10 Best Mountain Bike Stems in 2017 – Ultimate Guide for Everyone

Best Mountain Bike Stems

As a mountain biking enthusiast, I come across a lot of questions about bike parts. There’s a lot to learn about bike measurements – both the standard mechanical measurements and how to properly fit yourself for a bike.

I wrote this guide because there is so much confusion among bikers. Many people live with the stock mechanics of a bike – which is a big mistake. In fact, because they don’t know how to measure a bike correctly, the bike becomes uncomfortable to use and they end up giving up on the sport.

We’re here to clear up some of this techno-mumbo-jumbo to help you understand some bike measurements. We are going to start with the bike stems.

Best Mountain Bike Stems: Things to Consider

The bike stem is a very small piece of the bike. For being so small, it’s extremely vital that you get the right one. The bike stem is the piece of hardware that connects the fork to the handlebar. Since the handlebar is pretty obvious, let’s explain what the fork is.

The fork gets its name because of how the front wheel is mounted between the two tines of the fork. It is the piece of the bike that holds the front wheel. Between the steerer tube of the fork and the handlebar, you will find the bike stem.

How To Choose Best Mountain Bike Stems

Bike stems come in many flavors and have to be measured with precision. Essentially, there are four primary measurements on every bike stem. If one of the measurements is off, it either will not fit on your bike, or you won’t be comfortable with it.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

The Stem Rise

The stem rise is taken directly from the headtube. The headtube is the top of the fork that directly connects to the stem.

If you were to take a protractor and lay it against the headtube, you could measure the rise. A 0° rise is one where the handlebar will sit perfectly perpendicular to the headtube. When the handlebar starts rising up, you begin to get a stem rise.

The Stem Diameter

This is the diameter of the headtube. Most mountain bikes typically measure 1 1/8 of an inch in diameter. Road bikes, on the other hand, typically come in a 1.5-inch diameter. Some headtubes are 1 inch in diameter. That’s OK. They make shims so that your stem can fit on your bike.

The Handlebar Diameter

The handlebar diameter is the obvious one. Most handlebar diameters come in two flavors – 25.4 mm (1 inch) and 31.8 mm. Most mountain bike handlebars measure 31.8 mm.

The Stem Length

The stem length has to do with your own comfort. The taller the stem length, the less aerodynamic you will be, but the more comfortable you will be. Likewise, the shorter the stem, the faster you will be able to go. However, some comfort is sacrificed for speed.

Other Considerations

Some other considerations you may want to look at when you consider your stems are:

The Body Material

Typically, you will usually find the body material to be aluminum or stainless steel. Steely steel is stronger, but aluminum is lighter in weight.

The Price

This is a world where you really do get what you pay for. For most people, a stem within the $25-$50 range is perfect. If you are an avid racer or an avid mountain biker, you may be more comfortable with one in the $75-$125 range.

The price is not usually an indication of quality – it is merely an indication of affordability and preference.

Best Mountain Bike Stems in 2017 - Comparison

Best Mountain Bike Stems in 2017 - Reviews

Truvativ 40 0-Degree 31.8 1-1/8 Hussefelt Stem

Editor Rating:

This is a heavy duty stem that is designed for mountain bikers who ride off-road consistently.

This model comes in two colors: Blast Black and Snow White.

Feature at a Glance

  • The stem rise on this model is 0°.
  • The stem diameter for this model is a standard 1 1/8 inch.
  • The handlebar diameter for this model is a standard 31.8 mm.
  • The stem length of this model is 42 mm.
Race Face Respond Mountain Bike Stem

Editor Rating:

This Race Face Respond model has a faceplate designed to eliminate stress on the handlebar.

It is forged from aircraft aluminum for both fatigue resistance and extra strength.

Feature at a Glance

  • The stem rise on this model is 10°.
  • The stem diameterfor this model is a standard 1 1/8 inch.
  • The handlebar diameter for this model is a standard 31.8 mm.
  • There are two stem length options for this model:
  • 45 mm
  • 60 mm
Race Face Ride Mountain Bike Stem

Editor Rating:

Race Face Ride model turns your bike from a stock bike into a responsive mountain bike.

It is a good, solid stem forged from aircraft aluminum at an affordable price.

Feature at a Glance

  • The stem rise on this model is 0°.
  • The stem diameter for this model is a standard 1 1/8 inch.
  • The handlebar diameter for this model is a standard 31.8 mm.
  • The stem length of this model is 60 mm.
TruvativStylo T20 Bicycle Stem

Editor Rating:

This designer stem is designed to be not only good-looking but tough.

It is lighter, stronger and more durable than the stock stems that come on bikes.

Feature at a Glance

  • The stem rise on this model is 5°.
  • The stem diameterfor this model is a standard 1 1/8 inch.
  • The handlebar diameter for this model is a standard 31.8 mm.
  • There are five stem length options for this model.
  • 60 mm
  • 75 mm
  • 90 mm
  • 100 mm
  • 110 mm
Race Face Atlas Mountain Bike Stem

Editor Rating:

As the name implies, this is a racing stem forged from aircraft aluminum.

This outstanding piece of hardware to make a big difference comparedto any stock stem on your bike.

Feature at a Glance

  • The stem rise for this model is 0°.
  • The stem diameterfor this model is a standard 1 1/8 inch.
  • The handlebar diameter for this model is a standard 31.8 mm.
  • There are two stem length options for this model.
  • 50 mm
  • 65 mm
TruvativHolzfeller Bicycle Stem

Editor Rating:

The Truvativ Holzfeller Bicycle Stem is a designer stem that can be purchased for both road bikes with a 1.5-inch stem diameter and mountain bikes to have a 1 1/8 inch stem diameter.

This is an excellent grade for your mountain bike, allowing you to get behind the bike on drops with a very tight turning radius.

Feature at a Glance

  • The stem rise for this model is 0°.
  • There are two stem diameter options for this model. 1/8 inch, 0.5 inch
  • The handlebar diameter for this model is a standard 31.8 mm.
  • There are three stem length options for this model.
  • 40 mm
  • 50 mm
  • 60 mm
Origin8 Pro Fit ATB Stem

Editor Rating:

The Origin8 Pro Fit ATB is a quill stem designed for mountain bikes. This design is perfect for taller people as it keeps them from leaning over on the bike too far.

This is a solid stem that will take whatever beating the mountain throws at you.

Feature at a Glance

  • The stem rise to this model is 90°.
  • The stem diameterfor this model is a standard 1 1/8 inch.
  • The handlebar diameter for this model is a standard 31.8 mm.
  • The stem length on this model is 180 mm.
Easton Haven Stem

Editor Rating:

The Easton Haven Stem is a shorter stem designed to make it easier to lift the front wheel they keep your balance on off-roading trails.

This precision stem provides a stellar upgrade to bring response to a whole new level.

Feature at a Glance

  • The stem rise for this model is 0°.
  • The stem diameter for this model is a standard 1 1/8 inch.
  • The handlebar diameter for this model is a standard 31.8 mm.
  • There are four stem length options for this model.
  • 55 mm
  • 70 mm
  • 85 mm
  • 100 mm
Ritchey Pro 30 Degree Stem - 31.8 x 100mm

Editor Rating:

The Ritchey Pro 30 Degree rise helps your bike stay on the ground. The faceplate clamps wrap all the way around the handlebar to reduce stress.

This one is stronger than aluminum – and a bit heavier too. It is made from stainless steel.

Feature at a Glance

  • The stem rise for this model is 30°.
  • The stem diameterfor this model is a standard 1 1/8 inch.
  • The handlebar diameter for this model is a standard 31.8 mm.
  • There are seven stem length options for this model.
  • 60 mm
  • 70 mm
  • 80 mm
  • 90 mm
  • 100 mm
  • 110 mm
  • 120 mm
Control Tech One 5-Degree Bike Stem

Editor Rating:

Control Tech One racing stem is a clear winner and comes in four colors – red, blue, yellow and green.

The angle provides a level of responsiveness not possible in stock stems.

Feature at a Glance

  • The stem rise for this model is 5°.
  • The stem diameter for this model is a standard 1 1/8 inch.
  • The handlebar diameter for this model is a standard 31.8 mm.
  • There are six stem length options for this model.
  • 80 mm
  • 90 mm
  • 100 mm
  • 110 mm
  • 120 mm
  • 130 mm

Final Verdict

In the end, the right stem for your bike comes down to the measurements. I chose this list to be as varied as I can. I attempted to appeal to a broad range of audiences.

My bike is very different from your bike. The measurements for my bike will be different from the measurements for your bike. Furthermore, my body height is probably different from your body height.

Which is the best right stems for you?

What you need to do is measure your best bike and take a measurement of the stem length. You can find the right stem length for you by mounting yourself on your bike and looking straight down at the headtube.

As you look down, notice the position of the handlebars in comparison to the wheel mount. If they are behind the wheel mount, your stem is too short. If they are in front of the wheel mount, your stem is too long. Go through this list and try and find the right one for you.

One of these stems stands out from the others – the last one. This is an expensive racing stem that is guaranteed to perform both off-road and on. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve found the best in the business.

About the Author Matthew R. Duncan

I am proud to be the go-to guy among my circle of relatives, friends, and acquaintances for road bike advice; I take it personally whenever someone I know buys a new road bike without consulting me first!

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