The part on your bmx that joins the handlebars onto the steerer tube on the front fork is known as the "stem", and it's this that will bear the brunt a huge amount of the energy you expend doing any stunt that's hard on the front wheel. You can imagine, therefore, that a failure in the bmx stem would be disastrous - you could end up in hospital or worse.

Obviously, a good quality stem is a life-saver, but before you go out and buy one, there are a few different things to think about. There are a few different kinds of bmx stem, which join in different ways to the bmx handlebars.


Before we get into that, though, we should think about something rather more important: materials. You're practically trusting your life to this one part, remember, so using a bmx stem with the strength and stability of paper mache is hardly a good idea. You can get a stem in a variety of different materials, from the exotic weave of carbon fibre to space age metals like titanium, to aluminum and the old favorite, steel. Honestly, although the high tech materials seem very attractive, are usually very lightweight and sure help bolster your bragging rights, you should be careful whenever you upset a proven formula. A good old-fashioned steel stem will match your bmx frame nicely - that's probably what the frame was designed for, after all - and will almost certainly hold up under even the most brutal abuse.

Threadless vs. Quill:

Older bikes, cheaper bikes, and modern retro bikes sometimes use what's called a quill stem. These attach to the inside of the steerer tube using compression and a thread, and are essentially outdated. The threadless system is more or less universal these days, and uses a clamp instead.


There are a great number of companies making bmx stems; Kink, Superstar and Odyssey to name just three; and it's probably sensible to stick with a top brand name, given how important the stem is to your safety and performance