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  1. #1
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    Help: Raising handlebars by 2 inches +.

    New to the forum and this is my first time posting.

    I have a 1990 trek 520 touring bike with a 19 inch frame. My wife wants to start riding this bike again after not doing so for many years. The problem with this bike is that the handlebars are pretty low in comparison to saddle height. They are about 2 inches lower than the seat when the stem is extended to it's maximum height. This is a pretty uncomfortable riding position for a road touring bike. I want to raise the bars about 2 inches, parallel to the seat, to make the ride more comfortable. I ordered a new stem ,which is substantially longer, that will let me raise the bars the additional height. I never raised handlebars this much before I was uncertain how much additional reach I should add to the stem to compensate for movement rearward along the headtube axis. By my calculations the handlebars will move rearward 17.5mm when the stem is raise 2 inches (the bike has a 71 degree head tube angle). My intuition says to order a stem with a 17.5mm longer reach. This would place the bars at the same distance forward from the seat except at a 2 inch higher height.

    My question is: Is this the correct logic? I'm concerned that the rearward shift of the handlebars towards the seat is normal, and by design, of the bike designer. This rearward movement of the stem keeps the average rider in the proper comfortable position. It seems like a more upright riding position would require that the bars move closer to the saddle.

    To the root of it all. Should I order a stem with a longer reach if I'm planning to raise the handlebars by this much???

    I don't know if it matters but the current stem is 80mm long. It's angle appears to be the negative of the headtube angle.

    Thanks for any helpful comments.

  2. #2
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    My advice is to look for, and buy, a Kalloy brand adjustable stem. While your at
    it consider changing the drops to a more comfortable style. With more up right
    bars on an adjustable stem you have all kinds of range to find just the sweet
    spot for comfort you like.

    Also, Remember that to ride for fun you won't need to shift much so down
    tube shifters will be OK.

    I converted all my bikes (5) to this combo as I don't bend anymore for drops
    and I don't wanna be like Lance I wanna be.......comfortable. One bike has
    moustash bars upside down, another bike has north star bars, etc. all on
    Kalloy adustable stems.

  3. #3
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    I find it very comfortable to ride with the portion of the bars next to the stem at the same height as the top of the saddle. If the length of the higher stem is the same as the lower stem, the "reach" from the saddle to the bars decreases, due to both the height of the bars, and, when you raise the stem two inches, the bars move back about 1/2 inch closer to the saddle.

    As I get older, and my back becomes less flexible, that shorter reach makes long rides much more enjoyable. I can ride three or four hours in comfort with a high bar position, compared with maybe an hour in the "boy racer" position.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    You need to get a Nitto Technomic stem. It has a longer shank for raising her bars up to where she wants them and a pretty nice finish. They come in different reach lengths too. Choose the reach length carefully because, as the handlebars move up, they also move closer to the rider. Regular retail cost is about $40.00.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    You need to get a Nitto Technomic stem. It has a longer shank for raising her bars up to where she wants them and a pretty nice finish. They come in different reach lengths too. Choose the reach length carefully because, as the handlebars move up, they also move closer to the rider. Regular retail cost is about $40.00.
    Your the second person to recommend this stem. This is what I ordered. I decided to go with a stem with 10mm more reach over stock. A 20mm longer reach stem would have been closer to the 17.5mm movement I calculated, but it just didn't "feel" right. My feeling is that if a rider is in a more upright posture their reach is shortened. Don't think it is probably realistic to assume that a rider's upper torso can be considered rigid and pivoting about their hips. But this affect did factor into my decision.

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