Downhill Mountain Bikes – Stems

The handlebar stem on downhill mountain bikes both keeps the handlebar in place and determines the height of the handlebars. Often they are made of aluminum alloy, with the higher end ones consisting of 7075 aluminum. 7075 aluminum uses zinc as the primary alloying agent, giving it the strength of steel, but with a lighter weight. It is also used to make lacrosse shafts and rock climbing equipment.

Classic road quill stem 300x200 Downhill Mountain Bikes   Stems
Threadless stem with hole for front brake cable Downhill Mountain Bikes   Stems
Threaded “Quill” Stem
Threadless Stem

There are two types of stem, threaded, or “quill”, primarily used on older bikes, and threadless, which is in common use today, particularly on mountain bikes. Threadless systems require less labor. Some stems serve to raise the level of the handlebars slightly, but others may lower it. Lowering the handlebars allows the rider to make closer contact with the bike, which is useful for downhill applications. Numerous types of stems are available, with costs ranging from $10 to $100 (USD).

When selecting a stem consider the handlebar diameter. 25.4mm (1″) and 26mm are common sizes, but on downhill mountain bikes oversized 31.8mm handlebars are taking over due to their greater strength. Shims may be used to accomodate a smaller handlebar diameter.

DIRTYDOG REAPERSTEM Downhill Mountain Bikes   StemsDirty Dog Reaper Mountain Bike Stem

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Image Credits: Threaded and Threadless Bicycle Stems, Andrew Dressel

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