downhill bikes, I know I can count on it. I just wish they coated the Aluminum evenly because the nicks on the black coating expose some of the metal underneath.

 What We Liked: 
  • Gives more control with a proper reach from 25.4 mm handlebar
  • Just the right mountain bike stem weight of 150 grams
  • Convenient to assemble: plug and ride feature
  • Has four clamps that secure the bike bar in place
  • Aluminum alloy construction is durable enough for any weather
  • Fits different bikes from gear to downhill bikes
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Not evenly coated as some Aluminum was exposed underneath
 Bottom Line:  One of my favorite options when choosing for a bike stem that can go a long way. Definitely worth my money!

7. FUREEY Mountain Bike Stem

It may be the first time you heard of this brand in this review, but this unique product outweighs almost all bike stems in the market.

Unlike a 35mm stem with rise, this one only comes with a handlebar diameter of 31.8 mm and a tube diameter of 28.6 mm, which is way more compact than a hussefelt stem. Plus, the measurements assure me a comfortable right that would not tire out my arms.

The reach is also incredible. This 50 mm mountain bike stem weighing 200 grams can give us the correct posture to maintain comfort, no matter where we go and how long we travel. The CNC-machined 7075 Aluminum Alloy offers strength like no other, enduring rough trail rides and leaving without a single bump or damage.

This universal short stem is compatible with most types of mountain bikes. I really appreciate this lightweight item with just the right mtb stem length, because it easily conforms to my reach. This feature is very crucial for me because I prioritize comfort above all else.

 Heads-up:  For a boosted comfort, it comes with an interlocking U-shaped clamp. This clamp thoroughly transfers body load into the bike and not to the bolts. To ensure a smooth ride, we have to ensure that we tighten all the bolts because they freely slip if we do not torque them well.

 What We Liked: 
  • Smaller diameters make the product more compact and handy
  • Guarantees comfort thanks to the smaller measurements
  • Gives incredible reach with a 50mm length bike stem
  • Made of CNC-machined 7075 Aluminum Alloy for an out-of-this-world strength
  • Universal bike stem; compatible with most mountain bike types
  • A lightweight bike stem
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Bolts must be tightened securely because it slips easily if not
 Bottom Line:  Overall, this bike stem works as advertised, and it is jam-packed with unique features that I find handy.

8. RaceFace SM4080-P Chester Mountain Bike Stem

Another reliable brand that manufactures excellent bike stems is Race Face. Check out a few reasons why Raceface mountain bike stem is one of the favorites.

Made available 9 years ago, this bike stem was continuously manufactured as it offers comfort and satisfaction that customers always look for. The 2014 alloy is exquisitely built and blasted to ensure extreme toughness and stress resistance.

It comes with a reasonable weight and a 31.8 mm clamp. This bar has four bolt bar clamps that secure the bike bar to our bicycle. Boosted with the U-shaped handlebar clamp, it makes the installation secure. Because of this feature, I can stay cozy and pain-free because my weight gets transferred to the body and not to the bike nuts.

The Chester stem is practical for me. It is equipped with large bold graphics that go along with the remarkable bomb-proof toughness that RaceFace is known for. It’s ideal for my outdoor adventures.

 Heads-up:  There’s nothing much to complain about this product. It’s a great buddy for long rides and cross country race stem. One downside I noticed is that this bicycle stem is a little on the hefty side. It requires a reasonable amount of strength when I use this one, but I’m always up for the challenge.

 What We Liked: 
  • Guarantees comfort and satisfaction due to incredible quality
  • Interlocks well thanks to its U-shaped handlebar clamp
  • Offers comfort due to the weight transfer from our body to the bike
  • Equipped with large bold graphics with bomb-proof toughness
  • Ideal for outdoor adventures and long rides, especially cross-country trips
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • A bit on the heavy side, thus requiring reasonable amount of strength upon use
 Bottom Line:  All in all, this bicycle stem allows me to boost through big airs, acing the road with no worries because it can take a great beating.

9. Funnduro FN-HS17DR045G00-01 MTB Stem

This bike stem from Funnduro will bring riders fun on any road adventure with all its handy features.

Fundduro has two options for cyclists to choose between a 31.8mm and a 35mm mountain bike stem, depending on which one suits the taste. But for this review, we will focus on the 31.8mm diameter, which is accurately engineered to withstand rough trails. This feature makes this enduro stem ideal for downhill rides.

I was also able to enjoy a comfortable trip anywhere, thanks to the high-quality AL6061. This material is known for being featherweight and sturdy. It’s even tough enough to keep up with harsh winds throughout our trip, including other severe weather conditions we could think of.

This bike stem perfectly matches my style and my taste. It comes in a wide variety of colors that blends well with my bicycle. It boosts my look on the road, which gives off a classy look that captivates other bikers I encountered on my trip.

 Heads-up:  Since I mentioned that this is a 31.8 mm diameter, it’s best to ensure that our bike is compatible with the diameter of this bike stem. It will help us make our buy risk-free and save us from regrets by having a not so well-fitted bike stem.

 What We Liked: 
  • Available in 31.8mm and a 35mm dimensions
  • Accurately engineered to endure rough trails
  • Ideal for rough trails such as downhill and enduro riders
  • Durable stem and lightweight due to the AL6061 material
  • Available in different color varieties that blend with bike’s colors
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Always ensure that our bicycle fits this bike stem’s diameter
 Bottom Line:  It’s a worthy bike, and I never regret buying it. Mine lasted for years and kept me look classy when hitting the road.

10. Sanzhi Short Handlebar Mountain Bike Stem

The last bike stem I’m about to introduce is manufactured by Sanzhi, a well-known brand that is also the consumers’ favorite.

I love the easy installation that this bike stem promotes, which is made possible due to the 4-screw bar clamp bolts that secure my bike in place. All I have to do is to connect the original fork stem and tighten the bolts.

This bike stem is also adjustable from zero to sixty degrees, giving me great control to manage its angle well. For bikers who love to go on rough trails and rocky roads, know that this item is built with highly durable CNC-machined T6 Aluminum that can withstand all harsh conditions in that area.

We can put this bike stem in a position that eases our pain. This way, we will never have to worry about back pains, shoulder pains, and arm strains. Proper placement also allows us to sit down in a more upright position. This handlebar fits almost all bike types.

 Heads-up:  One downside is the short length of this handlebar, which is way smaller than my stock item. It may be up to our preference whether we like short or long handlebars, but I prefer lengthy ones. However, this concern was easily solved as I carefully installed one extra shim that boosted its length.

 What We Liked: 
  • Guarantees easy installation due to 4-screw bar clamp area
  • Adjustable angle from 0 to 60 degrees
  • Built with highly durable Aluminum material that can withstand rough trails
  • Adjustable stem position to provide comfort when riding
  • Fits almost all bike types
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Shorter stem than other mountain bike stems
 Bottom Line:  Overall, this bike stem is indeed a good investment. All the features are as advertised, and it was built to last.

What to Look for When Buying Mountain Bike Stems

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Aside from the factors mentioned before, there are still various features to add to the list. Know them below.

The length is number one. Should a biker get a 40mm mtb stem or go for shorter stems? They say that bikers should get the shortest one they could think of. But truth be told, it is not that simple.

Short stems affect the bike’s quicker handling characteristics, and people might not have enough reach, resulting in discomfort.

The discomfort stems from cramped areas that are at risk of wandering climbing. It’s crucial to note that the bicycle’s highest tube length will dictate the right shortness to consider. This will avoid negative stem mtb that will waste the biker’s money.

The next thing to consider is the stem rise. Bike stems are available in different numbers of rising, such as the angle of the bike stem’s frame. Since bike stems become shorter over time, the rise does not make much of a change to its bar elevation anymore.

In mountain biking, the frontal end handlebar height becomes more dictated by the bike’s handlebars. So, if a biker prefers a more elevated front end, they will need bike bars that have more rise to them. If a biker prefers a lesser/lower front edge, they can try out flat bars and see if they like it.

The degree can also be confusing. Starters may get confused on the right angle, but the safe range to start the stem placement is around five to six degrees. But if the user considers a bike stem way smaller than 70 mm, then it is better to start a zero degree stem. A zero-degree bike stem offers neutral placement of the bar clamp part with the right end.

Next is the construction. Most bike stems are made from Aluminum, but there is also a carbon mtb stem. Steel is used for very cheap mountain bikes. Titanium, including Titanium bolts are for stylish bikers, especially in the 1990s. Lastly, carbon fiber is preferred for people who do not mind spending a bit of money.

It is vital to know that CNC-machined Aluminum bike stems are pricier than forged and welded ones. CNC-machined is also way stiffer than the latter. That is the reason why most bikers take their time to look for a CNC’ed Aluminum bike stem because the money becomes worth it.

Clamp design is also a crucial factor to consider. Note that a bike stem comes with two clamps: a handlebar clamp for the front part and a fork steerer at the back section.

Most bike stems use a design with four bolts for the front clamp. And there are two bolts for the faceplate structures, which are more traditional but are sturdier, stiffer, and less likely to produce a creaking sound.

The back clamp is where the bike stem goes into the fork steerer. Bikers usually notice a bit of variation in a clamp’s style and design. However, most of the clamps use a dual-bolt structure.

There are also a few DH stems that have one big bolt behind. While some longer XC bike stems have a wedge design where the nut was placed in the bike stem’s body or in the front area of the fork steerer.

It is always a good practice to search out for a bike stem with no back clamp nut heads that goes too far off. These clamp heads usually hurt and injure the biker’s knees when he crashes. That is why looking for a decent stem design is crucial. Search for cowled or smooth-edged bolt heading styles.

What is the Best Mountain Bike Stem Length

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Although this answer depends on the biker itself, there are still many factors to consider what works best for them. In this part, there will be a thorough discussion on a biker’s preference that will eventually affect their desired bike stem length.

For bikers with a short and tiny top tube, it is not advisable to put a short bike stem because it will probably result in poor handling and steering response. Bikers will feel that they rode a bicycle that’s way smaller than their body, which may seem unable to support their weight.

If bikers pursue a small total bike stem, they may have difficulties working on the terrain. This will result in being unbalanced as they will focus on sitting upright, that it starts to get uncomfortable, especially in the long run.

So, standard mountain bikes should aim for a bike length somewhere between 50 mm and 80 mm. It is important to note that long bike stems are more stable when you climb using narrow bike handlebars.

What is the Shortest MTB Stem

Any biker is curious about what the shortest mountain bike stem is. The minimum length for an MTB stem is measured at 30.2 mm. There are also unconventional choices like the OnOff Stoic bike stem and EDC stem, which go somewhere between 10 mm or 20 mm.

However, manufacturers prioritize safety above all else. That’s why the shortest for commercial production is 30.5 mm or 31 mm.

Extra knowledge about handlebars is that they are in conjunction with stems, dictating where your hands go and eventually affecting your positioning and weight of the total front end. That is the main reason why some bikers switch off to a shorter bike stem due to the said benefits.

It also increases the rider’s handlebar width, which improves their overall reach. It helps riders as they will have boosted steadiness and control on their bike trip.

Comfort, on the other hand, depends on the rider. Because there are still few bikers that do not prefer switching to shorter bike stems and broader bars as they find it awkward and uncomfortable.

Does a Carbon MTB Stem Make a Difference

Yes. Carbon bike stems are good at absorbing vibrations and boosting aesthetics. If these features are on the top list of the biker, then a carbon stem might work for them. However, the best mountain bike stems out there are usually made of Aluminum because Carbon is not good with weight, durability and is pricier.

If a biker aims to save but does not want to compromise the quality and durability, then Aluminum is still the top choice. Because, unlike other materials, Carbon stems don’t give off substantial mass savings over Aluminum.

Carbon is also a bit heavier than lighter stems made of Aluminum.

Conclusion

Now that I discussed all the crucial factors and filtered products, it is up to you to choose the best mountain bike stems. Choose with utmost consideration and thoughtfulness to avoid regrets in the long run.

After all, the biker’s comfort only results in a matter of satisfying choice and preference. If a bike stem conforms to your criteria, then you are more likely to be happy and comfortable with it. This will result in a regret-free purchase and a great companion along the way.

So, choose wisely and ride away!

5/5 - (3 votes)