XC Gear, a dirt bike componentry brand founded in 2015, have announced their first product for mountain biking; the Hammerhead 360 vibration damping stem. If arthritis or arm pump regularly plague your trail riding, this cushioned bar clamp could offer a viable solution. Here’s the low down.
XC Gear Hammerhead 360 Stem
The Hammerhead 360 is based on XC Gear’s MAKO 360 vibration damping bar mount for motocross bikes. Wrap-around bar polymers and top-central “shark bite” polymers promise tunable suspension in any direction to which force is applied to the handlebars.
The brand claim that the elimination of any metal-to-metal contact between the handlebars and the rest of the bike results in greatly reduced vibrations transferred to the rider’s hands. They say it reduces the stress on your wrists, hands and arms when you hit bumps. Less stress equates to less fatigue which, in theory, equates to riding faster for longer. What’s not to love?
XC Gear have published data on their website from vibration damping tests conducted using the Vibrometer app on an iPhone. The data show the MAKO 360 is able to reduce Engine Idle vibrations by an average of 18% and reduce vibrations on bumps by an average of 38%. If you read our interview with Dr Lewis Kirkwood (PhD in Mountain Biking), then you know why this is cool. If you didn’t, go read it.
The point is, the technology seen on the Hammerhead 360 is already proven in a sport where exposure to vibrations has been shown to have detrimental effects on vascular and musculoskeletal tissues of the hands and arms. Thus, it probably works really well for mountain biking too. We’re getting one in to test. The proof lies in the pudding.
On the topic of vibration damping…
For those who are interested in this niche (but growing) area of mountain bike componentry, the Fasst Co Flexx Bar is worth mentioning here. Fasst Co are another company diversifying from dirt bikes into MTB. Theirs is a similar technology that relies upon elastomers of differing stiffness to deliver vertical-plane vibration damping. We tested them; check out the review here.
Pricing & Availability
The new XC Gear Hammerhead 360 vibration damping stem is available in 31.8mm clamp size only with a 45mm reach. They aren’t cheap… pick one up for $399.99.
The suspension offered by the Hammerhead 360 is tunable according to the color of polymer you use. Here is how XC Gear classify the different combinations:
- PRO: Blue large bar polymers and two shark bite polymers (blue and orange)
- AGGRESSIVE: Green large bar polymers and two shark bite polymers (blue and orange)
- TRAIL: Neon Red large bar polymers and two shark bite polymers (blue and orange)