Best Road Bike Stems – 2020 Guide

Choosing a bike stem can be difficult, given all the factors you need to be cautious of. 

Different bike stems perform differently, and you need to be able to choose one that fits your bike perfectly.

Therefore, we have summarized some of our top picks in this article and given you a brief guide on road bike stems.

Our Top Picks for Road Bike Stems

  • Lightweight hollow design
  • Four bolt clamp
  • Easy to install
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  • High-quality materials
  • Strong and very durable
  • Simple to install
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  • Best for the Money
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Lightweight construction
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Comparison of the Best Road Bike Stems 

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Lightweight hollow design
  • Four bolt clamp for secure clamping
  • Easy to install on original fork stem
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  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Is made strong and very durable
  • Quick and easy to install
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  • Best for the Money
  • Lightweight and durable construction
  • Suitable for most bikes
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  • Best Carbon Road Bike Stem
  • High-quality carbon and aluminum materials
  • Strong and sturdy design
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  • Best Adjustable Road Bike Stem
  • Has an adjustable stem angle
  • Highly durable stainless steel construction
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  • Best 80mm Road Bike Stem
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Lightweight and durable design
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  • Lightest Road Bike Stem
  • Strong and durable construction
  • Easy to install on original fork
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  • Best Road Bike Quill Stem
  • Comes with an adjustable angle
  • Forged alloy construction
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  • Best 50mm Road Bike Stem
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • It is easy to install
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What is a Road Bike Stem? 

A road bike stem is a part of the bike that joins the handlebars to the steerer tube of the bicycle fork. It has a simple job, to make sure that the handlebars are fastened to the fork steerer tightly and perfectly. They come in various sizes, depending upon the bike’s handlebars.

What Size Stem Do I Need For My Road Bike?

The best way to get a road bike stem is through a professional bike shop that specializes in making the right fit for every bike. Usually, when buying a road bike, people get the right bike stem fit right there and then so as to avoid extra charges later. 

The bike stem size affects your comfort as well as the way you handle and steer a bike. If you want slow steering, get a longer size, but if you’re looking for a much sharper steer, get a shorter one. 

The reach measures the distance from the center of the head tube to a vertical line drawn through the bottom bracket. A longer stem does not affect the reach; however, it changes the bike's effective reach.

Making a note of the stem angle will also change how you ride your bike. If you want a lower position, choose a stem with a negative rise as that lowers the handlebar height. On the other hand, a positive rise stem is more comfortable and gives a more upright position. It depends on your personal preference. 

Changing your stem size will help you find one that you enjoy riding the bike with, so don’t be afraid of experimenting.  

What Should I Look For When Buying a Road Bike Stem? 

There are various factors to consider when buying a road bike stem. But don’t fret. With this simple guide, you should be able to figure the right dynamics. So let’s get into some of the factors you should consider.

Stem Length

Stem length affects your comfort and steering. If the length is too long, you will have to bend forward while riding the bike. This can strain your neck and shoulders and affect control. On the other hand, longer stems also result in much slower steering. Try to aim between a 90 mm and 130 mm length; anything shorter or longer can be quite uncomfortable. 

Stem Rise

Stem rise is the angle the stem falls or rises from the fork steerer. It is usually mentioned as positive or negative; the greater the degrees, or the more positive, the more upright your position will be. A negative stem rise results in a lower position. 

Clamp Diameter

Most commonly, fork steerer tubes are 1-1/8 inches in diameter. Larger or narrower diameters are becoming obsolete; hence they are usually labeled. The handlebar diameter is usually 31.8 mm, except for the Deda 35 system. Be sure to check these diameters.   

Material

Most bike stems are made of alloys like titanium, as these are light and relatively inexpensive. Carbon ones are usually more expensive and are therefore preferred by racers.

Quick Take - Best Road Bike Stems

Skip the review - here's a snapshot of the best road bike stems:

  1. MTB Stem 31.8 by Wake
  2. FSA Omega V14
  3. FOMTOR 31.8 Stem

Review of the Best Road Bike Stems 

You must now have an idea of the kind of road bike stem you need and the aspects to look at before making your purchase. But the market has multiple different options, which can turn out to be quite daunting. Hence, we have summarized some of our top picks. 

Wake MTB Stem 31.8 70mm 17 Degree Bike Stem Mountain Bike Stem Short Handlebar Stem for Most Bicycle, Road Bike, MTB, BMX, Fixie Gear, Cycling (Aluminum Alloy, Lightweight, Black)

pros

  • Very easy to install
  • Has a diameter of 31.8 mm
  • Features a short handlebar stem
  • Quite light in weight and is hollow
  • Equipped with four bold bar clamps to hold securely

cons

  • Not suitable for mountain bikes
  • Some users complained of bad customer service

What Recent Buyers Report

This bike stem is a great option and has excellent quality. What buyers love is that the reach isn’t very less so you can ride it comfortably. It fits well and is lightweight. It also looks great and is quite easy to install. There's not much to complain about and is hence a favorite amongst users.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The incredible MTB Stem 31.8 by Wake has a steerer tube of diameter 28.6mm and a handlebar diameter of 31.8mm. This means that it has great stem length and rise to ride your bike comfortably.

This bike stem has a hollow design and is quite lightweight. The clamp with four bolts holds the bar securely in position so that it isn’t loose when riding. This ensures easy installation as you just have to connect the original front fork stem.

The design is also ergonomic; the handlebar, being a short stem, is suitable for most road bikes as well as fixed-gear bicycles and mountain bikes.

Bottom Line 

If you are looking for a low reach, inexpensive road bike stem, this is our favorite model. It has great reviews, with a lot of people recommending it. Conveniently, it is light in weight yet sturdy, and there isn’t much you would ask for.

Runner-up:
FSA Omega V14

FSA Omega V14 Ahead Stem-Black, 80 mm

pros

  • Price is inexpensive
  • Holds bar in place firmly
  • Performs consistently and is durable
  • Lightweight, short stem that increases power
  • Great construction as it is made with aluminum

cons

  • Some complain the screws were not of good quality

What Recent Buyers Report

There’s only so much you can say about a stem, and customers are quite satisfied with the FSA Omega V14. It has a suitable length and is pretty lightweight, which reduces hand fatigue. It is one of the lower-priced items on the market; hence it is highly recommended.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Made in Taiwan, the superior hub of the bicycle industry, the FSA Omega V14 is definitely built with high-quality materials and has excellent construction. 

The stem holds the four-bolt bar in place firmly, which is one quality users really value since sometimes, the screw falls loose, and that can be a problem, especially while riding.

This model is quite reasonably priced and performs excellently. The low weight adds to the value, and thus, we highly recommend it.

Bottom Line 

To sum up, if you have been sleeping on the FSA Omega V14, you have been missing out! This road bike stem gives you great value for your money with its lightweight and firm grip. The stem rise is commendable, and many users recommend this product for great reasons!

Best for the Money:
FOMTOR 31.8 Stem

FOMTOR 31.8 Stem 60mm 7 Degree Light-Weight Bike Handlebar Stem MTB Stem Suitable for Mountain Bike Road Bike BMX MTB (31.8 x 60mm)

pros

  • Quite easy to install
  • Another lightweight and durable model
  • Constructed with high-strength aluminum alloy
  • Four-bolt bar clamp holds bar securely in position
  • Suitable for not only road bikes but also mountain bikes

cons

  • Graphics and color range can be improved
  • Front plate and the part that grips the steerer tube are not symmetrical

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers like that this model doesn’t give much reach for a more comfortable ride, and that the parts are made of good quality. For the price, it provides the best value and makes a huge difference in your riding experience. Some users reported it made them more confident while riding.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Another lightweight and durable model, the FOMTOR 31.8 Stem gives you the best value for your money. It is pretty easy to install as you just connect up the original front fork stem and also has a four-bolt bar clamp that holds the bar securely in position.

One of the best things about this road bike stem is that since it is constructed with high strength aluminum alloy. It is ideal not only for road bikes but also mountain bikes, folding bikes, and track bikes. 

It is a multi-use model that will last you a long while and give you all that you look for in a stem.

Bottom Line

A highly versatile product that comes in different sizes to suit everyone’s needs, the FOMTOR 31.8 Stem gives you the best bang for your buck. So if you’re looking for that, your search is over. Go and get yourself one of these now.

Best Carbon Road Bike Stem:
RXL SL Handlebar Stems

RXL SL Carbon Stem Bicycle Stem Handlebar Stems 6/17 Degree 3K/UD Matte/Glossy Road MTB Mountain Bike Stems

pros

  • Easy to install
  • Has a great look
  • An alloy and not full carbon for more strength
  • Sturdy and strong build but also light in weight
  • Made with high-quality carbon and aluminum alloy

cons

  • Can be a bit slippery
  • Some customers experienced cracks when they unscrewed the plate

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a very comfortable road bike stem and releases any strain on your neck and shoulder while riding. It also has great aesthetics and offers different stem lengths. Some users loved it so much, they went on to purchase more items from this brand and really liked those too.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Undoubtedly, the build and construction of this stem are some of the main standout features. The body is made with carbon fiber and aluminum alloy while the cap is made with high-quality aluminum alloy. The construction with alloys and not full carbon is exactly the type you need for great strength and maximum durability.

Furthermore, the RXL SL Handlebar Stems only take ten to fifteen minutes to install. You just need a hexagon wrench to tighten up the screws. 

The stems feel quite stiff and secure, and some customers feel like they absorb vibrations as well, which is always a great plus point.

Bottom Line

The RXL SL Handlebar Stems are some of the best carbon road bikes stems and provide all that you’re looking for in such a unit – strength, durability, easy installation, secureness, and, of course, the great price point.

Best Adjustable Road Bike Stem:
Ritchey 4-Axis Aluminum Alloy Bike Stem

Ritchey 4-Axis Adjustable Aluminum Alloy Bike Stem - 31.8mm clamp, for Mountain, Road, Cyclocross, Gravel, and Adventure Bikes

pros

  • Stem angle can be adjusted 
  • No flexes or creaks, great build
  • Ritchey's BB Black finish gives a sleek look
  • Stainless steel bar and steerer clamp bolts for durability
  • Comfortable and secure, even when climbing out of the saddle

cons

  • More expensive than most other models
  • Although the stem can be adjusted, it sometimes gives a hard time as both bolts have to be loosened extensively

What Recent Buyers Report

Although the price on this is a little higher, many users claim the bike stem to be worth it. Ritchey is a well-known cycling equipment brand and always uses the best quality. Their customers are loyal and are therefore willing to pay bigger bucks for the good quality that this unit provides.    

Why it Stands Out to Us

Ritchey has been in the cycling industry for over 45 years, and its experience speaks volumes in the products they manufacture. This company constructs products as if they were perfectly curated for each rider. You can’t go wrong with them.

The Ritchey 4-Axis Aluminum Bike Stem is designed with a precise shaft that is attached to a clamp. This results in a very strong, yet light and secure adjustable unit. 

This stem is one of the sturdiest on the market and is also long-lasting. The high-quality construction and the perfect stem rise is an incentive alone for most buyers.

Bottom Line 

If comfort and longevity are your priorities, investing in the Ritchey 4-Axis Aluminum Alloy Bike Stem is absolutely worth it. It gives you a smooth and comfortable ride and stays securely attached for safety. There isn’t anything that could go wrong here.

Best 80mm Road Bike Stem:
Ritchey COMP 30º 80 mm

Ritchey Comp 31.8mm 80mm 120d Blk stem

pros

  • Superior quality 
  • Has a great stem rise
  • Sturdy and screws in securely
  • Provides comfort and relieves neck strain
  • Great customer service and quick delivery

cons

  • Customers have complained it has too much flex 

What Recent Buyers Report 

What buyers love most about this product is the comfort. Some have stated they felt like they were riding a whole new bike with the amazing Ritchey COMP 30º bike stems. In fact, since it relieves neck and shoulder strain, even the elderly are able to ride a bike with these stems. Many customers recommend this product and speak of it highly.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

As we know, Ritchey has been in the cycling industry for over 45 years, and its experience is evident in the products it manufactures. Just like with Ritchey’s Adjustable 4-Axis Aluminum Alloy Bike Stem, you can’t go wrong with the COMP 30º bike stem. It will seem like the product is specifically constructed for you. 

This product is also a little more merciful on the pocket and is easy to install. Furthermore, we like the brand because it delivers the product to you even before it is promised and offers great customer service. 

Bottom Line

Simply put, if you want to get a little more economical bike stem from Ritchey, the COMP 30º bike stem is the one to go for. It has all the features you need in a bike stem and promises a smooth, comfortable ride.

Lightest Road Bike Stem:
Gray Ultralight Aluminum Bike Stem

Gray Ultralight Aluminum Bike Stem for Road, Cross and MTB

pros

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Offers a lifetime warranty
  • Very safe due to the four torque screw faceplate
  • Anodized matte finish with anti-corrosive black coating
  • Lightest production stem weighing only 85 grams or so

cons

  • A little on the pricier side
  • Lengths are not consistent

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are highly satisfied with the Gray Ultralight Aluminum Bike Stem. It has a suitable length and is pretty lightweight, which reduces hand fatigue. Gray offers a lifetime warranty, and that is incentive enough for users to want to purchase it.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Gray’s Ultralight Aluminum Bike Stem is engineered precisely and built with high-quality materials, giving it excellent construction. 

This unit uses anodized aluminum; these stems are made from a 3D forged 7050 aluminum and anodized with an anti-corrosive matte black coating. Hence, you can be guaranteed a rust-free stem for long.

The stem’s four torque screws evenly attach the front plate to the stem. The five nm torque is recommended for both steer tube and faceplate, quality users really value since sometimes, the screw falls loose, and that can be a problem, especially while riding.

Bottom Line 

For those of you who have been sleeping on Gray, you must now know they make some of the best road bike stems. This model gives you great value for your money with its lightweight and firm grip. With a lifetime warranty, you are sure to love this.

Best Road Bike Quill Stem:
Sunlite Adjustable Quill Stem

SUNLITE Adjustable Quill Stem

pros

  • Can be installed easily
  • Quill length is 180 mm
  • EN CITY certified for safety
  • Has an adjustable angle 0-60° angle
  • Solid extender and you can adjust the length

cons

  • Not as light as most models
  • Deciding what size to buy is a bit difficult

What Recent Buyers Report

Those looking to sit in an upright riding position definitely found this bike stem worth it. It has a decent length, and you can further tune and tweak the angle adjustment up to 60°. Users haven’t faced any problems with it coming loose. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

The Sunlite Adjustable Quill Stem is quite smartly constructed. The material is solid and long-lasting, and the angle is adjustable within 0-60°. The quill length is 180 mm, giving a comfortable ride.

The angle setting mechanism is very sturdy and durable. After some adjustments and tightening, it tends to stay the same way without any changes. In fact, the handlebar also stays intact after the adjustments are made.

All of this ensures that your product lasts really long. Although it is heavier than many others we have listed on this list, it is quite sturdy, and that alone has convinced many users into buying it.

Bottom Line 

In a nutshell, if you want a long-lasting, durable and sturdy bike stem, the Sunlite Adjustable Quill Stem is your choice. Many users have loved it and highly recommend it. 

Best 50mm Road Bike Stem:
KRSCT BIKE 31.8 Stem

31.8 Stem 50mm Bike Stem Mountain Bike Stem Short Handlebar Stem for Most Bicycle, Road Bike, MTB, BMX, Fixie Gear, Cycling (50mm Black&red)

pros

  • Quick and easy installation
  • Very unique and aesthetic design
  • Short stem for a comfortable ride
  • U-Shaped Handlebar Clamp for reduced resistance
  • Quite versatile as it is suitable for road bikes, mountain bikes, and fixed gear bikes

cons

  • A little pricey
  • Not anodized

What Recent Buyers Report

The main thing buyers gravitate towards the KRSCT BIKE 31.8 Stem is for its eye-catchy and unique design. The red color gives it a sleek look and will match your black or red bike. The quality is incredible, and you can tell it will last long.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The KRSCT BIKE 31.8 Stem has not only great aesthetic design but also a good build. The interlocking handlebar clamp geometry transfers greater weight through the bike stem body instead of through the bolts. This is primarily because of its U shape. The opposing bolts present on the steer tube clamp give greater power and also reduce the stress put on the steer tube. This ensures reduced resistance and longevity.

The short stem design gives a more flexible and sharper turn while maximizing your comfort while riding. The best part is the stem’s versatility. It is suitable not only for road bikes but also mountain bikes and fixed gear bikes. 

Bottom Line

A lightweight and multi-purpose stem is not easy to find on the market. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about the KRSCT BIKE 31.8 Stem. It has a unique design and provides all the features you look for in a good bike stem and more. The best part is the strong build to ensure it lasts long.  

Comparison Overview

Let’s go over some of the different types of bike stems available on the market and what type might suit you best. Here are the comparisons. 

Adjustable Stem vs. Tube Extender For Road Bikes 

Adjustable road bike stems are helpful if you want to adjust your handlebar's height and reach, especially if you are touring and spend a long time on the saddle. Tube Extenders or threadless stems are bolted directly onto the fork’s steerer tube and are the most common extenders for road bikes. 

35mm vs. 50mm Stem For Road Bikes

A 35mm stem for road bikes denotes the size of the handlebar’s clamp diameter. It is a great size for more demanding road biking, such as endurance biking. A 50mm stem delivers more responsive and quicker handling and is better for slacker trail and modern mountain biking.

Road Bike vs. Mountain Bike Stem

Road bike and mountain bike stems mainly vary in strength. The former comes in a larger range of angles and is recommended for cyclocross and not free riding. It also has a much shallower rise of about 6 to 20 degrees. 

On the other hand, mountain bike stems are great for downhill riding and free riding as well. They have a steeper rise of about 17 to 35 degrees. 

Conclusion 

These are some of the main facts you need to know about road bike stems. We tried to include as much useful information and hope it helps you make your decision to buy one. The comparisons will also help you make a choice with what brand to go for.

People Also Ask

After reading this article, there might be some points that we may have missed. Therefore, we have narrowed down the most frequently asked questions about road bike stems and answered them below. We hope they satisfy your queries!

What is the Shortest Stem For a Road Bike?

Road bike stems are available in multiple sizes. The minimum or shortest length is usually 80 mm for the most flexible and sharp turn.

How Does Stem Length Affect Bike Handling?

Stem length affects your comfort and steering. If the length is too long, you will have to bend forward while riding the bike. This can strain your neck and shoulders and affect control. On the other hand, longer stems result in much slower steering. Therefore, shorter stem lengths are preferred.

Does Lowering the Stem Increase Reach?

Lowering the stem lengthens your reach but does not affect the position of your seat. A shorter stem is, therefore, more comfortable.

How Do You Measure a Road Bike Stem?

There are a few simple steps to follow.

Firstly, stabilize your bike and place it on a stand or rest it against a wall.

Then start by measuring from the center bolt of the headset cap to the center of the handlebar. You can do this in centimeters or millimeters. Just convert the centimeters to millimeters by multiplying by ten.

Adjust this measurement to the nearest 10 mm, and that’s it: you have your road bike stem length!

What Difference Does a Shorter Stem Make?

A shorter stem will give the bike quicker handling characteristics, meaning sharper turns and greater flexibility. You will find yourself having more control over your bike. However, a longer stem requires you to shift your body weight a little on the front and improves the pedaling position. 

Will Any Stem Fit Any Bike?

Some stems are versatile enough for all road bikes, mountain bikes, and fixed-gear bicycles as well. However, many stems only fit one type. A professional bike shop can help you choose the best fit.