The Chimera stem is an adjustable 35ø stem that allows you to have 35mm/40mm/45mm (and even 50mm) stem lengths without switching the stem. We catch up with Jonno from HTF and find out all the details behind the latest serving from the Brisbane components company.
WTR: At first glance the Chimera's clean lines and aggressive look is certainly nice on the eye - what does Chimera mean?
HTF: Continuing on the mythological theme started with the Odin flat pedal, the Chimera is a mythological animal that is a hybrid of parts from a number of animals. In a more modern sense the term can be used to describe a combination of ideas or imaginative parts which I thought was fitting for this product.
WTR: What sets this stem apart from a standard stem?
HTF: The main point of difference of the Chimera stem is the length adjustability. It’s never been done in a short length gravity focused stem before. There have been 100mm+ cross country and road stems but that method is not suitable when considering a short extension length or a strong and stiff stem. This design that I’ve come up with is totally unique to MTB (patent pending)
WTR: How was the Chimera designed and what is the process to make sure they are ready for the thrashing they are going to receive?
HTF: It was designed over about 18 months with multiple design variants and prototypes tested. Essentially the product you see now is the 3rd version of design. The first hurdle was the design method for the spacers. They needed to be positively located to the stem body both radially and axially to remove any possibility of movement between the stem body and the spacers. I experimented with locating pins, but the final design of using tabs on the spacers and the clamp bolts to locate the spacers is by far the superior method.
In terms of being ready for a thrashing on bikes, the first step was to create a theoretically sound design with no weak areas. Drawing on my experience as an engineer in the automotive industry and the use of computer simulation I created a design that I was happy to invest in a prototype that would be essentially the finished product. These were then given to a number of our test riders (Freeriders hitting 60 foot + gaps and elite gravity enduro racers) to truly put them through their paces. A couple of little tweaks were made to these prototypes and here we have the production version!
As the spacer idea had never been done before and even though theoretically it should work, I wanted to prove the concept before investing heavily in the design. I 3D printed from ABS plastic some of the spacers, put them on my own bike and raced it in the 2020 SEQ Gravity Enduro Series. The fact that it worked made from material with 10% of the strength of the final product gave me great confidence to proceed.
WTR: What composition of materials used in creating the Chimera stem?
HTF: Each piece of the Chimera stem is precision CNC machined from billet 7075-T6 which is the strongest commercially available aluminium. It is twice as strong as 6061-T6 which is the material you will see a lot of stems made from.
The bolts are titanium (GR5) which have a similar strength to a 10.9 high tensile steel bolt & twice as strong as stainless steel bolts at a fraction of the weight. Plus titanium won’t corrode and you can’t beat the oil-slick finish!
WTR: What is the idea behind the adjustable stem? are you finding riders are liking the option to put in the 30mm vs 45mm options for different terrain?
HTF: The main idea is to allow people to achieve the best bike setup possible. Bike manufacturers are making their frames more modular than ever before with flip chips that adjust chainstay length, high and low positions for suspension geometry or adjustable offset headsets, but until now there hasn’t been a solution to quickly and easily change stem length.
Bike manufacturers will spec a bike size with a stem length. Chances are, this will not be perfect for each individual rider’s set up. I don’t think I know anyone that has actually been 100% satisfied with stock stem length and this product allows the user to find that sweet spot in geometry.
From personal experience I know how much a small adjustment in stem length affects the overall bike handling. The bike that I myself ride came specced with a 45mm long stem. It wasn’t right for me, I felt too far forward over the front and really didn’t feel at home in steep tech which is my bread and butter. Using the Chimera stem I was able to experiment and find the sweet spot which is a 40mm stem extension. It’s just that small amount shorter which gets my weight a little bit further back and so much more comfortable in the steeps, but not too far back to not be able to not have enough weight over the front wheel around corners for maximum grip.
I’ve had some riders say they are quite interested in having the ability to change the length for different terrain. Their normal comfortable length could be a 45mm stem for regular tracks, but when venturing onto some super steep and gnarly terrain they have the option to slam it right back to a 35mm length to be able to get back further on the bike.
WTR: Does HTF offer after any after sales support?
HTF: As a small company owned and run by passionate mountain bikers, we know how important minimising downtime from the bike is. Any tech questions you have, if you contact us will be answered quickly and by the product designer so you can be confident in helpful tech advise.
HTF WARRANTY - We offer a lifetime* warranty on our Chimera stems, we know that some people may be sceptical of the adjustment method as it is a new design to the market, but we are confident in our product and are prepared to back it accordingly.
HTF SPARES - All parts are available as spares if you happen to lose any of the bolts or spacers we can supply them individually so you don’t have to buy a whole new stem.
WTR: How has the initial feedback been on the Chimera stem? They look and feel amazing - how has the HTF community taken to them so far?
HTF: Very positive. Some of the most common comments we get is, “that’s such a good idea” and “how has no one done this before”. Also when people actually hold them in their hands, feel how light they are and see the machining quality they are blown away. Plus, everyone loves the oil slick bolts and can’t get enough of them.
Jonno (Owner) Huck To Flat Components, Brisbane.
The all new Chimera 35⌀ Adjustable Stem is now available on the WTR Store > CHIMERA 35ø Adjustable Stem