Biketoworkday is supported by its audience. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

The Best Road Bike Stems And Why You Need One

best road bike stem

A road bike stem isn’t what most people think about when riding their bike. But it’s a crucial part as the stem helps deal with any road vibrations and other forces that can affect a rider’s safety and comfort.

But the task of selecting a suitable one for a bike can trip people up as there are so many options available. However, the process of finding the best road bike stem doesn’t need to be frustrating.

Buyers only need the right resources, and this process will soon become an easy one. Here’s a preview of some factors to consider when shopping:

  • Type: Selecting the correct kind of stem will be determined by the bike’s frame. If it features a threadless headset as most modern road bikes do, threadless stems are needed. But some older bikes will require a quill stem.
  • Rise: A stem’s rise is crucial to a rider’s comfort level. It’ll be dictated via +/- degrees and determines how upright (higher degrees) or low (lower degrees) a biker’s position is on the bike.
  • Length: Most road bike stems will have lengths between 90 mm and 120 mm. Buyers should do a little experimenting to see what stem lengths best suit their riding style. A bike fitting session would be a smart idea for anyone new to selecting road bike stems.

In addition to the points above, check out our buying guide below. I’ve also compiled a list and reviewed 10 of my favorite stems for road bikes. So you’ll soon have everything a person needs to select a suitable road bike stem.

road-bike-stem-review

Top 10 Road Bike Stem Reviews

1. Origin8 ‎Pro Fit Alloy Ergo Stem

Origin8’s Pro Fit Alloy Ergo Stem has been a favorite among riders who value control and precision handling over anything else. Honestly, I don’t find it too shocking as this stem has several features that any biker would love.

An excellent example is the product’s durable construction. Origin8 did a solid job crafting it with a high-quality aluminum alloy that won’t have issues lasting many years. Its overall quality was clear from the second I opened the packaging.

Buyers can also expect a great deal of versatility from this road bike stem. It has shown an ability to work on both mountain and road bikes. After all, it fits both a 1 or 1 ⅛ inch fork steerer tube while being suitable for a stem clamp diameter of 31.8 mm or 25.4 mm.

Installing this bike stem wasn’t an issue, either, with its two-piece faceplate design. It’s one of the most straightforward setup processes available for these products. I can’t even imagine a newbie biker having trouble with it.

Other notable attributes are a broad rise coverage of +/- 35 degrees and two stylish color choices. These aspects speak to Origin8’s dedication to making its products as user-friendly as possible.

 Heads-up:  But at 70mm, this stem is shorter than what I expect from most road bike stems. I prefer a 90mm road bike stem or longer stems in most cases.

 What We Liked: 
  • Allows precise control and handling of the bike
  • Durable construction made from high-quality aluminum alloy
  • Excellent versatility allows for fitting onto mountain bikes and road bikes
  • Easy installation with its two-piece faceplate design
  • Broad +/- 35-degree rise coverage
  • Two stylish color choice
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • A shorter stem at 70 mm
 Bottom Line:  However, I still have to give this shorter option its props. It’s a reliable, durable choice that offers riders a more aggressive positioning and control over handling. But sadly, my arms are a bit too short to use this short road bike stem comfortably.

2. FOMTOR Road Bike Handlebar Stem

The FOMTOR Road Bike Handlebar Stem separates itself from its competition with an easy, secure installation process. The entire task was straightforward and didn’t take much time, even with my lack of mechanical skills.

Once installed, I could count on this stem’s four-bolt clamp to secure the bar without issue. Riders won’t have to worry about any safety issues when the stem’s appropriately connected. It’s a nice feeling to ride around without those thoughts in the back of my mind.

It shouldn’t have any trouble with its overall durability, either. FOMTOR built this road bike stem using high-quality aluminum to ensure reliable, safe performance. Multiple customers even noted it as a positive attribute in this product’s road bike stem review section.

Another feature to catch my attention was its lightweight, compact design. Honestly, it helped create a much more comfortable riding experience than heavier options. I was also impressed with the product’s versatility, demonstrated in its four size options.

For instance, each rider will choose between 60 mm, 70 mm, 80 mm, and 90 mm. I can’t envision any buyer having trouble finding one perfect for their needs. This versatility is only more apparent when considering it’s usable on any bike with a handlebar diameter of 31.8 mm.

 Heads-up:  I was slightly disappointed to read a few customers report issues with this stem’s paint, though. In these cases, it changed over time to a different color. It could be an issue for people concerned with the stem matching their bike’s overall look.

 What We Liked: 
  • Easy, secure installation process
  • Reliable, high-quality construction made from aluminum alloy
  • It offers a better riding experience with a compact, lightweight design
  • Four versatile stem length options (60 mm to 90 mm)
  • Suitable for any bike with 31.8 mm handlebar diameter
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Paint quality control issues
 Bottom Line:  Overall, the paint issue isn’t even close to a deal-breaker for me. I’ll gladly deal with it when the product offers this level of performance and durability.

3. Ritchey ‎Adjustable Road Bike Stem

Finding the perfect riding position and height on a bike has never been easier than with Ritchey‎ Adjustable Road Bike Stem. After all, it offers an extensive +/- 55 rise coverage to ensure everyone can adjust the bike to their exact preferences.

Adjusting the road bike stem angle is a straightforward process. The product’s 4-axis design ensures anyone can do it. Honestly, it’s easy to picture kids being able to do it without needing their parent’s help.

Buyers also won’t have to worry about its performance level. It has a stainless steel construction that’s both robust and lightweight. In other words, it won’t have any difficulty keeping everyone safe and comfortable when riding down the street.

Moreover, Ritchey was kind enough to offer buyers a choice regarding the stem length. All of the options (90, 105, and 120 mm) fall perfectly within what most road bike users prefer (90 mm to 120 mm). So each road bike user should find one capable of meeting their expectations.

I can’t go much further without mentioning its sleek, stylish design, though. It has a beautiful black finish that meshes with my bike. Usually, I’m not too concerned with a bike stem’s color or style, but this one’s a perfect fit.

 Heads-up:  This bike stem does offer one significant downside, though. It’s one of the more costly options available within this marketplace. Each buyer will have to determine whether all the features are worth its expensive price tag.

 What We Liked: 
  • Extensive +/- 55-degree rise coverage
  • Simple to make adjustments with its 4-axis design
  • Robust and lightweight construction made from stainless steel
  • Three convenient stem length options (90, 105, and 120 mm)
  • Sleek, stylish design with black finish
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • A higher-priced option
 Bottom Line:  In my case, I’m more than comfortable spending a little extra for this quality bike stem. It manages to check off everything that I want without breaking a sweat. But it’s easy to see how someone else might feel a bit differently.

4. Fizik ‎Cyrano Aluminum R5 Bicycle Stem

One of the more unique options available would be Fizik’s Cyrano Aluminum R5 Bicycle Stem. It uses spine concept technology to deliver bikers top performance quality without any complications.

For instance, I love this stem’s robust 6061 aluminum construction. I could tell how well-crafted this option was from its unboxing. Once I installed it, this bicycle stem showed no signs of wearing down even after regular use over a few months.

Buyers will also love its user-friendly rise coverage of +/- 7 degrees. Due to this, I didn’t have any issues getting to my preferred more upright riding position. It’s an area where many other options have failed me in the past.

Furthermore, I was impressed by its classic design. It somehow enhanced the look of my ride. It shouldn’t have trouble doing the same with most bikes available within the marketplace.

The bike stem’s ability to improve my riding comfort was another excellent quality. It offers excellent fatigue resistance to ensure long bike rides aren’t painful and end in muscle pains. These issues often arise for me when using poorly designed stems.

 Heads-up:  My only complaint about this stem is it’s a bit heavier than I expected. It can make my bike feel more weighty, which can be a little frustrating. A few other customers had similar thoughts mentioned in their reviews.

 What We Liked: 
  • Uses spine concept technology to offer top performance
  • Effortlessly resists wearing down with a robust 6061 aluminum construction
  • User-friendly +/- 7-degree rise coverage for a more upright position
  • Classic, adaptable design
  • Promotes a comfortable riding experience with excellent fatigue resistance
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Heavier than expected
 Bottom Line:  In the end, this stem’s benefits certainly outweigh its one negative. It’s easily one of the more user-friendly and effective options available for bikers. Plus, it’ll remain durable and reliable for a lot longer than most other choices.

5. WHISKY ‎Bike Stem

Our next option, WHISKY’s Bike Stem, has many fans within the biker community for keeping its entire design simple. It uses a standard 4-bolt faceplate design to ensure no one who has used bike stems feels overwhelmed when installing it.

But this simple design wouldn’t mean much without top-notch performance. Thankfully, it excels with its overall quality as it features an adaptable 7075 aluminum construction. This material has even been used on aircraft, proving how much effort the manufacturer put into designing the product.

This bike stem’s construction also looks good while doing its job. This stem comes with two color choices (matte black and silver) for each buyer to select when purchasing it. I found myself going with the matte black option as it blends perfectly into my bike.

Its overall convenience doesn’t stop with the color choices, though. Riders have a choice to make regarding its stem length with six convenient options (60 mm to 120 mm). WHISKY did a solid job making sure their product could cover the needs of almost any rider.

They even offer a 5-year warranty with every purchase to help protect buyers. It’s always a welcomed sign when a company is willing to provide these policies. In addition, it shows a sense of faith in the stem’s overall quality.

 Heads-up:  As for the product’s flaws, I did find a few people mentioning shipping issues. Unfortunately, these customers were accidentally sent the wrong product when ordering this bike stem. Luckily, I didn’t encounter this problem when mine arrived.

 What We Liked: 
  • Simple setup with 4-bolt faceplate design
  • Adaptable, high-quality 7075 aluminum construction
  • Two stylish color choices (matte black and silver)
  • Six convenient stem length choices (60 mm to 120 mm)
  • 5-year warranty for buyer protection
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Shipping issues
 Bottom Line:  All in all, I wouldn’t worry too much about these shipping issues. WHISKY has proven to honor their included warranty and provides reliable customer service. Furthermore, the provided benefits make this slight risk worth my time.

6. KRSCT BIKE Mountain Bike Short Stem

KRSCT BIKE’s Mountain Bike Short Stem is one of the shorter stems at only 50 mm on this list. Usually, I would avoid shorter stems, but this one impressed me with several of its well-developed features.

An excellent example is the comfortable grip and feel it provides bikers. In detail, it offers a sense of stability that some other available options can’t match. It’s no wonder why many mountain bikers and BMX riders find themselves loving this shorter stem.

The stem’s enforced aluminum construction is another standout trait. It provides the stem with remarkable strength and resistance against any problematic situation. So, for example, it’ll have no issues dealing with vibrations from riding on a bumpy road.

Buyers will adore this stem’s close gap faceplate design, as well. It allows for a much easier setup than most people can expect from other options. In fact, I found it made the torque tightening a piece of cake.

I was also impressed by the sheer amount of usable applications provided by this stem. Users can use it on almost any bike, ranging from road bikes to fixed gear bikes. Plus, it offers five vibrant color choices to further ensure it meets any biker’s needs.

 Heads-up:  This bike stem does have sharper cutouts than I usually see on these products. As a result, I had to be careful when utilizing it, or those cutouts could end up cutting me.

 What We Liked: 
  • It offers a comfortable grip and stability
  • Remarkable strength from enforced aluminum construction
  • Easy to install and tighten with close gap faceplate design
  • Wide application ranging from road bikes, BMX, mountain, to fixed gear bikes
  • Five vibrant color choices
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Sharp cutouts
 Bottom Line:  But this flaw was rendered a non-issue when I became aware of it. I just needed to remain careful, and no cuts or scratches presented themselves. From there, I didn’t have a single complaint about this short handlebar stem.

7. Azarxis Adjustable Bike Stem

Affordability isn’t what anyone first thinks of when choosing a new bike stem, but it’s a crucial factor in this process, making the Azarxis ‎Adjustable Bike Stem very special. It’s easily one of the best bargains available within this marketplace.

The most apparent reason for its bargain status is its affordable price tag. However, it combines this low cost with an impressive array of features. A solid example is its massive rise adjustment range of 60 degrees.

Furthermore, it does a solid job balancing the strength to weight ratio. Its aluminum construction provides remarkable power, while its hollow design keeps it lightweight. It ends up giving a biker the best of both worlds.

I can’t go much further without giving this stem’s four-bolt bar clamp some props. It more than holds its own at ensuring this bike stem offers top-level stability. Therefore, it’ll ensure everything remains in place and attachment in even the direst circumstances.

The simple installation process and included two Allen keys are also practical attributes. Both aspects only further prove this option as a genuine bargain for anyone who needs a bike stem.

 Heads-up:  Sadly, this stem isn’t a perfect product, even with all these beneficial traits. It has a few complaints about its packaging from other customers. These buyers had their bike stem arrive beat up and featuring scuff marks.

 What We Liked: 
  • A more affordable option
  • Wide rise adjustment range of 60 degrees
  • Solid strength to weight ratio with hollow design and aluminum construction
  • Four bolt bar clamp offers excellent stability
  • Offers a simple installation process and two practical Allen keys
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Packaging issues
 Bottom Line:  But I wasn’t one of these people as mine arrived in optimal condition. So I enjoyed all the bike stem’s features without any flaw ruining it for me. Plus, it’s more than worth the risk with its affordable price tag.

8. BW Bike Stem

The BW Bike Stem isn’t our most advanced or unique option. But it earns a spot on this list by providing top-tier performance without offering any hassles. In other words, BW kept its design practical and straightforward to ensure effortless usage.

I was also delighted by its ability to work on almost any road bike. As with some previous options, it was built to fit the standard of modern bikes (1 ⅛ steerer tubes and 31.8 mm handlebars). I went through several test runs to see how it fared on these bicycles and didn’t experience any problems.

Meanwhile, the bike stem is also impressive with its durability level. It offers a stable and robust structure made from high-quality aluminum alloy. Having used it for years, my friend can attest to the longevity of its design.

This bike stem offers a relatively standard rise adjustment range of 7 degrees, as well. It’s not the most extensive range around, but it was practical enough to find a comfortable riding position for me. I’d imagine most people will feel the same.

If these aspects weren’t enough to convince me, BW also threw in five different lengths. Each buyer will have a choice between 80 mm, 90 mm, 100 mm, 110 mm, and 120 mm designs.

 Heads-up:  However, I did notice the bike stem’s steerer tube clamp area was slightly thinner than other models. It makes me a bit wary of taking the bike downhill on a mountain trail. So I’d refrain from putting it on a mountain bike, as it’s more suitable for strictly road bike purposes.

 What We Liked: 
  • Offers top-flight performance with a straightforward, no-hassle design
  • Fits any road bike with one ⅛ steerer tubes and 31.8 mm handlebars
  • Stable, robust structure made from top-flight aluminum alloy
  • Effective rise adjustment range of 7 degrees
  • Five stem lengths (80 mm to 120 mm)
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Thin steerer tube clamp area
 Bottom Line:  Since I’m not looking to use a mountain bike stem, this stem’s thin steerer tube clamp area wasn’t a deal-breaker. It’s a top contender for the most effective road bike stem.

9. Glaray Adjustable Bicycle Stem

Some bikers prefer riding around on older bikes with 25.4 mm handlebars. Glaray’s Adjustable Bicycle Stem was made specifically for those riders. In fact, it has to be among the top-rated bike stems for those old bikes.

One primary reason for this distinction would be its facilitation of wide handlebar height adjustment, which is made easier by the stem’s angle range. Users can raise or decrease their bike stem’s angle from 0 to 60 degrees with minimal effort. I even tried it out on my dad’s old bike and couldn’t believe how much of a difference it made.

I was also happy with the stem’s 110 mm length. It allows for a much more optimal pedaling position than I usually get with shorter stems. As a result, the overall riding experience on my dad’s bike improved significantly.

Users would be foolish to overlook this product’s construction quality, as well. Glaray built it using reliable, high-strength CNC machined aluminum alloy. It won’t have trouble withstanding hits or other problematic circumstances without breaking a sweat.

Furthermore, I loved the effectiveness of its four bolt bar clamp. It offers an effective level of stability that doesn’t decline even on bumpy roads.

 Heads-up:  As for the product’s flaws, this bike stem doesn’t fit 31.8 mm handlebars. So buyers should make sure their bike has a 25.8 mm handlebar before spending any money. Otherwise, it’ll end up being a waste of money.

 What We Liked: 
  • Ideal fit for older bikes with 25.4 mm handlebar diameter
  • Wide angle adjustment range of 60 degrees
  • Provides optimal pedaling position with 110 mm length
  • Reliable, high-strength CNC machined aluminum alloy construction
  • Solid, adequate stability with four bolt bar clamp
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • It doesn’t fit 31.8 mm handlebars
 Bottom Line:  Overall, this stem is perfect for replacing a broken or beat-up one on an older bike. It’ll ensure riders have no issues finding their preferred riding position as well. In truth, I can’t find another option to match this bike stem’s performance.

10. Acekit Bike Stem

Our final option, Acekit Bike Stem, is another highly versatile bike stem. It’ll fit any bike with a 31.8 mm handlebar and a 1 1/8 -inch steer tube. I have actually used it on several of my bikes without problems.

In fact, I didn’t have trouble placing it on mountain bikes, track bikes, or road bikes. I even tested it out on a couple of my nephews’ bikes to see how it fit. It ended up being an effortless install on all of them, which made me think about buying a few more.

The bike stem’s aluminum alloy construction only made me further consider it. Since it weighs only 130g, I don’t have to worry about overloading my bike on long trips. Due to this, it became an excellent and welcome addition to my bike.

As for the installation process, this bike stem has a rather basic design. Anyone who’s had experience setting bikes up shouldn’t have trouble with this one. I didn’t utter a single curse word during the entire installation, which I think is a record for me.

Adjusting the handlebar to my preferred position was straightforward, as well. It provides a sizable +/- 17-degree rise coverage to make finding the perfect riding position effortless.

Plus, if users don’t like the stem for any reason, there’s a return policy to help them out.

 Heads-up:  But I do recommend ensuring the bolts are turned entirely tight. After all, this bike stem’s finish is a bit slippery compared to other models. Tightening the bolts fully will help alleviate that issue.

 What We Liked: 
  • For bikes with 31.8 mm handlebars & one ⅛-inch steerer tubes (MTB, road, etc.)
  • High-strength, lightweight aluminum alloy construction
  • The basic design provides easy installation
  • Easily to adjust handlebar with its +/- 17-degree rise coverage
  • Offers a product warranty for buyer protection
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Slippery finish
 Bottom Line:  Aside from the slippery finish, I have nothing else to warn anyone about with this stem. It functions perfectly to ensure my bike rides remain safe and comfortable. What else could I want in road bike stems?

What to Look for When Buying Road Bike Stems

stems-for-road-bikes

Finding the right road bike stem will require accounting for several buying factors. At first, it might seem a little overwhelming as there are many moving parts. But I’ll discuss each of them below to ensure any confusion or frustration disappears.

Type

A road bike’s stem is determined by what type of headset its frame uses. In most cases, a road bike or mountain bike frame will feature a threadless headset design. So those bikers will require threadless stems. This type, which bolts onto a fork’s steerer tube, is usually found on low weight bikes.

The other common stem type is the quill design. You’ll usually only find these types on cheaper or less advanced bikes that have forks with threaded steerer tubes. So it’s essential to figure out your bike’s headset design to determine whether to select a threadless stem or a quill stem.

Construction Materials

Most bike stems will be made from carbon fiber or aluminum. Buyers will also find stems built with a combination of an alloy structure wrapped in carbon fiber. Manufacturers combine these two stem materials for style and comfort reasons.

Alloy-based road bike stems are often a massive favorite among bikers. After all, these are usually much cheaper than a carbon stem road bike product. But it’s essential to note that top-end aluminum alloy stems can be more valuable than their carbon counterparts. Sadly, these options will end up costing even more than a high-end carbon fiber stem.

A standard carbon road bike stem won’t be too shabby if you can afford the high price options. They won’t have any issues offering a more comfortable riding experience. For instance, carbon fiber road bike stems provide exceptional vibration-resistant properties.

Rise

If you aren’t familiar with a “stem rise,” it’s the stem’s angle from the bar to fork. This aspect will have a massive impact on your buying decision. You’ll find the positive stem rise or negative rise dictated in +/- degrees on the product’s packaging or within its ad description.

This number determines the angle the stem rises or drops from the bike’s fork steerer. Your position will be more upright as the degrees go higher.

Many road bike riders prefer a slightly low angle, such as 6 or 7 degrees. Some stems allow users to adjust the angle, so look for those if you want to experiment with your setup.

Clamp Diameter and Handlebar Diameter

It’s essential to check the fork clamp diameter and handlebar diameter before selecting a new stem. A bike’s fork steerer tube is usually measured in inches, with 1 ⅛ inch being the most common option. As for the handlebar, 31.8 mm and 25.4mm diameters (to a lesser extent) are popular. The 31.8 mm design is newer, as it came out in 1999.

To measure the clamp and handlebar diameters, you can use a caliper or a micrometer.

Ease of Install

Installing a brand new road bike stem doesn’t need to be complicated. But sadly, some manufacturers haven’t realized how to make it easy for their customers. So you’ll want to avoid those complex options as much as possible.

An easy way to avoid them is by reading through customer reviews. Your fellow bikers will provide some much-needed insight into each product’s installation process. I can’t tell you how many times these resources have saved me from buying an unnecessarily complicated item.

Length

Our last consideration is a road bike stem’s length. Honestly, it’s one of the more crucial things to think about when buying one of these products. First, you’ll need to figure out what length best suits your bike’s setup to ensure the stem’s a proper fit.

Generally, most road bikes have stem lengths between 90 mm and 120 mm. So these options will provide a starting point for you. But I’d still recommend doing a proper bike fitting session. It’ll allow you to experiment with different lengths to ensure you feel comfortable and the stem fits your riding style.

What Makes a Good Road Bike Stem

carbon-road-bike-stem

The idea of a good bike stem will change from rider to rider. For instance, a leisure rider has different needs for their road bike stems than someone who does competitive races. Leisure riders will choose a stem with a higher rise, while a racer wants the lowest angle possible for a more aerodynamic position.

So it’ll end up depending on your preferences as a rider. But if you stick with our buying guide, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out what a good road bicycle stem is for your needs.

What Size Stem Is Best for My Road Bike

Most road bikers use a stem between 90 mm and 120 mm, as I mentioned earlier. A shorter or longer stem could negatively affect the biker’s handling and comfort.

What Does a Shorter Stem Do on a Road Bike

Shorter bike stems will offer more precise steering and handling but be less stable. The shorter stem length allows you to sit in a more aggressive position on your bikes, making it ideal for racers. But it might feel too uncontrollable for less experienced riders.

How Do You Measure a Road Bike Stem

Measuring a bike stem isn’t a complex process. You can start by stabilizing your bike and placing it on a stand or leaning it against a nearby wall. From there, measure from the headset cap’s center bolt to the handlebar’s center.

If needed, convert the measurement from centimeters to millimeters (multiply by 10). You then adjust the measurement to the nearest 10 mm (87 mm would be 90 mm).

Conclusion

After reading our article, finding the best road bike stem shouldn’t be much of an issue. Anyone who sticks to the buying guide should have no problems selecting a suitable choice. But make sure to let us know how it goes in our comment section.

You can also use this section to post any additional questions or concerns. I’ll answer each one as soon as possible. Thanks for reading!

5/5 - (3 votes)