Blockhead Stem Aug 18, 2009

CW&T are architecture graduates who’ve begun designing bicycle components. Hrmmmm sounds familiar. The Blockhead Stem is their first product. It’s made from solid 7075 aluminum and is licensed under Creative Commons.

It’s heavy, but indestructible. If you’re interested in getting one, head over here. The guys were kind enough to offer a 25% discount to the first 5 orders too! Simply use the code: agoodword

  • Rory Ginger

    Wowzers, that looks rad.
    Lil bit dangerous for my liking, I can imagine holey T-shirts and scratched stomach galore.

    Serious props to the creatice commons too.
    Muchos kudos.

  • Al

    I didn’t know you could license a chunk of bar stock. I hope no one got paid for that.

  • Matt

    Not very innovative looking for fresh minded architecture students, but I’m sure it’s very stiff:)

  • Seamus

    wow years of design school and they designed a block

  • Rory Ginger

    Excuse my spooling mistake, keep in mind if it is creative commons licensed they are not earning money from it in the conventional sense.

    If you follow the link the dudes provide you with the plans on how to make one.
    I’m not clued up on industrial manufacture though, so if I wanted one, they’d be receiving some of my sweet moolah purely to make one for me.

    Open source hardware. Welcome to the future.

  • ian

    guess they don’t teach the word “chamfer” in architecture school…

  • iansmash

    yeah I’m really failing to see the artistic value here…simple is better i guess?

    it looks like a square w/ 2 holes cut and 2 slits cut…the machinists dream job

  • prolly

    Guys. Be polite. Please.

    I like the stem. I always say that sometimes the simplest design is often the one that’s most overlooked. True chamfering the edges would be nice, but believe it or not, it’s impossible to find rectangular architectural hardware. I think the guys here wanted to start from the simplest form…

    I like it.

  • lhansberger

    i like it too. it’s a bit different.

  • dwain

    the hell with being polite, this is fucking retarded.

  • Matt

    OPEN SOURCE HARDWARE = Measuring a product and reproducing :-)

  • jlp

    This is amazing. People are saying it is just a block (which it is), but I don’t think that the design is the innovative part of the product. If you look closely the design of the stem is licensed under the CC-BY-NC-SA. How many people are designing products that are ‘open source’? Really, you can modify the stem to meet your needs and non-commercially redistribute your modification. How many other parts can you do that with? None. And IMHO keeping it simple makes it beautiful.

  • chris b.

    While I would fault CW&T for being pretentious and cynical if they were just selling the block and it was mass produced in China, they’re not. At the same time, it takes some balls to put your name on something that simple when you’re a designer, because everyone expects you to do something ornate or more “sophisticated.” I do think it is a successful design for a certain aesthetic. You can’t just shit on it for being a “block” without thinking about it in a greater context. Not everything needs to be hydroformed, mutant carbon, or ornately lugged. This design holds weight for it’s simple and classic geometry. Besides, most people who are going to talk smack about it for being too heavy or having too much drag can’t ride fast enough for a block of that weight and drag coefficient to event make the slightest bit of difference. But if you’re planning on having children that’s a different story.

  • prolly

    If it came in 31.8 and was chamfered, I’d buy it… Just sayin.

  • gob

    I’m not really seeing how the fact that the design is “open-sourced” makes it any better. It’s LITERALLY bar stock with 6 bolt holes and holes drilled for the bars and steerer. It A kid in his first week in a machine shop could (and most certainly has) produce the same stem. The difference is that the kid in the kid in the machine shop will continue to refine the design, chamfer and taper the edges, remove excess material from the center, you know, actually do some design work.

    Plus, just about every modern stem design has opposing steer tube clamp bolts for more even stress and a better grip on the steer tube. It’s form over function, with “open source” to make you feel good about it. But it’s poor form, and bad function. And $89? And it only comes in one short size? And it can cut the fuck out of me? And only one colour? And it’s 500 grams? (A stupid light BMX stem (Primo A Neyer Later) is 221g) A road or track specific A-head stem is lighter than that.

    Actually design something worth copying, then you can brag if you make it open source.

    If you just want to look at your bike, this is great, but if you plan on riding, you’re not gonna want over a pound of sharp aluminum edges staring your knees and crotch in the face.

  • nate c

    there’s a difference between starting at the simplest form and staying at the simplest form.


    Bitch and moan all you want but you didn’t build one. Props to these guys for doing something for themselves. Personally I love the minimalist approach. I would swoop it up for my next build in a second.

  • s

    Ouch. I wouldn’t want to crash on that wrong.
    Just to make it extra dangerous, they should be mounted with the Fixie Inc’s “Car Scratcher” handlebars mentioned here a while back:
    If the stem doesn’t get you, the bars will.

  • gnarpepe

    mosh came out with a stem like this a long long long time ago
    ive been running it on my fixed for a while now
    nothing special
    just a cool looking stem
    its heavy but since my bike is alreayd light i dont care
    i run a odyssey v3 on my bmx
    best stem ive ever bought


    LOL @ S
    That would make it a Gladiator bike. You would do some real damage.

  • CapCity

    Tioga made the exact same stem with a machined out middle and rounded edges about 5 years ago. Also why would anyone ever want to ride a 50mm stem with pursuit bars. That would feel totally weird.

  • 614

    What people seem to be missing is that, by staying with such a simple form, and providing their specs under Creative Commons, CW&T is providing you with a fully customizable stem. If you want an extra 15mm of length, 100g less weight, or you want it chamfered, then go ahead, download their specs, and mill it the way YOU want it milled. This really is Open Source Hardware, because by starting with such a basic form, they provide the user with the most easily modified form, a template to tweak and mod to your needs and personal aesthetic.

    That said, I’m digging it as is.

  • 510

    Here’s a better stem that weighs 500 grams. And yes it’s 31.8 mm, so you can rock some real handlebars.

    So I guess the point is that someone wanted to start over on 100 years of stem design. Here’s a block – have at it! Or is it serious?

    IMHO if you’re running that short of a stem on your track bike, your frame’s probably the wrong size. But kids these days don’t really care about ergonomics, do they? I’d just be worried about the sharp edges so close to the knees, nuts, and noodle.

  • CtotheR

    You can tell they have a design education. When they said it was designed by architecture students, I wasn’t surprised. I appreciate a minimalist aesthetic, less is more etc…….. Saying “its only a box with holes in it” is not saying its bad, youre just describing the object. Are you saying its too simple because it looks like they didnt’ put enough effort into it?
    Some architects think that objects that deal with forces should represent those forces in some way through their form. I am part of that camp and so I think it could be a little better but thats me. Good idea and effort and showing restraint…its nice.

  • Harry the asshole

    If they design as well as they spell ‘Brake’ then this should completely suck.