New shock absorbing stem seeks Kickstarter funding

US company Redshift Sports is aiming to produce a new stem with a hinge and elastomer insert to aid road vibration damping

Suspension and compliance features for road bikes are becoming a hot ticket, with many brands building shock absorption features into their endurance frames to increase comfort and control and reduce rider fatigue.

Getting more comfort into the front end without adversely impacting steering and control is more difficult and innovative solutions are being tried such as the suspension fork on Cannondale’s Slate gravel bike.

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Now Philadelphia-based Redshift Sports has launched a campaign on Kickstarter to fund the production of a road bike stem called ShockStop with built in shock absorption.

The stem has a pivot built in at the headtube end, which moves up and down as the wheels are displaced vertically by road imperfections. Shock absorption is mediated by elastomer inserts and each stem will come with a range of these, which can be swapped out to fine tune the degree of displacement to suit the rider.

Redshift's stem is designed to replace the bike's standard stem

Redshift’s stem is designed to replace the bike’s standard stem

Vertical travel will be between 1 and 2 cm and the stem will come in lengths from 90mm to 120mm and Redshift claims a weight starting at 238 grams, dependent on length. It is 3-D forged from aluminium.

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Fitting the ShockStop stem is just a matter of unscrewing your existing stem from the headtube and the bars and replacing it with the new one. The stem is designed for 31.8mm bars but spacers can be used to fit it to 25.4mm and 26mm bars too. More details of the product can be found on Redshift Sports’ Kickstarter page.

Funding is due to close at the end of September, with delivery to backers scheduled for March 2016. Prices are set at $89 for the first 50 backers, then $99.