Industry Nine A35 Stem – $125
By Scott Williams
In late 2018, Industry Nine unveiled a new piece of bicycle candy further expanding the company’s componentry offerings. The A35 is an all-mountain stem for 35mm clamp diameter handlebars and is available in four lengths, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, and 60mm with +/- 6mm offset And, of course, available in any of Industry Nine’s 11 anodized colors with a bit of customization being able to mix and match colors with the stem body and faceplate.
Industry Nine had a little engineering fun with its naming convention for the company’s new stem. The 35 is simple, that represents the bar diameter where the stem clamps. As for the “A,” that’s where the fun lies. The CNC machine used to chisel away at the solid block of domestically sourced 7075 aluminum is a trunnion-style 5-axis mill. Five represents the number of directions the cutting tool can move. The first three axes are X, Y, and Z which represent the linear position along a plane in three-dimensional space. The other two axes, A and B represent the rotational axis around X and Y respectively. Think of a stink bug whizzing around your living room (X-axis), and as soon as you go to swat at it, it performs a barrel roll (A-axis) avoiding your hand and driving your cat further into insanity.
After learning of the five axes, I asked what was significant about the A-axis. Jeremy Hume, design engineer for Industry Nine, responded that “[the A-axis] rotation allows us [Industry Nine] to create all the shapes and contours featured on the model stem.”
As with most components that come out of Industry Nine’s machine shop the A35 spares no expense when it comes to the details, even the smallest of details that would likely go unnoticed by many. Take the square edges of the stainless bolts used in the stem; Industry Nine didn’t like that, so they rounded off the edges for a clean finish on every M5 stem bolt that leaves the Asheville machine shop.
And of course, on the functional end of the spectrum, Jeremy stated: “We [Industry Nine] developed testing equipment allowing us to replicate both ISO industry standard testing as well as some of the most rigorous testing standards we found in the industry.” He went on to add that “on average under the same test forces, our [Industry Nine] stems outlasted all competitor product tested at the time, up to 50% additional cycles at the same (or higher) forces before mechanical failure”.
The now “oversized” 35mm clamp diameter rivals the existing oversized 31.8mm as being the standard, at least in the more aggressive trail rider market. As handlebars became longer and lighter, the 35mm clamp allows the handlebar to retain its stiffness and durability. With the 35mm being the new norm Industry Nine felt it was the best option to start with. For the time being Industry Nine wants to continue the focus on delivering the 35mm clamp diameter but a 31.8mm could be on the horizon considering the success of the A35.
I’ve been using the A35 stem for a few months now and to be honest, from a “performance” standpoint it feels like a quality stem. Installation is straight-forward, as it should be. Claimed weight for the 32mm is 128 grams, and our 60mm stem weighed in at the claimed weight of 165 grams.
To be real, the selling point of Industry Nine’s A35 stem is the craftsmanship of the CNC machined stem, and it’s anodization options. The A35 a beautiful, functional component that can give any bike that personal touch.
“We are all-in with everything we do – people, products and our community. You buy i9 because the details matter between a great ride and a long hike. And well, we aren’t here to hike.” – Industry Nine
For more on Industry Nine be sure to pick up a copy of issue 211 in the coming weeks where we check in with owner Clint Spiegel. To keep up with all future issues of Dirt Rag become a subscriber here and help support independent mountain bike journalism.