FSA OS190 CW Stem review£85.00

Inexplicably costly carbon-wrapped stem

BikeRadar score2.5/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

This is your basic four-bolt alloy stem with a Blue Peter-style sticky backed carbon fibre wrap. Weighing in at 176g it’s not light, but it’s not over-heavy either, and it’s a sturdy unit in use. 

There’s very little difference in performance compared with the standard alloy version though, and that costs under £20!

If you want a stem that provides a carbon fibre collar and cuffs match to your carbon bar and seat post then it’s an option. With the genuinely carbon-enhanced OS99 stem in the pipeline though, we have to give it a kicking in cost terms.

While other new FSA parts showcase the company's latest carbon Structural Integration technology, this stem is a simpler ‘CW’ carbon-wrapped cosmetic offering, which makes the price difference slightly baffling.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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