It had been quite a while since I had bought any parts, or a bike, so when these popped up, I jumped on them – some beauty Canadian stuff right here.
It’s a Syncros Cattle Head hinged stem, and a Race Face SYStem DH model. I think the Syncros will be nice on my Dekerf, but I don’t have a bike for the RF right now.
But don’t ever let a minor detail like that stop you from buying more stuff.
Both of these are interesting enough to warrant a post, so let’s look at the RaceFace. For starters, there are no welds here. It’s all machined aluminium. You can – theoretically – take it apart, and mix and match the pieces. Though I believe that all the face plates and steerer clamps are black, so there really isn’t any value in doing that.
The colour, is metallic orange, painted to match the Marzocchi Z.1 and Mr. T forks. RaceFace colour matched several different forks in this time period, which makes finding the exact thing you want for your vintage ride just that much harder nowadays.
And finally, this is the DH version. The regular SYStem was 130mm with 6 degrees of rise, which was not ideal for donwhill. So, this DH model was 70mm with 8 degrees of rise. The handlebar clamp is 25.4 making it hard to find a decent bar for it.
Next up is the mighty Syncros. Not quite as beefy as the Cattle Prod, which had a massive oval extention from steerer to bar, but it has a very tall section where it clamps on the steerer, meaning that there’s a good chance it won’t fit on your bike. Unless you have way too many spacers of course. It also features a hinged stem, which allows for much easier installation. And it’s got gorgeous welds.
The clamp is a terrific bit of engineering where two wedges, machined to match the curve of the headtube, tighten down on the headtube, and the stem stays in place because of the perfect fit of the wedges in the stem. Overcomplicated I suppose, but having no bolt flanges sticking out does look very cool.
I’m certain that the Dekerf Team ST that Bike magazine tested back in the day had this stem on it, so picking it up was a no-brainer. I think I know a guy that’s made stickers for it, so I can clean up the appearance if I want. But even if it doesn’t work on the Dekerf, it’s cool.
There are guys that just buy every Syncros piece they find, and then display them. I’ve never really cared for that. I’d rather see them on a bike being used. If I have to get a new bike for one of these stems, so be it – that can be arranged.