Over a year ago, we first started seeing Renthal Cycling’s second iteration of their direct mount DH stem. While it was visible on the world cup circuit in the form of prototypes bolted up under some of their top downhillers, it took some time until it finally hit the shelves for us mortals. We reached out to Renthal a few months ago to get a sample. Having spent some time on the original and very successful Integra, we wanted to see how the Integra 2 compared at the same price of $109.95.
On first glance, one would be hard pressed to see any similarities between the two stems but in actuality, they do share some features…at least from a design standpoint. Renthal is one of the few companies that employ 6 bolts as opposed to 8 to secure the stem to the crown and the handlebar to the stem. Less hardware simplifies things a bit and reduces weight, while a broad 64mm stance keeps things rigid side to side. What’s perhaps most interesting about the Integra 2 is its clamps. In Renthal’s words, the uninterrupted clamp helps to reduce stress risers on the handlebar. To explain further, the forward crown bolts run through the split, C shaped handlebar clamps and secure their rearward mount by cinching down flush with the once piece base of the stem. This way, all of the clamping is done by the two forward clamps.
Speaking of the clamps themselves, aside from being beautifully machined, they have a nice radius all the way around both inboard and outboard. The lack of sharp edges keeps your bar looking fresh and also helps prevent stress risers. Lastly, high grade hardware secure the 7075 clamps to the 6082 T6 aluminum body which is available in 4 sizes/configurations listed below.
We tested the 50mm length, 0mm height option on our 2015 Scott Gambler. The install was a breeze and is rather self explanatory. Both the hardware and construction had a top notch finish and feel to it. Let’s see how the Integra 2 kept our front end together.
On the trail
A stem review should be relatively simple so we’ll try to just cut to the chase here without drowning you in technical drivel. Basically it needs to not break, be stiff, quiet and look decent, right? There is a little more to it than that but those are the minimum requirements.
The Integra 2 bolted up flawlessly straight and required no fiddling about to get it to line up perfectly. We bolted up the 30mm rise version of Renthal’s Fatbar(pictured) as well as the Fatbar Carbon and to our delight, neither handlebar ended up with any sort of marring or damage to its finish due to the stem. Once we got out on the trails we were greeted with a mega stiff front end that was dead silent. If you’ve ever ridden a creaky direct mount stem then you’ll definitely appreciate a quiet one. Over the last few months in Whistler and all around California we’ve been beating pretty hard on our DH bike and have had a few crashes as well as ran our front end right into a couple of trees. We’re happy to report that the Integra 2 has held up like a champ. It’s reasonably light, gorgeous, and well finished. It’s the stiffest and quietest direct mount we’ve used. Compared to the original Integra, it loses it’s adjustability, but is now offered in a combination of two heights and lengths – thus offering more options. Most DH riders know what they want and don’t find themselves changing stem length on a regular basis so we aren’t exactly mourning the loss of adjustability. Besides, we feel the lack of slots helps it line up a bit better on installation.
All in all, the world of boutique direct mount stems seem to span far and wide in design, aesthetic, price, sizing etc…For some reason downhillers love to perch themselves above a lightweight, beautifully machined piece of kit while raging through the woods. We trust Renthal as a producer of super tough, well tested bicycle parts – especially given their deep rooted history in the motocross world. It came as no surprise that the Integra 2 is the best direct mount stem that we’ve ever used.