Shorter Stem or Shorter Reach Handlebars?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by dnbriden, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. dnbriden

    dnbriden New Member

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    My new bike frame has a 7mm longer top tube and now I feel a little stretched out. Saddle fore/aft is optimal per prior bike fit, so I need to work on the front end of the bike to fix this.

    Current Setup:
    90mm stem, Deda 215 anatomic bar w/86mm reach

    Proposed Setup:
    90mm OS stem, Bontrager Race Lite OS anatomic bar w/75mm reach

    Will the proposed setup get the job done? Or would an 80mm stem be a better approach? Thanks!
     
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  2. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    The longer the stem the better the control over the bike.

    A lot of hard work for 7mm, try some gel strips under the bar tape. ;)
     
  3. thomas_cho

    thomas_cho New Member

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    WTF??? How is that a solution?

    Just go the shorter stem.
     
  4. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    You can go about the fix either way. It doesn't matter. As for the steering, if you've got a 90mm stem and bars with 76mm of reach, and someone else has an 80mm stem and bars with 86mm of reach, you both have the same lever arm w.r.t. the fork steerer, assuming both bars have the same width. Steering is affected much more by trail and fork offset than it is by the effective lever arm created by the stem and handlebars.

    At any rate, I think the longer stem and shorter reach bars would be better aesthetically.

    FWIW, a local, well known builder, has an 80mm stem on his bike, uhm, the bike he made for himself. His body is so out of proportion with the typical humanoid's that the shorter stem was the best solution/compromise.
     
  5. S4one

    S4one New Member

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    I am actually in your same position, my bike currently has a 110mm stem but I would like to try out a 100mm. I wen to the bike shop today and compared a 110 and 100, shows a big difference.
     
  6. Camilo

    Camilo New Member

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    When I bought my used bike, it had an 80 mm stem on it. It was too short, so I tried a 100, then a 90. If it is indeed true "the longer the stem, the better control", that was totally lost on me. There was no difference in "handling", but definite difference in position comfort. I ended up with a 90. I'm now in the process of experimenting with shallower drop bars, which happen to have shorter reach. I'm going to ride them for a while with the 90, and then decide if I want to try the 100 again.

    I really doubt that you'll notice a difference in handling if you either go down to an 80mm stem with your current bars, or keep the 90 and get a shorter reach bar. Frankly, I doubt anyone would notice that difference; I don't believe it exists.

    I don't think the price for experimenting would be much different either way, whether you try a new stem or new bars. In very general terms, from what I've seen, bars and stems of the same "category" (meaning relative weight) will cost about the same. " Light weight" alloy bars and stems retail for $75-100. Slightly heavier weight for either: $50-75 retail. Cheapest versions of either (again, slightly heavier): $30-$50. Forget carbon, but if you go that route, you'll see a similar price point.
     
  7. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Go with the bar that feels right in your hands and then choose a stem to work with it. For years my favorite had been the Cinelli 66 (short reach, deep drop), so I hate all anatomic bars. It's personal.
     
  8. benkoostra

    benkoostra New Member

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    I replaced my 100mm stem with a 90mm and the handing of my bike was uneffected. It is remarkably more comfortable, however.
     
  9. FasterthanU

    FasterthanU New Member

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    If your current stem has a removable face plate, try a shorter stem first. If you change to shorter reach bars, you're just going to have to mess around with switching all the components from one to the other. If you have a one-piece stem, switching either way will require you to remove everything and reinstall it. Goo Luk.
     
  10. rwinthenorth

    rwinthenorth New Member

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    Ditto. 110mm to 90mm. No difference in handling.
     
  11. curby

    curby New Member

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    where do you like to place your hands? tops, drops or hoods?

    hoods and drops generally move together by shortening the stem or with shorter reach bars but tops will only change with a shorter stem... if you ride the hoods or drops all the time shorter reach bars will allow you more knee clearance (keeping the tops in the same position they are now) than a shorter stem.

    all's'miles

    curby
     
  12. scirocco

    scirocco New Member

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    Can't agree. I found a noticeable difference in handling.
     
  13. Camilo

    Camilo New Member

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    How so? Genuine question.
     
  14. scirocco

    scirocco New Member

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    Just an increased sharpness in the handling. If the bike had been sluggish to start with, that mightn't have been a bad thing. But it wasn't, so it became twitchier than I liked, especially noticeable in crosswinds - and this wasn't aero spokes or anything.

    You do adapt, though.
     
  15. Camilo

    Camilo New Member

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    I went from 80 to 100 and settled on 90 last year on my Cannondale CAAD frame and didn't notice any difference. However, the bike was new to me and so much different than my old one that the steering differences could have been lost in the overall impression of the bike.

    I just bought some new handlebars and am going to use them with with a 90 to begin with. The new bars are a little shorter reach, so after a hundres miles or so, I'm going to switch to a 100 to experiment with fit. I'll also pay attention to the steering now that I'm used to the bike. It will be interesting to see if my style of riding makes it noticable or not. Thanks for your comments.
     
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