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Old 09-06-17, 11:19 PM   #1
roadrecumbent
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Transforming stem makes climbing easier!

Well, it's all here in the video.
It's mine. Any Questions?
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Old 09-06-17, 11:36 PM   #2
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My wife has been saying for years that someone should invent this. She was so pumped when I showed her the video. I think you're on to something.
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Old 09-06-17, 11:38 PM   #3
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I have often wondered about having one's weight more directed over the back wheel when tackling hills, but that would arguably mean that many cruiser style or comfort bikes would be better hill climbers than a lot of road bikes, and that just doesn't seem right to me.
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Old 09-06-17, 11:42 PM   #4
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I have often wondered about having one's weight more directed over the back wheel when tackling hills, but that would arguably mean that many cruiser style or comfort bikes would be better hill climbers than a lot of road bikes, and that just doesn't seem right to me.

I know what you mean, but those bikes are heavy, don't have click in pedals, and, their bar position isn't as extreme. Mine is at the perfect point where it couldn't get any better.

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Old 09-06-17, 11:55 PM   #5
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I seriously doubt this will make climbing easier with a bike that has been fitted right... Preferrably you'd have the stem / bar / brake lever / drop configuration set with the stem and road bar in such a manner that the bar tops are optimal for climbing while you still maintain enough reach for the brake levers and have deep enough drop to be comfortable for extended downhills / headwinds. There is quite a bit of variation in drop bars in terms of width, reach and drop to allow for all of the above to happen.
Also, not being able to put weight on the pedals? Isn't that a saddle position issue rather than bar position issue? If the saddle is too far back then yes, one pushes forward rather than down but that's pretty easy to remedy.

A second issue I see with this system is of course durability. I have an adjustable stem like the one on the video and I would not in a million years allow it to support my weight without the pivot being properly attatched with 10nm of bolt torque. One reason it requires that clamping force is because the pivot needs the be immobile to reduce wear. The teeth which hold the pivot in place inside that thing are at least in one side made of aluminum alloy which is very weak in terms of abrasion resistance. If those teeth get to move around without a proper immobilizing clamping force they are going to wear smooth in no time leaving the pivot point without those crucial teeth holding your own teeth intact.

A third Issue in terms of touring I notice is the complete and utter incompatability with handlebar bags.

A fourth issue is the rotation of the bars, making all other hand positions aside from bar tops unusable, also making the brake lever unaccessible etc. I for one prefer to have various hand positions even when climbing and I do like to have access to brakes since I may need to stop quickly even when climbing.

Then there are the silly comments on the video. I doubt moving one's point of balance back and up is very beneficial in steep climbs since in my experience that tends to result in wheelie. Some hills are steep enough that you actually need to bend forwards more to prevent this. Now imagine you have the bar rotated back and up when you hit a steep section. Do you stop and adjust the stem? Or do you try to somehow stay on the saddle when all you do is wheelie all the time? This brings us back to my first point in which I stated that these issues need to be handled with a proper stem length / height and proper bar shape.

Also, climbing out of the saddle like a desperate person? I'm out of words with this one... I will however say that some of us prefer climbing out of the saddle every now and then. It's fun. You should try it sometime.

And to finish this all off, you can actually get the exact same effect but better and more safely by putting aerobars on the bike. The bar pads lift up the maximum riding height quite significantly if that is preferred and there is no inevitable stem failure looming in the future. And you can just put the pads on, no actual need for the bars. I just tried using just the pads for resting position yesterday and it works surprisingly well. I'll stick with the bars though since you can use those to torque the body for more power and overall handling / control is better with the bars present.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:10 AM   #6
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My wife has been saying for years that someone should invent this. She was so pumped when I showed her the video. I think you're on to something.

Thanks guys! I'm sending this stem to Road Bike Action Magazine, maybe they can find someone to make 'em for us.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:36 AM   #7
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I seriously doubt this will make climbing easier with a bike that has been fitted right... Preferrably you'd have the stem / bar / brake lever / drop configuration set with the stem and road bar in such a manner that the bar tops are optimal for climbing while you still maintain enough reach for the brake levers and have deep enough drop to be comfortable for extended downhills / headwinds. There is quite a bit of variation in drop bars in terms of width, reach and drop to allow for all of the above to happen.
Also, not being able to put weight on the pedals? Isn't that a saddle position issue rather than bar position issue? If the saddle is too far back then yes, one pushes forward rather than down but that's pretty easy to remedy.

A second issue I see with this system is of course durability. I have an adjustable stem like the one on the video and I would not in a million years allow it to support my weight without the pivot being properly attatched with 10nm of bolt torque. One reason it requires that clamping force is because the pivot needs the be immobile to reduce wear. The teeth which hold the pivot in place inside that thing are at least in one side made of aluminum alloy which is very weak in terms of abrasion resistance. If those teeth get to move around without a proper immobilizing clamping force they are going to wear smooth in no time leaving the pivot point without those crucial teeth holding your own teeth intact.

A third Issue in terms of touring I notice is the complete and utter incompatability with handlebar bags.

A fourth issue is the rotation of the bars, making all other hand positions aside from bar tops unusable, also making the brake lever unaccessible etc. I for one prefer to have various hand positions even when climbing and I do like to have access to brakes since I may need to stop quickly even when climbing.

Then there are the silly comments on the video. I doubt moving one's point of balance back and up is very beneficial in steep climbs since in my experience that tends to result in wheelie. Some hills are steep enough that you actually need to bend forwards more to prevent this. Now imagine you have the bar rotated back and up when you hit a steep section. Do you stop and adjust the stem? Or do you try to somehow stay on the saddle when all you do is wheelie all the time? This brings us back to my first point in which I stated that these issues need to be handled with a proper stem length / height and proper bar shape.

Also, climbing out of the saddle like a desperate person? I'm out of words with this one... I will however say that some of us prefer climbing out of the saddle every now and then. It's fun. You should try it sometime.

And to finish this all off, you can actually get the exact same effect but better and more safely by putting aerobars on the bike. The bar pads lift up the maximum riding height quite significantly if that is preferred and there is no inevitable stem failure looming in the future. And you can just put the pads on, no actual need for the bars. I just tried using just the pads for resting position yesterday and it works surprisingly well. I'll stick with the bars though since you can use those to torque the body for more power and overall handling / control is better with the bars present.


I posted my first version of this stem in the "Road Bike" forum. A lot of resistance. Heaven forbid you ever leave the aggressive Racing Crouch, even to climb a hill. And I admit it looks lame. That's why I posted here for the second one.
If you want to crush a standing beer can into a hockey puck, would you just jump on it , or would you place your hands on a table, bend at the waist and crush it slowly?
Durability- My design is poor, but I had to work with what's available, using my Dremel, and some small files. I'm not a machinist or an engineer.
There are many hand positions available on this bar when it's up.
Wheelies are absolutely not an issue.
You can climb out of the saddle, you can even leave the bars down if you'd like, they don't rotate unless you push the release lever.
Aerobars would never be used when climbing. You need to get your weight back, over the crank. That includes your head, arms, and upper body.

Last edited by roadrecumbent; 09-07-17 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:42 AM   #8
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.... I admit it looks lame. That's why I posted here .....
ouch!
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Old 09-07-17, 12:46 AM   #9
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ouch!

It looks even lamer being passed by someone with this stem
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Old 09-07-17, 01:09 AM   #10
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I posted my first version of this stem in the "Road Bike" forum. A lot of resistance. Heaven forbid you ever leave the aggressive Racing Crouch, even to climb a hill. And I admit it looks lame. That's why I posted here for the second one.
And this is the touring forum. A lot of people here use either handlebar bags or handlebar rolls and a stem like this would make them impossible / very difficult to use.
Also considering a loaded bike, this would potentially make the bike handle worse especially if there is any weight at the front of the bike.

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If you want to crush a standing beer can into a hockey puck, would you just jump on it , or would you place your hands on a table, bend at the waist and crush it slowly?
That is simply not how pedaling action works. Pedaling a bike as an action is pretty unique in terms of biomechanics. I've seen comparisons to running, jumping, standing etc, but none of them work. What I'd consider to be the closest thing to pedaling is a squat, but even that doesn't work nearly good enough to use as a good analogue.
You just assume that since one is more over the pedals one can excert more power downwards on the pedals and this would in fact be true if you were pedaling out of the saddle. However in your example the saddle is in the way so it doesn't work. Furthermore the saddle being present dictates somewhat the pelvic angle one has while climbing and pelvic angle is HUGE when it comes to muscle recruitment. You have your pelvis sticking up too much due to your upper body sticking up too much and you won't get enough muscles doing the work. If your analogue were true my Opafiets would be an insane climbing machine. It however is not. It sucks at climbing.

This actually where the squat analogy comes in to play. You can't squat properly with an upwards facing pelvic angle. To get full leg muscle recruitment going you need to actually pivot the pelvis forward to match the angle of the back. The more forward lean there is (to a point) the more muscles you are going to be recruiting for the squat. For this reason a low bar back squat which has most forward lean of the conventional barbell squats is going to give the best all around leg exercise while a front squat where the pelvis and torso remain almost fully upright is primarily a quadricep exercise.

Pedaling a bicycle is kinda, not really, but kinda a one legged squat. It uses some of the same mechanics and hence the more you pivot the pelvis forward (to a point), the more you can activate the whole leg and get maximum power out. There is also an additional advantage of reach to the handlebar. If you have enough reach and enough drop, you can actually pull DOWN on the handlebar to use the upper body to further add power to the pedals. This cannot be done however if the handlebar is too close and too high since the vector you're pulling towards is too different from the vector you're pedaling down at.

And this all brings us to saddle positioning. Some people prefer the saddle to be well back, so they kinda pedal forwards like in a pseudo recumbent. Some people (me included) prefer to have the pedal directly under the most powerful downward pedal stroke so when we pedal we pedal directly downwards and not forwards.

Why then are the tops so often used as the de facto climbing position? The answer: breathing.
When you are stretched out to the drops or hoods you are somewhat hunched no matter what so maximum breathing capability is compromized. Not by much but a little nonetheless. However the aerodynamic advantage, increased power output and simply, more comfort due to more stretching out usually outweighs the slightly compromized breathing ability. However uphills are tough and aerodynamics are not as important in slower speeds. Going up hill we usually get winded, need to breathe more and transfer to the bar tops to allow this. Usually however the tops position is still so far forward that muscle recruitment is not severly or at all compromized. Depending on riding position one can get the same power out at the tops as at the hoods but hoods is more aerodynamic and drops even more so.

So to answer your analogue about crushing a can, if I were sitting on a saddle, I would definitely want to have more reach and drop as well as optimal over the pedal saddle position to get maximum power to push down at the can.

Your premise is interesting, but it is unfortunately wrong from the point of view of biomechanics.

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Durability- My design is poor, but I had to work with what's available, using my Dremel, and some small files. I'm not a machinist or an engineer.
One could say that the stem is such a paramount area in bike safety, that tinkering with it should probably be left for the professionals. There are on the go adjustable stems on the market, but they adjust back to front, not up and down, which I would see as more beneficial.

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There are many hand positions available on this bar when it's up.
To me it seems most of them are bad ones.

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Wheelies are absolutely not an issue.
Have you tried it at the extremely steep stuff? Cause that's also something that comes up often enough when touring.


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Aerobars would never be used when climbing. You need to get your weight back, over the crank.
That's not what I meant. I mean that when you have aerobars you can rest your hands on the bar pads which raise the effective bar top by quite a lot. They do block the actual bar top though, which is a bummer but resting the hands on the pads is not so bad.
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Old 09-07-17, 05:02 AM   #11
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How do you calculate "4% faster to the top"? Statistics? Only you riding? How many trials? HR monitor?

Looking at this hill specific bike setup, they both move the seat forward and LOWER the bars because the hill naturally tilts the bicycle.


For me, wheelies creates a very big issue, trying to get the perfect balance between weight forward to keep the front wheel down, and weight back for rear wheel traction. I have one folding bike with an upright rider position that is almost unrideable climbing hills due to wheelies

Try your mod on a 20% slope somewhere
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Old 09-07-17, 07:12 AM   #12
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I have often wondered about having one's weight more directed over the back wheel when tackling hills, but that would arguably mean that many cruiser style or comfort bikes would be better hill climbers than a lot of road bikes, and that just doesn't seem right to me.
That's important for bikes ridden on loose surfaces.
There, lightly loaded rear wheels can slip.
Unless your rear wheel is breaking loose, wheel load has no bearing on climbing efficiency.
There may be secondary mechanisms at play where short chainstays coincides with a better ride position. Then its the improved position and not the rear wheel load that gives better climbing.
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Old 09-07-17, 08:03 AM   #13
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I have often wondered about having one's weight more directed over the back wheel when tackling hills, but that would arguably mean that many cruiser style or comfort bikes would be better hill climbers than a lot of road bikes, and that just doesn't seem right to me.
when i switch from drop bars to inverted mustache bars i can climb in higher gears and at really slow crank speeds if i want. something about pulling up on the bars while pushing down with my back straight. i also prefer a higher seatpost when my bike is set up this way.
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Old 09-07-17, 11:32 AM   #14
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I think this is a pretty cool idea, but a perfect version for me would rotate the bars as the stem moved. Keep the bars always on the same angle but being able to switch the height on the fly... I could see that coming in handy to change positions while riding.
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Old 09-07-17, 03:00 PM   #15
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I thought that I saw Chris Froome using a set up like this to win the Tour de France.
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Old 09-07-17, 03:24 PM   #16
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I thought that I saw Chris Froome using a set up like this to win the Tour de France.
If he did, you would see everyone with them 2 days later.
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Old 09-07-17, 05:06 PM   #17
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I thought that I saw Chris Froome using a set up like this to win the Tour de France.
i am dubious about the benefit of this new stem. just about as dubious as i am about the tdf having anything to do with how i tour.
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Old 09-07-17, 06:55 PM   #18
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I just walked into my bathroom and weighed myself - 140. I leaned over with my hands on the sink - 120. This is what I'm saying. You want to put all 140 lbs. on the front pedal, it's 20 lbs of force you don't have to generate with your muscles. It's what you do when you climb out of the saddle- You go to exactly the place that puts the most weight on the front pedal.

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Old 09-07-17, 09:12 PM   #19
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I hate to burst your bubble on this weight on the pedals theory but if in theory if someone weighed 500 pounds, then they would apply even more weight, and would really fly up hills, right.
What is really happening is that the lower more aggressive a position, one is able to use the strongest muscle in your body; glutinous maximus. If more upright meant better climbing would you see more road pro's riding upright? A lot of them are being paid, well in some cases millions of dollars a year. So you think you are right and all of them are wrong. Funny. I think your instant upright position may be more suited as a celebration for when you make it to the top, so you can go.. weeee all the way back down home.
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Old 09-07-17, 09:31 PM   #20
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If your 500 lb guy isn't fat, he doesn't even exist.
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Old 09-07-17, 10:06 PM   #21
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Interesting concept, ideally we'd have more stock high-rise touring stems. But handlebar position is more about comfort than absolute efficiency. Upright climbing position actually moves weight backward of BB.
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Old 09-07-17, 10:16 PM   #22
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How do you calculate "4% faster to the top"? Statistics? Only you riding? How many trials? HR monitor?
Try your mod on a 20% slope somewhere

20 runs up a short hill, the one in the video, with bars down, 20 runs bars up. 25 seconds with bars down 24 with bars up. I used an srm Powermeter. a solid second. 4%. I was surprised to see I was using more power with the bars up. I thought I was using less. That's because your comfort level goes up so much.
You'd probably get out of the saddle on a 20% climb. I don't think they exist, unless it's someones driveway.


It started with the black carbon chopper. It felt like I was climbing hills easier and faster than the on the Cannondale. When I rigged the CDale bars up and back to match the seat bar pedal realationship of the chopper, I got the same effect.

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Old 09-07-17, 11:04 PM   #23
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i have nothing to do with this stem or the argument about its effectiveness but i have to say that when i am sitting more upright i do climb faster and easier in higher gears. this may be contrary to others experience but it does actually happen for me. i may have ridden up 20% grades a time or two, i am not sure but i do know that i regularly ride up a 14% grade and my front wheel does get light but the upright position makes a world of difference in the climb. on average i would say i go from 40-34 on drop bars to 40-28 on inverted mustache bars. included is a pic of my own personal hillslayer.
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Old 09-08-17, 05:49 AM   #24
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In my limited experience with adjustable stems, they creak annoyingly and just don't feel very solid. Modifying one, removing material, wouldn't make me feel any better about it.
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Old 09-08-17, 06:22 AM   #25
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In my limited experience with adjustable stems, they creak annoyingly and just don't feel very solid. Modifying one, removing material, wouldn't make me feel any better about it.
that is absolutely true. the creaking is quite annoying.
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