Shimano-owned PRO have a lot of engineering and manufacturing know-how, so it’s no surprise the XCR stem is packed with neat touches. The most obvious innovation is the bar clamp.
Rather than the usual bolt-in-each-corner faceplate, a keyed faceplate sits in the stem body like a jigsaw puzzle at the top and is secured by a pair of bolts at the bottom. Like Easton’s Top-Lock design, this makes it easier to get even clamping tension, by giving you just two bolts to tighten equally.
The XCR isn’t flippable, but there’s a choice of positive or negative rise options. The stem extension has an elongated octagonal cross-section. At the back is a more conventional steerer clamp with a pair of opposing bolts doing the job.
At just 109g the XCR is seriously feathery and while it proved stiff enough in use, if you like to batter your bike you’d be best advised to look at one of PRO’s other stems instead, like the £40 Koryak.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.