ENVE MTN Stem - Review

Jun 24, 2015 at 12:22
by Mike Levy  
ENVE uses unidirectional carbon fiber to manufacture their new MTN stem in their Ogden, Utah, factory, and the result is a stunning 96 gram weight for the 55mm length that's reviewed below. With most stems of similar length weighing between 130 and 150 grams, and some around the 200 gram mark, the MTN stem is roughly fifty percent lighter than a lot of what's on the market - that's a big figure for a relatively small component. It's not just for those who wear plum smuggler suits on every ride, either, as it's available in 85, 70, 55 and 40mm lengths, and those shorter sizes are sure to end up on bikes that get ridden hard. ENVE says the stem has been run though the usual fatigue, impact, max load to failure, and lateral stiffness tests, and their findings show that it has the ''best strength to weight ratio of any all-mountain stem on the market,'' which may or may not be enough to convince people that carbon is a good material choice for a stem.

It isn't entirely carbon fiber, though, as ENVE decided to go with aluminum for the faceplate material due to balancing the cost vs weight ratio. ''Alloy is a very efficient material for a faceplate,'' ENVE's Jake Pantone explained when question as to why they didn't go with a full carbon approach. ''It requires less torque/tension to prevent the handlebar from slipping compared to a carbon faceplate. In order to make a carbon faceplate work as well as the alloy one, it ends up being heavier. Alloy was the right material for the job.'' Four M5 titanium bolts with 4mm hex heads are used to clamp the handlebar in place, and two of the same are used to squeeze the steerer tube.

The MTN stem is available with a 31.8mm bar clamp - there's no 35mm option as they say that they are ''better able to tune the stiffness and ride quality in our our current 31.8mm bar/stem combination'' - and the stem's stack height sits at 37mm. It also sports a +/- 6 degree angle to it, so you can flip it upside down if you're trying to lower the handlebar height on your 29er or if you're a shorter rider. MSRP $265 USD www.enve.com


ENVE Mountain Stem review test
The 55mm long MTN stem weighs just 96 grams on our scale.
ENVE Mountain Stem review test
There's a +/- 6 degree angle to the stem, so you can flip it either way to adjust your fit.


ENVE Mountain Stem review test
ENVE says that the MTN stem's alloy faceplate is actually lighter than what they would have been able to do with carbon.
ENVE Mountain Stem review test
Two opposing titanium bolts are used to clamp it to the fork's steerer tube.


Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesFancy components often require care when it comes to installation, and the ENVE stem is no different. First, ENVE says that you'll need to place a spacer above and below the stem, even if it's a thin, 3mm spacer, in order to ensure that the clamping surface is all steerer tube and not dead space. Second, you'll absolutely need a torque wrench in order to snug up the stem's six titanium bolts to the required 5.5Nm torque rating. Now, I'm not going to get all pretentious on you like some guys and say that I use a torque wrench for everything from installing my water bottle cage to carbon fiber stems, but I most certainly did use one for the latter. The ENVE stem goes on just like any other stem with the exception of those two points, and the final step is to make sure that the gap is even at the top and bottom of the face plate. I bolted up ENVE's new 267 gram HDH handlebar that sports a grip-adding surface finish to the clamping area, but ENVE's Jake Pantone did say that it's fine to apply an anti-slip compound to both this spot and the steerer clamp surface, which I did do to the latter.

So is there any noticeable changes when it comes to how the bike's cockpit feels? No, but I also wouldn't expect anything to change on that front given that my test stem is just 55mm long and therefore feels just as rigid and flex-free as any other short option out there. No perceived benefits when it comes to damping, either. That said, the MTN stem does do one thing that many riders are going to be a fan of: it drops a comparatively large amount of weight relative to the numbers that we're used to seeing associated with stems. I mean, the 55mm option weighs just 96 grams on my scale, which is fifty percent lighter than a lot of (much less expensive) stems on the market, and that's a big percentage when you consider how small a stem is. Sure, dropping 50ish grams off your bike isn't that big of a deal for many riders, especially those with a more freeride and downhill oriented riding focus, but don't forget that there are plenty of people out there who own high-end machines that have had their parts kit carefully selected with weight and reliability in mind. There's also the ENVE name and the made in the US element that some are sure to gravitate towards.

I only have a single gripe about the MTN stem, and that's that it did twist on my fork's steerer tube on three occasions when I crashed. This occurred regardless of if I applied any carbon anti-slip compound, and I wouldn't say that any of the spills were excessively large, so I was surprised to see it move. And yes, it was torqued correctly. As far as reliability goes, there was nothing else to note. No noises, and the hard finish resisted any scratching or marring. Pantone said that a quick call to ENVE would be in order should a rider manage to cause any noticeable damage, which is always the general rule of thumb when it comes to any damage on the front of your bike, regardless of material.

The carbon fiber construction and relatively steep price tag means that the MTN stem clearly isn't going to be for everyone out there, but then what component is? ENVE's stem is a high-end item that requires some extra care when installing it, but I see those who already own equally fancy bikes and components being the type of riders who will not bat an eye at the stem's price once they learn how little it weighs. - Mike Levy



159 Comments

  • + 106
 That will be $265.. Sweet I just saved 40 grams
  • + 44
 not...I just saved $265.00 and stuck with my Renthal.
  • + 41
 The faceplate is lighter in aluminium... I wonder if they could make the whole stem lighter out of aluminium?
  • + 23
 ok my Duo is 124 grams. The Enve is 96 grams giving a 28 gram savings on the dashboard. This is actually retarded.
  • + 12
 You saved more like 265 grams in your wallet that you stuff in you oversized hydration pack with 3l of water in it.

(apparently a $1 bill is about 1 gram)
  • + 4
 i would imagine making a face plate out of cf would be a terrible process, aluminum is quick and easy, plenty strong
  • + 38
 If you're a coke head then its a bargain...40 grams is like 3K Smile
  • + 24
 Surely this comes with a set of steak knives
  • + 3
 I did not know that about the $1, 1 gram thing. Very interesting. I wonder how much $265 weighs. About 5 grams?
  • + 2
 I remember those days when stem only cost usd50
  • - 3
 Well, I mean two $100 bills, a fiddy, a ten and a five. Five bills, about five grams?
  • + 4
 So if you crash a lot (like me), you will need to carry a torque wrench on rides to sort things out each time???
  • + 6
 Why not make the faceplate out of titanium? Then you could charge a bit more..pshh, come on Enve!
  • - 3
 I've never ever seen or even heard of a broken aluminium stem. Even if the price on the carbon one was sub 100bucks....would there be an actual need for stronger ones?
  • + 12
 "It isn't entirely carbon fiber, though, as ENVE decided to go with aluminum for the faceplate material due to balancing the cost vs weight ratio"

Balancing cost to weight ratio. Hilarious.
  • + 2
 My friend was sponsored by Azonic many years ago when they had those square section heavily milled out stems. He broke a lot of those.
  • - 6
flag madmon (Jul 3, 2015 at 8:55) (Below Threshold)
 since this had degraded down to drug talk......I would be saving 28 grams.....could have bought an ounce and a half of Kush and continue riding happily.
  • + 3
 yo this stem is worth 3 days of my life
  • + 2
 1 note = 1 gram, what I learned from breaking bad
  • + 2
 The notes are different sizes though. In Fast 5, Paul Walker says six kilos (?) is a million in twenties
  • + 41
 Syntace Megaforce. 20 grams heavier, $150 cheaper, 10 year warranty.
  • + 6
 100% best bet and the best stem on the market! You can find them on the inter web for less than $80 if your resourceful.
  • - 1
 Totally agree. Never creak, perfectly forged/machined (no CNC crap) and available in 10mm increments down to 30mm. I'll never buy anything else.
  • + 0
 Syntace force 109: 60mm length = 96g ~100€
  • + 2
 however, the syntace megaforce is not Weiner approved.
  • + 3
 The megaforce is good for 800mm bars though - I use one with 780 renthals, and it's creak free and super light. Paid 55 Euro for it.
  • + 3
 I was going to write about the megaforce when I saw your comment
  • + 5
 Syntace make some very nice kit.
  • + 0
 Damn right Great stem too
  • + 2
 Mine doesn't slip when I fall off, and I don't need to run a spacer above it either.
  • + 30
 insert complaint about price here
  • + 4
 I am sure someone here would pay $265.00 for a carbon fiber stem/beer holder .
  • + 0
 I didn't know Enve worries about cost to weight ratio than buy it because you can.
  • + 7
 Don't care about price as much as it slips every time you torque it hard. I wonder if it cracks if your spokes are too stiff?
  • + 21
 Not so worried about price, but I've easily saved more than 50 grams by reading this - and having my EMP (early morning poo)...
  • + 0
 Amazing...
  • + 7
 And where to complain about the boring look?
  • + 2
 The cutout in the clamping plate means that they can't put a huge logo on the front. I don't really understand what would be the point in buying it? Has it got a long warranty to counter the fact it's made in America?
  • + 25
 I don't spend a lot of time on pinkbike but after reading these comments I understand why other mtb forums rag on PB users. First off, none of you whiners have to buy it so quit complaining about the price and the people that might buy this. Second, some people care about supporting stuff that is not made in Asia. If I find something comparable but made in America, Canada, Europe, etc. then I'm probably going to buy that product. This is not always the case but the majority of the time. I've been poor a good part of my life and I still did it when I could because it's something I believe in. If you disagree then don't spend your money that way. Third, some people support innovation. Maybe someone else has done a carbon mtb stem but Enve doing carries some significance. (I bought OneUp components over many others, including US made because to me they were a big force behind the 1x10 w/ 42 movement.)

One of the problems I see today is that people espouse these ideas or want certain things but they are not willing to be financially impacted or are greedy and only want what's best for oneself and f' everything else. It's not all about you, it's also about the dude down the street or the guy a couple towns over making a quality product for maybe a few bucks more. I don't see a pinkbike member "plus" next to most of you asshats whining which tells me you're probably a selfish prick that won't even support the site that allows you to voice your shitty malformed opinion. (I'm a plus member because I like a portion of the content not because of anything else.)

(I'm on my cell so I apologize for any incomplete/incoherent statements not that it matters since I'm guessing this will be down voted into oblivion once the tards see it.)
  • + 9
 one of the few comments i've seen on pinkbike that i completely agree with
  • + 0
 I'm genuinely confused, starting with my understanding of being a plus member. What i don't get is saying why people are not members, then affirming it by saying you're not actually a member for that reason either. As I say, maybe that perceived contradiction is because i don't know anything about plus. But in the same was as you presume many people aren't plus because they're selfish, it's fair to imagine that many might see plus as just some premium bullshit for 'asshats' who want plus next to their name. I'm not saying I think that btw. I'm just saying you don't know why people aren't plus members. Worth mentioning is was in total agreement with the other stuff you said. So... Simply put.. How have you become plus by liking content and others must 'support' the site? What have I missed?
Peace
  • + 3
 tobius, I'm don't understand all of your statement, but maybe my response here will help clarify.

My statement "I'm a plus member because I like a portion of the content not because of anything else." was meant to say that I essentially donated/gave money to pinkbike because I like some of the content they produce (e.g. race coverage, product announcements, etc.) not because of whatever benefits one might get from being a "Plus" member. (I think Plus members get discounts on schwag and maybe some other various things like videos.) I do this because I it's important to support things one believes in not for the "cool" Plus logo. (note sarcasm about the cool logo.)

Your statement: "But in the same was as you presume many people aren't plus because they're selfish, it's fair to imagine that many might see plus as just some premium bullshit for 'asshats' who want plus next to their name." & "How have you become plus by liking content and others must 'support' the site? What have I missed? "

Response: I don't think a rational being, one that regularly uses this site, can say someone is an "asshat" for having a "Plus" next to them. I'm willing to be the majority of us don't do it for the logo, nor do we care if we had any recognition, and many like me would prefer not to have it, we do it to support the site. (There are of course a small number of exceptions to my statement.) So if someone is a non-plus member whom thinks "Plus" members are "asshats" for supporting a site they regularly use then it's reasonable to assume that non-plus member is selfish and (insert other negative adjective). If one regularly use the site then why would that person look down on others that want to help sustain it? (I think you can figure out some of the answers.)

Also, I'm not saying that one has to be a Plus member. I am identifying that most people on here complaining about the price and talking shit about those that would buy said product also do not have a "Plus". As a result of this I'm making the assumption that these people do not support causes that don't directly and immediately impact/reward them. (I don't think the leap in my assumption is that large.) Let me clarify: non-plus members are NOT bad or selfish people, but there is a smaller subset of that group that is filled with selfish asshats. ;-) Look at the comments, many of them do not add any value, which would be fine if they were neutral, but they are not. Many are negative and bitter, e.g. dirtyknobbies comment "You're either A: A doctor/lawyer/ceo/equivalent white collar profession. B: Trust baby C: Still lives with Mom and Dad..." This kind of stuff makes people not want to participate. Maybe you're fine with that, but some of us would like better.

Rant of why it's important to support websites: I occasionally read the comments for bike/product reviews and people claim that the reviews are biased. Well why would they be biased? Maybe because the content creators want/need to make a living? If you don't want biased reviews then help them make money without taking money from manufacturers. People have this notion that just because something is on the internet then it didn't cost anything to produce. If you have ever had your own website you know this is false and that content creation takes a lot of time and work in most cases. I do realize that not everyone has the financial means to support every site or cause they like, I certainly don't, but I don't begrudge those that do.

Hope that helps! (edited to fix typo)
  • - 8
flag Hotwings (Jul 4, 2015 at 22:56) (Below Threshold)
 U r a twat. U must really love the sound of your own voice. It's obviouse to the majority of people what an over priced fail this stem is & it doesn't take two paragraphs to explain.
  • + 0
 MMM... No. It is all about us. WE are the ones paying. Sorry, but costumer interests are prior to manufacturer's in my book. No reason to buy a stem (a f***ing STEM!) for that kind of money that offers nothing over various other products.
  • + 3
 @Hotwings Hahaha! Hey tough guy, thanks for proving one of my main points! I apologize for not being able to express myself monosyllabically enough for you to understand. I'll also try to start incorporating "U" and "r" so that U understand. (Let me know if that's still too complicated for you understand and I will try to simplify, e.g. "@Hotwings = tough guy & > than all".)

@bliznyuk I didn't say that the consumers, as a marketplace, aren't a factor for a product. If that's what you interpreted then you misunderstood me. In all honesty I probably won't be getting the stem, but I don't insult those that will.

Thanks guys for the comments, but I will probably not be responding after this point. At this point I just see this turning into a time suck because most do not want to have any real conversation or be open to those that disagree.
  • + 2
 I disagree with your rant on various points... This isn't innovation and ENVE aren't a great company, they're just a company that is advertising itself well and tapping in to this American protectionist mindset. In the same way that people from the UK buy awful Orange bikes because they're British.

Also, being a PLUS member isn't the only way to support the site - buying their movies is supporting the site; answering the polls is supporting the site; reading this article is supporting the site as this post is an ADVERT. I think people have the right to 'bitch' about these kind of products because the 'reviewer' has nothing to say about the stem other than it's ENVE and it's a little bit light but probably no more light than you could make a stem out of any other material.
  • + 26
 this comment section should turn out to be awesome. cant wait!
  • + 22
 I know this stem is all about the weight but aesthetically it's not great looking,i guess I'm just used to the hard lines of a CNC'd stem.this LOOKS like a cheap cast stem.Just my thoughts.
  • + 19
 i dont remember where i saw this quote "i may be dumb, but im not carbon stem dumb" Smile
  • + 16
 It better make me a damn sammich when I'm done riding too....
  • + 5
 Me too.. I wanna try a sammich.
  • + 16
 ...but will it blend?
  • + 12
 A deck of cards weighs 96 grams. I'd say this is merely a status symbol purchase (as are most ENVE items).

To each their own.
  • + 10
 I was going to go for a ride this morning but then I saw this stem and the thought of hauling my heavy alloy stem to the top of the mountain just seems totally not worth the hassle.
  • + 11
 just here for the comments, already knew i could not afford it before i even read the article.
  • + 6
 I'd like to see What MTB review I t, in the past they have actually measured stiffness of stems I mean aside from that and ease of use there isn't much review possible. Nice design, price seems steep for a carbon stem. ENVE certainly seems to carry quite a bit of brand tax with it.
  • + 8
 I could save that much weight by shaving my face. I'd much rather do that than spend 265$
  • + 6
 it would take more than $265 for me to take my beard off! I reckon that facial hair is likely to give you more enduro-seconds than what a light stem would!
  • - 7
flag dirtyknobbies (Jul 2, 2015 at 21:43) (Below Threshold)
 What are you ZZ Top? It's a effin beard!! Guess this stem is designed just for blokes like you. Cheers!
  • + 3
 The reason I always make my mach 3 blades last until they are painful is because they are so expensive. If you shave every day you'll easily do $265 on mach 3 blades in ten years
  • + 2
 Embrace stubble ftw
  • + 4
 I just took a big dump and lost many, many more grams. And there are few things in life more satisfying than leaving a good shit.
  • + 5
 Getting a girl's pants off for the first time has got to top having a dump!
  • + 6
 What are Enve socks weighing these days? About the only thing I could afford with their logo on it.
  • + 4
 Just wait till they start weaving carbon fibers into those.
  • + 5
 Money is made to be spent. I don't give a crap about the weight I like ENVE parts and there customer service.
  • + 6
 @DaveATthreat (wtf is that name?) You're either A: A doctor/lawyer/ceo/equivalent white collar profession. B: Trust baby C: Still lives with Mom and Dad D: A prefect result of money well spent on marketing because you will buy it for the name brand only. Kudos to you!
  • + 3
 Didn't even have to look really - Californian. Land of penis enhancements through carbon
  • - 1
 Don't be a dick licker neighbor!
  • + 5
 Haha!
  • + 2
 He did say he liked their service. Does that mean you have to use it often?
  • + 4
 LMAO!!! WAJ! Think about it dipshits....You are attacking me because choose to spend my money on "hobby parts". Last time I checked hobby's were about spending money on useless stuff. I mean come on. Some of us spend $1,000's on a bike you have too pedal. Who cares about a couple hundred more here and there???? I can understand it if you cant afford it not everyone can. As long as you enjoy it who the f*ck cares? You don't see me bashing on you guys because you cant afford it or don't want too spend that kind of money do you???
  • + 3
 "The poor they are so boring"
  • + 2
 wfo922 no I have never had to use ENVE customer service. I do know that its there if I do ever need it though.
  • + 2
 @dirtyknobbies Wow. You are nothing but a bully. What makes it ok to be demeaning to people who choose to spend their money differently to you?
  • + 4
 WOW check out his profile. Wasn't expecting that punk ass kid to be a 41 year old. 41 years old and acting like a 15 year old. Says a lot about him really haha! He must be going though a midlife crisis or something..
  • + 3
 265$. Only 30 grams lighter than some.
And bonus : it spins on the steerer tube.
It seems to me that Enve failed this time.
  • + 2
 will stick to my easton haven 55mm. cheaper cause I already have it and it looks much better.

That stem looks the same as the original stem on my son's £200 carrera blast
  • + 0
 I was waiting for this, smooth lines like this do inevitably risk looking like cheap aluminium forms. Carbon bars, great. Carbon stem? When it looks cheap AND slips?.. Pointless.
Gimme an Easton/Renthal and change for a call girl anyday..
  • + 1
 Haha! Nice.
  • + 1
 As said before, you could have a 10 dollar hammer or a 100 dollar hammer. Yes, One would be flashier and fancier but at the end of the day they do the same job equally as well. Except I would rather replace a 10 dollar hammer
  • + 4
 Or you could have a Stiletto hammer for $400.
  • + 4
 Ya, no. A $300 Stiletto is easily 10 times better than a $30 Stanley. All day every day. Had mine for 7 years and going strong day after day and only 15 ounces in my pouch all day long. Sometimes (not always!) you do get what you pay for.
  • + 2
 Ooooo.. Tooooools.. 'Google.. Show me a damn Stiletto Hammer!!'
  • + 2
 For a non framer or carpenter, My 10 dollar hammer does the job 60% of the time all the time.
  • + 3
 based on on these comments, it just seems that people are ENVIous of people that will run these, including myself. budum tss
  • + 2
 I got this beauty in my hands few days ago. When i took the box, i thought there was no stem inside. Let´s be honest, people with money will spend their bucks on a fancy piece of carbon.
  • + 4
 If its Enve it must be good
  • + 3
 Shame such an expensive stem looks like a Chinese special with an enve sticker on the side.
  • + 0
 Sweet looking stem! The weight savings is awesome but that big price tag will for sure keep most riders away! And it's weird that enve hasn't made the move to 35mm. Guess they don't have the technology to know how to make it and know the benefits to it lol
  • + 0
 Sandwich? For that amount I want a hooker and a beer ! Is this a game changer stem that ups performance? Or is this the sign of mtn biking becoming true elitist that you should buy these kind of components to be 'RAD'?
  • + 1
 Pinkbike need a gram per dollar database across the board. Frames to tires. This should also be extended to bars and restaurants, but it should be ml of alcohol per dollar.
  • + 1
 I have kind of loosely followed the ratio of 1 gram for 1 dollar for some time. It sort of seemed to me that a weight savings of at least 1 gram per extra dollar spent was worth it. If it cost more than 1 dollar per gram I wouldn't do it.
A ridiculous scale to refer to when purchasing bike parts surely, but that's unfortunately the reality of the costs these days. 1000 grams = 1000 extra dollars (or often more).
  • + 2
 You can easily save 1kg by going tubeless with lighter tyres. An inner tube is 300g isn't it?
  • + 2
 Bahhhh! I don t have clue what my stem weighs; but my bike is still totally awesome to ride!
  • + 2
 But why on earth 55mm?!
During a time where no one in their right mind's going for longer stems than 50mm?
  • + 1
 The stem comes in 40mm also.
  • + 2
 my twenty 6 stems are 118 grams for a 50mm and come in awesome colors and look SICK!!!
  • - 1
 Another poser product. Alu stem I read about only last week weighed in at 86g for a 45mm, cost a lot less, and looked far less generic. Not enjoying cycling these last few years due to these crazy price increases for nothing much.
  • + 4
 Looks like a session!
  • + 1
 orrrr... you can buy something that looks better and costs a fraction. I'll carry the extra 40g up the hill thx.
  • + 1
 Kind of like an exotic car - beautiful, light, expensive, desirable and doesn’t do as well as you’d like in a crash.
  • + 2
 Sorry to say but it looks like an OEM stem on a really really cheap Kona.
  • + 2
 Or one Atlas stem and 13 twelvers of good beer.
  • + 2
 Looks shit, and cheap...some mug will buy it...
  • + 1
 weight weenies everywhere Big Grin
  • - 1
 I'm just stoked that my bike finely came with the right length stem out of the box, it probably weighs the same as a stack of 265 dollar bill's.
  • - 1
 am i the only one happy with butt ugly and ungodly heavy but cheap and reliable hussefelt stems? would not want to carry the torque wrench in my backpack all the time
  • + 1
 looks great, excited to see what bontrager has in store for the new xxx
  • + 1
 I can't wait to see someone rocking one of these.
  • + 3
 yeah, especially when that someone asks me with my alum stem for that post ride beer Razz
  • + 0
 It don't matter if it's torqued to spec or cross threaded. Tight is tight and tight is right.
  • + 1
 One of the ugliest stems I've ever seen.
  • + 1
 Am I actually the only one here who needs it? Smile
  • + 0
 only thing I can afford is lookin at the pictures...
  • + 0
 "balancing the cost vs weight ratio".... I call bullshit
  • - 1
 every time i see anything Eve, i alway try to think WHO buys this,? the rich and famous? its just a stem
  • - 1
 ridiculous. totally sick of this kinda carbon wankery. wot a waste of time and money. Enve can kiss my arse.
  • + 0
 Funn funnduro. 45mm 119gram 35 euros
  • + 0
 Weight, strength, price: pick two
  • + 0
 Looks like a cheap supermarket thing!
  • - 1
 My Easton EA90 70mm is 90g with Ti bolts and was $60.
  • + 0
 looks like a session
  • + 1
 hahahahahaha just no
  • + 1
 Yes, definitely a session.
  • - 1
 Just ordered a dozen of these stems, because i flow, la jiggy jar jar do.
  • - 1
 Is that a crack I see in your stem?
  • - 1
 Sticking with my Atlas, thanks...
  • - 1
 dear santa....how much....no don't bother
  • - 1
 No 35mm option-that means non enduro worthy.....but it's curvy.
  • - 1
 looks a bit bland
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