Ritchey WCS 4 Axis mountain bike stem £65

Top cross-country stem

BikeRadar score 4/5

Prominent logos and rainbow colours identify the WCS’s podium ambitions, but we were surprised at how stiff this 120g offering was. We pushed it on tougher, more furious descents than cross-country race kit should be subjected to and it came out smiling.

The stem is stiff and direct for its weight, helped by its square section main body, and while it may not have the heavy looks to match today’s fatter tubed all-mountain bikes, it displays trail riding potential. 3D cold forged from 2014 aluminium, the smooth lines keep its looks simple and timeless.

A forged silver anodised face plate spreads to a 42mm width at the front of the bars, narrowing to just 22mm at the bolt fastening points, the four bolts being grouped very close together. Ritchey say this four-axis bolt design helps distribute vibrations through the face plate and avoid stresses in the bar.

The bar clamp is chamfered to avoid carbon bar damage and reduce stress hotspots. Out back the steerer clamp is diagonally slotted using opposing taper headed bolts to spread loading to a wider area, making it carbon steerer friendly. The bolts are also well concealed to protect your knees.

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