|My 2003 Karate Monkey with the Velo Orange Cigne Stem.|
Right now I just want to give my overall impressions on this stem and whether or not I think it is something that should work for me in the long run. I have had plenty of time to tweak out the set up and I feel that now I have a pretty good idea of how this stem will work out for folks looking to convert a mountain bike to a drop bar set up.
First things first- I did end up swapping out the Origin 8 Gary Sweep Ergo OD Bars for the tried and true On One Midge Bars. At some point, I'll get to why that happened, but for now I am sticking to the stem. The saddle and seat post were also swapped out. With these significant changes the set up worked 100 times better. I bring this up because, as I have always thought, a bicycle is a "system" and one part change can often affect how a rider perceives other parts. The stem seems even better now than it did at first.
As far as how it works, the Cigne stem seems solid and I do not see any slippage or flex issues with the design at all. Actually, I find that somewhat amazing, given the leverage you can exert on handle bars when pushing out of the saddle, or when you are popping the front wheel up and over obstacles. The biggest benefit of this bar is how it positions the handle bar on a bike meant for a flat bar and "normal" stem. The bars end up being high enough by a long shot and definitely not too far out in terms of reach.
If, however, you are working on something that was equipped with a 100mm or longer stem anyway, the Cigne Stem will benefit your drop bar conversion greatly. The rise will account for a shorter head tube and the minimal reach will allow for the reach on a drop bar to combine to be something usable and complimentary to the intended design. If you have an El Mariachi, as a for instance, you could get your Fargo type set up using this Cigne Stem. In my case, the Karate Monkey works well with this stem and handle bar conversion. Better than any other drop bar set up I have tried on this bike, and I've tried a lot of different set ups with this bike.
The stem seems to be stout enough and I don't find that it flexes in a way that is a detriment to the bike or the handling off road. So, I think it will be a keeper for my intentions and uses. Most folks should find it to be sturdy, but I probably wouldn't be putting it on a modern day hard tail or full suspension rig meant for a stubby stem. Wrong application, wrong fit. In my opinion, that isn't what this stem is for. It may also be a great choice for those with road or gravel bikes that want a tall handlebar set up without going to a stem extension.
NOTE- I bought the Velo Orange Cigne stem with my own damn money and was not paid nor bribed for this review. All statements are my own and may not reflect the opinions of Grant Petersen, Velo Orange, or anybody else on this planet. So there.