Answer 2011 -ONE MTB Stem Review

Here’s a pretty cool solution for those of you who want your bars as low as possible: Answer’s direct-mount -ONE (minus one). The -ONE looks similar to Answer’s DH stem and shares the same wide front cap (at 62mm) but this three-piece bolt on stem also has the ability to change its reach from 50 to 55mm. It’s a neat trick for sure and necessary for Dorado fork owners.

If you look back my previous review of the Answer DH stem, you can see the two stems are strikingly similar. The biggest difference is where the bar sits. On the -ONE stem pictured above you can see half of the bar is below the top clamp of the Dorado fork. This gives the rider more bar choices and also offers lower body position on the bike for improved front-end grip in the corners. I’ve been using the Answer 780 DH low rise bar at 12.7mm for a while now and with the -ONE stem it feels like I’m using a flat bar (unfortunately Answer doesn’t have one yet). As you can see below, the Answer DH stem holds the bar up a bit higher compared to the -ONE.

The attention to detail on the -ONE is great and the time Answer spent reducing weight is much appreciated. The back half of the top cap has been milled out, keeping the mass as low as possible at 160 grams.

Installing the stem on any BoXXer style 4-bolt pattern fork is a piece of cake (Fox, Manitou, Rockshox). When you do install the bar, remember to have the fork crowns correctly torqued before you tighten the stem down. I snugged up all the direct mount bolts first, then aligned the bar before torquing down the top cap as per the included instructions. The final step (which I highly recommend) is to torque the bolts down using a torque wrench, especially if you have a carbon bar. The last thing you want is to crush your bar.

On the trail the -ONE provides a super strong connection to the fork with no creaking or play. By lowering my hand position on my DH rig I was able to extend my fork legs a touch more, giving me a bit more wheel base for better stability at high speeds. The lower position also placed me closer to the bike which felt great in corners. I did have to play a bit with my body positioning to get a comfortable feel when taking air as the lower bar position tended to bring my front end up a touch. At least I have a bit less fear of dropping the front too much!

At $70 MSRP you’re getting a good quality stem with the ability to change the way you ride and yet another dial to tune your bike.

Thanks to the folks at Answer for providing the -ONE for review.