FIRST LOOK: Cadex Race Stem

In a move to rethink the front end of your bike, the team at Cadex has gone full tilt with their stem design. While others think the way is placing the 4 bolts in the rear to hide from the wind, Cadex has tried to take it on facing forward.

The integrated dual- titanium bolt faceplate is the new design creation from the team. It's something completely new to the world of stems when it comes to using carbon and having those bolts be on the bottom instead of splitting or I could say sharing the load on either side (top and bottom) I will note that the only other stem that is somewhat similar would be the PRO Vibe Carbon which uses a top and bottom piece to clamp around the bar.

The idea, according to Cadex, behind the integrated carbon stem is to promote smooth airflow over the top to help achieve maximum aero efficiency.

My immediate thought: I mean...I guess?

What I see is strength and stability over aero. Back in the day we used to see carbon failing more so than anything else when it came to over tightening. You still see that today (at times) but it's pretty rare. And it's usually on prototype stuff or something that just didn't get QA right. Because of the advancements of carbon and the quality checks now a days what you see more than anything are bolts being broken when it comes to cranking down. I would imagine that 90%, maybe even 95%, of all bike users don't even know what a torque wrench is let alone have or use one. (That reminds me: we should do a poll.) I would also imagine that the same percentage number have no idea what that Nm means either. I mean, I didn't until about 2 years ago.

That being said, Cadex just took 50% of that problem away by removing 2 bolts and replacing them with a carbon “hook” integration on the top of the stem. To me personally that beats any claim on aero that Cadex makes

Example: I just ruined one of my own carbon bars attempting to install a 2 bolt clip-on aluminum aerobar on. Because I tend to want to do things quicker than I sometimes should. I didn't take the time to make sure that both sides of the clamp were getting slowly and consistently tightened across the carbon. And by doing so. I ended up with one side fully closed and then attempting to tighten down the other. And even though I was using a torque wrench and used the proper pressure setting in the process I pinched the carbon causing it to crack. D@#$mit! I thought in my head as I heard it crack. And lessons learned. But this is something that is probably all too common for most of us. Stems can be a pain in the butt to change out. They are usually 4 bolts that you have to balance the weight of the bar, cables, and in some cases, hydraulic brake lines. Most of the time you are having to stuff those into this small little section of the stem to hide cables or electronics you might have…

With this design, I can't see this ever happening with this stem – it would be really hard to in any case.

I mentioned at the start that the thing that makes this product awesome is also the one thing I don't like. You really have to “force the hand” in order to get this stem on. That’s right. You have to press down and hear a snap. Which means chances are you are doing to leave a mark somewhere. Also removing this stem from the bar is quite difficult, too. Not impossible, but it's just not like adding or removing any other stem.

I don't understand why they are only offering a single -10 degree option. I would have liked to see more angle options, especially since you can't nub this stem at all. In other words you can place it in the middle of your spacers. I do love the 8 different options on length, ranging from 70mm - 140mm , the weight is feather style at 114g and lastly I will say that the carbon layout and machining are quite remarkable.

Tech Specs and Features, courtesy of Cadex, are as follows:

Weights: 114/116/118/120/124/128/132/136g
Lengths: 70/80/90/100/110/120/130/140mm
Rise: -10°
Steerer Tube: 1 1/4” or 1 1/8” (with carbon adapter)
Stack: 41mm
Material: T800 and T1100 carbon laminate

• Precise T800 and T1100 carbon layup maximizes stiffness and minimizes weight
• Two-bolt faceplate and hidden top cap design helps reduce drag
• Superlight titanium bolts
• 70mm to 140mm lengths
• -10° angle

While the stem is not cheap at $300 MSRP, I would say that it's a better offering than other stems in that price range. While this product will be available online and at CADEX dealers, it hasn't hit the online store just yet.