Moots Open Trail Stem Review

Pro Reviews

Impressions
Holding the Open Trail in your hand, and examining the absolutely exquisite welding, you realize this is another Moots work of art. This was not something that was thrown through a CNC machine or quickly welded, it was meticulously machined, mitered and welded by hand. Drool!

The Open Trail has that unique titanium property, it is stiff and strong, but has the silky titanium wonderfulness to it that takes away the harshness, edge and bite out of rough trails, without a hint of flex. It has a sort of microscopic suspension built into the material. Unless you have ridden a titanium bike, seatpost, handlebar or stem, it is difficult to explain the superlative exquisiteness of titanium. Think up riding fast through a set of stutter bumps, then think of that same set of stutter bumps after a good rain has softened them, that is how titanium absorbs things.

I used the Open Trail on my Ibis Mojo for a long period of time, and most recently switched it to my Moots Mooto-XZ 29er. It didn’t take me long to miss the Open Trail on my Mojo. The first couple of forays out onto the local rocky terrain using any normal stem beat me up immediately. The lack of the vibration damping properties of titanium were readily apparent, as my hands, arms and legs had to absorb more micro terrain fluctuations and roughness. The Open Trail was bashed and crashed through as many rock gardens and difficult terrain, I could toss it into, and it never belayed any hint of flex, it just stayed the line, a silky one at that.

Measured Specs
Moots stem 156.7 grams

While titanium is a light metal, and has good stiffness vs weight, due to construction processes and dealing with specific standard tube sizes it is a crap shoot in getting what a weight weenie would consider a light part. The Open Trail is not the lightest stem on the market, but for stiffness vs weight it is a real gunslinger.

I think we need a gunslinger
Somebody tough to tame this town
I think we need a gunslinger
There’ll be justice all around

Next » Welding Titanium

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Flystagg says:

    Its a $400 stem, there are other ti stems that can be had for 1/4 the price. Sure quality has a price, but I sure can’t afford it. And I thought my $200 rotor stem was spendy.

  • womble says:

    It’s a stem. Besides being light and being strong, a stem is pretty much just a stem. If you’re interested in shock absorbion via flex, surely the fact that you’re running carbon bars is going to be far more noticeable then a stem.

    Sure, Ti has some great properties. I’m running Ti for my frame, handlebars and seatpost and I notice the feel. But a stem is so short that the amount of flex afforded should be truely miniscule.

  • Anonymous says:

    It is noticeable, I used different stems (ti, carbon, al), different bars (ti, carbon), etc and this stem has very distinct properties. You can easily feel the difference when you do an A/B comparison. When going to a full ti set up it will be more subtle though, but it is still there. I had a great test bed of equipment and 2 bikes for cross comparisons, and of course 8 months of time to evaluate.

  • Anonymous says:

    forget Ti. Magnesium stems offer the best in vibration damping, it feels like riding on air..especially paired with a Carbon bar.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Please recommend one for mtb’ing

  • PJ says:

    I purchased a Moot’s Open trail stem this spring for my ten year old Moots YBB. The stem was the only non Ti part on the bike because I thought it couldn’t possible make a difference. Boy was I wrong! The stem feels rock solid, yet smooth. After twenty miles of rough single track, you no longer think it’s expensive, after thirty you thinks it’s a deal, after forty you know it’s the real deal!

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Yep, world of difference!

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