In the summer of 1990 I started working for a little bicycle company called Salsa Cycles. Back then their big product was cro-moly stems and I was quickly thrown into the chaos of manufacturing thousands of them per year. Over the 10 years I was there we made over 50,000 stock and custom stems. To say I’ve made a few stems in my time is an understatement. At Soulcraft our focus has been frames, with only a handful of stems going to the few people that knew the secret handshake. Now, with the introduction of Paragon Machine Works’ line of stem parts, we’ve decided to jump back into the stem game with both feet. Our focus will be on aircraft grade TIG welded cro-moly custom threadless stems.  Once you figure out what you want and place your order, we will send you a PDF of the drawing to sign off on so you will know exactly what the stem will look like before we proceed with the build. You can get the basic black powder coat paint job or have it done in a custom RAL powder to match your frame. On top of it all we are committed to a 3 week turnaround on all stems so you can be up and riding as soon as possible.



On the surface a bicycle stem seems like a pretty simple part, and it is. But when you start talking about building a custom stem to improve your fit on the bike, things can go sideways pretty quickly. A customer simply saying they want to extend their reach on the bike by 10mm doesn’t mean you simply add 10mm to the length of your stem and there you are. Did you know a 100mm x 20° stem is actually “shorter” than a 100mm x 10° stem? Confused yet? To help you wade through this mine field we’ve created some visual aids to help.

Let’s look at Figure 1, a 100mm x 10° stem. Angle and extension are the dimensions that all stem manufacturers use with some calling out the angle from the steerer axis (Ritchey, among others). Our 0° is their 90°, our 10° is their 100°; our 20° is their 110°. These dimensions actually aren’t that great for comparing stems as you will see. Notice the dimension labeled “Reach”. This is measured at 90° from the steerer axis. The 100mm x 10° stem has a Reach of 98.48mm.

Now take a look at Figure 2, a 100mm x 20° stem. Notice that the reach is actually shorter than the previous stem by 4.51mm (98.48mm vs. 93.97mm) even though it’s still a 100mm stem. So someone trying to keep the same reach but raise their bars by going with a 20° stem with the same 100mm extension is actually shortening their reach.

To complicate matters further, when you put a stem on a bike the reference point for all these dimensions changes because the stem is tilted back along the axis of the head angle. When you are trying to dial in your bar position you would think in terms of moving them along a horizontal or vertical axis, in other words, you would say, “I want my bars up 5mm and out 10mm”. But turning that “up and out” measurement into a stem dimension takes a lot of math or an adjustable fitting stem. Say you simply want to move your bars out 10mm and keep them at the same height. If you started with a 100mm x 10° stem, most folks would simply go with a 110mm x 10° stem, but you would actually need a 109mm x 7° stem to achieve your goal. Not a huge difference but it illustrates the difficulty in simply using the manufacturer’s stem dimensions to achieve an exact fitting goal.

Stems Primer - Figure 2Figure 1

Stems Primer - Figure 1Figure 2


  • Material: 4130 aircraft grade cro-moly, 6061 aluminum faceplate, zinc plated steel bolts
  • Sizes: -20° to +20° in 1° increments, 50mm to 170mm in 1mm increments
  • Steerer/Bar diameters: 1-1/8″ threadless steerer, 31.8 bars (split clamp with 22.2, 25.4 or 26.0 shims available)
  • Steerer clamp: 38mm tall. Minimum steerer available must be 35mm
  • Weight: 266grams for a 110mm x 10° with hardware
  • Paint: Stock is single coat black powdercoat; optional paint is double coat powder with an RAL # provided by customer


What if I’m not sure of where my bars should be? Can I call you guys to discuss that?

No. We can’t fit you over the phone without a full comprehensive fitting process which is only available to our custom frame customers. We recommend finding a local bike shop that does fittings to help you.

Can I get my stem painted to match my bike?

Yes and no. We don’t “color match” per se, but if your bike is powder coated we can use the RAL color code to match it.

How much do your stems weigh?

A 110mm x 10° stem (w/ hardware) weighs 266g

Do you make quill stems/1″ steerer stems/non split-clamp stems?

Not currently, but we are working on offering all 3 options in the future.

What if my bars are smaller than 31.8mm? Do you provide shims?

Yes, for an extra cost we can provide shims for 7/8″ (22.2mm) bars, 1″ (25.4mm) bars, or 25.8mm/26.0mm bars.

What if I don’t have a lot of fork steerer sticking out above the headset?

You must have at least 35mm of available fork steerer for our stems to clamp to. Any less than 35mm and you risk a failure the fork steerer and/or the stem.

What if the stem you build me doesn’t achieve the fitting goal I wanted?

We are not responsible for fitting issues. Our sizing tools are based on your inputs. We build what you want. If you guessed wrong on what you wanted we will not refund the purchase. If we made an error in the stem we were supposed to build you then we will make you a new one ASAP.