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Cut a quill stem?

Old 09-17-20, 08:49 AM
  #1  
Thruhiker 
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Cut a quill stem?

Hi everybody
I want to lower my handlebars. The quill stem I have is very long and is for raising the bars. Is there any reason I cant cut a couple inches off? I know the cut needs to be precise for the expander/pinch bolt to work. I know the bolt itself will need cut or replaced. I realize the minimum insertion mark will not be correct. I'm just being cheap and impatient. I dont want to order/wait for a new one. Your thoughts or experiences?
bike is a 91' trek 1100
Stem is Nitto technomic
heres a few pics

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Old 09-17-20, 08:54 AM
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...my thoughts are you can probably do this with that stem and get away with it. My experience suggests that to do it properly is a PIA , and that waiting for a new one is what I would do.
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Old 09-17-20, 08:57 AM
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I would wait for a new one and sell the old one.
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Old 09-17-20, 09:09 AM
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Go for it. It might convince you to buy another stem sooner. Which is what you should have done in the first place.
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Old 09-17-20, 09:17 AM
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If the wall thickness is consistent and you have a shorter threaded bolt to fit the new length, then it should work. If not, you’ll end up with an usable stem and as already noted will be buying a newer one sooner.

I‘m thinking you might end up having to buy a shorter stem just to get the shorter bolt.

John
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Old 09-17-20, 09:19 AM
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Yeah, I would wait for a replacement rather than cut it. Don't forget, if you're thinking of making it significantly shorter you will likely have to get a replacement expander bolt, or cut additional threads, which is a PIA no matter how you look at it.

I've done stupid and impetuous things with a hacksaw on some classic steel frames when I was younger. And that's a nice looking stem. Somebody out there will be very happy get it. Besides, unless you're determined to keep the 'classic' look, you could put on a quill adapter and then have access to easily changed out modern stems.
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Old 09-17-20, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
If the wall thickness is consistent and you have a shorter threaded bolt to fit the new length, then it should work. If not, you’ll end up with an usable stem and as already noted will be buying a newer one sooner.

I‘m thinking you might end up having to buy a shorter stem just to get the shorter bolt.

John
+1. I would just trade it for a shorter stem. Plenty of people like those Technomic stems.
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Old 09-17-20, 09:32 AM
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I'm usually a DIY type, but a trip to the ER due to a header from a failed stem would buy an armful of new stems. Co-op or old time bike shop might have a stem in a parts box that would work. 20mph impact with flesh, bones, concrete, trees, cars etc. is a priority of things to avoid.
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Old 09-17-20, 09:38 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by cyclist2000 View Post
I would wait for a new one and sell the old one.
Ditto. You can probably come out ahead on the exchange if you buy an inexpensive new stem.
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Old 09-17-20, 09:48 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by joeruge View Post
Yeah, I would wait for a replacement rather than cut it. Don't forget, if you're thinking of making it significantly shorter you will likely have to get a replacement expander bolt, or cut additional threads, which is a PIA no matter how you look at it.
If the bolt threads are rolled, which is very likely, there will not be enough material to cut full threads. Unless you have a way to roll threads you will be stuck.
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Old 09-17-20, 09:55 AM
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You're going to have to source a shorter stem bolt, 'cos I don't think you'll be able to bodge the one you have. Where are you going to get said bolt of the appropriate length? Riding with the bars too high for a few days won't kill you. Order the shorter stem and do it right.
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Old 09-17-20, 10:15 AM
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I see no real issue with cutting it down. You need an accurate angled cut but you can get there simply by trying on the wedge and filing until it sits nicely. I"m guessing one of the fastener outfits make a suitable long bolt with a head that will work. No rocket science here. There are also thousands of old stems you can lift a shorter bolt from. Any bike coop.

That said, Nitto (and others) make lots of short quill stems of any quality level you want. There are tons of used ones out there. So why bother? (And who knows, you might age and want higher bars some day.)

Ben
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Old 09-17-20, 10:26 AM
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Makes no sense. You'll have to go shopping for a shorter bolt anyways, why not just shop for a shorter stem?
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Old 09-17-20, 10:38 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
If the wall thickness is consistent and you have a shorter threaded bolt to fit the new length, then it should work. If not, you’ll end up with an usable stem and as already noted will be buying a newer one sooner.

I‘m thinking you might end up having to buy a shorter stem just to get the shorter bolt.

John
thanks everyone for the answers. I didnt think of it not being the same wall thickness. That is a good reason to just get a new one. I had a shorter nitto bolt from another stem but it doesnt have the reach I want.
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Old 09-17-20, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Thruhiker View Post
thanks everyone for the answers. I didnt think of it not being the same wall thickness. That is a good reason to just get a new one. I had a shorter nitto bolt from another stem but it doesnt have the reach I want.
Before you commit to a new purchase, you should compare the change in handlebar position here:

Stem Comparison Tool | yojimg.net

I just upgraded my wife's vintage road bike and that tool was very helpful in deciding on what length & reach quill stem she needed.
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Old 09-17-20, 02:54 PM
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Thanks for the link. Thsts pretty neat.useing the comparison tool on my phone I dont have the minus button so i have to put the value in at 343 degree stem angle. Fun to play around with though. There was one similiar to that for handlebars I used a while ago. Whatbars.com I think it was. Sorry I dont know how to include links.
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Old 09-17-20, 05:42 PM
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Ah, quill stems with ye olde single-bolt bar clamp are a pretty good reason not to be into vintage... swapping a stem can take more than 45 minutes instead of less than five.

I reckon if you're gonna use old steel (as opposed to hanging it on a wall), go the hotrod route; modernise everything but the frameset. Quill adapters suck, but there's a bloke on here (joejack?) who's made an awesome refinement to the concept by including the headset.
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Old 09-17-20, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Ah, quill stems with ye olde single-bolt bar clamp ... swapping a stem can take more than 45 minutes instead of less than five.
And it takes 30 seconds to raise or lower the stem, given non-aero levers.

Not to mention, they actually look good.
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Old 09-17-20, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Not to mention, they actually look good.
If you consider 'obviously undercooked' a desirable aesthetic, sure.

This system was conceived in steel, remember. Ally quill stems are all flexy, unless you're talking 1.125 MTB, and 1" bars are flat out being securely clamped enough not to rotate when you jump a gutter with your hands on the hoods.

I reckon you'll enjoy life more if you decide to include a rule in your aesthetic criteria that if it works better, that means it looks better.
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Old 09-17-20, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
I reckon you'll enjoy life more if you decide to include a rule in your aesthetic criteria that if it works better, that means it looks better.
I reckon I'll continue to love riding my sexy as **** vintage lightweights if I follow my heart.
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Old 09-18-20, 04:41 AM
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I'm lucky that my best friend is a machinist. He has milled down the length of several stems and quill adapters for me. That said they were all high quality, Nitto, Cinelli etc. You just have to make sure the milled angle is the same as the original and that new marks are made for minimum insertion based on the previous ones. Cutting the bolt and cleaning up the end is no big deal. On every one we did the wall thickness was measured and there was never a deviation.
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