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Old 01-05-10, 09:09 AM   #1
daven1986
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Will changing a stem help my fit?

Hi all,

Since changing my hybrid to drop bars I have not been able to get comfortable on the bike. I have since compared it to my road bike (on which I am comfortable) and have found that:

- the hybrid handlebars are more in front of the wheels than the road bike
- the distance from the seat to the handlebars is about 2-3cms longer on the hybrid
- the distance from the seat to the hand position is about 3cms longer on the hybrid

I have found that since the conversion the hybrid handle bars are not as stable. The heights of handlebars to seat are the same.

Currently I have a 100mm stem with (I think) a 6 degrees rise. Given the information (I will take more accurate measurements tonight), do you think that a 60mm or 75mm stem with a 6 degrees rise will have any beneficial effect?

Thanks

Daven
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Old 01-05-10, 09:17 AM   #2
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yup, I think you have it down exactly. Hybrids, (and mountain bikes) are usually designed to be built with flat bars, so they have a longer top tube. When a bar with a little more reach is added (usually a drop handlebar) you end up a lot more stretched out. A shorter stem will more the handlebars back in to position, similar to what you have on your road bike.

As far as handling, I've usually found the opposite, that more reach translates into slower (or more stable) handling. However, this is difficult to quantify, and it might just be 'new bike syndrome'. Changing the stem will definitely help fit though.
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Old 01-05-10, 12:27 PM   #3
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When making a conversion of this sort, you should take a 1" dowel rod or similar size pipe and span between the brake hoods, in the area where the crook of your thumbs rest. Measure to the center of the dowel and compare that to the distance to the center of the bars. That's about how much your reach was increased.
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Old 01-05-10, 12:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
As far as handling, I've usually found the opposite, that more reach translates into slower (or more stable) handling. However, this is difficult to quantify, and it might just be 'new bike syndrome'. Changing the stem will definitely help fit though.
Actually a longer stem makes for a longer "tiller" so a given movement of the bar ends translates to less change in the steerer angle so the handling seems slower. A short stem magnifies the steerer response to bar movement.

The change from long to short stems will also change the weight distribution on the bike a bit and that can have an effect on responsiveness too.
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Old 01-05-10, 01:09 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, basically when I say the bars are unstable I mean two things:
- unstable as I am more stretched out and therefore can't keep as good control
- unstable when I roll the bike while holding the saddle - the bike never wants to go straight, on my road bike I can move it and turn quite easily on the hybrid it just goes to one side and never returns to the centre despite much leaning!

I figured that the shorter stem will mean more "responsiveness" and was at first a bit confused with my experience but I attribute it to the above.

Also I think that weight distribution is WAY too much on my hands at the moment as they always hurt, hopefully a shorter stem will allow me to move the weight back a bit.

Any recommendations on stem length or should I just get one that makes the fit match up with my road bike?

Thanks

Daven
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Old 01-05-10, 01:35 PM   #6
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Any recommendations on stem length or should I just get one that makes the fit match up with my road bike?
If your road bike is comfortable, then the obvious recommendation is a stem length that give you the same reach to the bars.
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Old 01-05-10, 02:01 PM   #7
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Cool, thanks. Will make measurements and order one tomorrow
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Old 01-06-10, 06:43 PM   #8
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Definitely a shorter stem will help. Sounds like the whole ensemble (handlebars and shifters) is too far forward of the contact point of the front wheel.
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Old 01-07-10, 03:22 AM   #9
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Definitely a shorter stem will help. Sounds like the whole ensemble (handlebars and shifters) is too far forward of the contact point of the front wheel.
Yeah I have ordered a 60mm stem (and a 75mm for my road bike - as I'm sure the fit on that has always been a little long, and it was only 10!) hopefully I'll get them in a few days and I can report back. Either way if I had to do it again, I wouldn't convert it to drop bars. I'd sell the whole thing and buy a new bike!
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Old 01-07-10, 10:26 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
Yeah I have ordered a 60mm stem (and a 75mm for my road bike - as I'm sure the fit on that has always been a little long, and it was only 10!) hopefully I'll get them in a few days and I can report back. Either way if I had to do it again, I wouldn't convert it to drop bars. I'd sell the whole thing and buy a new bike!
Can we quote you on that? This question seems to come up about once a week.
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Old 01-07-10, 11:11 AM   #11
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You can indeed quote me on that! Any thread I see with the "should I convert" or "how do I convert" question gets that response from me anyway! I'm sure for some hybrids it works, but I know that mine feels all off with regards to fit! To be honest it never fitted like a glove even with flat bars! Either way I am happy with the outcome for now, I didn't spend too much so all is good!
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Old 01-07-10, 04:53 PM   #12
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Can we quote you on that? This question seems to come up about once a week.
And from such multiplicity is born - Copy & Paste replies.
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Old 01-07-10, 09:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
Thanks guys, basically when I say the bars are unstable I mean two things:
- unstable as I am more stretched out and therefore can't keep as good control
- unstable when I roll the bike while holding the saddle - the bike never wants to go straight, on my road bike I can move it and turn quite easily on the hybrid it just goes to one side and never returns to the centre despite much leaning!
Much slacker head angle.
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Old 01-07-10, 10:54 PM   #14
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Ritchey adjustable-stems are very nice and solid. Don't come loose. And are ideal for someone experimenting with handlebars and stem heights, etc.
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Old 01-08-10, 05:26 AM   #15
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I was thinking about one of them, however the only reasonably priced ones I could find were in 90mm length. I got 2 stems for the price of one adjustable so I am happy - still waiting for them to arrive though. UK can't handle a bit of snow - everything just fails!
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Old 01-08-10, 05:43 AM   #16
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yes of course it will help. when I did this, I added a 5" steerer tube extender. my bike is the most comfortable bike I have. keep working on it and get those bars up! not sure if you can see the steerer tube extender. I couldn't add these pics from home - not sure why
Attached Images
File Type: jpg hybrid w fenders 11_28_09.jpg (68.9 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg Trailway_12_20_09B.jpg (104.4 KB, 9 views)

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Old 01-08-10, 06:01 AM   #17
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Well apparently they should be with me next week some time as they had to order them. But hey! I can't wait!
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Old 01-12-10, 10:29 AM   #18
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The stem has been changed now and all I can say after one test ride is that the fit is MUCH better. I feel far less stretched out and have more control of the bike a few more micro adjustments of angle and seat position etc. and all will be excellent
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