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Stem/headset/steerer tube questions

Old 03-19-21, 08:31 PM
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partyanimal
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Stem/headset/steerer tube questions

I've been able to teach myself a lot about working on my own bikes but one thing I haven't tackled yet is the stem or headset. I'll admit, I don't really understand the whole set up. I've changed handlebars where I didn't have to mess with the stem at all.
I'm looking to rebuild a bike I acquired for very cheap. It's an old Peugeot US Express women's mountain bike from 87/88/89. It's got a quill stem and an ungodly stem/handlebars. I'm looking to put drop bars and don't mind spending money on new parts.
i've been looking at Velo Orange parts, mostly because I really like the polished stainless steel look and I can get everything from one site.
I think I'd like the flexibility of having a threadless stem and VO makes a threadless stem adapter. This will also open up possibilities for what bars i can put on I think.
Questions:
1. Will this set up work? Here are the parts I'm thinking about:
Stem adapter: https://velo-orange.com/collections/stems/products/vo-threadless-stem-adaptor
Stem: https://velo-orange.com/products/thr...nt=53101919367
2. Anyone know what size the current stem might be on this Peugeot? (included pics of the bike and from one of the catalogs)
3. Would the current headset work on this or would I need to replace the whole thing? This is where I get confused. Many of the stems look like they don't have the full headset with the tops etc and it's hard to get a clear image of what parts go where. If i had to buy a new one any thoughts on which one would work with this set up? (Here's a link to the VO headset page: https://velo-orange.com/collections/headsets

I'm doing a lot of other stuff that I'm somewhat more comfortable with but I'll probably start a thread for this restoration.

Current bike/stem set up:






Specs from the catalog for one of the years I suspect this is:

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Old 03-19-21, 08:45 PM
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By the late 1980s Peugeot had moved on from French dimensional specs and to Eng/JIS ones. So to make an assumption the stem's quill would be 22.2mm ID. However as we all know one measurement is worth all of our assumptions, so measure first. If you don't have a suitable device (a caliper or micrometer) then try using basic geometry to help you. Take a strip of paper, wrap it around the stem's quill and make a mark on the paper that transfers to the layer beneath. Un wrap and take a ruler to measure the length between the marks. That's the circumference. Divide this by 3.1415 (22/7) to get the diameter. Sure this is also crude but the error will be 3.1415 times less then a direct diameter measurement with that same ruler.

To be save make certain of the return policies of wherever you source parts from. You are the classic person to discover a miss judgement after starting to assemble the parts. Of course a visit to a better bike shop could reduce the chance of errors that a newbie might make.

The headset will have no bearing (bad pun) on the stem as this is a threaded system and the headset includes the tightening device, unlike a threadless stem that also serves as the headset locking device. Andy.
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Old 03-19-21, 08:45 PM
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Your links all point to a threadless stem. If you were intending to point to something like this:

Quill Stem adapter

What that bike has is a threaded headset, that works with the steerer tube on the fork to provide a bearing for the fork to turn. The difference with a threadless headset is that the steerer tube is threadless, and the stem clamp, spacers, and top cap work together to preload the bearings (eliminate play), and then the stem bolts are tightened to lock that adjustment in.

In your case, switching between the two is close to impossible without finding a 1 inch threadless fork and headset to use. That's why the quill adapters exist. You insert it like the original stem, tighten the stem bolt and binder in the steerer, and bolt the stem onto the new 1 1/8" clamping area at the top of the adapter. The good news is that this will allow you to utilize modern handlebars with the new 31.8 mm clamp diameter, the bad news is that it's not very aesthetic.

If it gets the bike back in use though...
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Old 03-19-21, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
Your links all point to a threadless stem. If you were intending to point to something like this:

Quill Stem adapter

What that bike has is a threaded headset, that works with the steerer tube on the fork to provide a bearing for the fork to turn. The difference with a threadless headset is that the steerer tube is threadless, and the stem clamp, spacers, and top cap work together to preload the bearings (eliminate play), and then the stem bolts are tightened to lock that adjustment in.

In your case, switching between the two is close to impossible without finding a 1 inch threadless fork and headset to use. That's why the quill adapters exist. You insert it like the original stem, tighten the stem bolt and binder in the steerer, and bolt the stem onto the new 1 1/8" clamping area at the top of the adapter. The good news is that this will allow you to utilize modern handlebars with the new 31.8 mm clamp diameter, the bad news is that it's not very aesthetic.

If it gets the bike back in use though...
Yeah sorry that first link was supposed to be the adapter (https://velo-orange.com/collections/...s-stem-adaptor) So installing that should work?
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Old 03-19-21, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
By the late 1980s Peugeot had moved on from French dimensional specs and to Eng/JIS ones. So to make an assumption the stem's quill would be 22.2mm ID. However as we all know one measurement is worth all of our assumptions, so measure first. If you don't have a suitable device (a caliper or micrometer) then try using basic geometry to help you. Take a strip of paper, wrap it around the stem's quill and make a mark on the paper that transfers to the layer beneath. Un wrap and take a ruler to measure the length between the marks. That's the circumference. Divide this by 3.1415 (22/7) to get the diameter. Sure this is also crude but the error will be 3.1415 times less then a direct diameter measurement with that same ruler.

To be save make certain of the return policies of wherever you source parts from. You are the classic person to discover a miss judgement after starting to assemble the parts. Of course a visit to a better bike shop could reduce the chance of errors that a newbie might make.

The headset will have no bearing (bad pun) on the stem as this is a threaded system and the headset includes the tightening device, unlike a threadless stem that also serves as the headset locking device. Andy.
Thanks, you're probably right about me misjudging sizes. I was actually planning on buying calipers tomorrow. Something I've been meaning to add to my toolbox.
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Old 03-19-21, 08:57 PM
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Correction- The 22.2 is not the stem's ID but the steerer's ID or the stem"s OD. And a caliper is a very nice tool to have. Andy
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Old 03-19-21, 09:56 PM
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So where would length of a fork or steerer come into play? I know diameter matters but are most of these the same length or compatible? It's a 19" frame.
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Old 03-19-21, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by partyanimal View Post
So where would length of a fork or steerer come into play? I know diameter matters but are most of these the same length or compatible? It's a 19" frame.
The length of the fork or steerer would matter if you need/plan to replace the fork. Otherwise it makes no difference to the handlebar/stem setup.

FWIW: if there's a bike co-op or similar near you (and they'll let you in the door), borrow a set of drop handlebars with the brake levers attached. I think you'll find that the reach from the seat to the handlebars will be very long and you'll be in an uncomfortably stretched out position. This would be especially true if you put your hands on top the brake hoods which is a useful riding position on a conventional road bike.
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Old 03-19-21, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
The length of the fork or steerer would matter if you need/plan to replace the fork. Otherwise it makes no difference to the handlebar/stem setup.

FWIW: if there's a bike co-op or similar near you (and they'll let you in the door), borrow a set of drop handlebars with the brake levers attached. I think you'll find that the reach from the seat to the handlebars will be very long and you'll be in an uncomfortably stretched out position. This would be especially true if you put your hands on top the brake hoods which is a useful riding position on a conventional road bike.
That's not a bad idea, I do actually have a bike co-op nearby. The potential long reach is part of the reason I wanted to use the threadless stem adapter so I could add a super short stem. What other bars would you think would work? The wife would like drop bars on there, I know she absolutely hates the hybrid style bars like on there now. I was thinking of mustache bars. The frame is sort of compact but I totally agree with you.
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Old 03-20-21, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
The length of the fork or steerer would matter if you need/plan to replace the fork. Otherwise it makes no difference to the handlebar/stem setup.

FWIW: if there's a bike co-op or similar near you (and they'll let you in the door), borrow a set of drop handlebars with the brake levers attached. I think you'll find that the reach from the seat to the handlebars will be very long and you'll be in an uncomfortably stretched out position. This would be especially true if you put your hands on top the brake hoods which is a useful riding position on a conventional road bike.
What about something like this, assuming the diameter is the same for reach.
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Old 03-20-21, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by partyanimal View Post
What about something like this, assuming the diameter is the same for reach.
Shorter stems 'amplify' steering input, if the user is used to a 'normal' stem length between 90-120mm. Drop bars aren't generally as wide as flat bars or cruiser risers, so the longer stem adds a little leverage and at the same time 'slows' the steering input, which helps stability.
Contrast that with cruiser, mtb, or bmx stems, where the wider bars accomplish the same 'slowing' so a shorter stem can be used. There's also the frame's intended build; MTB and BMX frames use a longer top tube so longer stems give absurd reach, while cruisers relax the head tube and seat tube angles for upright riding.

That said, I'd try to find the rider's preferred reach and look for a stem that will put the hoods where they need to be. I haven't looked recently, but I think 80mm is about the distance that drop bars generally extend past the clamp to the beginning of the drop, or where the lever ramps would be. Measure on some other bikes to check that though, or measure the bars you'd like to use.

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Old 03-20-21, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
Shorter stems 'amplify' steering input, if the user is used to a 'normal' stem length between 90-120mm. Drop bars aren't generally as wide as flat bars or cruiser risers, so the longer stem adds a little leverage and at the same time 'slows' the steering input, which helps stability.
Contrast that with cruiser, mtb, or bmx stems, where the wider bars accomplish the same 'slowing' so a shorter stem can be used. There's also the frame's intended build; MTB and BMX frames use a longer top tube so longer stems give absurd reach, while cruisers relax the head tube and seat tube angles for upright riding.

That said, I'd try to find the rider's preferred reach and look for a stem that will put the hoods where they need to be. I haven't looked recently, but I think 80mm is about the distance that drop bars generally extend past the clamp to the beginning of the drop, or where the lever ramps would be. Measure on some other bikes to check that though, or measure the bars you'd like to use.
This build is for the wife. She's mostly ridden cruiser type bikes but wants to get into doing longer trail rides etc. She's never really ridden drops but understands she needs to adapt and kinda learn how to ride a different kind of bike. One of my worries going through this is having a crazy long reach and making it awkward to the point that it turns her off. I did look at a 80mm stem and might still go with that but I'll have to see what she's comfortable with. Your explanation of steering makes total sense though. When i got super back into riding about 10-12 years ago I started with a hybrid/mountain bike bars, went to a flat bar SS, changed to bullhorn bars, which was a huge change for me but fell in love with them. Now I've added a drop bar gravel bike and generally like it but still getting used to using the drops. They all react differently for sure.
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Old 03-20-21, 04:40 PM
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You will also need to arrange for a cable housing stop/hanger for your front cantilever brake. I prefer the fork crown mounted type, like this: https://www.amazon.com/Tektro-Front-.../dp/B006GHDRYC
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Old 03-20-21, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
You will also need to arrange for a cable housing stop/hanger for your front cantilever brake. I prefer the fork crown mounted type, like this: https://www.amazon.com/Tektro-Front-.../dp/B006GHDRYC
Yeah i was looking at those. I'm going to be doing some work on this at my local bike co-op so i'm hoping they have one lying around. If not I can order one. I'd like to keep everything chrome.
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Old 03-20-21, 11:05 PM
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This is an mid/late 80's Mongoose ATB that was originally a flat bar bike, very similar to the diamond frame Peugeot in your pic. I converted it to drop bars and current at the time, 2 x 10 Rival. I stayed with a quill stem and used 26mm diam. bars. I prefer larger diameter bars but kept it simple/clean with the quill stem and went with Fizik bar gel pads under the bar tape to add diameter and padding. I had a quill stem for initial trial fit then ordered the new stem with the length for the reach I wanted.
I believe that is the exact front cable hanger for the canti brakes I used. Obviously I went with all black vs the polished you are considering.

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Old 03-21-21, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by partyanimal View Post
Yeah i was looking at those. I'm going to be doing some work on this at my local bike co-op so i'm hoping they have one lying around. If not I can order one. I'd like to keep everything chrome.
I would suggest that you leave the reflector bracket on the bike, as you will need to have something to catch the straddle wire if the main brake cable should part or come loose, so the straddle wire does not foul the tire and lock the wheel. Even a wire tie loop or loop of string will work, anything to keep the cable from falling onto the tire, but since the bracket is already there...
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Old 03-21-21, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
I would suggest that you leave the reflector bracket on the bike, as you will need to have something to catch the straddle wire if the main brake cable should part or come loose, so the straddle wire does not foul the tire and lock the wheel. Even a wire tie loop or loop of string will work, anything to keep the cable from falling onto the tire, but since the bracket is already there...
I wasn't sure exactly what you were talking about until I looked at the bike today and it immediately made perfect sense. I will definitely try to that.
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Old 03-21-21, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
Otherwise it makes no difference to the handlebar/stem setup..

It makes a difference on a small frame with a short steerer. I've had a number of times you can't lower the stem because the steerer is so short and I hit the butting in the tube or the brake bolt,
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Old 03-22-21, 08:31 AM
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partyanimal , I just wanted to show a pic of a setup I'm working on right now--the threaded-to-threadless adapter, the Velo Orange stem, and the mustache handlebars, I'm doing all of that. It doesn't have the elegant narrow neck of the traditional quill stems, but I still think it looks pretty nice in the chrome, plus I like the flexibility of the threadless-style 2-bolt stem that allows removal of the handlebar without removing the brakes. I know you were concerned about the stem forcing her to reach out farther, but it's negated somewhat by the sweepback of the mustache bars. I have the 120mm, which is the longest one VO makes, but they makes ones down to 80mm. This is the Nitto Choco handlebar from Rivendell, which sweeps back quite a bit, but the Nitto Albatross works great too (I normally use the Albatross, but wanted to try the Choco--haven't ridden it yet so not sure if I'll keep it or swap back to the Albatross).
I switched from a flat bar on my commuter bike to a mustache after I started having bad wrist pain. The mustache completely eliminated the pain. Having my hands turned sideways made a huge difference.
If your wife isn't digging the drop bars, I think she would love a mustache bar. I loved the drop bars as a teen racing around, but for general riding around, the mustache is really wonderful (and all I use now).
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Old 03-22-21, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by lajt View Post
partyanimal , I just wanted to show a pic of a setup I'm working on right now--the threaded-to-threadless adapter, the Velo Orange stem, and the mustache handlebars, I'm doing all of that. It doesn't have the elegant narrow neck of the traditional quill stems, but I still think it looks pretty nice in the chrome, plus I like the flexibility of the threadless-style 2-bolt stem that allows removal of the handlebar without removing the brakes. I know you were concerned about the stem forcing her to reach out farther, but it's negated somewhat by the sweepback of the mustache bars. I have the 120mm, which is the longest one VO makes, but they makes ones down to 80mm. This is the Nitto Choco handlebar from Rivendell, which sweeps back quite a bit, but the Nitto Albatross works great too (I normally use the Albatross, but wanted to try the Choco--haven't ridden it yet so not sure if I'll keep it or swap back to the Albatross).
I switched from a flat bar on my commuter bike to a mustache after I started having bad wrist pain. The mustache completely eliminated the pain. Having my hands turned sideways made a huge difference.
If your wife isn't digging the drop bars, I think she would love a mustache bar. I loved the drop bars as a teen racing around, but for general riding around, the mustache is really wonderful (and all I use now).
That looks great. I had to order a quill to threadless stem adapter, after buying a set of calipers I realized it was the more rare 21.1mm stem. I also ordered the Velo-Orange stem but they make a 40mm so I'm gonna give that a try - and their Nouveau Randonneur bars which sweep back a little. Aside from hand position options, I wanted to also switch to brifters as I think it will be the easiest way to get her comfortable shifting. I actually offered up mustache bars for this and she still wanted to go with the drop bars. I actually like those bars a lot.
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Old 03-22-21, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by 02Giant View Post
This is an mid/late 80's Mongoose ATB that was originally a flat bar bike, very similar to the diamond frame Peugeot in your pic. I converted it to drop bars and current at the time, 2 x 10 Rival. I stayed with a quill stem and used 26mm diam. bars. I prefer larger diameter bars but kept it simple/clean with the quill stem and went with Fizik bar gel pads under the bar tape to add diameter and padding. I had a quill stem for initial trial fit then ordered the new stem with the length for the reach I wanted.
I believe that is the exact front cable hanger for the canti brakes I used. Obviously I went with all black vs the polished you are considering.

Somehow missed this till just now. That also looks really good. I'm going to look into that bar gel pads.
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Old 03-22-21, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by partyanimal View Post
This build is for the wife. She's mostly ridden cruiser type bikes but wants to get into doing longer trail rides etc. She's never really ridden drops but understands she needs to adapt and kinda learn how to ride a different kind of bike. One of my worries going through this is having a crazy long reach and making it awkward to the point that it turns her off. I did look at a 80mm stem and might still go with that but I'll have to see what she's comfortable with. Your explanation of steering makes total sense though. When i got super back into riding about 10-12 years ago I started with a hybrid/mountain bike bars, went to a flat bar SS, changed to bullhorn bars, which was a huge change for me but fell in love with them. Now I've added a drop bar gravel bike and generally like it but still getting used to using the drops. They all react differently for sure.
The shorter stem will also make her sit more upright. Unless the bike is an impossibly bad fit for her, why make adaptations that might make the bike even less suitable for what she is trying to do? Or what you are trying to make her do. The big part of learning something new is the period of discomfort where nothing fits and everything feels awkward. The first part of getting rid of the discomfort is to find a way to balance on the bike with minimal input from her arms and hands. It should feel as natural as sitting on a stool, except there's a bicycle underneath you. That starts with the relationship between the saddle and the pedals.

The reach on this old Peugeot is not "crazy long." Yeah, the stem looks long but the frame is short. The bigger problem I see is it's got a long narrow saddle for a woman to be sitting upright on, and it's tilted down in front so she's keeping herself from sliding off the front by pushing back with her arms. A half-hour of that is painful.

My suggestion is, first level the saddle, then take her and the bike to a shop and ask a somebody there to see how she sits on it to determine if the size isn't totally off the mark, Then, if it isn't, ask them to help you select a nice moderate women's hybrid saddle. If it is totally off the mark, buy her a new bike.
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Old 03-22-21, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
The shorter stem will also make her sit more upright. Unless the bike is an impossibly bad fit for her, why make adaptations that might make the bike even less suitable for what she is trying to do? Or what you are trying to make her do. The big part of learning something new is the period of discomfort where nothing fits and everything feels awkward. The first part of getting rid of the discomfort is to find a way to balance on the bike with minimal input from her arms and hands. It should feel as natural as sitting on a stool, except there's a bicycle underneath you. That starts with the relationship between the saddle and the pedals.

The reach on this old Peugeot is not "crazy long." Yeah, the stem looks long but the frame is short. The bigger problem I see is it's got a long narrow saddle for a woman to be sitting upright on, and it's tilted down in front so she's keeping herself from sliding off the front by pushing back with her arms. A half-hour of that is painful.

My suggestion is, first level the saddle, then take her and the bike to a shop and ask a somebody there to see how she sits on it to determine if the size isn't totally off the mark, Then, if it isn't, ask them to help you select a nice moderate women's hybrid saddle. If it is totally off the mark, buy her a new bike.
A little upright isn't going to be a bad thing. She's not trying to do century rides or anything. The saddle is mine, i just threw it on there to see how she sat on the bike. The one that was on there was an old, huge padded, beat up comfort seat so I tossed it. I plan on getting her probably a Brooks short saddle.
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Old 03-22-21, 08:14 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by partyanimal View Post
A little upright isn't going to be a bad thing. She's not trying to do century rides or anything. The saddle is mine, i just threw it on there to see how she sat on the bike. The one that was on there was an old, huge padded, beat up comfort seat so I tossed it. I plan on getting her probably a Brooks short saddle.
Well level that saddle so she can sit on it without sliding off, and set the the clamp so it's approximately in the center of the rails, and get someone with a good set of eyes to observe how she sits on it. Or post a video of her riding up and down the street. If the bike size is OK, you're going to go to the bike shop and get her a nice saddle, like this one.


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Old 03-22-21, 10:14 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by partyanimal View Post
A little upright isn't going to be a bad thing. She's not trying to do century rides or anything. The saddle is mine, i just threw it on there to see how she sat on the bike. The one that was on there was an old, huge padded, beat up comfort seat so I tossed it. I plan on getting her probably a Brooks short saddle.
Women tend to have shorter torsos and longer legs than men. That, combined with the mountain-bike geometry you're starting with, might make the reach to long even with the short stem extension you're trying. You won't know until you start mocking up parts.

Good luck. This is advanced bicycle mongrelization, something I've done for years. It's fun. It doesn't always work, but it's fun.

FWIW: I'm 6-foot-4. My wife is 5-foot-10. Her legs are as long as mine- we never have to adjust the seat when we switch drivers on long car trips.
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