Uppdaterad: 9 dec 2020
Time to PHAT TEST an intriguing product which has turned many heads.
I've always complained about numb hands after my rides. I had tried gel padded gloves, double layers of bar tape, and even got a proper bike fit - all to no avail. I managed to alleviate some of it , but then I crashed - hard! After the crash my shoulder began to bother me on longer rides, and I even considering not cycling at all!
We all love products that work!
Enter the Redshift Shockstop Stem. I do a lot of mixed-terrain rides and reading a gravel bike forum I came across the stem. I had tested Specialized's Future Shock system on a Roubaix bike before, but didn't (couldn't) feel like having to buy an entire new bike for having some shock absorption. Honestly, the Roubaix would have turned into mayonnaise in some of my rides, given my weight! With that in mind I was, at first, skeptical as to whether the stem would actually work for a 317lbs rider like me! So, I mailed Redshift Sports. It so happens they wondered the same thing! We all love products that work, would this?
Excellent customer service
The team at Redshift went beyond excellency and answered my questions without prejudice (I often experience that as an obese rider) and where there weren't any answers they agreed to mutually collaborate to find out possible ones. So, they've sent me a pair of stems for testing, a regular 100mm 6 degrees and another with 30 degrees of raise. Companies that listen to all riders are shaping the future and making the present a valuable experience! Kudos to Redshift! They are on the very cutting edge!
Let's get busy
The Shockstop stem comes with Ride-Tuned swappable elastomers which fit inside the stem and can be easily customised according to rider weight, terrain, desired "feel" or however your imagination and creativity set course to. The mechanism is beautifully engineered and offers the rider 20mm of travel in a stealth like package! The stem fits most bikes, is easy to install, and it's maintenance free!
The stem comes in a nice package with easy to read instructions and there is also a guide on YouTube so you can't go wrong. The elastomers can even be purchased separately, should you lose them or damage them (has to be on purpose, they're quite indestructible). I started Test 1 with a "soft" combination of elastomers. I wanted to get used to the entire range of travel of the stem and not have any surprises on the road, such as braking and leaning too much forward, which never happened. I'll list the most relevant tests below. The parameters are based on my personal experience.
T1 - Combination 80+50
- Road: Extremely comfortable.
- Gravel: Worked, but too soft.
- Cobble: Nice feel, smoothened ride.
- Single track: Too soft.
- Adjustments: Handlebar tilted a bit upward to compensate travel.
- General feeling: Smiles! - Performance: Surprisingly better performance. It felt easier to pedal as if the stem and the Brooks B17 saddle were made for each other. - Notes: I had the tire pressure purposely at its max (80psi) on both tires and the bike felt lively but not harsh. The stem took the edge of potholes, curbs and bad roads. Try this combination to get used to the stem.
T2 - Combination 90-50
- Road: Not overly soft, could feel some vibration though not much. Climbing out of the saddle didn't affect the stem much.
-Gravel: A bit hard for gravel, but after adjusting the tire pressure I appreciated how the action of the stem helped me hold my line on sketchy parts.
- Cobble: The stem took the worst of it.
- Single track: It could work, depends on how hard you ride. Needed more travel.
- Adjustments: I noticed that Redshift had recommended tightening the wedge to 2-3nm when riding gravel. Did it and the stem felt firmer, steering remained the same, precision when I needed!
- General feeling: A bit harsh, my hands didn't appreciate it very much.
- Performance: No significant change, except on the road where the stems firmness and precision boosted confidence. - Notes: Try this combination (as a heavy rider) if you're looking for good vibration dampening on the road.
T3 - Combination 80-60 (See video above)
- Road: Undetected action, the best up to this point!
- Gravel: The stem came to life, it's springiness and shock absorption worked flawlessly. I felt almost like on a hard tail MTB with front suspension - Nice!
- Cobble: A breeze! The stem doesn't let you lose touch with the terrain it "tells" you softly where you are and makes sure you will cruise along just fine!
- Single track: The smiles are back! Bumps, roots, and mud were no match. What I liked the most was the confidence it inspired on some MTB descents. As for climbing I tackled an old challenge for the first time without problems, the stem's travel even helped me shift my weight forward with ease when needed. - General feeling: Found a good combination for my weight and for offroad riding. - Performance: Much better performance offroad. The product just works! - Notes: Remember to adjust the wedge as recommended by Redshift, it does make a difference when riding rough terrain.
T8 - Combination 80-70
This is the combination I ended up riding the most with. I found it gave me the support and vibration dampening I needed on the road and took the edge off on gravel - even inspiring me to ride more of it! - Road: No numb hands, no pain on shoulder, no exaggerate flex of the stem.
- Gravel: Just the right amount of shock absorption to keep you going. You'll feel the terrain but still be able to talk to
your riding buddy without stuttering! This combo lets you feel a bit of the washboard type of gravel road, but just enough so you know where you are and adjust to it. I find ideal for gravel events when input from terrain is important when sight is blocked by other riders.
- Cobble: Haven't done it yet. I'm enjoying the gravel too much!
- Single Track: This combination lets a heavy rider enjoy the best of single track without the bike throwing you all over the place.
- General feeling: A keeper! I'm going to try a harder combination for a rando ride I'm planning, but this one is definitely my favorite!
- Performance: The 80-70 brought the most significant increase in performance both on the road and on gravel roads. With the pain on my shoulder out of the way and no numb hands, I could enjoy a faster ride with the firmer combination. - Notes: Definitely worth a try if you're over 300lbs! Remember to tighten that wedge!
So far an excellent product which works flawlessly for overweight riders!
A few words to sum it up, and tips to Redshift.
The Shockstop is one of the best products I've tried this year, if not the best! Good value, it delivers what it promises and is reliable under pressure and on a variety of terrains. I even did some minor jumps, bunnyhopped curbs and other obstacles with the grin of a former BMXer (careful, this product can boost your midlife crisis stunts). Do I recommend it? Absolutely!
As we larger riders are perhaps not as flexible as we would like to be, it would be nice to see a Redshift Shockstop Stem made for the "sweet spot": 100mm and 17 degrees of raise! (And please make a red one as well - they look sweet!)
Overall the Shockstop Stem is a superior product which will deliver countless of happy riding hours and give your body the ability to perform at your level in a variety of terrains absorbing the worst out of the ride and keeping you in full control of your bike.
Rider: Ebbe Paz e Silva
Weight: 317lbs / 144kg
Bike: Specialized Sequoia
all steel model.
Test Locations: Västerås, Hälleskogsbrännan, Skultuna, Gäddeholm, Strömsholsms Castle, Irsta, all in Sweden.
Dream bikes: Bombtrack Audax AL, Salsa Fargo, OPEN WI. DE.
Do you have the stem? What do you think about it? Are you interested in more of Xlbiking's PHAT TESTs? Write us a note and let us know! We're here for you and to inspire and motivate other overweight friends to go cycling for a better life! Thank you! Ebbe Silva Heavy & Rolling.