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July 20, 2020, 9:09 a.m. -  Andy Eunson

I was riding hard in the early 90’s when the purple CNC machined rage was in full swing. A lot of that crap was just that, crap. Being a light rider at under 140 back then claims of stiffer this and that fell on deaf ears. I had a friend that worked at Norco then. He still does. He told us they sold Axiom stems for way more then normal because even though they paid around $5 to haVe them made and shipped, if they sold them wholesale for $7 and they were keystones for $14.99 no one would buy them. Too cheap. So they wholesaled for $25 and sold for $50 at the stores. Instantly a better stem. I think about that. To me there needs to be a tangible performance benefit. And I have been suckered in way more than once. Carbon brake rotors? Got some. Went through probably half a ton of rubber tires with bizarre looking tread patterns that still gripped like hockey pucks. Suntour XC PRO. Isn’t that pretty? Indexed well at one end of the cassette but not the other. Pick where you need to shift before the race. Although I did win a race once because I wasn’t able to shift to my 22. Forced me to attack in the middle ring.  Colour matching is fun. Nothing wrong with that. But to do so at a high cost with no performance gain or lesser performance is dumb. Sometimes with stems it’s the cheaper heavier stem that performs better. I’ve had stems so skeletal that they don’t hold the headset in adjustment. Always come loose. Solved by using a cheaper stem with more surface area for grip. I’ve seen some fancy stems with sharp machined edges where they contact steer tubes and bars too. Bad idea. More so for carbon parts.

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