Most riders appreciate that your stem does more than merely connect your handlebar and fork steerer – its strength, vibration damping, and torsional rigidity all contribute quietly yet significantly to your overall ride experience. But the right stem can also make you faster. The ENVE SES Aero Road Stem has been engineered to do that in three ways:
• Enable your optimal riding position
• Reduce drag through aero shaping
• Preserve handlebar options
Here, we explain the importance of each of those elements.
FIT IS FAST
The SES Aero Road Stem is adjustable for angle or length to help you achieve your most efficient position for power output and overall aerodynamics. Marginal gains are all very well so long as you’re addressing the object causing over 80% of the total drag – you.
The current trend for one-piece handlebar and stem combinations on aero road bikes takes, at best, a hollow victory in the battle against the wind. It can, when done right, save a few grams of drag, but it always comes at the cost of all adjustability and options.
You know what’s really fast? Having your bike fit you perfectly, being in an aero position that you can sustain for hours, and reducing your own frontal area. The SES Aero Road Stem comes with two shims with which to tune your position, and each can be installed in two ways. The first can be used to tune bar height and offers angles of -7˚ or -17˚, with the length unchanged; the second shim allows you to tune the length by +/-2.5mm, with the angle set at -12.5˚. It isn’t about simply getting your position low and long, it’s about getting your position right.
Back when every racer – pro or amateur – rode a custom made-to-measure steel frame, stem length and angle wasn’t so critical. When the toptube and headtube are sized perfectly for you, it’s easy to achieve your optimum position. Those days are long since passed and now virtually every racer is on a monocoque carbon fiber bike that comes in a handful of stock sizes, so the length and angle of the stem have a greater role to play in achieving an optimized fit.
Perhaps the frame with the right toptube length has too tall a headtube, or maybe the ideal reach to the bars lies between the standard 120 and 130mm stem lengths. The elegantly adjustable SES Aero Road Stem offers the solution.
The shape of the SES Aero Road Stem was developed in CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics, simulating airflow) and verified in the wind tunnel through ENVE’s partnership with Smart Aero Technology. Because the stem is part of the bike’s leading edge into the wind, small changes here can be very productive. When set at -17˚, where it presents the minimum possible frontal area, the stem’s smooth profile enables a small but valuable drag saving of 1.5W when tested with a rider at 40kph.
To ensure that these gains aren’t negated by your computer, we teamed up with experts K-Edge to develop an integrated mount. By placing your computer in line with the stem it has no effect on drag.
YOUR COCKPIT, YOUR CHOICE
The SES Aero Road Stem preserves your freedom of handlebar and position choice, instead of dictating and restricting like a one-piece cockpit. It has a standard 31.8mm clamp, so you can use almost any handlebar you like, whether it’s an old favorite or our proven SES Aero Road Bar, which would be the perfect partner. Like the stem, the Aero Road Bar uses an aero shape for an instant drag saving but achieves even more through positioning. Its hoods are 5cm narrower than its drops, so when you’re tucked down with your hands on the horns and forearms flat (the fastest road position) your arms and shoulders will be pulled in, reducing your frontal area. It’s wind tunnel proven and the result is aero gains you can really feel on the road.