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  1. #1
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    What Stem Should I get? Need Your Opinion on Degree/Rise!

    Hey Y'all,

    Trying to make my first purchase of a stem for a threadless headset! I'm new to this system and am not sure about what to get since I'm not used to spacers and not being able to just loosen a bolt and adjust stem height.
    I am leaning towards getting a Velo Orange or Nitto stem, since they are nice and silver and polished.

    Velo Orange offers a stem in a 17 degree version which would be paralled with the top tube of the bike, giving a classic look. With this stem I would probably end up using some spacers to raise the stem a little bit.

    Velo Orange and Nitto offer a stem in a 7 or 8 degree version, respectively, and with these I would have enough rise to not use any spacers.

    What should I do. I suppose its simply a matter of personal preference, but I would love some of your opinions.

    Also, nobody seems to offer threadless stems in lengths longer than 120mm. Is the reason that the top tubes on modern bikes have tended to be longer? 120mm should work for me with this project, but it really limits your choices if you have crazy monkey arms like me.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The stem itself is personal preference. However, I would suggest you use the maximum number of spacers available with you fork . Start with the stem as high as possible. Then start shifting spacers from the beneath the stem to on top, to gradually lower the stem. Play around with the spacers until you are sure the stem height is correct. Once you cut the steerer you can't increase bar height without going to a higher rise stem (or buying an adjustable stem). Even then, it is often advisable to leave the steerer long and run spacers on top. As we get older, we lose flexibility and you may need to raise that stem a bit, a few years down the road.

  3. #3
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    T-Mar hit it on the head. Once I have my reach correct, it's simply easy to adjust the height, but remember that drastic changes in height also affect reach a little.
    For me, flexibility is an issue in the spring. I raise the stem up to where it's comfortable on those early road rides where you get the winter kinks out. As the year progresses, my stem height drops 1cm for most of my bikes, and up to 2cm for a bike I may race in a triathlon or something. I get more fit, more limber, and able to handle a lower nose by fall.

    I prefer 17 degree for more agressive riding, but the 6-8 degree stems are easier to custom-fit. The 17 degree stem gives you a lower stem, or a much higher stem, but cuts out the middle range of adjustment. A 6-8 degree stem won't go as low, or as high, but with spacers, you can really covera about a 3" wide range of height.

    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻

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    ...or maybe you did, and that's why you're so mad.


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  4. #4
    RFC
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
    The stem itself is personal preference. However, I would suggest you use the maximum number of spacers available with you fork . Start with the stem as high as possible. Then start shifting spacers from the beneath the stem to on top, to gradually lower the stem. Play around with the spacers until you are sure the stem height is correct. Once you cut the steerer you can't increase bar height without going to a higher rise stem (or buying an adjustable stem). Even then, it is often advisable to leave the steerer long and run spacers on top. As we get older, we lose flexibility and you may need to raise that stem a bit, a few years down the road.
    All good advice. Also threadless stems are pretty much of a commodity. Some are prettier than others, but they are all basically the same. I have a box of extra stems and have learned to not pay MSRP for stems. I pick stems up on the Bay and CL for $1 to $10. So, now I can try different stems until I get the fit I want. That's the beauty of threadless stems -- you can easily change them out. Oh, and, yes, there are many stems available in the 130-140 range.

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    Thanks for the good advice so far y'all. It seems as if, like much everything else on a bike, this is going to take a lot of testing and experimenting. But you got me thinking about this in a better manner now.

    Is there a good way to measure how much reach you are losing or gaining, as per your stem height?

  6. #6
    RFC
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirke View Post
    Thanks for the good advice so far y'all. It seems as if, like much everything else on a bike, this is going to take a lot of testing and experimenting. But you got me thinking about this in a better manner now.

    Is there a good way to measure how much reach you are losing or gaining, as per your stem height?
    Robbie, describe what you are working on and maybe I can be of more help.

    What bike?

    Threaded fork adapter or threadless fork?

    What are you trying to achieve for your cockpit?

  7. #7
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    Do you have a current bike that you like the fit on? If so what you should do is match that. Pretty simple. Yeah - do keep the steerer long. Once you cut it you can never raise the bars again except by getting a stem with a little more rise to it. Even then pretty limited though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFC View Post
    Robbie, describe what you are working on and maybe I can be of more help.

    What bike?

    Threaded fork adapter or threadless fork?

    What are you trying to achieve for your cockpit?
    Two of my bikes have a 58cm top tube with a 130mm quill stem. One bike has a 57cm top tube and I use a 135mm quill stem. I have about 1" to 1 1/2" of quill showing on these bikes.
    The bike that will be threadless is a Soma Stanyan (their lugged steel model) with a 59cm top tube. My plan was to use a 17 degree 120mm stem with a few spacers and it would most likely be in line with my reach. But most stems I have come across have some amount of rise to them, which concerns me because I am thinking it might throw my reach off? How much reach will I really lose if I use, for example, an 8 degree stem?

    I have really long arms and like to stretch out. I also can do lots of drop from saddle to bars. However, I would like this setup to be little bit more relaxed than normal, as it will be a commuter/light tourer.

    Hopefully that gives you some more info.

  9. #9
    RFC
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirke View Post
    Two of my bikes have a 58cm top tube with a 130mm quill stem. One bike has a 57cm top tube and I use a 135mm quill stem. I have about 1" to 1 1/2" of quill showing on these bikes.
    The bike that will be threadless is a Soma Stanyan (their lugged steel model) with a 59cm top tube. My plan was to use a 17 degree 120mm stem with a few spacers and it would most likely be in line with my reach. But most stems I have come across have some amount of rise to them, which concerns me because I am thinking it might throw my reach off? How much reach will I really lose if I use, for example, an 8 degree stem?

    I have really long arms and like to stretch out. I also can do lots of drop from saddle to bars. However, I would like this setup to be little bit more relaxed than normal, as it will be a commuter/light tourer.

    Hopefully that gives you some more info.
    Sorry, confused my screen names. Check out the Profile Boa threadless stems on ebay. They have a 17 degree rise, which means that. when you flip them, they will be parallel to the TT or 90 degrees. I have one in 130mm and have seen longer.

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