Given a stem is a relatively cheap, easy-to-replace, and a low-maintenance item, I enjoy swapping mine out on a regular basis. Because the stem hasn’t seen recent leaps in innovation and differences between manufacturer designs are subtle at best, I’m not too picky about choice, other than a few boxes be checked, such as: no tiny bolts, not overtly heavy, and not ugly. Enter the Cillos stem from Gamut USA.
Bottom Line: With three lengths (40, 50, 60mm), large tapered M6 bolts (5mm hex), a respectable weight, and an anodized matte finish, as long as the tall stack height works for your bike, the Gamut Cillos is a well-balanced, durable stem narrowing the gap between form and function.
- Reviewed: 60mm in Matte Red
- Lengths: 40, 50, 60mm
- Material: alloy
- Clamp diameter: 31.8mm
- Clamp width: 57mm
- Rise: Zero
- Stack: 43mm
- Bolts: M6 taper (5mm hex)
- Colors: Slate Grey, Stealth Black, Matte Red
- Weight: 177g (60mm)
- MSRP: $99
Gamut USA had unique origins, and has an interesting take on the mountain bike industry:
“In 1999 Juan Graziosi, aka “Juano”, teamed up with his maker, Ed, on a father-son project making chain-guides for personal use. Friends and riders took notice and he began selling them at local races to cover his own race fees. As interest grew, so did the idea to create a rider-owned company. In 2003, older brother Mateo and longtime friend Mike were added to the mix to help get things organized. One year later, Gamut USA was born. The four share a passion for making intuitive, high quality products that take the hassle out of installation while delivering on performance, simplicity, and aesthetics.” (Source)
Despite what it looks like on paper, the Cillos stem feels a lot leaner than its numbers suggest. Much of the machined anodized alloy stem body is recessed and hollowed as well as tapered through the mid-section in order to bring the burly build to a respectable weight, yet Gamut smartly placed weight where it matters most: in a wide clamp interface (57mm) and large hex bolts (M6). Although the stack is rather tall and may add stiffness and durability to the equation, the 43mm height may limit some riders in terms of bar height adjustability.
Ditching an entire 5mm spacer, I uneventfully mounted the 60mm Cillos using the etched-on torque specs to my trail bike and Spank Spike bar, appreciating the ease of use of the large 5mm hex bolts.
With a matte-ano finish, rounded corners and edges, and laser etching, the Cillos presents as clean, subdued, yet sexy. To mix it up a little, the red option (which looks more maroon) comes with a black faceplate and, as of earlier this year, there was rumor of a limited run of more colors in 2016 including blue, gold, and green.
A stem is the least of suspects when things get a little wonky with the front end, but during my test period the Cillos remained free of creaking, flexing, twisting, and most importantly, remained on my bike. Although it’s not typical, it’s also not uncommon to muck up bar-to-stem alignment in the event of a crash, yet twice I went down fairly hard, only to find on my assessment the bar and stem still perfectly matched. Again, I can’t help but think that the surface area of the larger diameter bolt was to thank for this type of durability and dependability.
Component companies, especially smaller ones like Gamut, are hit-or-miss with options, but I think I speak for everyone when adding my vote for those color options rumored back in January. While the 35mm bar clamp diameter hasn’t exactly caught fire like other widened standards, their popularity seems to be slow and steady enough to make sense in any component line. Lastly, the 43mm stack height was a bit of a head scratcher at first, but upon mounting the Cillos, I really enjoyed the ability to omit a spacer in lieu of more stem. On that note, just make sure you have the steerer tube length before purchasing the Cillos.
With the Cillos stem, Gamut packs the punch where it matters most with larger-than-average bits on clamping and fastening surfaces, which makes installation easier than you ever thought a stem could be, and has given me a stem to which I will be comparing all others.
Thank you Gamut, for the Cillos stem for review!