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Old 12-24-08, 07:37 PM   #1
coasting 
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stem position and compression plug

Hi

I would like to try out different stem positions before I cut the carbon steerer. The steerer is very long and is therefore much taller than where the stem is to be clamped to it.

I have read that the clamp position should be where the compression plug inside is located to avoid crushing the steerer, but since the steerer is so tall how can I try a lower stem position without clamping it lower than the plug? Is it safe to clamp it below the plug?

Should I just cut the steerer shorter and just give myself a smaller range of stem height to experiment with and then cut it again when I know how low the stem should be?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-24-08, 07:44 PM   #2
HillRider 
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As long as you don't tighten the stem clamps absurdly tight, the stem shouldn't harm the steerer even if the compression plug isn't aligned with it. You will need a lot of spacers above the stem if the steerer is way too long to allow you to adjust the headset play.
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Old 12-24-08, 08:01 PM   #3
coasting 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
As long as you don't tighten the stem clamps absurdly tight, the stem shouldn't harm the steerer even if the compression plug isn't aligned with it. You will need a lot of spacers above the stem if the steerer is way too long to allow you to adjust the headset play.
Thanks for the quick reply. I'm glad I can clamp below the plug. It won't be for long, maybe 2 or 3 rides should be enough to see how comfortable or not the stem position feels. I do have a whole bunch of spacers to be placed above the stem and it looks ridiculous but as long as it is safe I don't mind.

People don't normally cut the steerer until they have tried and feel comfortable with handlebar height, so do they also ride with a ridiculous pole above the stem for a while?
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Old 12-24-08, 09:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
People don't normally cut the steerer until they have tried and feel comfortable with handlebar height, so do they also ride with a ridiculous pole above the stem for a while?
Usually you have at least some idea of how high the bars should be, often based on a previous bike so you don't have to leave the steerer awkwardly long.

I've always used my other bikes as a starting point but left the steerer a couple of inches (say 50 mm) higher than I think I will need. A few rides with the stem at various levels firms up the "correct height" and I again cut the steerer a bit long, say 20 mm. Some more riding refines the position and I make the final cut.

However, I always final-cut my steerers long enough that I need a 10 mm spacer ABOVE the stem to get the correct gap for the headset adjustment. That serves two purposes:

1) it assures the stem clamp is completely supported by the steerer tube so there is less chance of damage to the steerer. This is particularly important with carbon steerers.

2) I still have some room to raise the stem if I want to do so later. I could add 5 or 8 mm more spacers under the stem and still satisfy item 1.
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