Things I Like: Thomson Stems & Seatposts

While it may sound like a cliche, the best components are the ones that you don’t notice. These components are not unremarkable because they don’t meet our expectations, but rather, they excel because they outperform lesser parts that require frequent adjustment and maintenance. For me, nothing epitomizes set-and-forget status like Thomson‘s stems and seatposts.

Stems and seatposts may lack the sex appeal of 11-speed drivetrains or aero wheels, but they’re essential pieces of the bike-fitting puzzle. Many of Thomson’s competitors offer only a handful of sizes. Not Thomson, though. Need a 25.4mm seatpost? They’ve got you covered. With stems that range from 50mm to 130mm in length, chances are there’s one that’s right for your particular setup.

Other companies may offer a similar range of stem lengths and seatpost sizes, but few–if any–can match the reliability and performance of the Georgia-based company’s products. Thomson’s stems and seatposts don’t slip, are easy to adjust, and remain silent without the aid of anti-slip goop or cheater bars. While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, Thomson has elevated the industrial aesthetic to high art. If the monochromatic thing isn’t your style, you can add some bling to your X4 stem with the company’s Dress Up Kit.

Because I spend a significant amount of time evaluating and reviewing components, I place a very high value on parts that don’t require any additional babysitting. Thomson’s stems and seatposts are two items that I can count on to be trouble-free, freeing up more time for enjoying the ride.

First Impressions: K-Edge Computer Mount

Whether you ride for utility or recreation (or both), handlebar real estate can be a precious commodity. Lights, bells, handlebar bags, and computers all vie for the space on either side of your bike’s stem. Often times, there simply isn’t enough room for all of one’s favorite accessories. If you use one of Garmin’s popular Edge computers, however, K-Edge offers several mounts that free up valuable handlebar space.

Like K-Edge’s other computer mounts, the Idaho-based company’s Stem Mount is CNC-machined from billet aluminum, comes in three anodized colors (black, grey, or red), and features an injection-molded interface. Available in fixed- and adjustable-angle versions, GRAVELBIKE tested the adjustable model over a two-month period with Garmin’s Edge 500 GPS cycle computer.

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder K-Edge Garmin GPS Thomson Elite X4 Acros Strava MapMyRide RideWithGPS

The K-Edge mount takes the place of a 5mm spacer above the stem.

The Stem Mount installs between the bike’s stem and top cap. On our test rigs, the K-Edge mounts replaced one of the 5mm spacers that normally take up the extra steerer tube length under the top cap. The mount’s angle adjusts with a 3mm allen key, and there was enough range to clear +10° and +17° stems of various lengths.

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder K-Edge Garmin GPS Thomson Elite X4 Acros Strava MapMyRide RideWithGPS

Garmin’s Edge 500 computer installed on the K-Edge mount.

In use, the Stem Mounts quickly earned set-and-forget status. Swapping the Edge 500 head unit between the K-Edge mounts took no additional effort compared to the stock Garmin mounts, and the Stem Mounts’ injection-molded inserts offered increased peace of mind with an audible (and tactile) confirmation that the computer was locked-and-loaded.

What does the $39.99 ($29.99 for the fixed-angle model) K-Edge Stem Mount offer over Garmin’s stock mount? Improved security, for one. The one-size-fits-most attachment method used by Garmin is OK for handlebars, but it doesn’t compare to the added security of K-Edge’s stem/steerer-mounted method. K-Edge’s injection-molded interface also proved to be more secure in the event of a crash or unintended dismount (no more launched computers!).

Disclosure: K-Edge provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.

Under Test: TRP RG957 Brakes

Riders seeking dual-pivot caliper brakes with clearance for not-so-skinny tires now have another choice with TRP’s RG957 model. Available in polished silver, matte black, or matte grey (shown), RG957s weigh 170g per-caliper, and feature stainless steel hardware.

Stay tuned…