This is a question we get quite a bit: Which Profile stem will work better for me, the top load, Mulville Push or the front load, Acoustic?
With the constant fluctuation of frame head tube angles and fork rake dimensions, it’s sometimes difficult to gauge what style stem will work.
The Acoustic stem was created in an era where frame and fork combos were more mellow. To combat that, it was common to stack head set spacers under the Acoustic to raise up your bars.
With that in mind, we produced the Top Load, Push Stem (with the help of Mark Mulville) in the late oughts in order to reduce the amount of spacers needed for stack height.
The Push stem, sitting higher by design, allowed for a much cleaner look.
Now, everything has gone steeper and bars have gotten much bigger (with an increase of 1-1/2 to 2 inches as a standard). In that case, the Acoustic stem has seen an increase in popularity.
To better help with your decision, We asked our riders to give their opinions…we hope this helps.
“I have tried both stems over the last 8 years, but I always retreat back to the acoustic stem.
I’ve always liked the front load style.
Both stems are awesome but the acoustic stem is the winner for me.”
“The reasons I ride a 53mm Push Stem are…
The look, I just love the way the Push stem looks!
The Feel: I love my bars high so having one of the tallest stems on my bike is a must!
No spacers needed! I can run this stem higher with a clean look, you just can’t beat that.
Mulville is one of my favorite riders so of course Im trying to put his signature parts on my bike!”
“From about 2005 till about 2010’ish I rode a 53 mm acoustic stem, I really liked the machine work compared to the redneck stem. Eventually, I started riding taller front end set ups and moved to a 53mm Mullville stem. It got me that more upright feel I was looking for. That taller set up feels so much better to me being 6’1″, it only made since to make the switch. My back has been thanking me ever since. Currently though I am considering dropping down to a 51 or 48mm for help with backend moves!”
“I rode the acoustic for months. I like the design and the appearance but I prefer the Mulville Push stem because my bars sit higher and I like how my body stays positioned on the bike.”
“The push stem has the perfect amount of rise. Puts my bars in a comfortable spot and doesn’t look too tall or stretched out like some other, taller stems. What is really important to me is the 48mm length, it keeps my bike feeling tight and makes turning feel quick and snappy. It also looks more compact and proportional. I also happen to think its one of the best looking stems on the market.”
“I ran the acoustic stem right away, as soon as it was released. I was hesitant to change most things on my bike, because my bike felt amazing and I would think: “Why would I change something, and change the way it feels?” After a couple years went by though, and the Mulville stem was getting great reviews, I finally sucked it up and switched over to the top load stem. Nervous about my bars getting taller, I quickly realized it felt great, barspins STILL felt great! Then the clearance for turndowns was unbelievable.
Ever since then, little changes have happened for me relating to these changes. Like my bars still slightly go up in rise from time to time. Another important change I made regarding the stem was, dropping down in length. Ever since I started riding for FreeAgent, the model frame we ride only comes in one size, 20.8 (I rode a 20.75 before hand, with a 53mm stem). Believe it or not, that tiny bit seemed like it made my tailwhips way harder. I can’t tell you why so little would do so much, but it did. The next move I made after facing that issue was getting a 48mm length stem. It made a huge difference for me in a positive way. Ever since then, that’s the stem I ride. Mulville Top Load 48mm!!”
“I’ve been riding the push stem and it’s been great to me. It gives me that perfect length to do smooth turndowns and that is all i really look for in a stem. Catching a knee to the stem on turndowns is probably one of my least favorite pastimes.”