Chromag Announces New Riza Stem

Oct 25, 2022 at 0:37
by Chromag Bikes  
We changed the name from RZA, we don't want any beef with Wu-Tang.


We’re very excited to show you our latest stem, the RIZA which builds from both our Ranger and BZA series as our highest level, Canadian-made bar grabber.

Let's have a little walk through how the RIZA is produced, right here in Whistler, British Columbia.

A watched pot never boils.

It’s no secret we partner with North Shore Billet on a lot of our Canadian machined parts, and having them next door has been a crucial part of the design process. Working with them on a design that is not only physically possible to produce, but also cost effective is a large part of the development.

CAD (Computer Aided Design):
Relates mainly to designing a product, put very simply, creating a computer model. In this case 3D, but can be 2D.

CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing):
Relates to physically creating something. The art of telling the machine what you want it to do and how you want it to go about moving.

Two very different processes, extensively intertwined.

Once we have a design we’re happy with, we send it next door to begin the CAM process, knowing that feedback from NSB will no doubt lead to changes in the design. This feedback might relate to run-time, number of tool changes, number of setups, or even where the machining stepover lines appear and how much they overlap.

We affectionately refer to this as corduroy.

There is a tight feedback loop with the machine shop that can have large effects on the end result, and a lot of the time it’s about finding a balance between how we want the stem to look/function vs. how difficult it is to produce. For example, the new faded edge on the bar clamping surface was designed to reduce stress risers and hot spots induced into the handlebar and this was very important for us to keep, despite adding to the run time.

The new faded edge on the RIZA bar clamping surface.

Once we’ve hashed out the details with the NSB crew, they set to work on finalising the CAM side of things. This includes things like figuring out which tools are used for what, cutting speeds and feeds, number of setups or even which machine is better suited for each operation. We’ll also send some off to Zedler in Germany, usually with some of our bars, for testing.

Rectangular billet and our custom extrusion.

For the faceplates we use a standard rectangular billet extrusion, but for the body, we have a custom extrusion made (think Play-Doh press). The custom extrusion reduces machine time as there is less material to remove because the extrusion is closer to the finished shape of the stem. It also produces less waste. NSB recycle all of the waste aluminium, but it’s still good practice to make as few chips as possible.

We might move to a near-net forging in the future (think waffle iron), which we have done in the past, but there is obviously quite a high cost barrier to do this. A near net forging basically squishes the alloy (in this case 6061 aluminum), into a shape that is very close to the finished shape of the stem, and then very little machining needs to be done. It’s not without its challenges, the biggest being you need a forging for each length/bar clamp size, whereas we can use one extrusion for all sizes at the moment. The reason we can do this, is the footprint of the stem is very close for all sizes, we just need to cut the stock to different lengths.

Even cutting the stock is a skill, working out the thickness of the blade and how many sizes you can fit to a bar to produce as little waste as possible.

Loading up the tombstones on the Matsuura. This bad boy can run unattended for over a day when fully loaded.

Once the stock is cut to length, it’s loaded into its respective machines ready to press the big green button. This must also be done with upmost care. The wrong size stock loaded with the wrong program can have catastrophic effects and cause 10’s of thousands of dollar's worth of damage!

We've been simultaneously working on a stem for Minecraft™.

It’s a common misconception that you just put a piece of metal in a machine, press a green button and out pops your part. I think the best way to challenge this notion is to ask “but how do you hold it?” Usually you can hold your stock fairly easily in a vice as it has nice square sides, but once you machine that side, you need to flip it over and finish machining the side you were previously holding. This usually requires some innovative techniques and custom tooling. For a little challenge, take a look at the RIZA faceplate, and think about how you might hold it down!

The original machine had a base-plate of prefabulated amulite, surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing in such a way that the two spurving bearings were in a direct line with the pentametric fan.

bigquotesRigidity.Peter Hammons, NSB

Once the part is ready it usually needs to be de-burred by hand. Changes can be made to the program to reduce the need for this, but usually at a cost to run-time. If the operator has some time between cycles (the RIZA faceplate being 18 minutes), the decision might be that there is time to perform some hand deburring while the machine is running.

You can see a burr on the steerer clamp (right) that needs taking care of, either by hand or by adjusting the program.

When the part is ready it’s removed, new stock is loaded, and the cycle runs again. The part is then run through QC. This might involve measuring certain features to a high degree of accuracy, using no/go gauges or simply checking the fit with its counterparts. The program may need to be adjusted as things change throughout the day, so a periodic tolerance check keeps tabs on this. The machine warming up can have an effect, or even changes in operator. One operator may tighten things down ever so slightly differently to another which can lead to a different outcome, sometimes in a crucial area.

Measure once, cut twice.

If the parts are within tolerance, they get put into a tumbler or polisher depending on the intended finished colour. The silver finish for example gets polished before anodising. The anodising in this case is clear, which allows the silver colour to show through, but protects it and keeps its brilliant finish from oxidising when you sweat all over it.

Polishing and tumbling.

When the batch is ready, they’re sent off for anodising in Alberta. They then return for laser etching at NSB, a process which can ruin weeks worth of work in a just a few seconds!

Why don't you and the laser get a frickin' room together.

We then assemble them here at Chromag, package them up and get them ready to ship out to our loyal customers. Before this we will have usually produced samples for testing, photographing and for athletes to try out.

Hopefully the gives you some insight into the level of care and attention to detail we put into all of our products, and with any luck learned a little something!

The RIZA comes in black, gold, red, blue and silver and retails for $180-185 CAD.
It weighs in at 176g (35x32mm), comes in 31.8 and 35mm clamps and 32, 38 and 45mm lengths.

Chromag bikes, parts, apparel and accessories are available online and at quality bike shops.


  • 242 1
 This thing looks like it would connect the f$ck out of a steering tube and handlebar.
  • 25 4
 the way they've got the hole for the fork, like, it's a freakin game changer for sure...looks like they went all the way with a hole for the handlebar too. And if I know these guys like I think I do, I'll bet a thousand bucks the holes are 90 degrees from each other...yup: just freakin SPOT ON for using up front on a mountain bike!

there's a lot of strife and struggle in the world today, but it's hard to say things aren't looking up my friends...if we're going down, at least we're going out swinging. Humans persevere. Wow!
  • 3 0
 In other news, is that a hydraulic gyro from Chromag or a delabeled Trickstuff?
  • 1 0
 @trippleacht: trickstuff
  • 52 2
 ah shit, self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control self control i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout i should not hit checkout
  • 12 0
 Was in there yesterday and got one. Sooooooo pretty! You need to succumb to your desires!
  • 3 0
 you obviously are getting one I would do that asap or... as soon as sold the F out
  • 42 0
 Chromag please switch to SS bolts so I don't have to replace rusty/crusty bolts every season.
  • 8 0
 This ! I have a Chromag Hifi and all the bolts are completely rusted after only one year. Super disappointing for such a pricey stem. I have some old stems at home which costed 1/5 of the Chromag and the bolts are still alright...
  • 12 2
 @greenblur because then you will need to deal with galvanic corrosion of the threads in the stem. Start assembling with grease or anti-seize or switch to aluminum screws. Titanium is further away from aluminum on the galvanic series and will actually create corrosion faster than stainless steel ones.
  • 1 0
 Go down to your local HWS and get some.
  • 9 0
 @kleinschuster: Galvanic corrosion happens if the aluminum has raw contact to SS. If AL is anodized or painted, it's fine.
  • 4 1
 @kleinschuster: so they should be aluminium bolts, even though they're no where near strong enough, right? Or we should have stainless steel/titanium stems by now, cane creek eewings stem?

Or do you just grease/anti sieze every bolt and hope for the best? Cos that's what I do, and I've never had a bolt sieze in a stem, and I've had ti, ss, and black coated steel bolts in different stems over the years, I know i put an old raceface turbine with ti bolts on my dad's bike and they're still absolutely fine, despite it being a 15 year old stem that regularly gets wet...
  • 2 0
 @kleinschuster: grease assembly also helps the screws stay tight. Grease screw lightly and install prior to assembly--stem threads are now greased. Regrease screw threads and assemble
  • 3 0
 at the very least, offer a SS/Ti bolt kit upgrade. I don't think anyone considering a $185 stem is going to be offended by a $20 bolt upgrade. lol
  • 2 1
 @hit-n-run: Yes, anodizing will protect from galvanic corrosion for some time but usually after a few installations and removals of screws the anodize is damaged and corrosion can begin to occur.

@inked-up-metalhead a 7075 aluminum screw is more than strong enough for maintaining a clamp on the bar. a properly designed stem places very little shear load on the screws. I use anti-seize and grease where appropriate, it isn't hoping for the best it is a best practice for a bolted joint when dissimilar materials are in use.
  • 2 0
 @kleinschuster: speaking of hope, Hope seat clamps seem plenty strong
  • 5 0
 @kleinschuster: I would absolutely not use aluminium bolts in the faceplate of a stem as direct replacement unless sized and designed specifically and even then, just no.

Ever heard of fatigue?
  • 2 0
 Matches my Doctahawk frame :-/
  • 1 1
 @kleinschuster: theoretically, sure, fine, you no doubt know more than me on that front, I'm not gonna pretend I'm an expert, but Titanium sketches me out a bit as it is, I'm not exactly small so weight is of zero concern for me, I've only run anything other than steel when a stem has come with them (usually on a second hand bike) and I've never had a problem with anything ever being siezed, I just use a wipe of anti sieze compound on each bolt when new and hit send. I'll take a potential slight risk of siezed bolts that I can hopefully extract without writing the stem off, than write my face off with the stem.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: sooooo... Would carbon fibre be acceptable? Lol
  • 1 1
 @justanotherusername: yes. What dynamic loading does a stem screw experience that would lead to fatigue? It simply applies a load in tension as it should. The stem itself is loaded and unloaded based on reaction forces from the front wheel and the rider where fatigue would be of actual concern.
  • 1 1
 @inked-up-metalhead: you're doing it right. Titanium bolts are just unnecessary bling. The OG comment didn't seem to be doing what you do. Either Chromag is supplying bolts from a very low quality source or the OG user doesn't do some basic maintenance or assembly procedures which should be done.
  • 1 0
 @kleinschuster: I've got a 16 year old truvative hussefelt stem (literally the only surviving original component of my first mtb, a 2006 kona shred) that is fully useable with the original bolts showing a few spots of light surface rusting in the socket and face/head of the bolts, but it has been on probably a dozen different bikes and 2 dozen different handlebars.
  • 2 0
 @kleinschuster: you are looking at this from the perspective of the ideal / the world of the equation and not taking into account the real world where the user may tighten and loosen the bolt a number of times, not apply perfectly even torque etc

You are welcome to trust theory and whack some aluminium bolts in your stem and prove the whole cycling industry wrong though.
  • 2 0
 @kleinschuster: the bolts function fine. But the heads get rusty/crusty and look like crap. If I'm rocking a dentist bike, it's gotta look dialed ya know? I'm too busy pulling cavities to go down to the hardware store and replace them.
  • 3 0
 @greenblur: Follow his advice and use some aluminium bolts and then you can have your own huge dental bill ;-)
  • 1 1
 @inked-up-metalhead: 16 years ago the screws probably came from a better source. Today Chromag may be buying hardware manufactured in China which can commonly not meet mechanical property requirements or environmental durability expectations. If they are supplying black oxide coated bolts they should stop as it isn't a long lasting or particularly strong finish. I've tested lots of hardware coming out of China for my business that do not satisfy SAE or ISO hardware standards for performance as they marked and claimed to do and "Stainless Steel" that exhibits surface rust after only 50 hours in a salt spray corrosion test.
  • 2 0
 @justanotherusername: tho the 'stem itself' may be in one, two, or three pieces (Renthal), the forces acting on it are distributed evenly on the stem/bar interfaces, not the screws, which only need to be strong enough to maintain a minimum load on the interface, a load which is shared by the screws. I'll guinea pig on an A318. Can I get an aluminum hex with my aluminum bolts? Quality is presumed
  • 2 0
 @ceecee: Thank you for the school physics lesson.

I understand the theory behind this but understand the reality behind why the industry doesn’t use them and why I wouldn’t use aluminium bolts in any of the products I design and make where safety is critical - where is the benefit other than a tiny weight reduction?

You are of course welcome to do so and prove the world wrong with book theory but I would like to keep my front teeth and leave the debates to PB - It’s literally an academic argument that ends on the internet.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: benefits: no galvanic corrosion; lighter; material rather than cosmetic; trick; more easily recycled; eliminates users who are likely already terminal; drives lawyers mad
  • 33 0
 What's next? Old Dirty Bars?
  • 22 0
 They could do a whole line up! Giza cranks, Inspecta pedals, ghostface dropper...
  • 4 0
 @andwrong: don't you threaten me with a good time
  • 27 0
 Endorsed by Wu-Tang Financial
  • 41 0
 Diversify yo bonds
  • 19 0
 Chromag is for the children
  • 11 1
 Chromag ain't nuttin' ta f*&k with!
  • 21 0
 Chromag rules everything around me.
  • 15 0
 Good call renaming it to RIZA.

Wu Tang Clan ain't nothin to f*ck with.
  • 4 0
 For reals -- Chromag done Protected Their Neck (I mean stem)
  • 11 0
 I didn't realize my stem wasn't high-end enough until now
  • 10 0
 I didn't need a stem, but knowing they used a turbo encabulator in the manufacturing completely justifies the cost.
  • 6 0
 If your stem doesn't have unilateral phase detractors you're missing out. You gotta automatically synchronize those cardinal grammeters.
  • 5 0
 @shirk-007: I am mostly curious if the stem can be employed in conjunction with a drawn reciprocation dingle arm, to reduce sinusoidal repleneration. Either way, it's not cheap, but I'm sure the government will buy it.
  • 10 0
 Chromag stuff is like candy you can’t eat. looks so good
  • 7 0
 “ This bad boy can run unattended for over a day when fully loaded.”

He’s Australian. I wouldn’t leave him unattended if I were you
  • 8 0
 Yup, that’s a stem alright.
  • 6 1
 Can anyone actually tell a difference between a boughie $200 stem vs. a basic bitch $50 stem?
  • 7 1
 Some say they can, and I call them liars.
  • 4 0
 hell nah its just nice to look at. love mine
  • 5 0
 next is the Jizza dropper
  • 5 0
 First of all, who's your A&R? A Mountain biker, who plays an electric guitar?
  • 3 1
 Minor error, the website shows the longer stem to be 45mm not 42mm. I only care because my wife wants a new stem to replace her damaged 42.5mm but I can't find anything except Burgtec.
  • 4 0
 The stem comes in 32, 38, and 45mm. Typo in the last line of this article - the website is correct.
  • 1 0
 @skarsy: thanks bud!
  • 11 9
 I like Chromag stuff, and Chromag as a company, but damn that is a lot of words for a stem. The world doesn't need more stems.
  • 4 0
 Nearly as nice as Staitline... I heart Straitline stems an pedal
  • 3 0
 agreed. I still use my straitline SSC pinch stems. I actually bought two more of them earlier this year from Straitline on clearance. Canadians know how to make badass parts.
  • 2 1
 @otterdirt: they arguably made the worst stem. There was an epic pinkbike thread from back in the day. Where the guy who owns straight line was an absolute goof. They’re stems slipped so often.

He blamed steerers not being precise enough and that his stem was actually too good. Sure, but they still slipped all the time.
  • 2 0
 @bonfire: my opinion is based off of my experience, not an "epic pinkbike thread." I never experienced a stem slip outside of a hard hit which is to be expected. I still have one on my Nomad and it's great. That being said I did have a pair of AMP pedals. The instruction card that came with them said to use a breaker bar to install the pedal. I thought that was ridiculous so I tightened them into the cranks as I would any pedal, and they wouldn't stay tight so I quit using them. I don't base any of my opinions on anyone else's experience, not even the completely reliable pinkbike crowd lol.
  • 1 0
 same here.. never had a stem slip on me. I have had a DMR stem that crushed a steerer. And the straitline pedals are indestrucdable
  • 2 0
 These look great, just don't know which one to get since there is no green like on the Ranger V2's
  • 1 1
 I do love a good nerd out on stems. I do need to confess that I am particular about almost every component that goes on my bikes except bars and stems. Those I tend to try and buy from the clearance bin.
  • 2 0
 Love Chromag parts and that stem is a beauty but I'd love to see them drop a little bit of weight. Frown
  • 4 0
  • 3 0
 It’s so you can roll 31.8mm or 35mm diameter joints?
  • 2 0
 Alright now I need this being from Shaolin. Bike parts come and go but Wu-Tang is forever!!!
  • 1 0
 article says 42mm length, website says 45... Either way stoked to see another quality stem between 40 and 50mm available with proper 4 bolt faceplate.
  • 9 6
 Wow! A CNC'd stem!
  • 3 0
 So want
  • 1 0
 OK I'm in ! Will be a sweet combination with my Fubars OSX 3 totally unnecessary purchase, but hey, I'll live with that
  • 2 0
 Or just pony up and go for the Overlord from NSB.
  • 3 0
 Good job Lever Finger
  • 2 0
 Prefabulated amulite stems for the win, every day
  • 3 1
 “That’s some definitive white-boy shit”

-RZA, probably
  • 2 0
 I'd buy it for the large crotch grabbing bear on the right side alone
  • 2 0
 Oh I like!
  • 1 0
 It looks a bit like the Straitline stem but nice CNC part!
  • 2 0
 Chromag > *

  • 1 0
 oops didnt mean to reply to this comment, dont know how to delete it so Im editing it instead
  • 3 2
  • 8 11
 A four-page article telling us how you CNC a stem and then charge $200 for it. Marketing genius. Then at the end, you don' t even have good pictures of the stem so I can really see what it looks like.
  • 9 1
 I tend to agree. While it is beautiful machining, the tolerances for bike components are not overly impressive in the grand scheme. These aren't aerospace parts. It feels like at article trying to convince us they achieved something previously not achieved. It is a nice stem in a marketplace with lots of nice stems.
  • 7 0
 they're from WHISTLER, dude. Get with the program.
  • 4 4
 They make it sound very complex that's for sure. I mean, I've made my own stems a few times (including a little project I have on the go right now where I'm printing out of stainless steel) on my CNC mill and they're definitely challenging but I'm surprised they're using a 5-axis table in what looks like a VF2 when running a tailstock and indexer would likely allow much higher throughput even if it requires multiple fixtures and manual loading. Right now I produce parts that have 6 sides machined that are roughly the same size as a stem and we can do roughly 1000 a week out of a much smaller VF0 with two indexers and some rather elaborate toolpaths.
  • 8 0
 The last 6 pictures aren't good enough for you to tell what the stem looks like?
  • 2 0
 @cueTIP: nice man sick.
  • 2 0
 @shoreboy1866: No not really. Very artsy and great photos, but not really a good side shot of the stem or better yet, from a seat position, so I can see what it looks like on my bike.
  • 5 0

You can go to their website for more pictures, though they may not have the exact angle you are looking for.
  • 1 0
 @cueTIP: If you arent in the CNC world it is complex - you must have shown people outside of the industry machines operating before and they stand there in amazement?

They have a matsuura horizontal which they make the stem bodies on so essentially what you are doing with the vertical and 4th.

The faceplates on the haas 5th look pretty efficient to me though - quick change pallet and 2 complete parts every time you open the door - swap the parts while the next pallet is running and change a pallet out in 30 seconds.

Its North Shore Billet making these for them - I would almost guarrantee the numbers dont support elaborate custom fixuring etc - they might not sell 1000 stems a year let alone a week.
  • 1 0
 Lust worthy.
Below threshold threads are hidden

You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2022. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.015124
Mobile Version of Website