Thomson Elite X4 stem review£74.95

Ultimate prestigious performance stem

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The ultimate money-no-object mountain bike stem choice for most people we asked, Thomson’s X4 really is an elite piece.

Considering the number of CNC machined stems on the market, the fact that the meticulously sculpted and scooped shape of the Elite still looks gorgeous is remarkable.

It works as well as it looks too, with the smooth transitions and internal shaping spreading stress without adding weight. It matches anything we’ve ever tested for stiffness in workshop tests – including downhill stems twice the weight – and you can really feel that accuracy on the trail.

The design changes to an even tougher block pattern in the shorter reach sizes, making it first choice on many downhill/freeride bikes too.

The super-fine sizing range means you can pick the perfect length for your steering needs, while the knee-friendly scooped out steerer clamp with sideholes, laser etched logos and torque settings gets rid of all the squeak and seizure problems of the old internal wedge designs.

The only downside is the premium price, but it’s a price many riders are happy to pay. Make sure you check the bolts though, as we've seen a few examples with uneven heads, spoiling an otherwise perfect product. 

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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