NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS!
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: From Sarasota, FL sitting in front of a computer spewing random thoughts!
Bikes: Intense Uzzi SL, Masi Speciale, Trek 3700 Nashbar Single Speed, Old Cilo Road frame
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The stem will not change the "slackness" of your steering. What affects the quickness or slowness of the steering is the headtube angle. The position of the stem only affects rider position. Cheap bikes with upright stems are to put the rider in an upright position which is more comfortable. Since the majority of low end bikes never see dirt trails, and are "neighborhood" bikes, most manufacturers keep the rider in the most comfortable position possible.
A lower stem will position the rider in a more forward position which will improve climbing ability, but hinder downhill performance. This is because the rider's center of gravity is lower and more forward.
The only drawback is if the stem is so low that when your handlebars turn all the way around, they bang into the top tube and dent/damage it!
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
"Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger