The guys at Redshift Sports out of Philadelphia USA got in touch with me to see if I’d like to try their shock stem and shock seat post after seeing my review of the Kinekt stem and post, In that review (see here) I said that although the stem and post worked flawlessly they were probably suited to more recreational bikes than a gravel bike. So I was skeptical the Redshift could bring anything different to the table but also intrigued to see what the most well known stem and post in the market performed.
The Stem, First impressions count and on first view the stem just looks like an ordinary stem, this is a massive plus point for me. The stem has a 4 bolt face plate making handlebar installation a breeze, the picture above shows the stem with the redshift integrated Garmin computer mount, this is sold separately. the 90mm stem weighs 256g 100, 110 and 120mm lengths are also available (and now a 80mm) there is also a 30 degree 100mm version too. Up to 20mm of travel can be achieved using the right rate of elastomer.
The suspension part of the stem is very simple, as all the best ideas seem to be. It has a hinge bolt at the steerer tube end and inside are two elastomers and a slider to secure then inside, seen below. 5 elastomers of various hardness (two already in the stem) come in the box
I started off with the stock elastomers as they were shipped to get a baseline on how they felt, you get softer and harder elastomers in the box and as there are two in the stem it’s easy to mix them to get the feel and the amount of movement you want. There’s a guide to rider weight and which elastomers to use and helpfully they come colour coded too. It’s important to remember to weigh yourself with riding kit on and not just your weight when you step out of the shower. The instructions also say to fit harder elastomers if you know your riding terrain is especially bumpy or you like a stiffer ride.
After a short ride I knew that I’d prefer a stiffer set up as the stem was easily using up all its travel. It’s very easy to swap the elastomers, you don’t even have to take the stem off the bike, the face plate does need to be removed though. The instructions are detailed and clear but having a torque wrench is desirable to seat the elastomers in the stem as per factory recommendations.
The Ride I had to fit the stem in the most elevated position to counteract the fact that this was a 90mm stem, i usually run an 80mm one (at the time the stem arrived Redshift had not yet released an 80mm version, this is now available) so It wasn’t optimal but the effect of the shock stem could be felt straight away. Roads around my home area are frankly atrocious and broken tarmac and raised and dipped drain covers on the way to off road routes was the perfect start to see how the stem performed. It definitely took the edge off the road chatter. Stand up out of the saddle and you can detect movement if you deliberately bounce up and down but climbing on the drops didn’t elicit any annoying “bob”. The stem had no twisting movement and I had none of the “is the front wheel loose” issues I’ve had with other suspension stems
off road the stem really works to iron out the roots and stones, it’s not a suspension fork and doesn’t set out to be one but it’ll take out some of the battering your hands and arms get which is transferred to your shoulders and neck and so reduces fatigue over long distances, in fact it’s perfect for autumn as you can’t see what is hidden under the leaves and the stem gives you an extra bit of confidence to pedal through sections. I set the stem quite hard but you can set it softer to give more cushioning but the off shoot of this is more movement when pedalling on smoother surfaces, but that is the beauty of all the different elastomer durometers, you can set it to exactly how you like it.
The stem is around £149 so by no means a cheap option, there are some deals around at the moment, including from Redshift themselves if you are quick Redshiftsports.com
Would I use the Redshift shock stem on my bike? after 4 weeks of riding with the stem I really like the way it works and my initial skepticism was been smoothed away (see what i did there?) and if this was the 80mm version I’d keep it on the bike all year round 100%
If you want a suspension stem that really works, can reduce fatigue and looks like a normal stem unless you look really hard then the Redshift shock stem is the one to go for
As with all my tests, this is an impartial and real world review. I’m not sponsored and I’m just an average rider like most of the cyclists out there. I do inform anyone who sends me things to test that It will be an honest review good or bad