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Adjustable Length Stem- Weird/Extinct?

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Adjustable Length Stem- Weird/Extinct?

Old 01-08-09, 02:40 PM
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Adjustable Length Stem- Weird/Extinct?

So i stumbled across this bike on the "is this what you're looking for" forum.

https://cgi.ebay.com/Frejus-vintage-t...QQcmdZViewItem

Nice bike, way out of my price range. Then I noticed the picture of the stem. What the heck is this thing? It's a length adjustable stem, and though I see why it would be handy, I've never seen one before. Were these common? How hard would it be to find one now (without buying a $2k Freja)?
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Old 01-08-09, 02:57 PM
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I have seen these before, but I believe only on track bikes (will gladly be corrected by someone else in the forums). Only believe seeing these on European bikes, do not remember ever seeing them on Japanese bikes. Odd item, but they are around.
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Old 01-08-09, 03:41 PM
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They were from the 50s and 60s, even got used in the 70s. Probably primarily track bikes, but were used on road bikes too. The cool thing about those Ambrosios is you can turn the stem portion in the fork before you insert the bars to make them go up or down. I snag everyone I can find; they're in the $100.-120. range on ebay these days.

Here's my Carlton with the bars going up:
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Old 01-08-09, 03:54 PM
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Isn't that called a "Major Taylor" type stem?
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Old 01-08-09, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bikerosity57
Isn't that called a "Major Taylor" type stem?
No. A Major Taylor is another design of adjustable stem, and all steel.

Pic: Major Taylor on top, Paramount on bottom. The handle bar clamp can go above or below on either.
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Old 01-08-09, 05:31 PM
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Jeff Lyon of Lyonsport still makes adjustable stems.

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Old 01-08-09, 11:32 PM
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Man. I don't wanna look. I don't wanna look. Crap. that bike is really really nice. Geez. I, ah, man, I need to quit buying expensive bikes...that was a dirty trick.
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Old 01-09-09, 07:11 AM
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They come in handy for bike fitting too, allows you dial in the most comfortable setting then buy the stem that actually fits, rather than ending up with a drawer full of different sized stems (BTW pet peeve of the threadless type)

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Old 01-09-09, 07:37 AM
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Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought they are referred to as stayer stems. Other manufacturers include Titan, Cinelli and 3T.
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Old 01-09-09, 09:25 AM
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A stayer stem I believe is much longer. Stayer means being paced behind a motorbike. This is a Cinelli stayer stem on my Paramount: probably not right, but it came to me and its cool. A true stayer bike would have a smaller front wheel and a reversed fork to get closer to the draft vehicle.
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Old 01-09-09, 09:43 AM
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I believe 3-TTT eventually took over the Ambrosio stem company (or Ambrosio just became 3-TTT) during the 1960s and the stems (virtually unchanged) were still available into the 1970s. I sold one last year for around $100 on eBay. The range of adjustment was from around 65 mm to 120 mm. They were great for us poor boys who were forced to "share" a racing bike back in the 60s & 70s. They were seen on both Road and Track bikes, but the drop was really not at all steep as you would find on a true Track racing stem.

Below are a few photos if you'd like a better idea how they worked. They had notches at the top to help prevent unintentional slipping and were triangular along the bottom of the extension to keep the extension from spinning around without having to tighten the top binder bolt excessively. The expander cone for the steering tube was tightened with a 6 mm. hex-key which reached down into the cap head bolt which rested recessed below the extension.

https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2031/...338dac8d_o.jpg
https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2186/...8942bfd7_o.jpg
https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2242/...2b52a74b_o.jpg
https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2156/...f327094d_o.jpg
https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2139/...84b5573f_o.jpg
https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2297/...1b079f6b_o.jpg
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Old 01-09-09, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by luker
Man. I don't wanna look. I don't wanna look. Crap. that bike is really really nice. Geez. I, ah, man, I need to quit buying expensive bikes...that was a dirty trick.
Congrats on the new bike.
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Old 01-09-09, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by dbakl
I snag everyone I can find; they're in the $100.-120. range on ebay these days.
They can be less if they come attached to a $30 1963 Varsity from eBay (that had no photo that showed the stem clearly or described it in the copy). I was pleasantly surprised!

Bob
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Old 01-09-09, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by BobHufford
They can be less if they come attached to a $30 1963 Varsity from eBay (that had no photo that showed the stem clearly or described it in the copy). I was pleasantly surprised!

Bob
Bob, that variation is clever! I've never seen anything like it.
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Old 01-09-09, 02:14 PM
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Not to take away from this thread but is there a stem and/or seatpost/saddle out there that will adjust really easily similar to these that don't break the bank or is the best I can do a quick release seat post binder bolt and an adjustable angle stem ? The reason I ask is because I'd like to set up the trainer with quick adjust kit so that my wife and I can both use it w/o having to switch bikes every time.
It doesn't really matter (to me) on the trainer so I wouldn't really care if it was made out of solid lead. the cheaper the better.

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Old 01-09-09, 02:25 PM
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perhaps this SR seat post would help? (photo from velobase)

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Old 01-09-09, 02:27 PM
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When you buy a bike Friday they give you an adjustable stem made by them to dial in your fit. When you are satisfied with the stem they build you one to the adjustable stems size to fit your bike. There is a charge for this as sometimes Bike Friday has trouble getting the adjustable stem back. When you get the correct one and return the adjustable they give you your money back on the adjustable. Roger
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Old 01-09-09, 02:49 PM
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^ and ^^ yes, i think both of those are just the solutions I need. Now, where to purchase them? I will email bike friday, but by the looks of it, they don't sell them.

after some research, i really want that seatpost (SR mte-100). any leads, pass them my way. apparently one went on ebay in November for <$20 so at least this part of my "Project: Build a Spin Bike" might not cost just as much as buying a spinning bike!

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Old 01-09-09, 06:40 PM
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Circa 1960, Ambrosio adjustable stems were very common on Capo road bikes.

https://classicrendezvous.com/Austria/Capo.htm
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Old 01-09-09, 08:45 PM
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A Bike Friday stem will only fit a Bike Friday. Roger
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Old 01-09-09, 08:52 PM
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^yeah, i noticed that right after i posted that. plus, you'd probably have to have a 70cm bike to get it down into the headtube far enough.
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Old 01-10-09, 11:06 AM
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When I was a kid, my late dad used to tell me about his Bates that he had in 1944-45 in England. He said it had an adjustable stem. I've had a bike or two that could have used one, but this thread contains pics of the only ones I've seen
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