1. I've heard about the GlideFlex, that it's really nice, but I don't know
why. What's everyone talking about?
Mostly, they are talking about how smooth and steady the pivoting action is.
It remarkably smooth compared to any other stem. But, there are some other
things, like how it well it works stays the same over time and doesn't get
loose, or change at all, really. There are a lot of other little things that
people don't notice as well.
2. How does it do that?
With a completely different hinge mechanism. All other stems have a yoke
arrangement, with two arms on the outside that bend in and squeeze a central
pivoting arm. The bolt that squeezes it is the pivot as well. There are lots of
variations, but that's the basic arrangement. It's easy to make, but it has
several drawbacks. The first and biggest one is that as the outside arms bend
in, they distort, and only really squeeze out at the ends. This leads to several
problems, both initially and down the road..
The GlideFlex mechanism is more like a disk brake. All the squeezing happens
evenly- everything stays parallel. Nothing is bent in the process. The friction
surfaces are large, and made of Delrin, a special type of plastic. Since the
squeezing happens in a straight line, the friction disks are always evenly and
consistently loaded. There is no metal to metal contact on either the
pivot or the friction surfaces. This, combined with the smooth moving Delrin
disks, makes the folding action silky smooth.
3. It's more expensive than other stems, too.
Yes, it is. It takes a fair bit of machining to make a GlideFlex. We make
them in our own shop, too, where we hold some pretty high standards. A GlideFlex
is a quality piece, designed for years and years of use. The price reflects what
goes into it.
4. How do I know it will fit my bike?
We make both the upper and lower sections in both 1 inch (25.4mm) and 1-1/8
inch (28.6mm). The lower section clamps to the top of your threadless
fork. Most fork steerer tubes are 1-1/8 inches nowadays, but there are a lot of
bikes out there with 1" steerers as well. Most handlebar masts are 1 inch
ID, but a few are 1-1/8 inch ID. If in doubt, you can use our Tubing
Measuring Tool and make sure, or give us a call or an email and we can help
you figure out what you need.
5. Is that bolt in the middle the pivot?
No, the bolt in the middle only sets the stiffness. It looks like must be the
pivot, but it's not. The pivot is actually a large diameter (5/8in, or 16mm)
horizontal post machined into the top section. You could actually remove the
bolt and the stem would pivot just fine.
It's a little hard to explain, but a splined cap keys to the inside of the
machined post. The bolt squeezes the arm on the lower part of the stem between
the cap and the other side of the upper section. To make the disk brake analogy,
the cap and upper section are like a caliper, and the lower section is like the
disk. The bolt is just how the brakes get applied.
6. Can I use one on my lowracer?
Probably not. The GlideFlex is designed to pivot back 25 degrees behind the
steerer tube. Most lowracers need something like 70 or 80 degrees. We are
working on as stem like this, but it isn't available yet.
7. Can I adjust my handlebars forward and back?
Yes. There is an adjustable backstop to control how far back the handlebars
go. You can move them forward any time you'd like, as in getting on and off the
bike, or making a low speed turn, or folding the bars down for transport.
8. Can I use a GlideFlex on my bike with a threaded headset?
Yes, with a Threaded
to Threadless Adapter.