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Loosen stem every time for tight storage?

Old 01-22-16, 11:46 AM
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RubeRad
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Loosen stem every time for tight storage?

I have 7, sometimes 8 bikes parked in my crib-rack (not all mine, family of 5), and it's usually a pain to keep the 29ers' handlebars out of the way of each other, or other bikes.

I was recalling when Niner came and did a demo at my LBS, the rep not only fit each bike to each test-rider in terms of seat height, pedal swap, and suspension psi, but he also re-set the threadless stem onto the steerer every time, loosening it again every time a rider came back, to rack the bikes more compactly with handlebars in line.

So I do loosen/straighten the bars for the one least-used mtb that lives up against the wall, and that helps. But those 29ers, nearly the same size, their extra wide flatbars always seem to want to occupy the same space. Reversing every other bike doesn't work too well, because handlebars in towards the rack makes it tough for bikes coming in from the other side of the rack.

Does anybody here loosen their stem rotate their handlebars to park it after every ride?
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Old 01-22-16, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Does anybody here loosen their stem rotate their handlebars to park it after every ride?
No. That would be a massive pain in the arse.
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Old 01-22-16, 12:36 PM
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I agree, loosening the stem after each ride and having to realign and tighten it before the next one would get real old real fast. If you have the ceiling height in your storage area, a some hooks in the ceiling would let you get a few of those bikes off the floor and over the others.
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Old 01-22-16, 12:49 PM
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No. That would be a massive pain in the arse.
Squeezing bikes into the same tight space all the time is a pretty sizeable pain in the arse.

I just got an idea -- what about a quick-release stem? Quick-release levers for the top and two side bolts, once you get the top set to the right preload, and the sides to proper clamping tension, it's just a quick flip-flip-flip to release the handlebars, and a quick clamp-clamp-clamp to get ready to ride. There's also the tedium of getting the bars perfectly perpendicular again, maybe the system could be notched somehow so you can feel where the right position is.
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Old 01-22-16, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
I agree, loosening the stem after each ride and having to realign and tighten it before the next one would get real old real fast. If you have the ceiling height in your storage area, a some hooks in the ceiling would let you get a few of those bikes off the floor and over the others.
That's why I was surprised that this Niner tech was loosening and re-tightening every bike in between rides. In and out of the trailer I understand, but every ride? I was thinking, maybe through repetition, he just got so good at it, it wasn't a big deal anymore. I wonder if he does it at home for his personal bikes.

Overhead: yes, the overhead space is already occupied by two bikes that didn't make the cut for living in the rack for 'easy' access. Also there are 4-5 bikes on the back patio (under a tarp for sun/rain protection). 5 people in the family and at least one road/mountain bike for each adds up!
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Old 01-22-16, 12:55 PM
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Not surprisingly because there are small Houses , There are Asian made QR stems that allow you to do this task,
without Tools.


When Visiting in NL I noted a small shop the whole bike inventory had its Handlebars Turned , and the Pedals not yet installed ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-22-16 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 01-22-16, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Not surprisingly because there are small Houses , There are Asian made QR stems that allow you to do this task, without Tools.
Interesting, can you point me to any? Searching fleabay turned up only this (but I would need 1 1/8") and this (cool, but solves a different problem). Also a few of these, but that's for threaded.
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Old 01-22-16, 01:15 PM
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Get rid of the 29ers.. or..
Get different bars. I can't figure out why the bars are so wide.
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Old 01-22-16, 01:17 PM
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Seen in the Satori Brand Product Range .. https://www.satoribike.com/

Pg 36 of catalog PDF

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-22-16 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 01-22-16, 01:27 PM
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If I wanted to turn the bars to save storage space, I wouldn't touch the stem: I'd take off the front wheel and turn the bars.
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Old 01-22-16, 01:34 PM
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Seen in the Satori Brand Product Range .. https://www.satoribike.com/

Pg 36 of catalog PDF
Nice! Found it on eBay, it didn't turn up searching for "quick-release stem". Apparently it was designed for quick-release height, but has a side-effect of quick-release rotation.



So it looks like that total length of 196mm would reduce to a minimum of maybe 100mm above the top-tube once the bottom bit is inserted into the top of the steerer. That's quite a bit, I'll have to see whether that would work for me.

Could be useful also to temporarily pop the bars up higher (and seat lower) for steep downhills. (no I don't have a dropper post -- yet)
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Old 01-22-16, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
If I wanted to turn the bars to save storage space, I wouldn't touch the stem: I'd take off the front wheel and turn the bars.
Yeah, that's an option too. I'll play around with that.
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Old 01-22-16, 01:38 PM
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Aha! Satori ET2-AHS is exactly what I'm looking for!


  • Tool-free easy handlebar side turning.
  • Fixed positions for adjustment between riding and folding.
  • Fork tube clamp inserted with serrated metallurgy pieces for secure clamping of it.
  • Same assembly like regular ahead set stem.
  • Lever with safety-lock button.



But it doesn't seem to be stocked anywhere in the U.S....

Last edited by RubeRad; 01-22-16 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 01-22-16, 01:42 PM
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How long does it take to loosen two hex bolts after a ride and tighten them the next day? I wouldn't have thought it was a great problem, unless it's a carbon steerer/stem and you need a torque wrench for safe adjustment.

Or are there hidden complications?
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Old 01-22-16, 01:48 PM
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Nope, I've got an alu steerer. The hidden complication (for me at least) is getting the bars precisely perpendicular each ride. It took me at least half an hour of eyeball, tighten, ride, nope, loosen, tweak, tighten, ride, nope, ... to get them 'truly' perpendicular (to within what I can perceive anways)
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Old 01-22-16, 02:17 PM
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have you considered vertical storage? a pulley system for bikes not used a lot, or a rack where one bike is on top, another on the bottom.
Of my five bikes and my wife's three, only hers are on the floor.
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Old 01-22-16, 02:23 PM
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Would it be possible to make a mark on the stem to match up with a mark on the head tube as an indicator of the correct position? I would imagine most bars are one or two degrees out of true most of the time anyway.
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Old 01-22-16, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Squeezing bikes into the same tight space all the time is a pretty sizeable pain in the arse.

I just got an idea -- what about a quick-release stem? Quick-release levers for the top and two side bolts, once you get the top set to the right preload, and the sides to proper clamping tension, it's just a quick flip-flip-flip to release the handlebars, and a quick clamp-clamp-clamp to get ready to ride. There's also the tedium of getting the bars perfectly perpendicular again, maybe the system could be notched somehow so you can feel where the right position is.
Frame builders have made stems with an S&S coupler like this one from Lennard Zinn

OTOH, at $895 you may prefer to remove and re-install the handlebars on bikes which don't see daily use.
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Old 01-22-16, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
have you considered vertical storage? a pulley system for bikes not used a lot, or a rack where one bike is on top, another on the bottom.
Of my five bikes and my wife's three, only hers are on the floor.
Yeah, I've got two bikes overhead on pulleys already, and 4-5 more out back. The bikes that are competing for space in this rack were chosen to be the subset that gets used the most.
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Old 01-22-16, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Gerryattrick View Post
Would it be possible to make a mark on the stem to match up with a mark on the head tube as an indicator of the correct position? I would imagine most bars are one or two degrees out of true most of the time anyway.
For sure, a mark could help. I'll be trying to think of a good way to do it. But 1-2 degrees out can add up to a lot with the wider bars that 29ers typically have (for finer control of the oversize wheels), and I feel like I notice small angular errors maybe more than other people. Generally in life, misaligned things stand out to me and bug me.
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Old 01-22-16, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
Frame builders have made stems with an S&S coupler like this one from Lennard Zinn

OTOH, at $895 you may prefer to remove and re-install the handlebars on bikes which don't see daily use.
That's really cool, and would maintain handlebar rotation, but you're right, $895 is way above the price I would pay to solve this problem! (it's more than my new 29er cost me!)
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Old 01-22-16, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Gerryattrick View Post
... Or are there hidden complications?
In threadless the stem clamp secures the Headset adjustment, too .. losing the adjustment may be important to you.
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Old 01-22-16, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
In threadless the stem clamp secures the Headset adjustment, too .. losing the adjustment may be important to you.
I was thinking if I only ever loosen/tighten the clamping bolts on the side, never the preload bolt through the cap into the starnut, it should be able to maintain the same preload. Or do you think rotating the bars back and forth would perturb the tension bolt enough to create problems?
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Old 01-22-16, 04:18 PM
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I think that would be fine. There's no need to loosen the stem bolts very much and preload might change very minutely over many slight loosenings of the stem, but not enough to need anything other than very slight adjustment once in a while.

I just think there's no need for complicated solutions (that could cost money) to a very simple problem.
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Old 01-22-16, 05:03 PM
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I agree, it's all a subjective matter though of what value an individual places on incremental simplification or better-solution of the problem.

It's just like battery vs dynamo lights. Battery lights and maintaining a sufficient number of charged batteries, is the simple, low-cost solution to the problem. Some people find that to be enough of a hassle, they're willing to pay money for a dynamo solution. I'm not one of those people.

In this case, however, I dunno. I will try out for a while just loosening & retightening, see how it goes, and decide later if I would be willing to pay $40-50 for a Satori ET2-AHS qr stem. Certainly I would not pay $895 to modify my stem with an S&S coupler! (I'd rather buy a bare S&S coupler and a hacksaw and epoxy or welding equipment and learn to modify my own stem!)
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