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  1. #1
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Anybody ever get a race fitting, and have your stem flipped up?

    Hmm...

    Well, the jury is still out on this - and I'm having a seriously hard time not breaking out my allen wrenches and putting my stem flat again.

    Today, I had a local coach/ex-pro do a fitting on my bike in the hopes of straightening out some of my knee issues. The good news is that I'm apparently pretty good at setting up my own seat height/fore/aft and cleat angle - he made some minor adjustments there that felt good, but nothing earth shaking. Did some video analysis, and as is par for most of his fittings that I've seen done for others - flipped the stem up!

    This was a serious emotional event for me ( ) since I have modeled my race bike's position after - guess who? Pro Tour guys. Nobody has their stem up unless it's a climbing stage from what I've observed. We talked about it for a while, and my contention that I'd be more aero with a flat stem was countered by his statement that I'd see a lower HR overall while riding slightly more upright, I'd have my elbows bent more, and be more comfortable, and thus produce more power.

    I'll keep it like this for a while, and see what happens - but seeing as right now, post knee injury I haven't been able to do any sprinting work - I'm thinking that any success I'm going to see this race season is going to be based on long aerobic efforts...which will be helped by being as aero as possible...I'm still skeptical.

    We did a 3 hour slow, base, ride after the fitting, and my average power was 160 - with an average HR of 108. In the past, for longer rides of similar AP, I have seen slightly higher HRs - so there is probably something to be said for more power at a lower HR. I just wonder at what point a few watts saved from a more open position is going to be outweighed by being less aero.

  2. #2
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    it depends. If you bend your elbows, you lose no aero effect. For me however, I prefer little elbow bend because it is less strain on the triceps (unlike most bike racers I have upper body mass so long hours of supporting that in a bent elbow position is tiring).

    To know the answer to your question, you will have to book some time in the tunnel.

  3. #3
    Go Pre! DreamTheater's Avatar
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    I have a slight rise in my stem right now. I was tempted to flip it, but I don't think I have ever had a bike fit me as perfectly as this one does. I decided to leave the stem alone.

    As it is, the bars are still lower than the saddle, and I feel like I'm in a pretty aero, aggressive position when on the drops.

    I'd suggest that you go ahead and do 200 miles or so with the stem like it is...and then revisit the idea of flipping.
    "I'm going to work so that it's a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it"......a quote from my hero Steve Prefontaine

  4. #4
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Well....

    I had my first fitting done last July...fixed all the aches and pains I had on the bike. Then I got an adjustment done this past winter, in which I went to a wider handlebar, shorter stem, and the guy removed some spacers while flipping my stem up. I actually have more drop now than I did before, but my bike doesn't "look as cool".

    It works, so I'm happy.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  5. #5
    Go Pre! DreamTheater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
    Well....

    I had my first fitting done last July...fixed all the aches and pains I had on the bike. Then I got an adjustment done this past winter, in which I went to a wider handlebar, shorter stem, and the guy removed some spacers while flipping my stem up. I actually have more drop now than I did before, but my bike doesn't "look as cool".

    It works, so I'm happy.
    "I'm going to work so that it's a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it"......a quote from my hero Steve Prefontaine

  6. #6
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell
    it depends. If you bend your elbows, you lose no aero effect. For me however, I prefer little elbow bend because it is less strain on the triceps (unlike most bike racers I have upper body mass so long hours of supporting that in a bent elbow position is tiring).

    To know the answer to your question, you will have to book some time in the tunnel.
    I don't have any hills long enough to replicate your "poor man's" wind tunnel...so I guess the question I'd pose to the forum et. al. is, why do all the pros have the flat stems if the effect can be replicated simply by bending one's elbows?

    Reason? Tradition? Both?

    I'm going to stick with it for a while, and see what I feel like.

  7. #7
    Lanterne Rouge simplyred's Avatar
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    It's not the stem - it's your back that matters. Flat back is what you want. A lot of guys cut their forks short and end up NOT riding in the drops as much as they should be - because now the drops are TOO low for them. No one's going to say anything as you blow by them in the drops on your training rides, other than - "The f*ck was that?"

    FWIW, I ride with mine flipped down - but I have 1.5 inch of spacers above the headtube. I also found stretching [touching toes/floor] really helps me stay in the drops for ~80% of my ride. I know I look like a wanna-be racer - but my muscles will be better adapted to being aero.

    Pros are undoubtedly VERY flexible. A long stem in the drops gets them even lower than a regular Joe. Something some people forget beyond intervals and tactics - is flexibility. [Search RB forums for flexibility on the thread title - you get 4]
    Flexibility

    Position takes practice - just like everything else. Why should our attention be neglected from any aspect of racing development?

  8. #8
    Sensible shoes. CastIron's Avatar
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    Mine is up because that's how it fits. Period. I can flip it down and it'll look racier, but I'll never use the drops and get a knot between my shoulder blades. I think it's just how all the angles come together on the bike with my anatomy. So be it.
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  9. #9
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Yes. But he also took 2 spacers out. Net result? Bars are at the exact same height. Only now I'm slower because I don't look as poseurific
    Can you pass the test?
    Yield to Life.

  10. #10
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    I was born with my stem flipped.
    Bring the pain.

  11. #11
    The Truth
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    I have a friend who I raced with in college who moved to Colorado last year to try his luck as a full-time professional road racer. When he came back a few months later I noticed his bike on a saturday morning group ride had the stem flipped up . . . waaay up. I asked him about it and he had a fitting done at some high-tech place in Boulder and that is what they came up with. Said it increased his wattage by 8-10%.

  12. #12
    Style-challenged platypus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'nother
    Yes. But he also took 2 spacers out. Net result? Bars are at the exact same height. Only now I'm slower because I don't look as poseurific
    oh is THAT the reason?

    on-topic, you paid the guy to fit you to the bike, right? I'd go with his recommendations for a while at least. In theory he knows what he's doing.

  13. #13
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by platypus
    oh is THAT the reason?
    Oh, most definitely. Well, that, and the hairy legs. All of that ugliness rolling along just creates extra drag.


    Can you pass the test?
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  14. #14
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    Well a stem flipped up will be both lighter and stiffer than one flipped down with spacers...and both can give the same position. Mine is flipped up but there is still a couple inch drop from the saddle. I guess it doesnt look cool...dont mcuh care. A friend also got a pro fitting and they flipped his stem up as well. He was definitely having an image issue about it.
    Last edited by cacatfish; 04-09-07 at 06:57 PM.

  15. #15
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacatfish
    He was definitely having an image issue about it.
    I guess a guy's gotta decide whether he wants to enter a beauty pageant or a bike race.
    Can you pass the test?
    Yield to Life.

  16. #16
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by platypus
    on-topic, you paid the guy to fit you to the bike, right? I'd go with his recommendations for a while at least. In theory he knows what he's doing.
    Pffbt, he's just an ex-euro pro and Olympic alternate - I on the other hand am a just slightly above average CAT-4 who reads bike forums!



    The stem is still flipped up.

  17. #17
    Acquiring new target.... carlfreddy's Avatar
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    When I got my professional fitting I ended up with the flipped-up stem and a couple spacers (less than an inch, don't remember exactly as my bike isn't in front of me). My saddle-handlebar drop is very minimal, but then I had some pre-existing circumstances that I had to work with in my fit (I broke my 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae).

    It would seem (to me, at least) that some of you have some who question not having your stem flipped have some OCP issues that you need to get over. It's not written in stone that a race bike must have a flipped-down stem. I would tend to trust a professional bike-fit-person before I trust my own feeling that the stem should be down on a race bike, but that's just me.
    There are only 10 types of people in the world; those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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  18. #18
    Acquiring new target.... carlfreddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
    Pffbt, he's just an ex-euro pro and Olympic alternate - I on the other hand am a just slightly above average CAT-4 who reads bike forums!



    The stem is still flipped up.
    See, I think you resolved the issue you had!

    There are only 10 types of people in the world; those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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    It reminds me of the current trand in "street-race" cars to be very "raked", with a very low front, even though it is quite often very detrimental to the handling.

  20. #20
    Senior Member wrote4luck's Avatar
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    Mine is flipped up and works very nicely.
    2008 Cannondale Six 13 2006 Mercier Serpens
    1980 Dawes Super Galaxy

  21. #21
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    Your going to put out a lot more power in a less aero position, thats a pretty much given.

    People ride TT bikes for a reason, being aero is more beneficial then putting out more watts.

    That said, Ive currently got a 120mm -17 degree stem and about 5-6 inches of saddle to bar drop, I can get very low on the bike and still be comfortable. The way the guys at the shop fit me was, get as low as you can while still being comfortable on 50 miles rides on the hoods.
    Cat 1 o-meter 33%

  22. #22
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps
    Your going to put out a lot more power in a less aero position, thats a pretty much given.

    People ride TT bikes for a reason, being aero is more beneficial then putting out more watts.

    That said, Ive currently got a 120mm -17 degree stem and about 5-6 inches of saddle to bar drop, I can get very low on the bike and still be comfortable. The way the guys at the shop fit me was, get as low as you can while still being comfortable on 50 miles rides on the hoods.
    The coach said that I can get just as aero in the drops as before the stem flippage. What the idea is that I'll be more relaxed while in the draft, and then when it counts I can get low, and turn the dial to 400w...I need to look at the videos, but it sorta makes sense.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
    The coach said that I can get just as aero in the drops as before the stem flippage. What the idea is that I'll be more relaxed while in the draft, and then when it counts I can get low, and turn the dial to 400w...I need to look at the videos, but it sorta makes sense.
    Let us know how it works for you, maybe your fitter is on to something.
    Cat 1 o-meter 33%

  24. #24
    Acquiring new target.... carlfreddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps
    Your going to put out a lot more power in a less aero position, thats a pretty much given.

    People ride TT bikes for a reason, being aero is more beneficial then putting out more watts.

    That said, Ive currently got a 120mm -17 degree stem and about 5-6 inches of saddle to bar drop, I can get very low on the bike and still be comfortable. The way the guys at the shop fit me was, get as low as you can while still being comfortable on 50 miles rides on the hoods.
    [preface]I do not possess any knowledge or skill of a professional bike-fitter, just thinking "logically"[/preface]

    If you are already as low as you can comfortably go when on the hoods, how are you going to ride for any extended period of time in the drops?

    That just doesn't make sense to me.
    There are only 10 types of people in the world; those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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  25. #25
    Senior Member wrote4luck's Avatar
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    I flipped mine up so that I'm more comfy in the drops. It may not look pretty, and I may not "look" aero, but it definately works when I feel like making a break.
    2008 Cannondale Six 13 2006 Mercier Serpens
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