Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Flipping my stem up for better handling.

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Flipping my stem up for better handling.

Old 03-01-17, 06:23 AM
  #1  
fueledbymetal
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
fueledbymetal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: St. Mary's City, MD
Posts: 214

Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix & CAAD9, Singlespeed Seven

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Flipping my stem up for better handling.



I used to run my handlebars slammed with only a single 5mm spacer to get the position I wanted but years of abusing my back in my youth(powerlifting, wrestling, etc) has started to catch up with me in the form of acouple bulging & torn discs in my lower back. So, I've needed to raise my riding position torelieve some lower back stress. I seemost bikes add extra spacers to keep the stem flipped down (negative rise), butas an engineer that doesn't make any sense since it adds extra weight (morespacers & steerer post) and flex (longer, less direct path from handlebarto front wheel). So don't laugh when yousee me riding stem flipped up Seriously though, am I missing any reasonother than style to run a stem flipped down (negative rise) if you can obtainthe same position by removing spacers?
fueledbymetal is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 06:34 AM
  #2  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 29,254

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1142 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 16 Posts
You're an engineer?

Your stem clamps onto the steer tube. The steer tube is only so long. If you add a bunch of spacers under the stem you may not be left with enough steer tube to clamp the stem onto safely.
__________________
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 07:02 AM
  #3  
SkyDog75
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 3,818

Bikes: Bianchi San Mateo and a few others

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 632 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
There's nothing functionally wrong with a stem that's angled up. Many stems even have the logos printed on them both ways, so neither way looks upside-down.

Occasionally, you may even see a pro whose stem points upward. This was Floyd Landis' bike.
SkyDog75 is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 07:13 AM
  #4  
NYMXer
Senior Member
 
NYMXer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Middletown NY
Posts: 1,500

Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix EVO w Hi-Mod frame, Raleigh Tamland 1 and Giant Anthem X

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 352 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Whether the stem is up/down or you are using the spacers, the handle bar height is what you are looking for. Seems to me that putting a few spacers under the bars is easier, quicker and will give you the results that you seek.
Maybe you are just over-thinking this problem a bit, an engineer's curse (I am an Engineer too)
NYMXer is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 07:23 AM
  #5  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 8,158

Bikes: '87 Miyata 912, '87 Schwinn Prelude, '90 Fuji Saratoga, Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara/Centurion Ironman, '18 Diamondback Syncr, '18 handmade steel roadbike

Mentioned: 75 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2871 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 91 Times in 65 Posts
Originally Posted by fueledbymetal View Post

I used to run my handlebars slammed with only a single 5mm spacer to get the position I wanted but years of abusing my back in my youth(powerlifting, wrestling, etc) has started to catch up with me in the form of acouple bulging & torn discs in my lower back. So, I've needed to raise my riding position torelieve some lower back stress. I seemost bikes add extra spacers to keep the stem flipped down (negative rise), butas an engineer that doesn't make any sense since it adds extra weight (morespacers & steerer post) and flex (longer, less direct path from handlebarto front wheel). So don't laugh when yousee me riding stem flipped up Seriously though, am I missing any reasonother than style to run a stem flipped down (negative rise) if you can obtainthe same position by removing spacers?
You need to raise the handlebar height for comfort.
To do that, you want to remove spacers and flip the stem to effectively get the same bar height as before?

Did I read this correctly? If so, it makes 0 sense. If i didnt read it correctly, apologies as I really tried to understand your path of thinking.

How I read this post, my response is- who cares if spacers can be removed, that wont solve your issue. You need higher handlebars for a more upright riding position. Get a new stem thats +17 rise or more. Perhaps get a shorter stem too. Those 2 changes will effectively make the riding position more relaxed and upright.
mstateglfr is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 07:29 AM
  #6  
Dave Cutter
Senior Member
 
Dave Cutter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: D'uh... I am a Cutter
Posts: 6,195

Bikes: '17 Access Old Turnpike Gravel bike, '14 Trek 1.1, '13 Cannondale CAAD 10, '98 CAD 2, R300

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1569 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
An uncut tube, available spacers, and the stem pointing down... gives every buyer all their options. Flipping the stem (to raise the bars more), or cutting the tube and removing spacers (to lower the bar) are all appropriate options.

You can also look at new/replacement stems with a greater rise. And/or a shorter stem to help set you up a little.
Dave Cutter is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 07:48 AM
  #7  
BobbyG
Senior Member
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 4,274

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 793 Post(s)
Liked 50 Times in 33 Posts
I run the step flipped on my Charge Plug.
BobbyG is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 08:03 AM
  #8  
wphamilton
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 14,445

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 60 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2462 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 21 Posts
Seriously though, am I missing any reason other than style to run a stem flipped down (negative rise) if you can obtain the same position by removing spacers?
The reach will be different due to the HT angle. Also depending on the stem angle which might mitigate it. That's probably not an issue though (for sure not for me).
wphamilton is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 09:04 AM
  #9  
reppans
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 760

Bikes: Brompton M6R, Specialized Tricross Comp, Ellsworth Isis, Dahon Speed P8

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 303 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
That stock position - spacers offset by stem flipped down - seems to be neutral position that most 'bell curve' folks would find comfortable. From there, you can raise (flip stem up) OR lower (swap spacers to top) to accommodate the 'tail' folks.

(edit: what Dave Cutter said)

Last edited by reppans; 03-01-17 at 09:15 AM.
reppans is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 09:07 AM
  #10  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 5,151

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 937 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 14 Posts
I think OP is trying to raise his bars to accommodate an aging back. If (1) you're keeping the same bike, and (2) the steerer was cut so there was only room for a 5 mm spacer, then adding spacers isn't an option.


With modern 4-bolt faceplate stems, flipping the stem is eminently reasonable.


If there's not too much difference in bar height, 10 minutes in the garage/shop and you're done. You may need to recable, especially the front brake, if there's a significant change.


There will be no difference in handling for a given bar height how you get there. If some young sprout tries to give you grief over style points, well, this is a good chance to practice kiddy put-downs for when you get even older!
pdlamb is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 10:35 AM
  #11  
Zoroman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 282
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 118 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fueledbymetal View Post

I used to run my handlebars slammed with only a single 5mm spacer to get the position I wanted but years of abusing my back in my youth(powerlifting, wrestling, etc) has started to catch up with me in the form of acouple bulging & torn discs in my lower back. So, I've needed to raise my riding position torelieve some lower back stress. I seemost bikes add extra spacers to keep the stem flipped down (negative rise), butas an engineer that doesn't make any sense since it adds extra weight (morespacers & steerer post) and flex (longer, less direct path from handlebarto front wheel). So don't laugh when yousee me riding stem flipped up Seriously though, am I missing any reasonother than style to run a stem flipped down (negative rise) if you can obtainthe same position by removing spacers?

Can you post a picture, please?


I recently ordered a longer quill/stem for essentially this same reason. The stock quill/stem was very short. The 250mm quill/stem length will give me about an additional 110mm to raise up, which is substantial.
Zoroman is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 10:41 AM
  #12  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 11,481

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 134 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5409 Post(s)
Liked 75 Times in 49 Posts
Flipping the stem raises the bars, obviously, and also moves them a bit closer. An engineer shouldn't have too much trouble with any of this.
Maelochs is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 11:07 AM
  #13  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,464

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 183 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6721 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 139 Times in 117 Posts
Buying a 45 degree up angled threadless stem may be what you need.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 12:39 PM
  #14  
fueledbymetal
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
fueledbymetal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: St. Mary's City, MD
Posts: 214

Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix & CAAD9, Singlespeed Seven

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I realize a longer stem will be required for a flipped up stem to equal the reach of a stem that is flipped down - raising a handlebar 5cm would affect reach enough that a longer stem may be in order as well, so I'm happy to buy a new one. This is more just a commentary on form over function that most people seem to observe.
fueledbymetal is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 01:01 PM
  #15  
smarkinson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 981
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 317 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
I see nothing wrong with your engineering logic.

A slammed upwards pointing stem probably looks better than a normal stem with 2 inches of spacers too.

I think many new bikes come out of box with a lot of spacers simply for the adjustability it provides.
smarkinson is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 01:23 PM
  #16  
tyrion
Senior Member
 
tyrion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 2,244

Bikes: Breezer Radar

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1173 Post(s)
Liked 40 Times in 32 Posts
Originally Posted by fueledbymetal View Post
I seemost bikes add extra spacers to keep the stem flipped down (negative rise), butas an engineer that doesn't make any sense since it adds extra weight (morespacers & steerer post) and flex (longer, less direct path from handlebarto front wheel).
I agree. I'm not a mechanical engineer, but those kind of inefficiencies catch my eye and I think "why did they do that?"
tyrion is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 01:45 PM
  #17  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 11,481

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 134 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5409 Post(s)
Liked 75 Times in 49 Posts
Originally Posted by smarkinson View Post
I think many new bikes come out of box with a lot of spacers simply for the adjustability it provides.
This, simply.

The sellers tilt the stem down for that "racy" look, and add the spacers because so few riders can really ride a slammed stem.

You know about the "Post pics or we hunt you down" rule, right?
Maelochs is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 03:46 PM
  #18  
SquidPuppet
Calamari Marionette Ph.D
 
SquidPuppet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Coeur d' Alene
Posts: 7,965

Bikes: 3 Chinese Gas Pipe Nerdcycles and 2 Chicago Electroforged Boat Anchors

Mentioned: 73 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2345 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fueledbymetal View Post
I realize a longer stem will be required for a flipped up stem to equal the reach of a stem that is flipped down
Be carefull there. Reach numbers will likely need to decrease as height increases. As you transition your torso to a more upright position, your arms move rearward with it. And too great a reach can be one of the most back/neck/shoulder pain inducing fit problems. In my experience the discomfort factor of too much reach is amplified as torso positions move more upright. Some experimentation may be in order. Good luck with the bike and the lyme.
SquidPuppet is offline  
Old 03-01-17, 07:04 PM
  #19  
scott967
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Oahu, HI
Posts: 1,116

Bikes: 89 Paramount OS 84 Fuji Touring Series III New! 2013 Focus Izalco Ergoride

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 190 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Since I think it is typical for frame manufacturers to specify max spacer stack, I assume there is concern about the bending moment at the upper headset bearing. That would argue for a slammed stem compensated for with a riser stem with length adjusted appropriately. I suppose it was standard on quill stems for the stem to be horizontal so this "look" has become somewhat a norm.

scott s.
.
scott967 is offline  
Old 03-02-17, 09:53 PM
  #20  
nickw
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 800
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 171 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fueledbymetal View Post

I used to run my handlebars slammed with only a single 5mm spacer to get the position I wanted but years of abusing my back in my youth(powerlifting, wrestling, etc) has started to catch up with me in the form of acouple bulging & torn discs in my lower back. So, I've needed to raise my riding position torelieve some lower back stress. I seemost bikes add extra spacers to keep the stem flipped down (negative rise), butas an engineer that doesn't make any sense since it adds extra weight (morespacers & steerer post) and flex (longer, less direct path from handlebarto front wheel). So don't laugh when yousee me riding stem flipped up Seriously though, am I missing any reasonother than style to run a stem flipped down (negative rise) if you can obtainthe same position by removing spacers?
Your spot on, IMO. Less spacers and a positive angle stem should in theory (albeit minor) be a stiffer and lighter setup for the reasons you pointed out.....aesthetics aside

As far as 'better handling', generally speaking, lower is going to better.
nickw is offline  
Old 03-02-17, 11:47 PM
  #21  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 6,805

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 89 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1594 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 36 Times in 29 Posts
I view bar height and reach in terms of location along the steerer tube centerline and horizontal. (Not right angles I know and that probably drives some nuts, but the fact was - before threadless steerers - racing bikes all had horizontal quill stems of increments of 1cm and could be raised or lowered along the steerer.)

I disagree fundamentally with squid puppet. I find that shoulder location is key torso comfort and position on the bike. I like a comfortable bend in my arm. That sets the distance from my shoulders to the HBs. But I can pivot my arms. In practice, I find little difference between my HBs higher and further forward or closer and down, as long as that distance to my shoulders is the same. Very conveniently (for me at least), along say 6" of that arc which is almost a straight line, the slope of that line is 2 cm horizontally by 1 cm along the steerer. Yes, a very bastardized measuring system, but for application to bicycles, very practical.

Now, as I get older (or if I want to set up a bike as a "comfort" bike, I just raise that line. The slope doesn't change. (Yes, as I rotate my whole position back for the comfort bike, the slope does change some, but the effect of the slope change over 6" is second order and I ignore it.)

It sounds like you want that line raised. Flipping the stem wil do that (unless it is a 0 degree stem (90 degrees from the steerer). Since we don't know what your stem angle is, speculation on the effect of flipping it is just that. A 5 degree stem would have a small change in reach and height, a 45 degree stem would have a radical change.

Ben
79pmooney is offline  
Old 03-03-17, 08:25 AM
  #22  
Kevindale
Senior Member
 
Kevindale's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Amsterdam
Posts: 1,689

Bikes: 1980 Koga-Miyata Gentsluxe-S, 1998 Eddy Merckx Corsa 01, 1983 Tommasini Racing, 2012 Gulf Western CAAD10, 1980 Univega Gran Premio

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 596 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You might want to post a photo, but I'm confused by the talk of removing spacers. Unless you are going to cut the steerer tube, you'll need exactly the same amount of spacers, regardless of which way the stem is flipped. Rereading your original post, I think you know this, but some of the responses mention removing the spacer and flipping the stem, which doesn't make sense to me.

Flipping a stem should take you all of 5-10 minutes, so it's an easy thing to try (though I recommend a torque wrench). My wife's bike is a bit big for her, and she was too stretched out, so I flipped her stem. Easy peasy. Most people I see on road bikes have their stems in the 'happy' position. Who cares about style points if it's comfortable.
Kevindale is offline  
Old 03-03-17, 09:59 AM
  #23  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 11,481

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 134 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5409 Post(s)
Liked 75 Times in 49 Posts
Originally Posted by Kevindale View Post
You might want to post a photo, but I'm confused by the talk of removing spacers. Unless you are going to cut the steerer tube, you'll need exactly the same amount of spacers, regardless of which way the stem is flipped.
I think everyone here understood that he meant removing spacers from Under the bars.
Maelochs is offline  
Old 03-03-17, 10:53 AM
  #24  
Ironfish653
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Virginia Beach
Posts: 918

Bikes: 1997 Cannondale, 1976 Bridgestone, 1998 Softride

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 299 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by nickw View Post
Your spot on, IMO. Less spacers and a positive angle stem should in theory (albeit minor) be a stiffer and lighter setup for the reasons you pointed out.....aesthetics aside

As far as 'better handling', generally speaking, lower is going to better.
Yup, and it seems like most 'off-the-rack' bikes have a couple of spacers to allow for final fit adjustments.
We both might be 5'-10" and ride 56cm Synapses, but my setup and yours might be significantly different. Having the spacers gives that adjustabliity, because once you cut the steerer tube, that's it, you can't make it longer.
(And, putting the spacers on top of the stem, just doesn't look right)

Flipping the stem, can do some funny things to the handling if it moves the bars too far back.
I flipped the stem on my Cannondale F-XXX to make it less aggressive, since i haven't raced XC for a long time.
A '90's East Coast woods XC hardtail, built for technical climbing, it ran with about 4" of drop.
Flipping the stem brought the bars up, but it also made them 'flop' rather than 'swing' from side to side, and it made the front wheel feel like it wanted to 'tuck under,' which was a little too exciting on a bike that already had a 'quick' front end.
It's a Headshock front end, so no spacers; I ended up flipping the stem back negative, and installing a riser bar.
Ironfish653 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.