After revealing their hand earlier in the year, there wasn’t too much brand spanking new product at the Crank Bro’s booth this year, except for this sweet carbon Cobalt stem. While it may look familiar, the carbon cobalt is a revision of the Aluminum Cobalt shown earlier this year at Sea Otter. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you planned, and the same could be said for the aluminum Cobalt as it couldn’t pass the stringent quality testing Crank Bros employs for all their products (something about new even more strict testing standards brought on with the recent acquisition of Crank Bros by Selle Royal’s parent company) .

The solution? Make it out of carbon, of course! The carbon version of the stem passed with flying colors and retains the elegant tightening device employed by the Cobalt 3, where a single Torx bolt will push a plunger against the bar or stem securing it with one bolt.

More of the Cobalt Carbon, and changes to the Iodine stem after the break!

The Carbon Cobalt stem is every bit as sexy as the Cobalt 3, and is really a unique take on stem clamping. The move to a single t25 Torx to tighten each end of the stem joins a seemingly industry wide push to transition to Torx rather than Allen bolts. Expect the Carbon version to be at least as light as the Cobalt 3, so light.

The other news in the stem department had to do with the Iodine all mountain stem. While the rear single bolt plunger got the nod in the new testing standards, the slide-on face plate and plunger system shown at Sea Otter sadly didn’t. While a really cool design, the move to a more traditional (however, nice and wide) faceplate will guarantee hastle free use to any potential customers. It’s always cool to see companies pushing the envelope and trying new methods, but ultimately what really matters is that the product will stand up to the abuse. I gotta give Crank Bros kudos for admitting some of their prototypes didn’t meet expectations and refused to put out products that they were unhappy with. Somehow, I expect that this is just the beginning of ground breaking new designs that we will see from Crank Bros in the near future.


  1. I believe they are t25 bolts which are the same as a disk rotor bolt. Meaning just about any decent current multitool will have one.

  2. As stated above, the torx is a T25 which is the same size as all disc rotor bolts. Most mini tools have a T25 torx on them, including Crank Bros.

  3. This stem looks very pretty but I can’t help but wonder if this is an example of form over function. I think I’d rather trust my personal safety to a Thomson.

  4. Thomson stems do not break, the faceplates do. There is a really simple and good reason for this- people over tighten the faceplate. If it’s torqued correctly it lasts forever. I like these stems but they look like knockoffs of ax lightness and those other German brands. You would think they would be a little more original.

  5. In 15 years of working in bike shops I have seen ONE Thomson face plate break. And that is the only thing I have ever seen break from them, something that I can only say about Thomson (an excellent product line all round, I can’t say enough about them, stellar reputation). As Luke says, they will last forever, even under freeride conditions.

    Crankbrothers however, I have seen nearly all of their products fail/break; pedal bearings needing to be replaced after 3-6 months, spokes loosening and corroding to the point of not being able to true within a year, all Joplin seatposts developing 1-3″ play, etc. The article states that their standards are being raised with they’re acquisition by SelleRoyal and I hope so, they have a number of good designs (if only they didn’t break). The one product they currently make that is rad is their multi tools, I own two.

  6. The only stem to never break is
    the elentary it does not have gaps like with front plates and splits on the back the bolt is not under stress all forces are ballanced and wait until you see the elementary eclipse

What do you think?