SRAM ProAdjust Headset & Stem - First Ride

Apr 1, 2018
by Richard Cunningham  
SRAM's ProAdjust press release graphic doesn't mince words.

Races, especially gravity venues, can be won or lost if the handlebar height does not suit the rider and the conditions at hand. To address this dilemma, SRAM's World Cup mechanics have been secretly using a prototype threaded headset that allows independent adjustments of the stem's height and the headset's bearing preload. The headset proved to be so effective that SRAM instigated a mid-season production change to adopt the patented mechanism to present and future RockShox forks.

bigquotesThe new standard was deemed necessary because it solves a critical flaw with the present threadless headset systems, which require that the stem and headset adjustment be compromised each time the rider needs to alter the height of the handlebar. It's a crucial performance issue that we simply could not ignore.Vice President of RockShox Product, Sander Rigney
ProAdjust Details:

• Independent stem height and bearing preload adjustments
• Threaded steerer, one millimeter per rotation
• Specially threaded stems are backward compatible
• Up to 50 grams lighter than threadless
• Standard on all RockShox forks beginning May '18
• Open-source patent allows other makers to adopt standard
• MSRP: No change from threadless pricing. (ThreadHead kit: $99.95 USD)
• Contact: SRAM

Spacerless Stem System

ProAdjust headsets require that the steerer tube be threaded to accept the threaded upper race and its companion locking nut. To simplify the system and reduce weight, the clamp area of the ProAdjust stem is also threaded. The stem is simply screwed down to the exact height that the rider desires, after which, the clamp bolts are cinched in the traditional manner. One revolution equals one millimeter of vertical adjustment. Stem spacers are eliminated, which offers significant weight reduction for ProAdjust users. To ensure that ProAdjust stems are backwards-compatible, the thread depth is reduced to 50%, so they will also clamp old-school threadless steerer tubes. Truvative, Enve, and Chinese component giant Won Hung have signed onto the program, which is anticipated to garner wide support within the industry.

SRAM ProAdjust headset system
SRAM's ThreadHead tool kit includes an Eze-start die set, two ProAdjust wrenches and a full set of depth gauges for various sized fork steerers and stem combinations.

ThreadHead Tool Kit

OEM forks will be shipped with steerer tubes cut to length and pre-threaded to fit specific frame sizes, while aftermarket forks will be offered in the three most popular lengths. RockShox plans to sell a "ThreadHead" tool kit that includes two ProAdjust wrenches, precision thread-depth measuring devices, and a special threading die to custom fit forks to non-compliant frame designs. Rigney says ProAdjust is an "open-source" standard, available to any manufacture that agrees to maintain RockShox's guidelines for the system.

First Impressions:

bigquotesI never had any issues with the present threadless steerers and headsets, so I had low expectations that SRAM's ProAdjust system could render anything useful in the name of performance. I couldn't have been more wrong. The ah-ha moment came after my Strava times were falling off on a technical gravity trail. I was sure I was losing time in the corners, but my tires were fresh, and I had I tried raising and lowering tire pressure one psi with no positive results.

I switched to a ProAdjust headset and Descendant stem, then did a succession of timed runs, screwing my stem one revolution higher until my Strava times were back in line with my skillset. Turns out, weather conditions had changed to dry, which translated to a 4mm higher handlebar position. The brilliance of ProAdjust is that, armed with only an Allen key, I can maintain my KOM with just four turns of the stem when the moisture returns. No guesswork means consistent performance. I'll call that a win.

Author Info:
RichardCunningham avatar

Member since Mar 23, 2011
974 articles

  • 79 4
 SRAM, doing April fools 365 days a year since 1987
  • 18 1
 April 1st is the only day I believe SRAM.
  • 4 6
 Wow! How long have you been holding on for that one, You mad bro?
  • 30 0
 But is it backwards compatible, meaning, can I run my stem backwards for negative extension?
  • 23 0
 Tractor-mode is an in-app purchase.
  • 1 0
 Yes! Also there is a port through where the pressure equalizes that negative extension. Complicated isn't it
  • 2 0
 Due to the geometry 'progression' of extending reach. Simply turn your stem backwards to compensate.
  • 1 0
 Yes can turn your fork round too so the geomerty is not affected?
  • 15 0
 I'd love to adjust my handlebar height if the contitions change on the same trail. But that would ruin my Strava time if I'd have to adjust it mid-segment. I propose a quick-release system where you can hit a lever and just do a quick barspin and it snaps right back into the straigt forward position, but depending on it being a regular or oppo barspin you've raised or lowered your stem by 1mm.
  • 1 0
 I always double bar spin and 2mm will just be 2 much!!! It might ruin my strava times if I don't have 1mm adjustability. I wonder if there is an aftermarket so I can get 1mm with a double bar spin?
  • 7 1
 It’s not as funny as dropper stem. Wait... dropper stem wasn’t April fools...
  • 6 1
 Knew it was a joke when there was no change in pricing...........Smile
  • 4 0
 But at least it's threaded.
  • 2 0
 SRAM doing an April Fool’s joke?
It’s like that kid that tattles on you and your friends but still wants to hang out after you all got grounded.
  • 2 0
 Utterly brilliant. I really can't see why this won't catch on a be adopted marketwide...
  • 2 0
 I knew it was a joke when they said it was backwards compatible AND open source. good one SRAM.
  • 1 0
 WIth their last commercial BS (DUB) I actually don’t know if this is a joke or not ... lol
  • 1 0
 This is such an ingenious idea. No more mucking around with spacers. On the fly adjustment. Hope to see a trail review soon!
  • 1 0
 That 1 1/8" steerer is heavy and weak, you should totally up that to 28.99mm for 2019.
  • 1 0
 1 1/8 is 28.58mm so we are not far off!
  • 1 0
 is there a dh version too?
  • 1 0
 Love the new SRAM thread set!
  • 1 0
 Well if Won Hung is on board!
  • 1 0
 And someone got paid for this...
  • 1 0
 Today would be a great day for SRAM to release a set of brakes that work
  • 3 3
 This is that new 29.98 I've been hearing so much about?
  • 1 1
 Still wondering if this is April Fool's Day stuff...I'm gullible
  • 1 0
 come back 1960
  • 1 2
  • 1 3
 Happy fool's day
  • 1 3
 Uhuhuhu! April fail
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