I’ve been running the Nazca lifting tiller on my CHR which has been great. Recently I thought I’d try and get something a little less bulky and lighter, and possibly free up the Nazca tiller for use elsewhere. I discovered via Laid Back Bikes that RBR in the States do a very nice lifting tiller for the Metabike. It’s made by Performer, and is fully adjustable in terms of angle and length. It’s also quite light.
David at Laid Back got me one of these and exchanged it for some spare parts I had, and it arrived last week. It’s very nice! I don’t remember the exact weight when I weighed it, but it was somewhere around 350G for the two parts together. It feels very solid but also pretty light compared to the Nazca stem which is around 600g if I remember correctly, and the Nazca one is slightly bulkier at the front due to the larger housing that clamps to the steerer tube. It is nevertheless an excellent tiller too, and a good choice if you want something that is bombproof.
The Metabike stem arrived in two separate pieces with all necessary bolts etc. It was well packed and protected in transit. Unlike the M5 stem which has a one piece handlebar clamp, the Metabike clamp separates into two pieces which makes it much easier to get your handlebar installed. Getting the bar into the M5 clamp without scraping the paint on the bar is quite tough.
The steerer tube clamp is for a standard 1 1/8″ tube. Note that the position of the adjustment nut to adjust the height of the tiller is quite close to where you put your steerer tube end cap on – if you want the tiller as low as possible you need to source a fairly low profile end cap. I had a Cane Creek end cap lying around that does the job nicely.
Adjust the height of the tiller by turning the adjustment nut. Because the M5 has such a high steerer tube exit point, it was just right for me at minimum height so I left it there. If I chopped off the extra steerer tube and lowered the mount by an inch, I’d have to adjust the nut to lift the stem angle higher.
One point to note – the tiller is more suited to a bike/rider combination that uses a reasonably short tiller length. On my setup on the CHR, the Metabike tiller is adjusted almost as far out as it will go. I have a slightly unusual setup with the R2C bar end shifters pointing in towards my legs. This is ergonomically very good in the super laid back position I ride on the CHR, but I lose about an inch of space there that would otherwise allow the tiller to go in a bit further. This tiller doesn’t go out as far as the Nazca tiller. Best to ask maximum safe length from the manufacturer before purchase if in any doubt.
The tiller folds back over on itself at the steerer tube, meaning that you can’t have any stacked spacers above the clamp like you could with the original M5 steerer clamp unit. The Nazca tiller was the same – it clamped over the top of the steerer tube. My steerer tube is still a bit long and I could cut about an inch off to lower the whole assembly, but I haven’t yet done this because I like to retain flexibility and it doesn’t really affect forward vision. The main things in the visual field are my muckle big feet, the front derailleur post and the brake levers / cables. The actual stem doesn’t add any more obstruction to the already compromised visual field that the CHR has.
In use, the lifting mechanism is nice and smooth. It feels like a quality bit of kit. It’s nice and solid, lifts and lowers smoothly and has just enough friction that it will ‘hang’ in mid air quite happily. It basically does what it’s supposed to do! The main thing is that it is quite light weight for a lifting tiller.
Overall I’m pretty happy with this change to the CHR – I’ve lost a little bit of weight off the bike and got something that is functionally equivalent to what I had before, with a slightly more streamlined profile. I can say that it’s a good tiller, well made and therefore recommended should you be in the market for something like this.
I do know that David currently has a few more of these stems in the shop, should you want to purchase one for yourself. You can contact him through the Laid Back Bikes site.