TORUS TITANIUM STEM
Long Term Test (6 months) £135 218g (90mm)
The Torus Titanium stem is available in six lengths ranging from 80 to 130mm. £135 isn’t to be sneezed at but reflects a component capable of withstanding the rigors of competitive riding for many, many years.
Torus is an alliance between Andy Jones of Clee Cycles and Justin Burls, who are both extremely fastidious, thus standards of workmanship are breathtakingly good.
Metals vary in their purity according to purpose and indeed, price. Torus have opted for plain gauge 3AL/2.5 titanium, which is 94.5% wonder metal alloyed with 3% and 2.5% vanadium-commonly chosen in aerospace and cycling contexts given its resistance to fatigue and corrosion.
These qualities mean it can be left in its raw state but readily collects marks/finger prints.-if that’s important to you. I know of people who’ve hidden frames under paint to avoid unwanted attention. This variant is also relatively easy to weld and the TIG work here is exceptionally neat.
Seven degree rises and oversized bulge diameters are biased towards competitive riding; hence ours served its tour of duty on my TT bike. This may alienate some looking to retrofit to a slightly loftier Audax, touring or MTB but easily addressed on new builds/forks by cutting less steerer and adding more spacers.
Ours sported stainless M5 bolts, since Ti versions vary in their purity and more vulnerable to galvanic corrosion-seizure to you and me. Talking of which, being as the Holdsworth sports an aluminium alloy steerer, I added a precautionary slither of Ti-prep between the stem and aluminium alloy shim. However, Justin assures me he’s unaware of any permanent union occurring between these materials.
So, how does it compare with composites, or indeed stainless steel?
Well, titanium has a unique unmistakable quality, which manages to be stiff, inspiring confidence, no matter how hard it’s cajoled, while a gentle spring offsets fatigue over washboard tarmac. Admittedly, carbon fork blades and my test rig’s relatively compliant plain gauge 531 frameset certainly help but I’ve felt notably fresher after 35 and 50 miles compared with the bike’s usual oversized 6061extension.
Conversely, there’s no hint of unwelcome whip when accelerating hard or powering along the climbs-even with my full upper body weight bearing down on the bars. Some phantom creaking chimed in toward the end of our formative, twenty mile jaunt-just the fasteners bedding in. Easily addressed with more generous portion of anti-seize prep and re-tightened to 8nms.
Verdict: 5 out of 5: superbly engineered and finished stem that will delight those seeking a lightweight and ultra-dependable alternative to composites.
Size as tested: 90mm. Available reach: 80,90,100,110, 120 &130mm