Cirrus Cycles appears to have perfected the suspension stem.
As gravel bikers venture further off-road, terrain-induced fatigue has become an issue. Most gravel bikers refuse even simple front fork suspension solution (such as those available from Iceland’s Lauf), yet the consequences of trail or gravel road buzz can literally be numbing.
Cirrus Cycles founder, Paul Barkley, knows more about riding rigid bikes on testing gravel roads than most. He learnt just how severe unmaintained gravel roads be, during a volunteer outreach deployment in Uganda.
Barkley’s company specialises in building mechanically durable suspension seatposts, which don’t use air, oil or complicated seal systems. Cirrus Cycles prefers using springs and mechanical linkages and its latest product development is the Kinekt suspension stem.
Targeted at gravel bikers who ride a lot of rough roads with severe corrugation profiles, the Kinekt stem provides an equivalent 20mm of suspension travel.
Cirrus promises that its new suspension stem will provide excellent fatigue relief for committed gravel bikes, without ruining the steering characteristics of your bike. Previous suspension stems have managed to provide vibration-absorbing comfort, with the debit of terribly unpredictable steering responses.
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The Kinekt stem uses a steel spring, housed within a parallelogram dual-link design, which helps isolate vertical suspension forces from lateral steering loads.
Cirrus is aware that light and large riders don’t have the same damping requirements and customers will have a choice of three springs (soft, medium and firm), which are easily swappable.
Four sizes will be available, ranging from 90- to 120mm, with corresponding weights of between 465- and 535g. The idea of a mechanically active stem might trigger a maintenance warning for some, but Cirrus says that its Kinekt suspension stem uses IGUS bushings, which require virtually no maintenance.
Cirrus has developed the Kinekt stem with funding from a Kickstarter campaign and expect to launch it by Spring, priced at $180.