When looking for a mountain bike stem, there are so many options it becomes hard to even keep track. With so much clutter it becomes more difficult to stand out from the crowd. Sure enough, Industry Nine has found a way to do that with the release of their A35 stem. Not only is the quality as you'd expect from I9 but it is available in multiple colors that can be mixed together. Our customer Liam is just as stoked on this stem as we are. Check out this thoughts!
I stumbled upon Industry Nine's A35 stem while looking for something to replace my Raceface Atlas stem. While there was nothing functionally wrong with the Atlas stem, I was looking for a replacement that was about 5mm longer and higher to tweak my cockpit a bit. Additionally, I was looking for a part that has a custom look and feel to it. The A35 checked all the boxes. It is a 35mm clamp, comes in a variety of lengths, and is available in a host of colors which can be color mix and matched. I ordered the 40mm length with a black body and a silver faceplate to compliment my TRP Quadiem brakes. The mixed colors was a special order item, so it took extra time for Worldwide Cyclery to receive it from Industry Nine, but the communication, and progress update was excellent the entire time.
Before purchasing the A35 most of the online discussion and feedback about it regarded it's price point. The main objection to the A35 seemed to be that it is 'overpriced, and not worth it,' since a stem that costs half as much will do the same job. At $125 for a solid color and $140 for mix and match colors, it is priced on par with billet stems from small semi-custom part makers. While it is true that it does the same job as my Raceface Atlas that it would replace (they both securely hold the handlebar to the steerer tube), I was willing to pay extra for a stem that was made with better materials (7075 aluminum, stainless fasteners), more attention to detail, and has more aesthetically pleasing look to it.
Upon receiving the A35, my assumption that its 'quality would match its' price point was confirmed. Everything about the stem exudes high quality and attention to detail in manufacturing. The machining, finish, and laser engraving are all top notch. There are no sharp edges, or machining lines anywhere on it, indicating that it underwent significant deburring before anodization. The anodized finishes are flawless, and the 'silver' has a faint look of brushed stainless steel. The laser engraving is deep and sharp, and looks good in both the black stem body and silver faceplate. The bolts are high quality stainless steel, and come pre lubed with what appears to be a blue grease. I would assume that is to avoid any possibility of galling between the stainless bolt and anodized aluminum threads.
The A35 installs easy just like any other stem, but Industry Nine includes a small instruction sheet just so there is no confusion about what bolts they want to you to tighten down first, and with how much torque. It went onto my steerer tube and handlebars easily with zero trouble. I chose to run the stem with it's 6 degree/5mm offset upwards to lift my bars a tiny bit. There is a faint line indentation, but no laser engraved marking, on the centerline of the stem faceplate. Although it is a bit tough to see, it provides a reference line to align and cant your handlebars to your preferred position.
In use the A35 did exactly what you'd expect, it held my handle bar in place without issue. The size of this stem was only a minor change from the one it replaced, so I didn't expect it to radically change my bike's handling, which it did not. I got the tiny increase in rise and reach I was after, as well as a noticeable cosmetic upgrade.
Do all of Industry Nine's small touches and attention to detail warrant the price tag for the A35? In my opinion, yes, they do. This isn't a stem for everyone, mainly due to the price, but it's a great option for those that are willing to pay a bit extra for flawless manufacturing with a custom touch. With the wide array of color options (11 in total), and ability to mix and match, there are tons of possibilities (121 color combinations to be exact), and they should have you covered on whatever color(s) you like to rock on your ride. With this being Industry Nine's first non-wheel oriented component, the A35 has made me interested to see what type of components they may offer next.