The common range of stem length spans from 90 to 130, with 110-120 being the most popular. The stem length has some bearing on how the bike steers since longer stems create a longer lever arm on the fork; shorter stems make the bike steer faster compared to longer stems. Some people also site the fact that with a longer stem there is more weight on the front end; lightweight racer types with low upper body mass might care about this. In the real world though, the common range all works fine; the amount of trail has more influence on steering speed than stem length and most riders have enough meat on their bones to effectively load the front tire. Because any stem within the common range seems to function fine, fitting the stem based on proportion seems reasonable – at least to me.
Special note: I’m not talking about picking the stem length for use on an existing frame based on some aesthetic point of view, I’m talking about designing a custom frame with a specific stem length in mind.
Needless to say, this is my point of view.
Last edited by Nessism; 04-24-08 at 07:55 PM.
Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(
A properly fitted bicycle is centered on the stem, which we think of in terms of sizes: small (100-105mm, for frames in the 50-54cm range), medium (110-120mm, for 54.5-57cm range), and large (120-130mm, for 57.5cm and up range). A bicycle built around the proper stem length – giving correct reach - will have optimal weight distribution and handling characteristics. We believe that the cure for a poorly fitting bicycle is not a longer/shorter stem but rather a well-built frame using the correct length stem.