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Every 30 days we award the Top User Reviewer with a little prize. This month Jenson USA pitched in a $100 gift card! Vital MTB member Arkstorm earned the Top Reviewer spot with one very solid review. Here's a recap:


Kore Repute Stem - "So a stem is probably not the sexiest bike component to review and one might even think that a stem is a stem is a stem. But to the finicky bike builder, choosing the right stem is the foundation of a solid cockpit. Besides for desired length and rise, what I look for in a stem is functional design, quality craftsmanship and a pleasing aesthetic element.

Considering these factors in reverse order, I think the Kore Repute stem with its post-modern industrial art look scores high in the aesthetics category. The shiny black finish is durable and after two seasons of four-day-a-week east-coast riding, the body and hardware of the stem still look like new. The black finish complements my blackout stealth carbon frame well, but if you want any other color you are out of luck. In a market where stems come in a rainbow kaleidoscope of colors, this might be off putting to some. But as far as I'm concerned, when it comes to stems, black is just fine.

Craftsmanship and attention to detail is top notch with machined elements such as knurled clamping surfaces and weight reducing CNC'ed center bores suggesting that the engineers at Kore didn't treat this piece as a mere afterthought.

However, some of these niceties have their downsides. After installing the stem with proper torque values on all bolts I noticed the stem slips/spins on my steer tube with even moderately heavy-handed steering input.

I attribute this to the center bore that, in addition to its weight reducing properties, has the undesired consequence of reducing the amount of clamping surface that contacts the steer tube, thus effectively reducing its purchase on the steer tube.I'm sure the engineers considered this in their CAD algorithm -- they just happened to get it wrong. Even after making sure all surfaces were free of grease or other contamination and double-checking the torque values on the clamp bolts, this problem persisted.

It should be noted that the center bore at the extra-wide handlebar clamp does not seem to have any detrimental effect as my carbon Easton handlebar hasn't budged. However, this stands to reason as there is far less rotational load on the handlebar clamp than on the steer tube clamp.

Applying some Finish Line Fiber Grip and torquing the bolts to slightly greater than spec helped but did not eliminate the problem entirely. By way of comparison, I have used similar products from the likes of Easton, Thomson, and Loaded Precision on the very same steer tube and never once had this issue.

Thus, despite its angular good looks and quality construction I have to dock the Kore Repute stem two and a half stars for coming up short in the functional design category.

I think this is an easy problem to solve at a minimum weight penalty and I hope that Kore has their ears open on this one because this is truly a good looking component that could easily be fixed so its function is as good as its form."

Big congrats to Arkstorm! Thanks for helping out the riding scene with your thoughts on this product and more in the past.

Want to be in the running for next month's award? Start reviewing the parts you use in the Vital MTB Product Guide and keep an eye on the Top Reviewer leaderboard. We'll announce the next winner in early December .

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bturman bturman 11/5/2015 4:19 PM

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