“Long stems are going the way of the Dodo” claims Maryland's Analog Cycles, with the release of its handmade 0 and 30mm w(Right) stem for road, adventure and touring bikes.
Why make such a short stem for the road?
40, 50mm and shorter stems have become the norm on mountain bikes in recent years, and with good reason: a shorter stem (when paired with a longer reach) makes for far more confident handling, particularly on steep terrain.
On the road, the advantages aren’t totally dissimilar: a short stem mellows-out your fit without making a bike feel sluggish. If a bike is designed specifically around a shorter stem, it also allows you to lengthen your front-centre, which is useful if you need to improve clearance for mudguards or wide tyres.
The w(Right) stem is Analog Cycles’ take on a super short stem of old (the name of the stem is a play on the Wright brothers, whose designs inspired the stem).
The fillet brazed chromoly stem is available with a 30 or 0mm offset and either 26.0 or 31.8mm diameter clamp. It is handmade in LA (by the same guy who makes Crust Bikes’ equally leftfield stems) and is available in either a raw or clear coated finish.
The listing for the stem on the Analog site goes into much more detail and I highly recommend you read through it if you’re keen to learn more.
Who is this stem for?
The stem is a great, albeit a relatively expensive way to experiment with the change in handling that a short stem provides. The stem also opens up doors for those with very short torsos that may struggle to get a touring/pootling-friendly upright position using a conventional stem.
The w(Right) stem will of course primarily only be of interest to those with touring/adventure bikes, but the concepts could just as easily be applied to go-fast bikes.
Note that the stem is only available as a quill stem for now, so unless you fancy cutting threads into the steerer of your fork you’ll have a hard time fitting this to a modern road bike. A threadless stem is in the works.
w(Right) specs and pricing
The w(Right) stem comes in at $140 or $185 depending on the finish and pre-orders are open now, with delivery expected some time in April.
While this is obviously a fairly extreme example, I'm excited to see more people experimenting with road bike geometry and hope that 2018 brings much more of this sort of stuff.