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Help with quill stem clamp size

Old 02-06-11, 06:44 AM
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Help with quill stem clamp size

I'd need some help here...
I got a vintage 3T Mutant quill stem and tried to put the Nitto dream handlebar to it. Does not fit. The clamp size appears to be too small. The Nitto bar was said to be 26.0, but also the 3T stem was sold as 26.0 (ebay). Yet, it seems that the clamp diameter of the 3T stem is rather 25.4. Now I wonder, what type of quill stem to get. A lot of auctions do not mention the diameter and even if they do, I do not really trust it now. Were all the 3T stems with 25.4mm diameter? Were Cinelli stems all with 26.4? Was there anything with exactly 26.0 or should I use a splint and 26.4? Thanks!
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Old 02-06-11, 07:01 AM
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I'm pretty sure the Cinelli stem clamp is 26.0mm, but you should measure clamp and bars to be sure. I'm also pretty sure those bars only came with a 26.00mm clamp area. If I had to bet, I would say the stem is smaller, still measure them.

I just read an add stating the Cinelli as 25.8-26.0mm This may be your problem, cause the bars are only made with a 26.0mm clamp area.

Last edited by Capecodder; 02-06-11 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 02-06-11, 07:23 AM
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I'd put a little baby oil on the bars and use a rubber mallet to encourage them into the stem. Maybe a little fine sandpaper on the clamp area of the bars would be nice. It takes very little extra material to make something not want to just fit perfectly; if you got a slightly too small stem and a slightly too large set of bars, you'll need to do some coaxing. I'm always pleasantly surprised when I get a stem and handlebars to fit perfectly; usually it's a lot of pushing, rotating, cussing, begging, etc.
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Old 02-06-11, 07:50 AM
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First, the facts. 3TTT makes some stems in 26.0, and generally it says on the stem down below the insertion line.
Sadly, sometimes it doesn't. Also in 26.0, some Modolo, ITM, and Cinelli. Probably others, I'm just not up on them.

Cinelli 26.0 stems will always, in my experience, say so on the stem.
However, most of them are 26.4, so be careful.

Putting a 26.0 bar in a 25.4 clamp is possible. You need to wedge the clamp open far enough to get it on, make sure it's where you want it when you remove the wedge, because no matter how you move it unwedged, you're going to scratch the bar. There is no guarantee it will work, and no guarantee it will not break the stem clamp. I'd not do it, but it's your choice. I'm sure others have done it.

26.4 into a 26.0 clamp is a bit easier, same process, still not recommended.
Based on the popularity of Cinelli bars, probably done a lot.

Many Nittos have the bar diameter on the end of the drops, but not all.

The whole problem is the older bars and stems were 25.4, except for the occasional 26.0 or 26.4.
When quills ruled, there was plenty of selection.

Now, with 31.8 and 26.0 being much more prevalent with the removable stems, there are more 26.0 bars made.
We, in C&V, are in the middle of that mess.
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Old 02-06-11, 08:32 AM
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Earlier Cinelli stems were 26.4 mm. But later some (not all) Cinelli stems were also being made in 26.0 - which had become the more universally accepted road bar diameter by the 1990s.

Traditional 3TTT quill stems were always made in 26.0 mm.

As I recall, the Mutant was an early front-loading road stem. They were made as BOTH quill stems for Threaded steering tubes and soon were also offered as Threadless stems (for 1" threadless steering tubes).

I thought they were all intended for 26.0 bars. BUT... I seem to recall that 3TTT had also begun to make handlebars with a 25.8 mm diameter a few years back - probably an odd attempt to bridge the gap between Road and MTB stem/bar diameters.

So, you may have a stem which was originally made for 3TTT 25.8 mm bars. Perhaps you could file the stem's clamp area a bit?
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Old 02-06-11, 09:29 AM
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i have a cinelli stem and bars from 88... measured out at 25.4
FWIW

andy
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Old 02-06-11, 02:20 PM
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Thanks a lot for all the helpful replies. I tried to measure these things again. The handlebar is definitely 26.0mm. Yet, I do not have a precise way to tell the clamp diameter of the 3t mutant. Seems to be around 24.5-25mm. Anyway, as stronglight pointed out, the Mutant is an early front loading stem (and pretty sweet looking indeed). As I take of the front plate, put in my handlebar, and then reattach the front piece, there remains a 2mm gap. Might probably work, but since this is my main road bike, durability is important for me and I wouldn't like to be surpriced in the hills.

So, do I get it right that as a rule most of the 3t stems were 26.0 and the Mutant could be some kind of an exception. I would then probably try another earlier 3t stem.

Last edited by Oostal; 02-06-11 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 02-06-11, 02:49 PM
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You should have a slight gap on the upper and lower portion, and they should be equal. Do you have a pic?
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Old 02-06-11, 03:32 PM
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Ok, some photos. Forgive the poor light, its rather late here already.





This is the 1st front loading stem I have tried, so do you think such a gap is common with the type of stem? Does not look particularly nice...

The gap is more or less equal on both sides (up/down)
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Old 02-06-11, 03:35 PM
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That's perfect........ Make sure you tighten each bolt evenly and have the same amount of space on the top and bottom.

Looks like something from the movie (Alien) Lol....

Last edited by Capecodder; 02-06-11 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 02-06-11, 03:44 PM
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Thanks! That's reassuring to know. I'll go ahead with the build then. New shifters and cables to add now. I guess I'll try to find a black piece of metal to fit into the gap.
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Old 02-06-11, 03:53 PM
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The gap is not meant to be filled..... Leave it as is, that is how it should look.
Originally Posted by Oostal
Thanks! That's reassuring to know. I'll go ahead with the build then. New shifters and cables to add now. I guess I'll try to find a black piece of metal to fit into the gap.
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Old 02-06-11, 05:44 PM
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My hinged 3ttt stem seems to have one of those 25.8 diameter clamps. A 25.4 bar I had looked a bit loose on the clamp's halves while a 26.0 bar was a very tight fit. Before tightening the 26.0 bar, you could se a very tiny gap between the bar and the deepest part of each half. Tightened up fine and the bars are really scratched up already so I didn't care.


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