18 August, 2010

Chrome Stems

If it seems as if we've been working on fillet-brazed quill stems for years, it's only because we have. The photo at left shows the final prototype for the Grand Cru stem. It will have an alloy wedge and even come with a clamp bolt. As to the price, $75-$95 is a fair guess. We hope to have them this winter.

There will also be  a simpler and less expensive VO fillet-brazed and chrome plated. I'll post details when we have the final prototype. It should be soon; we're very close on the design.

Interestingly, these stems are about the same weight or lighter than a Nitto Technomic, but the quill is a little shorter.

Update: Here is a post I wrote last year about Zen and the Art of Making Stems.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

That looks like an old Ava death stem.

Gunnar Berg said...

It looks like a number of classic stems. I like it and will be purchasing one as soon as they are available.

Anonymous said...

Can I get my initials worked into the rear face? I want a custom scar if I ever crash and ram my sternum into this thing.

Why the alloy wedge, other that weight savings? The steel wedges on old cheap Al stems were always an invitation to corrosion problems for the usual high school chemistry reasons. For the same reason it seems like you'd be better off with a steel wedge here.

Le Cagot said...

Glad to see this old style of stem brought back. There were some British stems that looked similar, but I can't recall the brand.

Several custom builders will still make a stem like this, but the going price is around $400.

Anonymous said...

These stems could be a godsend for me. Thanks for making a nice-looking quill at a reasonable price. =]

It would also be wonderful if there was a version that had significant rise to it, such as a 90 degree stem.

Yes, the quill may be longer than the average bear, but no everyone likes the look of a very highly raised quill stem. A max-extended Technomic looks pretty weird, for example.

Wayne Myer said...

Is there a compelling reason for the pinch bolt instead of a pop top? I have been questing after a pop top quill stem to fit my Peugeot and it has been a very difficult journey. I am honestly curious why the adherence to pinch bolts for quill stems.

eflayer said...

just one angle or will they come in a variety of extensions and angles? Hopefully 90 and 105 upjutting.

eflayer said...

oh yeah, why chrome on stuff rather than anodized or polish.

johnson said...

some questions addressed:

you can't anodize steel, and if you polish it, it will still rust.

alloy wedges are lighter. if you grease it all up, which you should do with any quill stem, there will be no high school chemistry...

pinch bolts are elegant and simple. really really: how often do you swap handlebars?

if you need a stem that has rise to it, there is a perfectly serviceable one out there already: the nitto dirt drop.

this stem looks good. nice work!

Adam said...

Does VO make/distribute anything that isn't classy?

Are you planning on normal (25.4mm?) or some variate on fat bars?

Uncle Ankle said...

One of my proudest achievements is learning to live with the look of the Kalloy AL231.

Dirt cheap, stiff, high rise/long quill, pop-top.

Heavy, hopelessly ugly (even to someone who appreciates the 3T Mutant).

patates frites said...

You say the quill is a bit shorter than the one on the Nitto Technomic. Are you talking about the regular Technomic or the Deluxe? The regular is longer than the deluxe.

patates frites said...

Uncle Ankle,
That Kalloy stem isn't THAT ugly! It's got some graceful curves. The only thing that's really hideous is the logo. I hope you can rub that off with some simichrome or something.

Anonymous said...

The stem looks beautiful!
Irresistible. Will there also be a threadless version for our "other" bikes?
best,
mw

Chris Kulczycki said...

It's shorter than the regular Technomic, close to the deluxe.

These will come in one angle and 4 or 5 extensions to start. If they sell we'll add more options.

There may be a threadless version, still working on that.

Anonymous said...

"Is there a compelling reason for the pinch bolt instead of a pop top?"


In a word, aesthetics. I've never seen a pop top stem that wasn't lumpy, ill-proportioned, or just plain ugly. Functional sure, but never elegant.

Compare this: http://salsacycles.com/files/components/stems_cromoto2.jpg to the new VO stem. If you're not seeing the advantage, then fine, buy the Salsa.

For my part, I'd like to thank VO for getting these built without the $400 price tag. It's one of the most attractive - and one of the least common - stem designs ever made.

Rich F.

Anonymous said...

You've got chrome cranks and now this chrome stem - will there be a full chrome VO frameset available to mount all this bling on ?

eflayer said...

yes, pinch bolts are smoother aesthetically and removeables are so much more efficient if you need to change things out. i have the original pinch bolt salsa stem on one bike and the removeable faceplated one on another. gotta say, the pinch bolt one gets my big vote for being all the more svelte in the looks dept. nice to be able to be so darn choosy.

EBEEP said...

What's the shortest extension you will offer? 50mm?
Thanks!

Uncle Ankle said...

[off-topic ramble continued] I've combined the Kalloy stem with Shimano SL-A050 shifters and a WTB Mountain Road Bar - the net result is an eye-watering symphony of ugliness.

I haven't gotten this particular monstrosity on the road yet, but it looks promising, in a hideous sort of way . The tight radius of the bar necessitated the pop-top, and the flaring ends made me wary of barcons. I don't get along with ordinary thumbies, and these shifters occupy a minimum of handlebar space while still being usable with your hands on the bar; they also have very clean cable routing. In addition they cost close to nothing and have a secret eighth click!

Anonymous said...

I am curious about the environmental impact of chrome plating. Are we encouraging China to pollute their waterways with chromium, much as we once did to our own? I've noticed that most E.U and U.S. made products have moved away from chrome plating. Wouldn't it be silly if our pursuit of a nostalgic aesthetic brought a return to a historic pollution problem? (Out of sight, out of mind.) Sometimes progress in product design is result of new material restrictions. Just thought I'd bring this up for conversation, we should consider where, who, and how these products are made. Speaking of nostalgia, I've always preferred the soft yellowish glow of worn nickel plating over the brash shine of chrome. (see Gibson guitar tuners)

philcycles said...

I want one. I just hope there will be long-12 or 13 cm-ones.
Phil Brown

Mike Thompson said...

Really a nice vintage style stem. A Jack Taylor made stem is very similar. I too would like to see a 90 degree riser stem. Very good job on this one. thanks mt

noah bers said...

My favorite quill is the Salsa SUL stem with the removable faceplate. It's not available any more. I would love a high quality, modern quill with a removable face plate.

Anonymous said...

Removable face plates are great if it's your first bike and you don't know how to unwrap/rewrap tape.

:)
mw

Daniel said...

Chris,

Any updates on these stems? Have a better sense of when they'll be in stock? They sample photo looks stunning.