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Using a really short stem on a Giant Revolt Advanced (2020)?

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Using a really short stem on a Giant Revolt Advanced (2020)?

Old 01-20-22, 07:46 PM
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Using a really short stem on a Giant Revolt Advanced (2020)?

Just had a thorough fitting done on a pair of my bike today. I have been riding both without a proper fit for 4 years (Giant TCR Advanced 2018 size M) and this past season (Giant Revolt Advanced 2020 size M). I'm 5'9" with 81.5cm inseam (32").

The TCR got dialled in beautifully, and finally with a saddle that seems to work for me (an SQ Lab) although I clearly need narrower bars (have 34cm shoulder width) and will purchase since the fitter didn't have stock.

When it came to the Revolt, we got my saddle position dialled in first, but besides the bars being comically too wide for my frame (I'll def need to replace later), I was so stretched out, we ended up needing a 60mm stem in place of the stock 90mm. We discussed the potential twitchiness of using such a short stem. Being mid-winter just after a big snow and piles of ice where I live, this bike won't see a road for a couple of months, so I won't be able to test for a while. I'm wondering if anyone else has had to fit such a short stem on the medium frame, and what their impression on handling was.

I've seen that the 2021 Revolts came with geometry changes and significantly shorter stems (70mm on the M frame) than the 2020 models resulting in more aggressive handling.
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Old 01-20-22, 08:45 PM
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A short stem does make the bike twitchier, but you adjust real quickly. If/when you get narrower handlebars, that will make it twitchier too - but again you adjust. Not a big deal.
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Old 01-20-22, 08:47 PM
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I have almost identical measurements as you, asides from the shoulders. 175cm height, 82cm inseam 44cm shoulder blade to shoulder blade. I've ridden with some very short stems, down to 50mm on a road bike. In my opinion, fit comes first. Steering feel will be a little different initially, but like most things on the bike, you'll get used to the slightly twitchier handling. Also, if you plan on keeping your 440mm bars, a shorter stem won't change handling significantly.

I am a little skeptical of a fit with 60mm stem with narrower bars though... A significant width change in the bars should mean a significant change in effective reach(saddle tip to tops of hoods). I would double check with the fitter to see if they meant that you should have (60mm stem + 440mm bars) vs (60mm stem + 380mm or 360mm or 340mm bars)

I have a feeling that the fitter was suggesting for a 60mm stem + 440mm bars, which won't change your handling that much. You can probably keep the 90mm stem if you go from 440mm to 380mm bars. Should be about the same in effective reach.

If you need to change your handlebar for the width, I would just change the bars instead of buying a stem for the wrong handlebar width.

When you're buying handlebars, keep your eyes out for the reach on the bars themselves. Recent bars tend to have shorter ramps to accommodate for longer hoods(hydraulic master cylinder means longer brake hoods). Look for bars that have 60-70mm reach. Zipp Service Course SL-70 has a 36cm width bar that is 70mm reach. Specialized also has a 36cm width, 65mm reach bars brilliantly called "Short Reach Handlebars". With these, you might even need to increase your stem from 90mm to 100mm. Again, check with your fitter for suggestions.

Last edited by Parkyy16; 01-20-22 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 01-21-22, 06:04 AM
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The twitchy thing is a myth perpetuated by cycling magazines and forums. If the bike fits you properly with a 60mm stem, it will ride just fine. I build bicycle frames as a hobby and I design most of my MTB and gravel frames to fit the rider with a 50mm stem. They are not "twitchy" and the rider feels more confident in descending without feeling like they are going to go over the bars.
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Old 01-21-22, 06:51 AM
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Yup, Iím in agreement that the handling effects of short stems are generally overstated. Ride what fits. I have very long legs for my height and always need short stems. No issues.
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Old 01-21-22, 09:25 AM
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As stated above, when you get narrower bars you will have a little more reach and thus a longer stem. I ride with a short stem (i think it is a 70mm) and it is great. The bike i have is said to be slow in the turns so a short stem will only improve on that a bit.
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Old 01-21-22, 10:47 AM
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I'll add my voice to the chorus of "don't worry about it." I've experimented with stems ranging from 100mm to 60mm on one bike, and quite honestly I can't tell any difference whatsoever in handling. For me, bar width has a greater impact, but even that is pretty negligible.
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Old 01-21-22, 10:57 AM
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I've got a couple bikes (not MTBs) with 35mm stems. They ride just fine.
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Old 01-21-22, 04:31 PM
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My preference with these type of front end fits is to split the reach difference between the stem and a suitable bar.

Dixna Cross Bandy 2 handlebar is 60mm reach, 100mm drop, with a decent-length rearward drops.
180mm bar-clamp area.
One of the sizes is 415mm at the top / 500mm ends.

Alexscycle Japan has the 415mm in silver at the moment.
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Old 01-21-22, 05:03 PM
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IMHO, shortening the stem by 20mm usually doesn't make much of a change, it starts to get noticeable above that.

Bars - you ever mountain bike? Its OK to have wide bars - especially on a gravel bike. Just because a fitter says it is right, don't think that is your only option (unless he is specifically addressing pain points).

Realize that the OEM changing the frame geometry to work with a shorter stem is not the same as just changing to a shorter stem without changing the geometry, right?

putting a shorter stem feels similar to bringing your hands in closer to the stem (or using a narrower bar). You can simulate the handling by moving your hands inboard. If you change BOTH stem and bars (shorter/narrower), you will be significantly changing the handling of your bike. Just sayin...
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Old 01-22-22, 12:17 PM
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Thanks for all the input everyone. I look forward to getting the cockpit on the Revolt dialed in once anywhere becomes rideable in my region.

As for this comment:
"Realize that the OEM changing the frame geometry to work with a shorter stem is not the same as just changing to a shorter stem without changing the geometry, right?"
Yes, I'm definitely aware of this, I just mentioned this to note the shorter stem length compared to earlier versions of the same model. I think with the new Revolt, Giant both steepened the fork angle and shortened the stem, making it a more aggressive handling bike, and therefore more attractive to those who race gravel and cross.
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Old 01-22-22, 12:57 PM
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I agree that the twitchiness is not exactly true, and isn't an issue as long as the stem isnt TOO short for YOU.

I say go for the 60mm stem if you feel like your current one is too long... However, make sure that you understand what sort of degree rise of drop you want/need first, as well as how many spacers you should have underneath the stem (if your steerer tube is uncut)

remember that you can always play around with different stem angles and stack heights as you adapt to different riding positions.
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Old 01-24-22, 10:12 PM
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Good thing is that if the fit is right with the shorter stem, it also means the reach is relatively long for you (compared to the longer stem). This is the clear direction of gravel bike frame design, following what is now an old change to MTB design. Longer reach means longer wheelbase and longer front center, which means more stability.
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