We’ve seen a whole host of cycling based innovations and concepts starting crowdfunding campaigns recently, next up is the 3FStech AIM Stem which can be adjusted on the go with one lever movement to suit the rider to their terrain. It’s designers 3FStech claim that the 3 way adjustability offers riders improved performance and comfort on all kind of terrains.

3 preset geometries that will apparently improve your comfort and control.
3 preset geometries that will apparently improve your comfort and control.

The project is looking to source €25,000 through it’s kickstarter campaign which it hopes will allow it to stock it’s first 2000 finished products by the beginning of 2016. Through extensive research and development 3FStech have discovered what they claim to be the 3 ‘optimal’ geometries for their stem which will allow the rider to actively adapt to their terrain without having to stop, the position is adjusted via the rider pressing a lever and applying a small force to the bars.

Rider feedback has been good.
Rider feedback has been important for development.

At it’s longest position the stem is stretched out to a length of 120mm at an angle of -20 degrees, giving the rider a ‘better’ climbing and pedaling position with improved pedaling cadence and a better aerodynamic position. The shortest position sees the stem retract back to a length of 55mm with an angle of +6 degrees which will make the handling more responsive and stability on steeper descents. In between the two most radical setting is an intermediate setting which will see the stem set at a length of 95mm and an angle of -7 degrees.

The stem is simple enough to install.
The stem is simple enough to install.
Blending cutting edge analysis tools with an experienced eye, Lotte will be instrumental at the Award
We asked biomechanical expert Lotte Kraus for her opinion.

We asked biomechanical expert Lotte Kraus what she thinks about the stem and she believes in the potential of the concept:“The system was shown to us at Eurobike and we were quite excited: from the perspective of a bikefitter this is one of the best crowdfunding projects online at the moment. In the past, the positioning of a mountainbike cockpit has always been a compromise: ideal for climbing, unfavourable for descending or vice versa. The adjustable AIM stem from 3FStech solves this problem. We immediately supported the campaign.” Lotte works for gebioMized, a society of biomechanics from Germany who develop dynamic bike fitting technology using pressure mapping systems and video analysis for cycling optimisation processes.

Obviously we would have to reserve judgement until we had ridden with the stem but a few issues we could see arising could be reliability, the added weight (stem and lever weigh in at 400g) and the added flex. For example could the stem get stuck in the longest mode when you want to descend or suddenly drop during hard descents? Moreover, with dropper posts, climb switches, and travel adjust modes on current bikes, riders might not want to make an additional adjustment each time the trails points up or down. Another point is that the stem could potentially cause some substantial damage to top tubes during crashes because of the length and low height of it. In a time where the focus of modern bikes should be on usability do the alleged performance gains outweigh the added complexity of another adjustable component on your bike, would you run this stem?

The stem is expected to retail at €275 and they hope to start shipping in early 2016, so if you fancy having this concept on your bike in the future or want to more information then head over to the stem’s kickstarter page.

Words: Ross Bell Photos: 3FStech

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