Ti bike and carbon bars...what stem?

My LBS is going to build up a Lynskey GR300 frame with Enve carbon gravel bars. I’m not sure what do do about a stem.

My previous gravel/all road bike was an aluminum Cannondale Topstone with a Redshift Shockstop stem and aluminum bars. I always found this pretty comfortable but I suspect the new bike/bars will be quite different. I’m worried the Lynskey will feel noodly with the Shockstop.

A carbon or TI stem would be nice but expensive. Would that be worth it? Would an aluminum stem affect some of the smoothness I should expect from fat tires and a Ti bike? Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!!

My personal experience is that there is far less difference between an alloy and carbon stem compared to other components both in terms of weight and feel.

I am a new GR300 owner, but bought it as a full bike from Lynskey. Once I have the fit dialed I will be putting either a Lynskey ti stem or a Thomson alloy (to match my seat post). Atheistics are my biggest consideration on this build when it comes to the stem.

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Yeah, stem doesn’t really matter IMO aside from getting the right length and rise. For a nice light and cheap alu stem I’ve been using Wren, $40 on eBay and well under 100g.

I’m also building a ti gravel/rigid Mtb with Enve gravel bars, and went with a 50mm Wren stem.

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@jwellford Thanks and good luck with your build! I might go this route until I’m 100% sure about the fit, and maybe by then I won’t be bothered by these dilemmas!

@bgoiffon How do you like the GR300? I’m hoping it’ll be built in the next few weeks and I’m itching to ride it. I agree that a titanium stem and spacers would look best for sure. What about the headset bearing cover though? Can you get those in Ti?

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That’s exactly what I did the first time. Now I have Wrens in many assorted lengths!

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@FrankTuna I got the GR300 right before the snow fell where I live, so I’ve only done one real ride on it, otherwise it has been on the trainer while I make tweaks to the fit. It feels great though. The geometry and road feel will be great for the mixed surface riding I have planned on it. The top headset cover and spacers are one of the reasons I may just go with a black alloy stem. Since I have a black seat post everything should tie together nicely.

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I might be of the few to say a carbon stem is worth it but specifically the zipp sl speed stem in my case. I have a litespeed ultimate disc road bike that i have zipp sl aero bars and sl speed stem on it. My inspiration to put zipp with zipp came from the AACC episode where jonathan interviews the guys from enve. They make a good case for buying systems from manufacturers where things have been designed to work together. While I have an enve fork i didn’t want to pay for the enve stuff nor did i like the reach and drop of the enve aero bars so i decided to go with zipp whose fit numbers i liked better. As far as how said zipp stem felt on its own there’s a bit of a story to that. I was originally speccing a custom Ti road frame based on my aluminum specialized diverge elite from 2017 which is a bit endurance-y. I wanted a 100mm stem on said frame and had bought the zipp in advance in which the builder said I should try it to see if I like the longer reach. Turns out i did but it also was a stem that did a much better job of dampening road buzz way better than the 90mm easton ec70 that was on there. Though it was a great feel i still wanted to save the zipp stem for the Ti build and ended up buying a 3T carbon stem on super sale thinking all i need is just another 100mm carbon stem to get that feel. Turns out the 3t though lighter than the zipp did not have the same dampening capabilities for whatever reason and felt a lot like an aluminum stem. So based on that experience I’d say the right carbon stem will have an impact on your ride feel but depending on the brand it might feel no different from aluminum. I would think enve would know their business when it comes to carbon so matching your enve bars with an enve stem might be the best way to go. Plus if you know you’re going to like the position said stem provides why not invest in something that’ll last and you’ll be happy with.

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What are you running for tires? I know it’s supposed to handle a 700x45 but I’m hoping that’s a little conservative. I’m hoping I can squeeze 700x48.

@funkinslick It’s funny you mention that podcast because I was listening to it this morning on my way to work!! I get the appear of the components designed as a system, but I wonder if I’m a sensitive enough rider to notice that? I won’t be running Enve wheels or a fork, so I wonder how much is to be gained from the stem. Thanks for the info…lots to think about!!

With carbon bars make sure the stem has a good clamping surface.

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How fixed are you on your bike set up or are you likely to have a bike fit/ change the set up. Swapping a aluminium stem won’t hurt as much financially if you want to go longer/shorter/change angle.

It’s long time since I had this conundrum (different stem materials) and IIRC when I picked up stems in a shop I couldn’t feel any discernible difference between stems of different materials.

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Just snap up a few second hand alloy stems of different lengths for use whilst you are getting your fit sorted. Sell them on afterwards and if you are wise you won’t be out of pocket.
I think Thomson stems are a. Ice bit of kit if you want something a little different but not carbon.

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I like simple, black classic looking aluminum stems without too many logos or graphics if possible - Deda, 3T, Zipp…

On a gravel bike I’d get an aluminum stem as carbon is mostly for bling and often doesn’t even weigh less.

I’d even get aluminum bars for durability and reliability. I don’t think you’ll feel much shock absorption from bars when you have 45mm tires.


I have a Redshift Sports suspension stem for my gravel bike and it s great. It’s aluminum but the elastomeric inserts absorb some of the gravel road chatter. I paired mine with carbon gravel bars made by Whiskey Parts Co.

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