In this article, we’ll be discussing a Bicycle Handlebar Stem by Canyon, US publication 20210107587. The publication date is April 15th, 2021 and the filing date is Oct. 9th, 2020. This patent has not been granted yet.
Canyon appear to be working hard on their cockpits. I’ve got a few other articles about this area that you can sift there here. In this case, they’ve developed a new stem that hides the steerer and also provides an in-house developed stem, height adjustment system, and retainer. In other words… proprietary.
In short, this new stem system will include three primary components: a bottom retainer, spacer(s), and a stem. The process will be as follows. You’ll stack your steerer with all three components (or two if you don’t install spacers). Then, you’ll tighten the bolt into the star nut to preload the stack of components. Then, you’ll tighten the bottom retainer. This will hold the fork in place, so when you want to change the height of the stem, and you won’t need to deal with the fork or steerer bearings shifting.
If you want to change the height of the stem, you’ll loosen the preload bolt so the stem can move and add/remove the spacers without having to take the stem off since the spacers can just slide in from the back of the steerer. Then, you just tighten the preload bolt again, and you’re good to go. An additional advantage is you won’t need to adjust the bearings when changing the stem height.
Thus, it is possible to subsequently mount, displace or remove the bicycle handlebar stem without having to readjust the bearing clearance.
The intended novelty of this one is the stem can be in at least two positions (legalese), and the steerer doesn’t protrude above the stem.
It is an object of the invention to provide a bicycle handlebar stem that allows for a simple height adjustment.
As I said before, they’re also trying to prevent you from needing to mess with the bearings when changing stem height, and I think they’re doing this for appearance, but they don’t say it. It should look really clean.
There’s not much to this one. The first thing that I noticed was the connection between the bar and stem. Canyon state this will be either a normal clamped stem connection, or an integrated bar/stem. They say very little about the integration, so it’s probably just in this document to cover their asses, but they do offer it as an option.
For connection, typically by clamping, a clamping element 15 (FIG. 2), which is not illustrated in detail, is arranged in the region of the front end 14. As an alternative, it is also possible to form the bicycle handlebar stem 10 integrally with the handlebar 16.
FIG 5 shows the spacer. The forward end has an opening so it can be installed without taking the stem off. Additionally, there’s a pin and pin receiver to stack this spacer and keep it in place.
It’s important to remind you that a key part of this idea is the steerer doesn’t protrude through the top of the stem.
In both positions [4a and 4b], an upper end of the steer tube does not protrude beyond an upper side 38 (FIG. 4) of the handlebar stem 10.
FIGs 4a and 4b show the system without, and with, a spacer; which Canyon’s attorneys have decided not to highlight for some reason. As you can see from these images, the steerer is limiting any lower adjustment of the stem. Let me set up an example scenario for you, regarding this design.
Let’s say your exposed steerer length is 4” (anything above the retainer), and the usable stem height is 3” (bottom to top of the inside of the stem). This means you’ll need 1” of spacer to make up the difference. But, the stem will be as low as possible, even though you have 1” of spacer to remove. Therefore, if you want to lower the stem any more, you physically won’t be able to do it. You’ll have to cut the steerer. In short, your exposed steerer will need to match the height of the stem, and you’ll need to pre-plan your lowest stem setting.
Additionally, isn’t it unadvisable to mount your stem any higher than the upper end of the steerer? So, with this design, the theoretical maximum adjustment should be the space between the upper side of the clamp and the top of the steerer, shown in the FIG. 4a.
I’ll break this down concisely. You get a clean-looking stem and easy adjustment without having to interfere with the steerer bearings. You also get limited height adjustment and proprietary parts.
Lastly, a note to the attorneys and Canyon about your patents: whoever is doing these are constantly making errors, providing unnecessary ambiguity, or missing information. I’ve stated these issues in other applications, and here’s another one:
Why is the ‘fixing element’ both component 20 and 22? I’m pointing this out because it’s very important as it’s in claim 1. If you had to answer this in court, what would you say? Because technically, it’s both. This could cause some issues if you needed to protect this one.
This makes a lot of sense for a brand like canyon who are customer-direct as they’ll be able to adjust the headset in their production process before shipping. The customer then easily installs the stem at the desired height and doesn’t have to understand how a headset works.
I believe you are correct, Mr. Lanky Canadian.