Stem Length question?



Soba_03

New Member
Mar 13, 2007
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New Road bike bought for Christmas and set up by pro bike shop. The problem is that Girlfriend is indicating that she has to reach for levers. A quick measurement shows that the stem is about and 85mm.

I have made some minor saddle adjustments for her and it's better but still reaching for the levers. I have the saddle just about as far forward as I can get it.

I think that stem is to long. It's a 50cm bike and she is 5'2" so the frame is the right size. I have the seat height and geometry correct but need to work on the reach and then repostion the saddle.

Any help of any advice would be great. If there is anyone here that has the same set up, I would love to hear from you. For ehat it's worth it's a Road bike. 2007 Motobecane Vent Noir.

Thank you,
Soba
 

John M

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Jun 21, 2005
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Soba_03 said:
New Road bike bought for Christmas and set up by pro bike shop. The problem is that Girlfriend is indicating that she has to reach for levers. A quick measurement shows that the stem is about and 85mm.

I have made some minor saddle adjustments for her and it's better but still reaching for the levers. I have the saddle just about as far forward as I can get it.

I think that stem is to long. It's a 50cm bike and she is 5'2" so the frame is the right size. I have the seat height and geometry correct but need to work on the reach and then repostion the saddle.

Any help of any advice would be great. If there is anyone here that has the same set up, I would love to hear from you. For ehat it's worth it's a Road bike. 2007 Motobecane Vent Noir.

Thank you,
Soba

Sorry to tell you this, but I am almost certain that the frame is too large. Yes, the seat height/standover works, but the frame is too long--a common problem for smaller frame sizes. But since you are likely stuck with it, a shorter stem is probably your best solution. They are available as short as 50mm if you shop around. Moving the saddle far forward is not a great solution because it changes the weight distribution on the bike and puts excessive weight on the arms.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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Soba_03 said:
New Road bike bought for Christmas and set up by pro bike shop. The problem is that Girlfriend is indicating that she has to reach for levers. A quick measurement shows that the stem is about and 85mm ...
Try a HI-RISE type stem ... they used to sell them at REI (under $20US) ... I think the extension is about equal to a 90mm, but it will raise the handlebar by about 2", so effectively shortening her lean (and, sense of reaching) forward.
 

capwater

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Sep 15, 2003
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alfeng said:
Try a HI-RISE type stem ... they used to sell them at REI (under $20US) ... I think the extension is about equal to a 90mm, but it will raise the handlebar by about 2", so effectively shortening her lean (and, sense of reaching) forward.

With an 85cm stem and the seat cranked forward, if she's still reaching then she either has some serious dwarfism going or the frame is way too large. Stem length and saddle position are to be used for minor adjustment, not to compensate for an incorrectly sized frame.

Did this so-called pro shop actually do a bike fit on her? They should have spotted it right away if they are any good.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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capwater said:
With an 85cm stem and the seat cranked forward, if she's still reaching then she either has some serious dwarfism going or the frame is way too large. Stem length and saddle position are to be used for minor adjustment, not to compensate for an incorrectly sized frame.

Did this so-called pro shop actually do a bike fit on her? They should have spotted it right away if they are any good.
I helped someone set up his bike with a slightly shorter stem (80mm) than normal stem (110mm) for the person's height/etc. (based on the top tube length & handlebar reach, etc.) AND otherwise "normal" road height for the bars (vs. the Rivendell height) ... even so, when he first got on the bike he indicated that he thought his back was parallel to the ground when in fact he was just barely leaning forward -- he had never been on a bike with anything other than MTB bars ...

It's probably akin to being on a bunny hill the first time and not knowing how to set the edge of the skis ...

That is to say, the frame fit may be correct EXCEPT for not taking into account the rider's former road miles ... or, LACK OF!
 

hd reynolds

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Nov 15, 2005
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I agree with the observation that the 50cm frame for a 5'2'' girl is too big. Compunding the problem is that its not a WSD frame where there is careful attention to getting the top tube length spot on. For a non-WSD frame you should have gotten her something no larger than a 48''.

Anyways changing the stem is your best bet to alleviate the problem. If its a 1-1/8'' threadless steerer you can get one of those DH stems for mtbs which are as short as 20mm. Also get a women-specific handle bar since I bet she has also short fingers (compared to same height men). Easton has got one and its in yellow color.
 

Soba_03

New Member
Mar 13, 2007
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Ok here is what we have done. Stem was changed to a 60mm which allowed us to reposition the seat back considerably. The saddle is just about in the middle of the travel. Additionally, new stem has a few more degree's of lift than the original. So we will see how that works.

I'll let you know how it rolls out.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Regards,
Soba
 

daveydave

New Member
Jun 20, 2007
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Just curious, how is it working out? What brand stem did you get?

dave


Soba_03 said:
Ok here is what we have done. Stem was changed to a 60mm which allowed us to reposition the seat back considerably. The saddle is just about in the middle of the travel. Additionally, new stem has a few more degree's of lift than the original. So we will see how that works.

I'll let you know how it rolls out.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Regards,
Soba