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I prefer quill stems for aesthetic reasons but find them a hassle when it comes to removing the handlebar -- having to strip the bars and remove the brifters. Is there a reason why I cannot find quill stems with easily removable handlebars (say, with an allen key)?

Edit

To answer a few comments here are my "aesthetic" preferences, although these are not directly pertinent to the original question. I really like the looks of stems like Nitto and Cinelli (among others). I find them quite streamlined, have curves I like, are in one piece (bolts barely show) and the top part is close to horizontal. Finally these can be had with nice (?!) surfaces and no apparent welding joints. I also like the fact that I can experience with handlebar height without having to worry about cutting the fork.

Btw. Nitto also makes threadless stems that I find nicer than most, not nearly as nice as their quill stems and do not allow for easy removal of the handlebar from the stem. enter image description here

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  • I normally understand Amercian English no problems but had to look up 'esthetical'.
    – mattnz
    Jan 18 at 0:16
  • 2
    A quick google image search show numerous quill stems with a two piece bar clamp. e.g. bike24.com/p2183260.html
    – mattnz
    Jan 18 at 0:23
  • I wonder if the lack of the faceplate of modern stems is part of the aesthetic you prefer, in which case the one @mattnz points to might be of interest. But I seem to remember an old design similar to that being very prone to failures
    – Chris H
    Jan 18 at 8:07
  • If what you really want is a 7-shaped cold forged stem with a faceplate, that also exists, though mostly in vintage parts. Look at the Deda and 3t ones. Jan 20 at 1:15

1 Answer 1

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At the risk of a frame challenge, a better question is why did faceplates not become the norm until after the mainstreaming of threadless.

Not all threadless stems have faceplates - many early ones did not, including good ones (Controltech is an example). There are entire genres of quill stems with faceplates that predate threadless, such as anything made to work with a 2-or-more piece handlebar (for example most BMX bars).

Profile, Nitto, and others make an array of quill stems with faceplates currently, and have for a long time. For most use cases it's not a difficult thing to get.

As to why faceplates took so long to become the norm, I can only speculate. There may have been some psychology to overcome with people believing the bolts were strong enough to do what they're being asked in the conventional front-loading faceplate design. The complexity and cost of manufacturing may also be a factor (I wouldn't want to assume this though, especially at scale).

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  • I could imagine that faceplate designs have stricter tolerances on the clamp diameter. A "closed" stem behaves somewhat like a hose clamp and should be able to handle a wider range of handlebar diameters.
    – MaplePanda
    Jan 18 at 23:21
  • @MaplePanda I think it's true that closed designs have any easier time getting to a high amount of contact area. Jan 19 at 5:53

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