By Rick Schultz, MBA, DBA
- High Quality
- 15 different stiffness selections via 5 elastomer cushions
- Quick & easy setup and cushion exchange
- Stem selections:
+/-6° ; 90mm, 100mm, 110mm, 120mm
+/-30° ; 100mm only
- Bottom Line: Works great
- None identified
Product Tested: ShockStop Stem
Source: dealers, websites
Supplied by: Redshift
Summary: High quality suspension stem for today’s gravel grinders.
ShockStop Suspension Stem
Six or so months ago, I built a ‘gravel grinder’ out of my Giant TCT Advanced road bike. During this time, I have ridden it both on-road and off-road, for off-road, mainly hard-pack trails. For those that missed this great series, here is Part 3: Extended Gearing for the Road Bike, where I put it all together.
So far, everything has worked out perfect on this build. Looking back, the Wolftooth components are rock-solid and the drivetrain selection couldn’t be better.
But, the only drawback is that since I converted a road racing bicycle, the largest tires that fit are 700×28. Compared to the 700×40 for other gravel bikes (ex, OPEN), these 28mm tires are not quite wide enough to mitigate vibration, even at lower pressures. So, when Redshift sent me a suspension stem to test, this couldn’t have come at a better time!
After opening the box, I laid all of the parts and directions out on the workbench. Included was a +/-6° x 100mm Redshift Sports ShockStop stem. At first glance, the instructions seemed a little daunting, but, breaking these down into small steps, all they really were saying is to (a) select your weight then (b) match to the recommended elastomer pieces and (c) place elastomer piece(s) in top part of stem opening old, never place in the bottom slots.
Each elastomer piece has a different durometer, or hardness rating from 50 to 90. At my weight of 185lbs, Redshift recommended an 80 and a 70 (green and blue). Again, this is a recommended starting point and after a ride or two, you can swap out elastomers to increase or decrease the amount of flex resistance. With the ShockStop stem, you can go all the way down to an ultra-soft 50 durometer to an ultra-firm 170 durometer. The great thing about this stem is that you can fine tune it to meet your needs.
Above: Select your elastomers based on your weight
Below: Select the orientation that you would like your stem to be then drop in the elastomer piece(s).
How Did the Stem Perform?
The stem is a quality build. For my riding, I thought the recommended 150 durometer (70+80) was a little too firm so I dropped down to 130 durometer (60+70) which worked out better for me, especially since I am still using this as a road bike. If I would be riding the TCR Advanced exclusively as a gravel bike, I would go even softer, starting with 110 (50+60) and maybe even going to a single Black 90.
But, that is what is so great about this stem, many, many possible configurations!
While I was writing this review, I found this article which I highly recommend you read. It not only includes a detailed test of the ShockStop but goes into the history of suspension stems. A must read!
This is a very simple stem to assemble and really does absorb shock from the road and/or gravel trails.
You also have a choice of 15 different firmness options as well as 4 different stem lengths for +/-6° and 1 stem length for +/-30°.
All-in-all, this is a great choice for a stem and with its vast adjustability, can be used as your road stem or your gravel stem. You can quickly adjust to dampen just the right amount of ‘road’ vibration.
This stem is a keeper and is staying on the TCR!
More Photos of ShockStop on TCR
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Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he's a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He's the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist and Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick's full bio.