The longest stem that you have run

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by SCDETAILER, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. SCDETAILER

    SCDETAILER New Member

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    I was just wondering what the longest stem is that you guys and gals run on your road bikes? I have been told by a frame builder that he didn't like going over 110. I have a friend that I ride with that rides a 130 and on occasion a 140. I am looking into getting a new bike soon, and was wondering if I buy a smaller frame and use a longer stem, assuming that I can get the handlebars up to where I want them, what would the benefit or lack of benefit be to running a longer stem? For comparison, I am 5'-8 1/2", with a 32.0 in. inseam. I am riding at the present time a 56 Lemond, which has a measured TT length of 56.5 and I am running a 90 mm stem. This set-up feels pretty comfy. Could I possibly ride a bike with a TT as low as 53? I have other options, but I have two brands that I am looking at that have similar TT lengths. One is the Cannondale six13 and the other is a Specialized Tarmac or Roubaix. I ride fast rec and race on occasion. I also like to climb, but I regard myself as an all around rider.


    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. shannons dad

    shannons dad New Member

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    I run a 110 myself. It has a nice neutral feeling to it. The longer your stem, the more stability you'll have at a higher speed, but not as manouverable at lower speeds. With a shorter stem, your bike will feel more twitchy at higher speeds and more manouverable at lower speeds. The height and rise angle can further complicate things.
     
  3. carpediemracing

    carpediemracing New Member

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    the trend with the pros is to get the smallest frame possible with the seatpost and stem to make it work. according to Leonard Zinn the Discovery team (or was it USPS) took delivery of their equipment one year but the stem supplier only had 14 cm stems. so everyone used them at the training camp and after doing loads of miles, the riders were reluctant to go to their "correct" sizes. in another example, he said that BH once provided all their riders with the same size frame. Heras was on the team as well as VandeVelde (extreme ranges of height). stems and posts were sourced to make up these size discrepecies.

    with a 56.5 tt and 9 stem, if you went to a 53 tt, you'd need a 12.5 stem. this would be good if this is the position you want to have.

    *however* if you're thinking that it might change then it may not be a good thing. how aggressive a position do you want?. if you're looking for a more aggressive position, lower and longer, then you may want to do some extensive measurements to see what's possible.

    For example, if you go to a 53 cm frame, the head tube might be 3 cm shorter. this means your bars are 3 cm shorter for the same stem. is this desirable? I went to a frame *specifically because* the head tube was 3 cm shorter - till then I had a 13 cm Ritchey adjustable stem pointed down. now I have a flat (73 deg) 13 cm Ritchey stem.

    try exploring the limits of possible positions. for example, are you comfortable with your hands resting on top of the hoods? this is a position a bit longer than say the drops. would you want the brake lever hoods where your drops are now? put a bar (even a ruler would do) across the drops of the bars and hold it and pretend that it's the tops of the bar. do you think that's manageable or desireable? try holding your brake lever (i.e. the ergo or sti lever) as if it were the drops. this would simulate increasing stem length by 3 cm or so.

    best yet, you might be able to borrow an adjustable stem (or sit on a fit bike or similar). try riding the trainer with the stem way out, way low, etc.

    once you start looking at the range of possibilities, I think you'll find the position (or at least the general range of position) that you're looking for.

    good luck
    cdr
     
  4. jasong

    jasong New Member

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    The ideas I've heard before about picking the frame size originate from trying to equally distribute (40% front/60% rear) the weight. Going with a longer stem is going to throw more weight over the front, even though all points of contact will be equal. Perhaps this could contribute to wheel shimmy at higher speeds?

    Also, what is the rule about how much you can actually space up a stem from the headtube? Getting into a comfortable position with a horizontal xx degree (ie. 7) stem means that a lot of spacers may be needed (as much as 1-2inches). Somewhere I read once that there is a rule for # spacers related to the diameter of the steering tube.
     
  5. carpediemracing

    carpediemracing New Member

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    from my experience, putting more weight on the front wheel helps stabilize the front end, both in turns and on descents. I've hit relatively high speeds (60+) on descents with my chin virtually on the front tire. I even burned the bottom of my chin once when going over wavy bumps at about 55 mph and hitting my chin on the tire.

    watch the stage when Johan Bruyneel wins against Indurain after sitting on Indurain's wheel for the whole break. Bruyneel's Look bike, when he raises his hands, almost takes Bruyneel out as it starts to shake. When he reduced weight on the front end, the bike destabilized (and not just a little wobble as he tries to steer the bike with his hips - it's much more shaky than that).

    re: spacers - if you need to space up your stem, get a rising stem first. when fitting a new frame I would recommend putting spacers on top of the stem until you know you don't need to raise the stem any. then remove the spacers on top of the stem and cut the steerer tube to the correct height.

    regarding height limit I don't know. if you're using more than an inch or so of spacers you probably have a less-than-ideal size frame (unless you're really tall).
     
  6. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    The max stack height is spec'd by the manufacturer of the fork. Believe it tops out around 1.25-1.5 inches for most 1&1/8th steertube forks.

    The smaller frame size in general gives you more drop from saddle to bars. My old bike was 56 cm c-t, and with my 34" inseam, I had the seat tube right at the top limit to get the leg extension I needed. Had about 11 cm drop to the handlebars. I got the bike in the early 90's for crit racing, so was told to get the smaller frame size. I just accepted the "conventional wisdom", since I didn't know better.

    I switched to a 58 cm frame for my new bike. With 2 cm of spacers, I've got a 5 cm drop to the bars, which is more comfortable. I'm in the drops a lot more as a result. The small frame/big drop provides an aero/race position, but it's not for everyone.
     
  7. el Ingles

    el Ingles New Member

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    try going for a reversable stem +8/-8 or similar , ie between 6 & 8 - pazzaz seem to make some that fit the bill at a reasonable price ( you can buy expensive names later when you know what you want / need )
     
  8. Fox Farm

    Fox Farm New Member

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    I am 6'2", ride a 59cm center to center frame with a longish 58.5 cm top tube (Merlin) and use a 130 mm stem. It fits fine but I don't have my seat slid way back. With my older bike that had shorter top tube and used a 130 mm stem and had the seat pushed bay back. Given your size, unless your frame is pretty small, the 130 sounds a little long to me, but, it's more than just inseam and frame size. Are you short torso-ed with long arms? Go have yourself measured by a competent shop and do some fitting. As a general guide, you sort of want the handlebar to obscure the front hub / axel when you are in the drops, but this is a general sizing goal and true sizing may vary some.
     
  9. jasong

    jasong New Member

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    I don't think fore/aft adjustment has ever been designed to be a means for fitting a larger or smaller frame. Only stem size. Fore/aft is independent of any frame sizing.
     
  10. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    This could be crucial. Don't assume you'll be able to just jack up your bars as high as you want. There are limits to how many spacers you can put under a stem, and it looks shit having more than about 4cm :D

    So, make sure you get the head-tube specs on the manufacturers geometry charts. Measure the height of your old bars, perhaps from the top of the fork crown (that's how I do it), to make sure you know what you like.

    I would've liked a 56cm Cervelo SuperProdigy, but the head tube was only 14cm, and I just couldn't bend over that far, so I had to get the 58 with the 16cm head-tube.


    i don't see any problem with a 14cm stem. I used one for a while on an old bike without any trouble. I agree that it slightly stabilises the steering.
     
  11. jasong

    jasong New Member

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    It should also be noted one doesn't have to choose a configuration that results in the stem being parallel to the ground. That's another way to get rise in the handlebars without adding spacers.

     
  12. wilmar13

    wilmar13 New Member

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    I run a 150mm stem on my Tandem and a 140mm on my Pinarello to get a reach I like. Can't tell the difference from a bike with a 130mm stem and a longer TT (frame).
     
  13. cydewaze

    cydewaze New Member

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    I had a 140 once (still have it lying around, actually) on a mountain bike of all things. I got tired of my frequent trips over the bars, so I put a shorter one on it, and it road way better.

    It's what happens when you buy a used bike that was sized for someone else and ride it as is.
     
  14. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    this is what looks best :D

    Long stem (i think I read that Petacchi had a 14cm stem) and little spacing

    [​IMG]
    [
     
  15. jrstevens

    jrstevens New Member

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  16. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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  17. SilentShifter

    SilentShifter New Member

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    I use a 130 because that is what I was fitted for. A 120 makes me feel to 'cramped' in. I am trying to find a 130 stem that is really stiff becuase of all the leverage you can put on them.

    I feel more aggressive on a longer stem becuase of the weight dist. and placing more forward over the front wheel.
     
  18. wilmar13

    wilmar13 New Member

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    Yep it is a racing bike... it really isn't that bad and doesn't take that long to get used to... of course for touring it would suck, not because of discomfort but because you can't see much if you are staring at your front wheel with your nice flat back in a more aero position.
     
  19. SCDETAILER

    SCDETAILER New Member

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    This is the look that I am talking about! I have talked to some custom builders though and they prefer to not go over 120. I think that the pros run the smallest frame possible also, that is why you have such a dramatic difference in saddle to bar drop.
     
  20. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Going for a pro look is great if you just plan to pose on the bike, but may not work if you have to ride it any distance. Fit needs to be personalized, not copied from a photo of your favorite bike or pro.

    Besides, if you check out pro's closely, you'll find many different positions on the bike. Lance didn't run an extreme drop, even on his TT machine, since he didn't have the classic flat back, stretched out position on the bike. He managed to do pretty well in TTs anyway.

    My first "race" bike put me in a pro position with a long 130 mm stem, and had me way overgeared with 52/42 and 13-21 cogs. But I didn't know any better in 1992, so just listened to the sales hype the LBS fed me. They wanted to sell me a closeout bike, and I went for the savings. Worked fine for short crit races, but I was never comfortable on it for longer club and multi-day cross state rides.
     
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