Race Face Atlas 35 stem is machined unit, which means it looks pretty sharp. Pitched at the gravity crowd there’s nothing stopping you fitting this on a trail bike.
A couple of months back I tested the Race Face Atlas handlebar and this time round I’m looking at the Race Face Atlas 35 stem.
When I put it together, the face plate interlocked neatly into the body of the stem and all the bolts went in straight – many don’t. The Atlas doesn’t have the toplock design of Race Face Turbine R 35 stem, which helps reduce stress on the fasteners and eliminates the ugly gap at the top of the stem, but the Atlas doesn’t have a gap either, although you do have to tighten the fasteners evenly to ensure the face plate sits snug against the handlebar. To help make set-up even easier, and to facilitate repeat positioning (handy if you’ve had to remove your bar for transport) the Atlas comes with angle markings on the side.
The Atlas stem is not the lightest in the world, but the weight is in the ballpark for a CNC’d gravity/DH stem of this price. I do question the thinking behind the three different lengths though. My sample is a 35mm, which is a perfect match for the modern geometry on most trail and e-bikes, but Race Face also offers the Atlas in a 50mm and 65mm. I can totally understand the 50mm but who wants a 65mm DH/ Gravity stem these days?
When pounding rough terrain, the Altas has a softer feel than the Turbine, but with its 35mm bar clamp it still feels precise. It also looks burly, which is in keeping with the more aggressive trail aesthetic. However, that only applies to the stubby 35mm, the longer options look a bit goofy in my opinion.
The Race Face Atlas 35 stem is a good stem, works well with the Atlas bar and it’s nicely made. I just think Race Face needs a 40mm length to complete the range.