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Old 10-23-08, 02:39 PM   #1
Freewheeler
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Trekking bar + Short stem = problem?

Hi All,

I'm trying to stop hand numbness on a MTB I'm hoping to do some touring on, I've tried a few different things including riser bars set as high as I can get them (a tad higher than my saddle), a short stem & Ergon grips (soo comfy but not a cure for me).

I've come to the conclusion that the bike is too long for me, always has been (Its a Dawes lugged 531 frame I bought new to swap all my Marin Pine Mountain parts onto when I was hit by a Land Rover 16 years ago!).

I really do like this bike & thought one last try would to use a trekking bar, this will in effect bring the main (controls) position even closer to the saddle, the thing is my stem is 3" (7.5cm) long so I imagine the area of the bars where the contols mount might end up behind the steering pivot?

Would this set up be unstable?
Dangerously so or just a bit twitchy?

This bike rides easy hands free, if that makes a difference.

If anyone can mesure the distance between where their Trekking bars mount & how far they come back, that'd be helpful.
Sorry for rambling
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Old 10-23-08, 03:00 PM   #2
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This is with a 90 mm or about 3.5" stem. Has never seemed twitchy to me. Hope this helps.

Last edited by robow; 10-23-08 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 10-24-08, 04:56 AM   #3
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Thanks Robow, that is helpful

The reason for my concern is that as far as I know the length of the stem has some affect on stability, it is a lever that you lean against. My set up would probably have no "lever" whatsoever in the nearest position.

Based on your set up I'll give it a go.
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Old 10-24-08, 06:33 AM   #4
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Thanks Robow, that is helpful

The reason for my concern is that as far as I know the length of the stem has some affect on stability, it is a lever that you lean against. My set up would probably have no "lever" whatsoever in the nearest position.

Based on your set up I'll give it a go.
I like short stems on my bikes. I have an 80 mm stem on my LHT and it causes no problems.
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Old 10-24-08, 08:21 AM   #5
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I know some individuals especially in the road forum will argue over a 10 or 20 mm difference in stem length but I guess I'm not that observant because I've used everything from an 80-120 mm stem depending on the top tube length and never really noticed a huge difference or one that I couldn't adapt to quite quickly. I feel if we're talking about loaded touring, the amount of weight in the front panniers seems to have a much greater impact on steering than an extra 10 or 20 mm stem length. These are just my observations and you may feel differently.
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Old 10-24-08, 10:21 AM   #6
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I think stability vs stem length is as relevant as whether you place your hands on the brake hoods or on the bar tops. Bottom line is it really doesn't matter to the average cyclist.
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Old 10-24-08, 04:06 PM   #7
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7.5cm doesn't sound particularly short.

What about putting bar ends on - so you can change positions?
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Old 10-27-08, 08:51 PM   #8
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I think it depends on how big you felt the reach was to begin with. I thought my reach was good, but decided to try a trekking bar for other reasons. When I first tried it with the stock 90mm stem, it felt way too short. Once I switched to a 130mm stem, it feels great. A little upright on the closest in position, but not enough to effect the braking or steering. However, since yours felt too long to begin with, you might not need to lengthen your stem. Sorry, I don't have my bike or tape handy to measure what you requested.
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Old 10-28-08, 06:32 AM   #9
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Yes, I had a torrid time trying to make my trekking bars comfortable -I almost gave up on them. In the end I took them off my touring bike and put them on an old mtb bike I'd converted to be a commuting or backup touring bike along with a long stem that hadn't worked, and all of a sudden they were super comfortable. My experience has been that the trekking bars are extremely sensitive to stem length and usually require a longer stem -unless as TOLOCOMan said, you feel that you are stretched out already. My experience was also similar -at the closest position (even with a long stem) -they feel a little upright but still very comfortable.

Also to echo and second Robows comments -I've also used many different stem lengths and found that the distance to the bars is much more important to me than the length of the stem (i.e. different bikes with different top tube lengths mean different stem lengths for me). I can't say I've ever noticed a 90mm stem feeling very different from a 120mm stem -really no issue for me. Might be different for others as they might be able to feel a tiller effect but I can't.

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Originally Posted by TOLOCOMan View Post
I think it depends on how big you felt the reach was to begin with. I thought my reach was good, but decided to try a trekking bar for other reasons. When I first tried it with the stock 90mm stem, it felt way too short. Once I switched to a 130mm stem, it feels great. A little upright on the closest in position, but not enough to effect the braking or steering. However, since yours felt too long to begin with, you might not need to lengthen your stem. Sorry, I don't have my bike or tape handy to measure what you requested.
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