German component maker Vecnum promises more mixed-surface comfort with an all-new freeQENCE suspension stem. Looking to smooth the ride of almost any bike with a rigid fork – road, gravel, cyclocross, commuter, or touring bikes – the new 4-bar parallelogram stem delivers more travel than we’re used to seeing in suspension stem, with easy adjustability for most riders, almost universal fit, all at a relatively low weight penalty.
Vecnum freeQENCE 30mm 4-bar suspension stem
Vecnum says the new FreeQence stem project was a direct result of founder Marzell Maier’s growing gravel bike passion. But looking for more off-road comfort on a rigid bike he wasn’t happy with the weight, feel, or finish of other suspension stems on the market. So they set out to design their own – now promising to “effectively reduce vibrations and impacts by up to 75%“.
They wanted to offer a bit more travel (most suspension stems top out around 20mm, like the similar weight Redshift ShockStop) so chose a 4-bar parallelogram layout that keeps the handlebar (and your levers) from rotating as it moves through the 30mm of travel. That also is said to ensure you get the same suspension feel whether your hands are on the tops, hoods, or in the drops.
That’s interestingly the same amount as RockShox’s new XPLR Rudy fork or even Lauf’s simple Grit SL leaf spring fork, but both of those require a tapered steerer and end your hopes of hauling bikepacking on your fork. It’s also 50% more travel than the new integrated BMC URS LT fork travel. The new Vecnum FreeQence stem can be retrofitted to any bikes with a 1.125″ steerer and 31.8mm handlebar.
Much like a suspension fork, the FreeQence stem is designed to be set 1/3 into its travel for sag (10mm positive/up & 20mm negative/down travel). To do that, Vecnum built-in easy 3mm hex stepless adjustment of the internal linkage to suit riders from 50-120kg (110-265lb), without changing the performance or damping of its elastomers.
Weight was also as big a concern as durability, so Vecnum machines the FreeQence stem in-house from 7075 aluminum, and it rotates on replaceable slide beatings (bushings) around hollow titanium axles. Claimed weight is just 287g for the shorter 90mm stem, up to 317g for the 120mm FreeQence stem (~50g more than a conventional alloy stem).
Vecnum says their FreeQence suspension stem design carefully tucks its linkage & spring inside, protected from dirt & mud to minimize maintenance needs. The stem’s suspension travel is said to be “homogeneous and linear, but with strong progression at both ends”. So you should get a smooth & quiet ride, without any harsh top-out or bottom-out feel over rough terrain, but still shouldn’t feel the need for any lockout.
The Vecnum FreeQence suspension stem was designed to fit most relatively modern bikes, needing just 42mm of exposed threadless 1 1/8″ steerer above the headset, and will clamp any 31.8 handlebar with its 4-bolt removable faceplate.
Vecnum freeQENCE – Pricing, options & availability
The 30mm travel, made-in-Germany Vecnum freeQENCE suspension stem is available now for 300€, with a 2-year warranty. The boxy, machined aluminum stem comes in three lengths (90, 105 & 120mm) with 3° rise, all anodized black.
Add a bit more comfort to your ride, with less hand & arm fatigue, just in time for the holidays.