Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
Stems have become a very nice touch to mountain bikes. Not only do they help with bike fit, they can also be eye candy. Industry Nine's A35 stems are the perfect example. They're beautifully made and add that personal touch to your bike. Our customer has been rocking one, see what they think!
Even a weight weenie should never compromise on a stem! It’s the one place I never compromise on strength in my equipment. I am always looking to shave weight from my bikes. No matter if I am on my trail or cross country bike, this is never an area I will compromise. The stem is one of the areas I see guys try to go cheap or save weight. The I9 stem is actually not heavy at all, but you can find stems that weigh much less. But if you inspect the Industry Nine A35 and the A318 they are beautifully machined inside and out. The A35 looks chunky, however if you inspect it, the stem is hollowed out to get the weight down as much as possible. Not only that but they have machined the edges and rounded the corners to keep you from getting banged up in the event you come into contact with the stem during a crash. The finish on the stems is great, I travel often with my bikes and they are in the sun for extended periods of time. The anodized colors have help up strong. When I was a kid if you purchased a part that was anodized it might start out red, but at some point became pink. Some other parts purchased at the same time have lost that deep red color when new, I have 2 Red A35 stems and they look new to this day.
I am kind of an Industry Nine junkie, I have their stems and wheels on all of my mountain bikes, including my wife’s and son’s bikes. The equipment is meant to hold up under extreme use. I push the limits on my bikes and Industry Nine holds the line. Industry Nine support have been very helpful when I have called and emailed asking for assistance.
For me, I ride the stem in the -6 degree setup to lower my center of gravity and get weight down over the front wheel. However if you are looking to add a bit more comfort, flip the stem to the +6 degree position and you add height to your overall stack. It does not change the length of your reach, just your shoulder height and body position. Even if you don’t keep it in the “other” position, you should try it to see if it improves your ride. You might be surprised that it is more comfortable or improves your ability to climb. When I was helping a buddy a while back he was saying he was thinking about buying a higher rise handle bar, I looked at the stem setup he had and said “you should flip your stem, it’s in a - degree setup”. He had no idea it was a thing. We flipped his stem and it solved the need for new taller handle bars.
You do need to find the right length, there is advantages to longer and shorter stems. In some cases a longer stem will get your body position down and help with climbing, however your back will feel this and may not be happy about it. On the flip side too short of a stem can make your bike twitchy and even offset your handlebar sweep. There is a certain point where stems are so short they can really mess with your geo. You need to take into account the fork offset, bar sweep and stem length. You should not have a negative stem length. The manufactures have been making the geo changes to improve bike handling, you should try to keep this close to the original setup. With that said, some guys flourish with crazy setups and it works. Just know it can have a negative effect.