Thomson stem hype?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Thomson stem hype?

    Just put together a 29 Ti Black Sheep SS with rigid Ti fork. Weigh about 180lbs + gear and ride XC.

    Currently running bontrager race lite OS 31.8 stem 100mm x 7 degrees with Race Lite big sweep flat bar.

    Same size Thomson stem weighs about same but wanted to know if it really is that much stiffer, and thus a noticeable difference/advantage than stem like above bontrager or is this just hype?

    Anyone who has experience with Thomson vs "standard" forged stems like bontrager, easton, etc please share your opinion!

    Thanks!
    FC

  2. #2
    All 26.5" all the time!
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    Even though I'm a fan of Thomson products, you probably won't notice a difference in stiffness.

  3. #3
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    i have broken mine twice, and its the only stem ive ever broken....i love their products, they are almost like works of machined art, but i dont like the fact that it broke.
    Quote Originally Posted by HamfisT
    I understand that engineering has value in and of itself. But in the end, it's still just a pile of aluminum tubes.

  4. #4
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    If you have the money just get the Thomson.

  5. #5
    local trails rider
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    I bought a Thomson for one bike, because the LBS had one in the size I needed. I cannot really tell if it works any better than the budget stem I have on the other bike. Looks nice, though.

  6. #6
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    I've used Thomson stems in the past, and yes, they are beautiful looking pieces of kit.

    The engineer in me says that possibly a quality forged stem (Easton EA70 or whatever) is actually stronger at the same weight than a CNC machined one like Thomson.
    I've never seen any test results, so this is purely supposition on my part..

  7. #7
    No Clue Crew
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    I've run several Thomson X4s vs several other "cheaper" alternatives. Can I tell a difference in feel? Probably not. However, I do have a strong preference for the Thomson. Why? Probably just aesthetics. It is a fine piece of equipment that I don't mind paying a premium for.

  8. #8
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    I had a thomson elite stem on my bike since '03. I just switched to an easton ea90. Lighter, and I don't notice any kind of difference between the two.

  9. #9
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    I had a Thomson stem that was too short, got a longer Easton EA70 instead. MISTAKE, I heard creaking from tourqing back and forth on my Chromag handlebar (730mm wide). I could just sit on my bike and apply pressure to the bars back and forth and hear it creaking despite proper bolt torque and then extra bolt torque. I normally like Easton stuff but I'm ordering a longer Thomson instead.

  10. #10
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    I've run Thomson stems for over 10 years. Never any issues. Stronger? I like to think so, but I couldn't really tell you.
    On your Black Sheep, run the Thomson. It deserves better than a generic stem. I've had Thomsons on both my BlackSheep and the new one coming next week gets a Thomson as well.
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

  11. #11
    master blaster
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    dude, its thomson.
    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding View Post
    The dude is like 120lbs, tops lol he can run any tires he wants without issues, i'm sure.
    :D

  12. #12
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    Dude's... stop sucking LH Thomson off. Sure the seatposts are some of the best you can buy, especially the Masterpiece line.

    But for stems they are stuck in the mid 90's. You can get a Ritchey WCS for less money, it will weigh a ton less and you wont have to worry about it breaking.
    Quote Originally Posted by OneBadWagon
    Since about half of the posts on here are about intangibles or hypotheticals, let's hear it!

  13. #13
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    Lots of people have had broken face plates on Thomson stems. And not from overtorqueing the bolts. It seems to be a weak point in the design. Try Syntace F99 for 25.4 or F119 for 31.8.

  14. #14
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    I have used Thomson stems on various bikes over the years, and have never personally had one fail. They are pretty stiff, but I have also had great luck with Ritchey, Syntace, the Race Face 3D stems, and IRD stems as well. Thomson stems have clean CNC lines but I really don't like the blocky look much. Thats just a personal thing, but bottom line is that there are lots of good stem options out there.

    JR

  15. #15
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    cracked a THOMSON faceplate on my SS.....and cracked a THOMSON stem on my trail rig....

    both were 4 or 5 years old......THOMSON replaced the cracked stem (yay)...but not the faceplate crack (boo)....




    i still use'em ('cause I've got'em already).....unless they crack/break again....then off to Easton i'll go....
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  16. #16
    Sweep the leg!
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    I went from a Deda Newton to a Thompson, for which I paid $30 for at the bike swap, last year. There's enough going on with the front end of my bike between the Mary Bars and the Carbon Switchblade that I don't know if the Thompson is stiffer.
    Authorities speculate that speed may have been a factor. They are also holding gravity and inertia for questioning.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM
    cracked a THOMSON faceplate on my SS.....and cracked a THOMSON stem on my trail rig....

    both were 4 or 5 years old......THOMSON replaced the cracked stem (yay)...but not the faceplate crack (boo)....

    i still use'em ('cause I've got'em already).....unless they crack/break again....then off to Easton i'll go....
    Is this a complaint? You had 2 stems last you 4 or 5 years and you aren't happy?

    I would assume the faceplates are pretty cheap. Not sure if they sell them seperately, never looked but even if they don't seems like 4 or 5 years is more than worth the money.

    Just my opinion.

    I've had 2 thomsons and have zero complaints with either. Never really understood why some people think they're so overpriced... they aren't THAT much money.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7daysaweek
    Is this a complaint? You had 2 stems last you 4 or 5 years and you aren't happy?

    I would assume the faceplates are pretty cheap. Not sure if they sell them seperately, never looked but even if they don't seems like 4 or 5 years is more than worth the money.

    Just my opinion.

    I've had 2 thomsons and have zero complaints with either. Never really understood why some people think they're so overpriced... they aren't THAT much money.
    hahaha...no, not complaining really....and the faceplate was around $10....and several years of real use is OK....and THOMSON stood behind their product (once at least)

    BUT.....having a stem fail can easily turn a crash into egregious bodily harm.....i was lucky to have caught these before total failure....

    now i check regularly.....
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnetosphere
    Dude's... stop sucking LH Thomson off. Sure the seatposts are some of the best you can buy, especially the Masterpiece line.

    But for stems they are stuck in the mid 90's. You can get a Ritchey WCS for less money, it will weigh a ton less and you wont have to worry about it breaking.

    THIS

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sngltrkr
    Lots of people have had broken face plates on Thomson stems. And not from overtorqueing the bolts. It seems to be a weak point in the design. Try Syntace F99 for 25.4 or F119 for 31.8.
    THIS

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM
    cracked a THOMSON faceplate on my SS.....and cracked a THOMSON stem on my trail rig....

    both were 4 or 5 years old......THOMSON replaced the cracked stem (yay)...but not the faceplate crack (boo)....




    i still use'em ('cause I've got'em already).....unless they crack/break again....then off to Easton i'll go....
    and this

  22. #22
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    thomson gets a lot of press on here when something breaks. thomsons dont break any easier than other stems you just hear about it more.

  23. #23
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    I've had three or four Thomson stems over the years. Never had a failure and I still think the brand is worth the extra coin. If you don't, fair enough, go buy something cheaper and enjoy.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant
    I've had three or four Thomson stems over the years. Never had a failure and I still think the brand is worth the extra coin. If you don't, fair enough, go buy something cheaper and enjoy.
    this.
    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding View Post
    The dude is like 120lbs, tops lol he can run any tires he wants without issues, i'm sure.
    :D

  25. #25
    local trails rider
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    Show me a MTB part that nobody has managed to break...

  26. #26
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    Have you used a torque wrench to tighten these from day 1??




    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM
    cracked a THOMSON faceplate on my SS.....and cracked a THOMSON stem on my trail rig....

    both were 4 or 5 years old......THOMSON replaced the cracked stem (yay)...but not the faceplate crack (boo)....




    i still use'em ('cause I've got'em already).....unless they crack/break again....then off to Easton i'll go....

  27. #27
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    A few words to the wise-

    Thomson is known to fairly rigorously torture test their components and measure them against other components within the industry to assure strength is equal to or exceeds many in the business. Find a manufacturer that can state that they have tested their component against all the other industry leaders and give you a %age measure of better strength like Thompson can.

    Any component can expect manufacturing tolerance and failure rates- its basic manufacturing principle. I would bet that Thomsons failure rate is far less than many/most in the industry. The fact they they manufacture their own parts already puts them head and shoulders apart from all the taiwanese/chinese outsourced junk.

    Any part experiences usage fatigue and all have a life expectancy. To think that your stem, which probably hadnt been torqued by an accurate torque wrench to the companies specs....or worse yet- hand tightened..........for 5+ years wont fail at some point is sheer ignorance.

    Whether its King, Thomson, Shimano etc. Theres a reason why companies that pay particular attention to detail- quality- manufacturing process have garnered the praise that they deserve. Will there be failures? yes- but id be willing to be that a larger portion of those are "user" side---vs manufacture side.

  28. #28
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogueturtle
    ... Whether its King...
    Hope everybody already knows that King headsets tend to fail, or damage the steerer, when used on long travel forks or otherwise ridden hard.

  29. #29
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    Haven't heard that at all about king headsets. Have had the same king headset since '02, guess I don't ride hard. Source?

    Back to thomson, I never had a complaint about the quality. On an intense tracer since '03 and then later swapped to my dissent until a few weeks ago. Beefy stem for XC. It was just heavy, and when I looked at their current stuff it just weighs more and costs more than the competition.

    Thomson elite: 200 grams
    Thomson elite X4: 166 grams
    Ritchey 4-axis 44: 133 grams
    Easton EA90: 130 grams
    etc....

  30. #30
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    FWIW, I just ordered a Chromag...and am NOT a WW.

    Thomson x4 in 50mm: 173g (claimed)
    Chromag Ranger 50mm: 155g (actual)

    Both are nice pieces of equipment, but I thought I'd try something different.

  31. #31
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_slacker
    ... king headsets....
    Source?
    http://www.pvdwiki.com/index.php?title=The_BEST_Headset
    The man posts here as "pvd". As far as I can tell, he does know bike stuff.
    (better discuss that elsewhere. I am not really interested. Just had to throw in that comment above...)

  32. #32
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    There are definitely better things to spend your hard earned money on. I use a Performance bike house branded stem, Forte, and it works just fine. Now a Chris King headset, that is worth it.
    No compromise.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by BokorSolo
    There are definitely better things to spend your hard earned money on. I use a Performance bike house branded stem, Forte, and it works just fine. Now a Chris King headset, that is worth it.
    CC has THE patent on good headsets...which will soon expire. I think CK headsets are a crock.
    CK hubs though...well worth it.

  34. #34
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    Haha, attempted hit 'n run. That site looks like an ad for the CC S3, of which I've owned 3. PITA to eliminate play but ok once you do. Not the messiah of headsets like he's attempting to make them out to be.

    Once the 10 year warranty runs out on my king I'll get something else like the CC 110.

    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    http://www.pvdwiki.com/index.php?title=The_BEST_Headset
    The man posts here as "pvd". As far as I can tell, he does know bike stuff.
    (better discuss that elsewhere. I am not really interested. Just had to throw in that comment above...)

  35. #35
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogueturtle
    Have you used a torque wrench to tighten these from day 1??
    yes....they were torqued to spec from day 1....
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  36. #36
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    I've had two or three Thomson stems over the years. Had a failure on every one and I still don't think the brand is worth the extra coin. If you don't, fair enough, go buy something cheaper and enjoy.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy R
    I've used Thomson stems in the past, and yes, they are beautiful looking pieces of kit.

    The engineer in me says that possibly a quality forged stem (Easton EA70 or whatever) is actually stronger at the same weight than a CNC machined one like Thomson.
    I've never seen any test results, so this is purely supposition on my part..

    Forgings are stronger than "hog outs" the company I work for proved it to Boeing.
    You can go lighter with a forging than a CNC piece of hardware.

  38. #38
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    Thomson stems look badass, have a good resale value, and are made in the good 'ol US of A. But for XC riding, there are many other stems that are significantly lighter, less expensive, and just as durable if not more so. I own a Thomson stem and can't tell any difference in stiffness between it and my Ritchey WCS 4-Axis stem. Air pressure, spoke tension, fork material/design, and grips are far more important than what kind of stem you're running.

    Thomson Elite seatposts are awesome.

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