Level-Nine-AM-all-mountain-stem01

Level Nine is the consumer facing brand from Precision Bicycle Company Limited, a major Taiwanese manufacturer that makes a huge amount of components for OEM brands (think major bike companies that have house-branded cockpits) and other component companies. The parts are all made and tested in house, and they’re trusted by quite a few big players. Now, they’re rolling out a select group of components with Level Nine branding hoping you’ll trust them to. And why should you? Because they’re one of the largest high end component manufacturers around, and they’re offering a five year warranty on both carbon and alloy parts.

Why else? Because you can help design the products you want to ride, and they’ll make them.

U.S. distributor Kenny Roberts says he was tired of hearing so many great ideas for features, tech, shapes, sizes and colors, then watching that great feedback getting lost in the shuffle of bureaucracy before ever reaching the product managers and designers. So, they’re opening their ears to riders, dealers, distributors and product managers to see what people really want, then work those ideas directly into the development program.

The Team AM stem (above) is the first product to come from their user feedback. They wanted something that wasn’t so blocky or bland. So, it’s designed to have flowing, shapely lines that look just as at home on a svelte carbon frame as on a modern hydroformed alloy frame. It’s forged 6061 aluminum then CNC’d, polished, anodized and finished off with titanium bolts. Available early Spring 2015 for $95-$99. Sizes are 40-70mm in length. This one’s a 50mm long prototype with a claimed weight of just 125g.

There’s plenty more for the rest of your bike, too…

Level-Nine-AM-all-mountain-stem05

It has a +/- 6º rise. Despite the light weight, it’s designed for all day epics and, of course, enduro! It’s shown here in the negative rise position, hence the upside down logo on the faceplate. You can orient it any way you like on your own bike.

Level-Nine-mountain-bike-handlebars02

The rest of the line has a more traditional aesthetic for now, made up of carbon fiber and alloy handlebars and seatposts, and alloy stems. The carbon bars are reasonably light, with this riser coming in at 193g at a full 785mm width.

Level-Nine-drop-bar-road-bike-handlebars03

Level-Nine-drop-bar-road-bike-handlebars02

Likewise, the carbon road bar is a respectable 230g.

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The posts and stems are good for road and mountain biking. The seatposts have either carbon or alloy shafts with bonded alloy heads.

Level-Nine-alloy-seatposts02

They’re available in two lengths and all three common diameters. The clamp heads have zero or a little bit of offset, and the lower plates offer plenty of support for the saddle rails.

Roberts says all products should be priced well compared to similarly well made components, which is good, but the real draw is the quality of the product and the exceptional warranty.

LevelNine.bike

19 comments

  1. dave on

    @jim i doubt it. My only reason is that these guys offer a 5 year warranty vs the standard 10 year on all of Syntace’s products. The seatpost head assembly has that same thing Syntace has going on with the smaller top clamp and wide bottom clamp. It’s a smart design no doubt. Personally, i might buy some of this company’s aluminum parts….as far a carbon fiber goes – I will never use anything other than Syntace

    Reply
  2. tom on

    looked at their site – the MTN stem looks nice enough, but the others not so much, in fact pricey for what you get, and not much selection in lengths. More work to be done on road stems.

    Reply
  3. Mike on

    Personally if I were to spend 99 bucks on a stem it would be a Thomson. Why buy factory direct from Asia when you can go to your local bike shop and buy a product made in the USA for the same price. Same concept for a Hope stem if you live in England.

    Reply
  4. anonymous on

    I’d rather see them sell on performance and price point.

    I know why they go for looks, OEM parts need to look better than they are. When someone looks at a bike, they can’t weigh the stem, but they sure can think that it looks really expensive and fancy. A good stem can look almost the same as a cheap stem, but it can also lead the buyer to think that the OEM cheaped out on that part.

    Once you start selling the parts individually, I think people are more inclined to care about weight/stiffness/performance etc. It’s not just that those numbers are available, people who tend to buy those parts tend to be more performance oriented.

    And ultimately, the reason most manufacturers have rebranded in-house parts is to meet a price point, so they can do it. Part of it is cutting out the middleman so the manufacturer can buy direct from the OEM source. Part of it is having items that are hard to directly compare to other things on the market.

    Reply
  5. Slow Joe Crow on

    How does relate to or compare with Kalloy which does both low cost retail parts and private label parts?
    I see nothing wrong with Kalloy since I buy their stuff when I want a basic part or need an oddball seatpost size.

    Reply
  6. Kenny Roerts on

    Hey All,

    Thought I would offer a quick response to a couple comments here.

    Mike commented, “Personally if I were to spend 99 bucks on a stem it would be a Thomson. Why buy factory direct from Asia when you can go to your local bike shop and buy a product made in the USA for the same price. Same concept for a Hope stem if you live in England.”

    Mike, I respect your comments, but if you think that most of the products at your local bike shop are manufactured in the US, then you are sorely misinformed. 99% of the products you will find at your local bike shop are manufactured in Asia and a very large percentage of those products are manufactured in Taiwan or China. I know first hand that Thomson makes great products and they have my sincere respect for manufacturing in the US when few others do or can. I even count some of the hardworking folks at Thomson as my friends, but, even Thomson manufactures many of their products (such as their carbon bars) in Asia just as most of the major bike and component manufacturers (yes, there are others like Enve manufacturing in the US). The global manufacturing machine is a complex entity which is not easily understood. Believe me, I’ve worked for a number of manufactures over the years with well known names such as Fox, Intense, Marzocchi, Dragon, Magura, DT Swiss and many others and most of those don’t have US manufacturing and do have some sort of Asian Manufacturing.

    In response to Tom’s comment, “looked at their site – the MTN stem looks nice enough, but the others not so much, in fact pricey for what you get, and not much selection in lengths. More work to be done on road stems.” We are just launching Level Nine into the market and I agree that we have some work to do and I’m confident that you’ll see some great new products coming out of Level Nine over the next year and beyond.” Hopefully you’ll offer some feedback for us to make some unique products on the future.

    Bottom line is that Level Nine is driven by the same passion that you see in many other brands! We are a global community that likes bikes and likes to ride bikes and we just happen to make our living manufacturing quality bike products! Despite what Tyler said above, we are actually not a huge company but a family owned manufacturer which cares about putting outa great product. Any, questions or comments, please let them fly or feel free to give us shout at the numbers and/or emails below. And if you are in Bend, give us a shout and we’ll make an effort to show you some killer trails and the best brewpubs in town!

    Best regards – Kenny Roberts
    Level Nine USA
    http://www.leveline.us
    Kenny@levelnine.bike
    541-306-4036

    Reply
  7. anonymous on

    @Kenny Roberts

    That’s some serious mental gymnastics and strawmanning you’re doing there. I think any reasonable consumer reading both comments can clearly see he didn’t even say anything close to what you’re arguing against. Can’t say I have a lot of respect for that.

    Reply
  8. JensenR on

    Article quote: “Level Nine is the consumer facing brand from Precision Bicycle Company Limited, a major Taiwanese manufacturer that makes a huge amount of components for OEM brands (think major bike companies that have house-branded cockpits) and other component companies.”

    U.S. distributor KR quote: “Despite what Tyler said above, we are actually not a huge company but a family owned manufacturer which cares about putting outa great product.”

    Yeah, what ever. I pretty much lost interest.
    If you want my feedback, form should follow function. Function should never take backseat to form.
    I don’t care how a tool looks. I care how it works.
    I don’t know why but, somehow flowing shapely lines never turn out be beautiful. Please don’t bother.

    Reply
  9. craigsj on

    “Despite the light weight, it’s designed for all day epics and, of course, enduro!”

    How do you design a stem for “all day epics”?

    It’s designed for cosmetics clearly. The rest is BS.

    Reply
  10. Kenny Roberts on

    @JensonR
    I agree that function is key but I also feel that form should go hand in hand with function and judging from the direction bike design has gone over the last several years I that is evident. We worked to make a stem that had both. Nice lines are evident in most of the most popular bike brands and of course cars throughout the world. Funny, that I’ve worked for brands where people told me the opposite – that our product was TOO utilitarian. BTW though – feedback taken.

    Best regards – Kenny

    Reply
  11. pfs on

    This is really confusing for me. A US distributor is getting parts from a trading company and selling them as a new brand. He specifically states that it is a small family running the show, how is this any different than any other OEM that goes to the same trading company and does the exact same thing? Lets just be honest and call it what it is, a new brand that designs pretty graphics and has a factory actually make the stuff. I personally wont buy the product because I feel like there are much better options for similar or less money regardless of where it was manufactured.

    As to the Syntace question, it very well could be where they are made. But just because something is made somewhere that something else is made does not speak to the quality of either part in any way. Its all about design and QC. Its also important to know who is offering the warranty, a new small company that only sources components might now be around in 5 years to honor that warranty. Or maybe they will be, where did I park my time machine?

    Reply
  12. Kenny Roberts on

    Hi @PFS

    You have several good questions and comments so please let me explain the structure and the facts before issuing judgment if you would.

    • Level Nine is a new brand which is owned by Precision Bicycle Company which is a family owned Taiwanese manufacturer with many years of experience developing manufacturing products for other brands from all over the world.

    • Level Nine has high capabilities in 3D forging, carbon manufacturing, CNC machining and testing (really, I’m not lying!!).

    • They have started Level Nine as their own brand drawing upon the years of experience manufacturing high level components for others (similar to VP pedals).

    • We/I do not own Level Nine. We (me and several other people) work for Level Nine here in the US to manage the brand (sales and marketing, customer service, distribution, design, product development etc) for the global market but we are initially launching the brand in the US Market first.

    • Some products that are in the current lineup have been developed already in the past and some like the new Team AM were developed by the team here in the US working closely with the factory. We are not just buying parts from a trading company and we are not just shopping catalogs. The Team AM stem was developed from the ground up with an experienced bicycle design engineer who is now part of our team. We did not just slap some logos on an existing design!

    • I also own a company called Radsport USA which manages and distributes several German brands for the North American market including Syntace, Liteville, SQlab, 66sick and Trickstuff. When I say we manage the brands, what I mean is we handle sales and marketing, customer service, warranty, events and distribution. We also distribute some of these brands through major manufacturers such as QBP, BTI and Hawley.

    • Level Nine is not a part of Radsport USA and has a different structure since we also work with them to design and develop products which they manufacture and test in their own factory. We will distribute Level Nine though and we will work with other major distributors to make the products available to dealers. Over the next year and beyond we will launch several new products which will include new stems, MTB and Road handlebars and seatposts.

    • I agree with you that “Its also important to know who is offering the warranty, a new small company that only sources components might now be around in 5 years to honor that warranty.” but you can also say that about pretty much any new company coming into the market. The fact here is that Precision Bicycle Company has been around for much longer than most small companies out there.

    • As mentioned above: I’ve been in the industry for several years and worked with many brands in different capacities. I’ve visited a lot of shops, done a lot of events and talked to a lot of consumers. I’ve also ridden a lot of products over those years. As a matter of fact today we got a killer ride here in Bend! One of my biggest gripes has always been that a lot, if not most feedback from the field often never makes it up to the designers, engineers, product managers and upper management. I’ve always felt that feedback from consumers, shops, grass roots athletes, etc was extremely important and our goal with Level Nine is to listen to that feedback and hopefully utilize it to develop new and better products which people want.

    In the end, our goal is to develop products which will look good, offer strong performance and value, and hold up to the abuse that you throw at them. Whether you feel that we have held to that goal in the end is up to you but I hope you won’t judge us before seeing what we have to offer.

    So now, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is. I’m going to offer every person that’s commented on this forum to this point the chance to get a Level Nine product free of charge and try it out and yes, give us feedback. All I ask is that you give us your real contact information and give us your honest feedback. The new Team AM stem is still production and we will expect to see the first of those in spring of next year so if you want to wait until then we’ll be happy to send you one that you can test and compare for yourself. Honestly, I’m hoping to hear from everyone here.

    Thanks for listening.

    Best regards – Kenny
    Kenny@levelnine.bike

    Reply
  13. anonymous on

    If you want my feedback, it’s that you should reply to emails if you’re “going to put your money where your mouth is”

    Reply

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