If you are putting together a new trail bike built for some aggressive riding, finding the right stem is the perfect way to finish off your build. There are plenty of high quality stems out there from brands like Deity, Renthal, RaceFace, and Thompson to name a few. We think Deity is a pretty rad company and so we had our guy Max Morgan write up a review on the Deity Copperhead Stem that he rides on his Santa Cruz Hightower. To learn more about the man behind Deity Components, listen to Vital MTB's Inside The Line Podcast with Eric Davies!
Deity Components introduced a completely new lineup of premium products in 2017 with all new handlebars, grips, stems, saddles, and seat posts. The Deity Copperhead Stem uses high level machining, a strong two piece design, and streamline looks. The Copperhead stem is claimed to balance durability and weight while maintaining style and function. The lines and styling of this stem are mirrored from a copperhead snake, and those center channels remove excess material while delivering strength.
I've got the Deity Copperhead Stem mounted up on my Santa Cruz Hightower trail bike. The Hightower is a 29" wheeled trail weapon with 135mm of rear wheel travel and with this setup, 150mm fork travel. The Copperhead stem is paired with Deity Skyline handlebars that are cut down to 780mm wide and feature a 25mm rise. I've ridden this trail bike all of 2018 with this particular stem on board.
The bike is outfitted with Fox suspension front and rear, a Fox 36 fork with a Grip1 damper up front and a Fox DPX2 shock in the back. This Hightower is finished off with Industry Nine Enduro 310 carbon wheels, and Maxxis DHR II EXO casing tubeless tires.
Installing the Deity Copperhead stem was nice and easy. Tolerances with the stem were spot on. The stem slid on to the steerer tube without much effort, and when bolting up the faceplate for the handlebars, everything felt good and solid. On top of the Copperhead stem, there is a machined flat area so that the stem spacers can sit nicely without getting pinched.
The hardware from Deity is the same across all of their parts and feels like nice quality. The head of the stem bolts are deep enough that when installing the stem, you aren't really worried about stripping out bolts like on some others out there. Once the handlebars were mounted on the stem, the decals on the Skyline bar were handy for getting the bars centered and rolled to where they felt comfortable.
The fit and finish of the stem just looks and feels like it's a premium product. The level of detail in the machining is what you would expect out of a high price point stem. Overall, I have been impressed with how the stem fits on the bike. Maybe that should go without saying but there were no surprises when mounting up Deity's Copperhead stem.
I've had the Copperhead stem on all of my trail bikes since it was introduced in 2017. While riding, this stem gives a strong and stable feel through the handlebars, exactly what you would hope for when the trail gets rough. There are plenty of parts on the bike that you do want to be compliant, helping absorb some of the impacts out on the trail. For example, the tires, wheels, and handlebars all give some compliance, but the stem should not.
I never had any issues with any of the stem bolts working their way loose, either on the pinch bolts or faceplate. When torqued properly, the handlebar never rolled or wanted to move around in the stem. This stem just works! It feels nice and secure and I think the looks are killer.
One of the only negatives I can find with the Copperhead stem is that it's not designed to be flipped over, changing its rise. It would be nice if the stem was reversible so you could either raise or lower your handlebar height without changing the stack height.
How much can you really say about a stem? There haven't been any surprises with either installing or riding the Deity Copperhead Stem. Seamless installation, the high level of machining and attention to detail, and streamlined styling makes this stem a premium product. The Copperhead stem is a centerpiece in the Deity lineup of products, and in my opinion looks sharp. Most importantly, the stem is strong and has been very durable. It gives you a strong and sturdy feel when riding even in the roughest terrain. The laser etching graphics on the side of the stem are also a nice touch. What more can you ask for?
Max Morgan is 26 years old, and lives in Brevard, North Carolina. Max grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and started racing downhill at the age of 15. He has now been racing professionally for the last 8 years, competing in the UCI World Cup series and U.S. Pro GRT series. To learn more about Max, check out Max's rider spotlight here!