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What's more important - qualities or pure asthetics?(9 posts)

What's more important - qualities or pure asthetics?Iwannapodiumgirl
Jul 16, 2002 11:58 PM
I popped into a bike store during lunch (not my local). Was chatting with the guy about stems asking about manufacturing techniques, materials etc. He commented "It is simple. Find a stem that you think looks good, and get that!"

If this the technical advice most stores are dispensing, I am scared, very scared.

Just wondering what other's experiences have been?
I think that's an honest answerjose_Tex_mex
Jul 17, 2002 3:59 AM
If you ever listen to reviews usually one of the first things people will say is that it "looks" great. I am convinced most people make purchases mostly because of the way things look.

As for stems, other than shopping by price or weight, looks is probably just as good as the others. I really doubt if any manufacturer really has any claim to a superior technology that far outweighs the others.

As for technical advice, most if it ends up being technical jargon and bull@#$%. I doubt if many of us have the knowledge of Physics, materials, et al it takes to truly make a technically sound decision. I have noted throughout the years the psuedo - technical advertising attempts made by manufacturers.

Best of Luck
Yupgrzy
Jul 17, 2002 8:34 AM
Most people do buy stuff based on looks - what else do they have to go on? This reasoning will get you to buy stems like the original Deda Newton and stuff from Profile - both known for high rates of failure, BUT they look nice. Ultimately beauty is in the eye of the beholder which allows things like the Mutant to keep selling - even fat stems need love.

For a guy in a shop not to have any opinion or experience as to what is light, durable, economical, prone to failure, etc. is hard to fathom. Of course he has an opinion, but it's not important when his objective is simply to sell you something - anything. Who cares as long as you buy it.

A few of us actually do have the engineering background and technical savy to *try* and make sense of all the hype. At least we're fortunate to have lots of choices - the hard/fun part is making them.
doesn't scare me...C-40
Jul 17, 2002 4:08 AM
As a former manufacturing engineer (10 years), this advice doesn't scare me. Unless you think that the market is domintaed by products that are prone to fail, this advice to buy what you like the looks of isn't that bad. I'd be most scared of cheap stuff. Manufacturers take on a huge liability when they sell products to the public. If you sell failure-prone product, you will be bankrupt soon. Buy a well-known brand and don't worry.

Personally I hate the looks of welded stems. They may be strong enough and completely reliable, but they look crude.

The four-bolt face plate models will hold the bars in place much better than the 2-bolt models, but again, they aren't as pretty. I've opted for the Ritchey WCS.
Welded stemsMe Dot Org
Jul 17, 2002 8:00 AM
I had a welded ITM quill stem on a Bianchi that cracked at the weld. Needless to say, having a stem break completely could lead to a pretty catastrophic accident. My current ride has a (threadless) Thomson - single piece of aluminum - and it feels much more solid.

I'll build up a retro ride with a nice quill stem - but never a welded one.
Welded stemsNo_sprint
Jul 17, 2002 8:12 AM
I broke one heading to a local criterium. Led to legal action, lots of PT, 3 months off the bike, 2 months completely out of the gym, etc. The company was reasonable with their settlement. Broke at the weld.
odd question considering your handle :-) nmDougSloan
Jul 17, 2002 8:19 AM
Keen observation! nmLeisure
Jul 18, 2002 12:17 AM
re: Function before flavor..jrm
Jul 17, 2002 10:09 AM
I tend to go with the stem being the right lenght and stiff. When it comes to asthetics i allways go with a black stem with the least amount of graphics.