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  1. #1
    benter
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    What happened to cutting steerer to fit?

    It's entirely possible my memory is faulty, but I remember in the days when threadless headsets were new and trying to compete with end-user-adjustable quill stems that steerers were left un-cut by the manufacturer. You'd be measured for a bike so they could adjust the saddle height and cut the steerer & install appropriate spacers. Maybe if the frame size had to be ordered, a steerer length spec would be sent along & the manufacturer would make the cut.

    When ordering a Specialized AWOL, I was told all the steerers are cut to a single specification and that only custom builders like Calfee would allow this level of customization. That attitude seems insane to me. I know I can get a Soma bike built at American Cyclery in San Francisco with a lot of spacers. There are fixed frame sizes and they still charge for a "complete", not for frame/fork & individual components.

    So, is it true that Jamis, Cannonade, Specialized, Trek, Raleigh and the rest offer no adjustability other than down any more?

  2. #2
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    I could be wrong, but it seems like when you buy a new frame/fork the steerer tube is left uncut to be cut when the bike is build up.

    But if you buy a whole bike the steerer tubes are cut (usually way too short!) so they don't look ridiculous on the sales floor.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    I could be wrong, but it seems like when you buy a new frame/fork the steerer tube is left uncut to be cut when the bike is build up.

    But if you buy a whole bike the steerer tubes are cut (usually way too short!) so they don't look ridiculous on the sales floor.
    When I bought my Litespeed frame/fork from Colorado Cyclist I had to argue with the sales guys to have them leave the fork steerer (Easton EC90SLX all carbon) uncut. I had to convince them that: a) I knew how to measure and cut it and b) I wouldn't leave it so long that a structurally inadvisable spacer stack would be needed.

    I've also never seen a complete bike delivered with the steerer left full length.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    I could be wrong, but it seems like when you buy a new frame/fork the steerer tube is left uncut to be cut when the bike is build up.

    But if you buy a whole bike the steerer tubes are cut (usually way too short!) so they don't look ridiculous on the sales floor.
    They're normally cut to the manufacturer's recommended maximum length. They are cut because otherwise the manufacturer would have to supply more spacers.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
    They're normally cut to the manufacturer's recommended maximum length. They are cut because otherwise the manufacturer would have to supply more spacers.
    The manufacturers also worry that someone will put 100 mm of spacers on a 1" carbon steerer.

  6. #6
    Senior Member andr0id's Avatar
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    I received my Gunnar frame and fork in Nov and the fork was was uncut.

    Shop cut it and installed the headset and then I took a another inch or so off myself once I got the fit dialed in.

    It was a steel steering tube.

  7. #7
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Some manufacturers leave the tube a but long and add a couple of spacers above the stem so you can shift them to below the stem to raise the bars (My last Jamis was shipped this way). They also expect that you can adjust fit somewhat by flipping the stem over or purchasing a stem with a different rise.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
    I received my Gunnar frame and fork in Nov and the fork was was uncut.

    Shop cut it and installed the headset and then I took a another inch or so off myself once I got the fit dialed in.

    It was a steel steering tube.
    As noted above, most bare frame//fork purchases do arrive with the steerer uncut. Both of my Surlys did and, as I reported above, my Litespeed/Easton fork did too but only after I insisted on it.

    Also, steel steerers are pretty tolerant of huge spacer stacks but carbon steerers are much more limited. Typically the manufacturer's limit for a 1" carbon steerer is 25 mm of spacers and 40 to 50 mm for a 1-1/8" carbon steerer depending on the maker.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    I could be wrong, but it seems like when you buy a new frame/fork the steerer tube is left uncut to be cut when the bike is build up.

    But if you buy a whole bike the steerer tubes are cut (usually way too short!) so they don't look ridiculous on the sales floor.
    I'm trying to think back. I was working in bike shops in the 90's when threadless headset systems came on line. I don't remember having to cut steer tubes for typical new bike sales.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
    They're normally cut to the manufacturer's recommended maximum length.
    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    The manufacturers also worry that someone will put 100 mm of spacers on a 1" carbon steerer.
    This is one of the big reasons... But of course it won't stop people from just adding spacers anyway, so the top of the steerer is only reaching halfway in the stems clamp, which is far more dangerous.

    Manufacturers are kind of exacerbating the problem. Especially for poorly fit, unflexible riders, who buy race geometry frames because their hero on TV rides them. And the manufacturer of course cuts the steerer short so it doesn't look so hideous on the showroom floor, so the rider just raises the stem anyway regardless of how much steerer insertion there is.
    Last edited by Jamminatrix; 12-29-15 at 08:13 PM.

  11. #11
    Ozark Hillbilly jonc123's Avatar
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    My Surly LHT came with a 300mm uncut steerer, but I still wanted a little bit more. I purchased a new 350mm fork from Surly. It was maxed out with 50mm of spacers on the showroom floor including the brake cable hanger. The longer 350mm steerer allowed me to change that to 60mm of spacers (including brake cable hanger). That extra 10mm made all the difference. Most would look at the bike and say I needed a bigger frame but the way I have it, it gives me *great* standover. I stop often to drink, eat, look at maps. Being able to do it comfortably is well worth it and exactly what I wanted.

    I had them put a 20mm spacer on top, well, just for fun!


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonc123 View Post
    My Surly LHT came with a 300mm uncut steerer, but I still wanted a little bit more. I purchased a new 350mm fork from Surly. It was maxed out with 50mm of spacers on the showroom floor including the brake cable hanger. The longer 350mm steerer allowed me to change that to 60mm of spacers (including brake cable hanger). That extra 10mm made all the difference. Most would look at the bike and say I needed a bigger frame but the way I have it, it gives me *great* standover. I stop often to drink, eat, look at maps. Being able to do it comfortably is well worth it and exactly what I wanted.

    I had them put a 20mm spacer on top, well, just for fun!

    This is a perfect example of what you should not do with a carbon steerer and what the manufacturers try to make impossible. A steel steerer will take it but not carbon.

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