17 May 2010

bikefix Initial Review: Sunline XC-1 Stem

As my partner said, "there isn’t that much to say about stems" so this review will be briefer than most. It was the color that first caught my eye with the Sunline stem. Then I read the description and I realized that this it’s considerably lighter than a Thomson stem of the same length (122g vs. 165g). It looked like it was machined as well as a Thompson too. I figured the color would look good on my singlespeed 29er that I was building and that’s where it’s been for about 9 months now.

On the trail I don’t notice any more flex than a Thomson (sorry to keep comparing to a Thomson, but they are the benchmark for stems). The Sunline is attached to a 700mm wide bar so I can really yank on it. I’m not a lightweight either. The only caveat is that I have it attached to a steel 29er and when I really crank on the bars, there is enough flex in the frame, fork, and wheel that it’s hard to tell exactly how stiff the stem is. It is stiffer than the rest of the front end, and I guess that’s all you need. Those singlespeeders out there on a really stiff chassis, like a burly aluminum and rigid fork, might want to go for a beefier stem just for good measure [or not, for a bit of comfort].

I haven’t been using the XC-1 long enough to tell you about its long-term strength though. I am only an occasional singlespeed rider (about once a week) and I know many singlespeed riders spend most or all of their riding time on their singlespeeds. Therefore they rack up more hours on their equipment than I do. Keep in mind that Sunline comes from a predominantly downhill oriented background, so I would think they know how to make something strong.

The only bummer to this stem is it only comes in a few sizes and one rise choice. The available sizes are 90mm, 100mm, 110mm, in black or grey and all of them are +/-6˚. The XC-1 is priced at $ 100.



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