Headstem Angles



Diesel6

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Sep 22, 2006
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I intend to buy a new road bike head stem on line. I currently have a Giant TCR1 with the standard carbon head stem which is 130mm long.

Is there anything I need to know about angles before I purchase one without seeing it? Are they a standard angle for road bike head stems or do I need to know what my current angle is first? :confused:
 

Insaneclimber

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Aug 21, 2006
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Diesel6 said:
I intend to buy a new road bike head stem on line. I currently have a Giant TCR1 with the standard carbon head stem which is 130mm long.

Is there anything I need to know about angles before I purchase one without seeing it? Are they a standard angle for road bike head stems or do I need to know what my current angle is first? :confused:
No there not a standard thing, and you should have some idea what you want befor purchasing one. Most roadies tend to go for a horizontal head stem which is normally -10 deg or there abouts depending on your fork angle. The angle is measured from 90 deg to the fork. As a general rule if you like to lean foward in a flat torso position go for around -10. If you like to be more comfortable and sit up then go for a +20 or 30. If your realy fussy like me then get out the protractor and measure it cause a handle bar stem that is wrong is worthless.
 

Strid

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Sep 28, 2006
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You should know how you want to sit, compared to how you're sitting now on your bike.

If you want shorter reach, possibly get a 110 mm. If you want to have the handlebars higher (more upright, perhaps more comfortable position), get less angle and vice versa. There are literally thousands to choose from. Differences are both in material and geometry. There are no standard angles or lengths. Sort of like shoe sizes. You might have a size 45 and I have 46, we need different shoes. :)

You need to have an idea of how you want it. I suggest a trip to a local bike shop if you need guidance. They might be able to take a look at your position and give you some advice as to how to get more comfortable on the bike. After all, how much can you save on buying a stem online anyway?


EDIT: Unless it's because you want an exact match to your current stem. Then length and angle should be enough to get an identical fit.
 

PeterF

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Sep 13, 2004
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Diesel6 said:
I intend to buy a new road bike head stem on line. I currently have a Giant TCR1 with the standard carbon head stem which is 130mm long.

Is there anything I need to know about angles before I purchase one without seeing it? Are they a standard angle for road bike head stems or do I need to know what my current angle is first? :confused:
A lot of Pros will use a stem angle of 73 deg which puts the stem parallel to the ground. More common though are road stems ranging frm 80 to 84 degrees. Ritchey and FSA sell 73's as well as 84 deg, ITM and 3TTT use an 80 deg (or 73), Deda use 82's but offers other angles too. Stems today are "flipable", so if you're too low with your Ritchey 84 deg, you can make it a 96 etc. Be mindfull that the stack height of stems can vary by brand as well. My advice would be to not cut the steerer too short and buy a bag of cheap alloy spacers in the smaller sizes. Even if the angle isn't perfect, you can dial in the height by adding spacers above and below the stem. Once dialed in you can replace the alloy spacers with one solid carbon one if you prefer and even cut the excess stem down too. A lot of guys I ride with, like the steerer cut way down and the stem flipped to minimize the steerer tube length. Personally I prefer my 3TTT less XL stem in the more traditional flipped down look. BTW, the 3TTT less is the best stem that I've owned, super stiff, reasonably light and grips the bar like a Pitbull. I also prefer stainless hardware to the more delicate titanium bolts that some manufacturers use to keep the weight down. Just my .02
 

sogood

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Aug 24, 2006
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PeterF said:
I also prefer stainless hardware to the more delicate titanium bolts that some manufacturers use to keep the weight down.
What adverse events have you encountered with those Ti bolts?
 

PeterF

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Sep 13, 2004
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sogood said:
What adverse events have you encountered with those Ti bolts?
I snapped a ti bolt during installation once due to a heavy handed wrench, but never snapped one during a ride. Cannondale had a recall a few years back though because the stock stem on some of their road bikes (3TTT Zepp XL), had issues with the face plate bolts snapping. I'll take steel and pay a 10-15 gram weight penalty any day.
 

sogood

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Aug 24, 2006
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PeterF said:
I snapped a ti bolt during installation once due to a heavy handed wrench, but never snapped one during a ride. Cannondale had a recall a few years back though because the stock stem on some of their road bikes (3TTT Zepp XL), had issues with the face plate bolts snapping. I'll take steel and pay a 10-15 gram weight penalty any day.
Looking at the spec on my Ritchey stem with Ti bolt, the torque limit is only 5Nm. That's pretty low and would have been miles away from snapping a bolt. ;)
 

PeterF

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Sep 13, 2004
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sogood said:
Looking at the spec on my Ritchey stem with Ti bolt, the torque limit is only 5Nm. That's pretty low and would have been miles away from snapping a bolt. ;)
Which model Ritchey? I have a WCS OS and the bolts are steel. Regardless, Ritchey uses a four-bolt face plate which would still grip the bar if you lost a bolt. Richey's are very light even with steel hardware.
 

sogood

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Aug 24, 2006
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PeterF said:
Which model Ritchey? I have a WCS OS and the bolts are steel. Regardless, Ritchey uses a four-bolt face plate which would still grip the bar if you lost a bolt. Richey's are very light even with steel hardware.
Ritchey WCS 4-axis. I think there's a T mark on the bolt. I assumed it's a Ti bolt, no?
 

PeterF

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Sep 13, 2004
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sogood said:
Ritchey WCS 4-axis. I think there's a T mark on the bolt. I assumed it's a Ti bolt, no?
Nope, it's steel. No weight penalty with the 4-axis though. Super light, stiff and a great performer. I usually change out my bar and stem every couple years. Ritchey has a Carbon wrapped version of 4-Axis coming out in '07 along with a new WCS carbon bar that's got some nice ergo bends to it. I'm already adding it to my wish list for next year.. I'm not sure what the T stands for, but it's pretty common in all stem bolts. There are T's on the bolts in my 3TTT as well as my Ritchey. Ti bolts are easy to recognize since they are a flat grey color and they feel almost weightless. If it shines, it's stainless.
 

sogood

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Aug 24, 2006
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PeterF said:
Nope, it's steel. No weight penalty with the 4-axis though. Super light, stiff and a great performer. I usually change out my bar and stem every couple years. Ritchey has a Carbon wrapped version of 4-Axis coming out in '07 along with a new WCS carbon bar that's got some nice ergo bends to it. I'm already adding it to my wish list for next year.. I'm not sure what the T stands for, but it's pretty common in all stem bolts. There are T's on the bolts in my 3TTT as well as my Ritchey. Ti bolts are easy to recognize since they are a flat grey color and they feel almost weightless. If it shines, it's stainless.
Saw those carbon wrapped WCS bar/stem and gave them a miss. Just can't see why one would bother. As discussed in another thread, the advantage of a carbon wrapped bar/stem is pure carbon marketing.

As for the bolt, oh well, it's safe and solid. Perfectly happy.
 

PeterF

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Sep 13, 2004
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sogood said:
Saw those carbon wrapped WCS bar/stem and gave them a miss. Just can't see why one would bother. As discussed in another thread, the advantage of a carbon wrapped bar/stem is pure carbon marketing.

As for the bolt, oh well, it's safe and solid. Perfectly happy.
If I have two complaints about my Ritchey WCS OS stem it's 1) it's not as stiff as my 3TTT and 2) the graphics seem to wear a bit quickly. On that note, the wrap of carbon around the aluminum could stiffen it up a wee bit (simply by adding a little mass) and I'm assuming that the graphics are applied under the clear coat. Personally I think the new model is a real beauty. Just my HO..
 

sogood

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Aug 24, 2006
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Ritchey's WCS 4-axis is supposed to be a real star performer. Very stiff, no wanky carbon, lightweight, no more rubbing noises common in the previous WCS model.
 

PeterF

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Sep 13, 2004
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sogood said:
Ritchey's WCS 4-axis is supposed to be a real star performer. Very stiff, no wanky carbon, lightweight, no more rubbing noises common in the previous WCS model.
Ok, I'm a little bit of a sucker for carbon 'bling. The WCS OS gripped the bar very nicely, just a little bit of flex in the 130cm model that I use. A buddy of mine just bought the 4-Axis and he loves it. He's no light weight either, so I'll take your word on it. I still have another year to go on my 3TTT though, so I have time to read the reviews on the Axis carbon model.
 

Diesel6

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Sep 22, 2006
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Have been out of touch for a while and have just read all the posts. Thanks for your advice guys. PeterF - are you able to tell me the exact model of the 3TTT stem that your refer to? (3TTT less XL or similar?)
 

PeterF

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Sep 13, 2004
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Diesel6 said:
Have been out of touch for a while and have just read all the posts. Thanks for your advice guys. PeterF - are you able to tell me the exact model of the 3TTT stem that your refer to? (3TTT less XL or similar?)
I am using the 3TTT Less XL in a 130mm length and the Less XL bar in a 46. As long and wide as it is, it's rock solid.
 
Jun 6, 2006
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PeterF said:
I snapped a ti bolt during installation once due to a heavy handed wrench, but never snapped one during a ride. Cannondale had a recall a few years back though because the stock stem on some of their road bikes (3TTT Zepp XL), had issues with the face plate bolts snapping. I'll take steel and pay a 10-15 gram weight penalty any day.
I searched this forum to see about what size torque wrench to buy & found this old thread.

I hope you realize the aluminum threads in the stem may not be a great deal stronger than the Ti bolt. I think the answer here is to get a torque wrench, not to switch to a bolt which is more likely to strip the hole.
 

PeterF

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Sep 13, 2004
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garage sale GT said:
I searched this forum to see about what size torque wrench to buy & found this old thread.

I hope you realize the aluminum threads in the stem may not be a great deal stronger than the Ti bolt. I think the answer here is to get a torque wrench, not to switch to a bolt which is more likely to strip the hole.
I have since switched to the 4-Axis model. I don't have a torque wrench, but the grip on the bar really holds up well with just moderate torque. I still use the 3TTT less xl on another bike. It is a little stiffer than the 4-Axis, but not much. I have had more than one occasion of the bar slipping on the 2-bolt 3TTT though, and that's with as much torque as i would care to use on a carbon face plate. Not a real confidence builder. the grip on the 4-Axis is like a pitbull though.
 

Fujiman

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Sep 25, 2007
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Specialized makes stems with adjustable angles, I have a 120mm and 100mm if you are interested. I fit right in the middle at 110mm.




Diesel6 said:
I intend to buy a new road bike head stem on line. I currently have a Giant TCR1 with the standard carbon head stem which is 130mm long.

Is there anything I need to know about angles before I purchase one without seeing it? Are they a standard angle for road bike head stems or do I need to know what my current angle is first? :confused: