Point One Split-Second Stem. Light, Stiff, Strong.

Pro Reviews

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www.pointoneracing.com

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(Sorry for the sniffle, it was windy and a bit cold in Pacifica.)

The Quick:

The Good:

  • 137g w/o top cap bolt. OMG that is lightweight!
  • Stiff and strong.
  • Beautiful, slick craftsmanship, precise engineering.
  • No top cap.
  • Super narrow back to save the knees.
  • #4 wrench for all bolts.
  • The Bad:

  • No top cap? Have to cut steerer tube to fit.
  • Don’t loose, damage, flanged top cap bolt. Normal one will cause damage.
  • Price, ($119.00) for some.
  • Review: Point One Split-Second 50mm Stem $119

    Point One, a small start up component company out of NorCal, has decided to go straight after, and frankly out do, the top product manufacturer in the stem market, Thomson.

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    I had never heard of this company until Sea Otter. A friend showed me two stems that he was going to be using that year. FYI – this friend won semi-pro DH 2008. No slouch of a rider, but he is a lighter guy. Can’t quite put the force down on the stem for testing. That’s where I come in. I was especially interested in testing this stem when he told me it was 50gram lighter than a Thomson Elite X4. You had to think for a minute, where did they cut weight? Thomson makes one of the lightest DH stems out there. These guys are lighter, and they are just as strong? Let me try that!

    When I got the stem in the mail, held it in my hand, comparing the Thomson Elite X4 in my other hand, I could tell right away the Split-Second was noticeably lighter. On the scale is came out at 137grams w/o top cap bolt. Adding the bolt adds 5.5grams. The Thomson 50mm Elite X4, w/o top cap and bolt 178grams, add a Chris King top cap and it comes out to 188grams. This Split-Second stem is a full 40-50grams lighter. I am well aware that this fact doesn’t rock everyones boat, but for those wanting to make the lightest race bike you can, and especially take some weight off the front end, this is the stem for you. Point One shaved a ton of weight by hollowing out the inside of the stem as much as possible. To make the stem strong enough its design is noticeably tall. Five or so millimeters taller then my Thomson. Which at first irked me, but after a week, I could not have cared less. And bar height, rise, is not effected.

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    (click on images for bigger versions)

    One quickly notices that this stem is a bit different, there is no place for the steerer tube to come through. No top cap? It is all supposed to fit neatly inside the stem. I was a little distraught at first over having to cut my steerer tube shorter. If this turns you away right off the bat, well, Point One isn’t try to sell it to you then. This is race oriented, lightweight, cut your steerer tube! We’re shaving grams off here people! So, the no way to keep your steerer tube length long didn’t really bother me too much after I got everything cut and set up. I did have some question as to how short to cut the steerer tube. It would be nice if Point One put a little marking line on the outside of the stem so one knew what the correct length should be from the top of the last spacer. If it is too long, the stem can’t clamp down and you’ll have a loose headset.

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    I have run this stem now for a couple weeks on both a single crown and a double fork. I noticed no flex or bend in the stem when switching from the one to the other. The steering feels just as responsive as when the Thomson was on. The stem’s pinch bolts are also very well thought out. It uses a number 4 for all bolts, which are very beefy, well done bolts. Not the cheap kind that can accidentally be stripped out. The back is super narrow and on my single crown there was no need to worry about hitting my knees on it. A stem not only for DH but for dirt jumping too. My only concern at this point is durability. There is nothing evident that piqued this concern, it is just a new product, so, it hasn’t had any prolonged testing. I will follow up with this review in 6 months to let you’ll know if anything has gone wrong.

    So, any bad news, or is it all sunshine and glory? Well, the only problem I had with stem, which is really just a problem with me, is that I lost the flanged bolt that comes with the stem. I used a regular bolt in its place, and the regular bolt sliced out the tapered hole when it was being tightened, several times over. So, as long as you are not an idiot like me, you wont have this problem. My fix, a small washer. Problem solved, and it is still super light. Just not as clean looking.

    On a side note. I will get the right bolt and re-take photos. My work around pretty much screws up the slick lines of the stem.

    Overall, this stem is absolutely great. Very light weight, very stiff and strong. You’ll find this on my rides from hence forth.

    Value Rating:

    4 out of 5 Stars

    I give it 4 stars for value because $119 is pretty darn expensive. Hopefully price will come down after it catches on.

    Overall Rating:

    4.5 out of 5 Stars

    4.5 stars for overall, because this stem rocks! Light, stiff, strong. What more do you need? Though .5 point off because I am still somewhat undecided if cutting the steerer tube all the way down is good or not. This I think really will make or break peoples opinion of the stem. Though if you want to watch the weight, you’ve got the trim the fat.

    stem.jpgA word from Po1nt:Utilizing fully CNC machined aluminum and advanced manufacturing techniques, the Split-Second Stem cannot be matched. Our uniquely designed stem not only offers superior strength, but is extremely light weight, thus creating the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any stem we have tested. Such impressive torsional rigidity is due to its oversized 55mm clamp width and unique split-clamp design. Proudly made in the USA.

    • Lengths: 50mm, 70mm, 90mm
    • Clamp Diameters: 25.4, 31.8
    • Colors: Black, Limited Edition Nickel
    • Weight: 137g (50 X 31.8), 128g (50 X 25.4)
    • Zero degree rise.
    • Integrated top cap design, eliminating unnecessary pieces, and thus eliminating unnecessary weight (Saving up to 20g).
    • Stiffness Test Results
    • Installation Guide

    Buy it here: www.pointoneracing.com

    Point One also makes a direct mount Split-Second Stem, and some sick headset spacers.

    Read the MTBR forum thread, with pictures and opinions

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    Facebook Comments:



    Wordpress Comments:

    • Gregg says:

      So, there IS a star nut that the top bolt attaches to?

    • Francois says:

      That looks so bling. For once, the DHers and XC folks can lust after the same product!

    • derek says:

      Thanks for the review, Adam. Try not to lose the flange bolt next time (lol).

    • adam says:

      Gregg,

      Yes you still need the star nut in the steerer tube. works just like a normal head cap and stem – just combined.

    • Question says:

      “Don’t loose, damage, flanged top cap bolt. Normal one will cause damage.”

      What does that mean?? This doesn’t make much sense to me? How exactly does it cause damage.

    • Carl says:

      So when can we see an xc version, maybe 80-100mm?

    • Rodney says:

      Looks dangerous for your knee, that why I like the older 25.4mm Thomson, so knee-friendly.

    • adam says:

      “What does that mean?? This doesn’t make much sense to me? How exactly does it cause damage.”

      Flanged might be the right word. Tapered I believe is more correct.

      Anyways – I’ve made in image to explain – http://reviews.mtbr.com/files/2008/05/split-second-bolt.jpg

      Look at the image, you will see that if you put a regular head cap bolt in the tapered hole of the split-second stem, the parts marked in red will get sliced out by the 90 degree angle of the head of the head cap bolt. Then when you go to put the correct bolt in, there is no longer a large amount of contact area. The Green #1 is before, #2 is what it looks like after. Does that explain it? If not, LMK, I’d like to be as clear as possible.

      Thanks.
      -adam

    • adam says:

      “Looks dangerous for your knee, that why I like the older 25.4mm Thomson, so knee-friendly.”

      Where the stem’s bolts clamps to the steerer post is very narrow. I haven’t hit my knees yet. I can’t see it being “dangerous” in by any means.

    • jason says:

      “countersunk” is the most common way to describe that bolt design.

    • adam says:

      Thanks Jason!

    • mcrammerstein says:

      Checking out that stiffness test published, no test description? No identification of competitors? obviously it is going to win strength to weight vs some of the ridiculously overbuilt stems for DH…
      Looks a little like a smokescreen…

    • Aaron says:

      Adam, can I buy the paper weight?

      aa@mindless.com

    • adam says:

      “Adam, can I buy the paper weight?”

      haha – it is a damn great paper weight. the thomson is a great product – i’ll keep mine for back up. thanks

    • scooderdude says:

      The other stems against which the Point 1 was compared in the Cal Poly failure testing included the popular stems we’re all accustomed to buying, using, seeing on others’ bikes, banging our knees against, including the venerable Thompson. No smoke screen at all.

    • ollie says:

      i think im in love
      oh and as for being knee frendly wear your te bones

    • Miguel says:

      adam, can you tell us how much mm is the part of the handlebar shown between front clamps?

      just to know if Garmin supports for edge series can be placed there, as they normally go over the stem, but with that design that’s impossible.

      thanks

    • Billy says:

      Thats probably the coolest stem I’ve seen in a while. The weight is amazing. I just might have to get me one of those……

    • Benjamin says:

      I got to play with these tonight. Very cool. OK, take the cool factor out and let the backyard engineer take over (I help design Remote Control Car parts and transfer of energy/efficiency are factors I always pay attention to).

      First off, the design is solid. It’s a different design, but the material used and the design lends itself to torsional rigidity. The initial thought was “cool looking and light for XC” then realizing how well it’s built and that it was initially a DH specific part… I was skeptical until I took it apart and really played with it. This is well engineered and solid, yet incredibly light! Flex? Uh… OK, where? Very cool.

    • adam says:

      Hey Miguel -

      Sorry I haven’t been able to measure that area yet. I bet though if you email Jimmy at Point One Racing he’ll have all the measurements you need. PM me if you need the email address.

    • He’s riding a Soul Cycles ‘Matador’ frame. To see the prototype in action go to http://www.121pictures.com

    • Wilbur says:

      awesome product, been using it for a few weeks now, have it on my freeride and also on my track bike,hehe, stiff and light and sexy

    • Hamish A says:

      Great review, nice to see video. FYI you don’t need to trim your steerer tube – PointOne make a spacer that’s designed to work with the SpiltSecond so there’s no trimming required. Unless you REALLY want to save 1.4g in total ;-)

      http://www.pointoneracing.com/nanosecond_spacer.html

    • Eric says:

      The spacer is designed to be used for road/XC use only as it states.

    • Duck on Quack says:

      As Jason stated, countersunk is the word he’s looking for, rather than flanged, tapered etc.

      Being countersunk allows it to keep up it’s slick lines and probably weighs less than a normal square edged bolt. (By a fraction of a gram!)

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