One of the first things I changed on my Canyon was the stem. It came with a 60mm stem which I wanted shortened for my own comfort as I felt a little too stretched out on the bike. I downsized to a Renthal Duo 40mm stem weighing 124g (including bolts), and it served me well with the Renthal Fatbar lites for some time. I had the opportunity to test out the awarding winning Om 45 Stem by AMS and I jumped at the chance. I'm super impressed with the frame guards they produce, so I was curious to see how their stem would fare on the trails.
There's something really interesting about the branding of the Om 45 stem. It was named after an American doctor, Duncan "Om" MacDougall, who was determined to measure the weight of the human soul by measuring the loss of mass experienced at the point of death. After numerous experiments, Dr. MacDougall concluded that the soul weighs 21 grams. AMS introduce their new stem called "Om", owing to its 121 gram weight, the lightest stem in the industry, and winner of the 2015 Design and Innovation Award by Enduro Mountain Bike Magazine.
Tech talk now... So how do AMS manufacture such a sleek and lightweight stem? It's extensively CNC machined. For those who aren't sure what that means exactly, CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. This allows for the precise production of components in all areas of manufacturing. AMS use 6082 T6 aluminium block for the production of this stem, and some internet research has revealed this alloy has excellent corrosion resistance, which is fab for durability and all weather usage. So AMS are able to shave off minute fragments to reduce the weight without compromising the structural build of the stem itself. Here's the spec:
- Compatible with 1 1/8" steer tubes and 31.8mm handlebars
- 121 grams fully assembled
- CNC machined from 6082 T6 aluminium block
- 45mm offset, 0º rise
- 30mm stack height
- 55mm wide handlebar clamp
There's the technical breakdown, and now for the practical testing. I've had this stem fitted on my Canyon for a couple of months now and I've used it a lot. When I received the stem, I was pleasantly surprised by its simplicity in design and feel. It's light, it's looks great and it's minimal in design and construct which I love! I'm a super minimalist in my lifestyle, the boyfriend is a hoarder... go figure. So the stem really appeals to my personal taste, and the anodized black with laser engraved white branding is really effective.
Fitting the stem requires standard Allen keys and it's really simple to disassemble and reassemble with its 6 bolt design. It's super easy to fit yourself, but as with all modifications with cockpits and headsets, it's a nightmare to get everything straight again, but you'll get there! It's always a good idea to keep a multi-tool in your pocket on a ride after you've adjusted the cockpit area because it won't be until you're riding that you feel the slightest of differences.
If I were to pick on one thing that lets this component down, it would be the lack of grams for your buck. The AMS Om 45 stem retails for €135 which is approximately £98, so this puts it into the higher end of the price scale. For this price tag I would have thought the stem would have been even lighter than the boasted 121g. To shave off more weight, the bolts could be replaced with titanium ones, but this would be at your own additional cost.
I do really like the look of this stem, it looks like two animal claws holding my bars in place. It's easy to fit yourself, no boyfriend assistance required, go me! And for the weight conscious biker, it's only 121 grams. The low 30mm stack allows for a lot of adjusting which is great because you can play around with the height until you're totally happy with it. The handle bar clamp is wider set than my previous stem which increases the strength of the bar positioning as well and reduces the stress you put on the bars. The Om 45 can now be bought in a wider handlebar size, mine is a 31.8mm and the newer AMS Om 45 Stem offers 35mm at 140g, for the same price. I'm hoping this is the tip of the iceberg for AMS, and would like to see more components hitting the market in the future.