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What's the popular opinion of riser stems?

Old 04-30-24, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by XxHaimBondxX
Triathlon bike with riser stem kinda negates the whole triathlon geometry.
Not necessarily. That's a 2012 TT bike, made back when "get low to get fast" was the thing. It's likely an old-style geometry, with a dinky head tube.

After years of testing in wind tunnels and ergometers, people now know that lower is not always faster, and TT positions are now more upright than they used to be.

Supporting evidence: That 2012 Cervelo P2 in a 51 frame size had a 90mm head tube. The 2019 P2 had a 97mm head tube. The current P5 has a 101mm head tube.

Granted, 2 inches is a lot more than 11mm. But the important TT position is the height of the aero bars and elbow pads, not the "bull horn" bars that don't get that much use. Adding stack to aero bars is trivially easy.
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Old 04-30-24, 11:22 AM
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@VegasJen, my take? Fit rules. The job of a stem is to put the handlebars where you need them to support your body as it functions as an engine to drive the bike in a manner that is comfortable and as aero as you need to be. the great advantage of all the unusual shapes and sizes of stem (and seatposts) is that we can try all sorts of stuff to find "the fit". (Good thing - when you are there, you will know. You'll be doing rides at new speeds, feeling good and it's fun! This is assuming you are coming from a fit that wasn't there yet. If you are say a pro rider, burned out on a hard campaign, it may be that your body is just spent, even though you were riding that perfect fit. In that case, only rest works and possibly no bike ride will be fun.)

Jen, I recall you posting a while back of a ride or rides where you felt in the zone. Was that on this bike or a previous? Do you have records of the fit? That is what you want to document. And if the next bike requires a goofy stem to get it, well get used to looking goofy. Your body will thank you. And next bike, look for a frame that will put you there with a regular stem.

The other piece of the bike fit puzzle is bike handling. That is a matter of frame and steering geometry (stuff you cannot change) and the weight balance of you over the wheels. That weight balance is directly related to your fit for your best physical performance. I strongly advise against tailoring your fit to improve bike handling unless you have no choice but to ride that criterium on a bike that fits you poorly. Crashes cost too much!
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Old 04-30-24, 12:05 PM
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Jen as you say you ride tri bikes all the time I would agree with 79pmooney as handling is important. As I have aged and arthritis found me my speeds have dropped, I stay out of traffic and I avoid fast declines so ugly stems have not been a threat to my handling and allow for infrequent use of my recumbent trike.
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Old 04-30-24, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
Good, bad, indifferent?

Yesterday I picked up a 2012 Cervelo P2 for a steal. Well, not totally a steal. I did have to put a few hours into it to get it road ready. But I took it out today for a test ride. Rode 34 miles and honestly, by mile 15 I was almost ready to leave it by the side of the road. Everything about the bike is good, except for how aggressive the position is.

I ride tri bikes all the time, so I'm used to, and even prefer, the geometry of a typical tri bike. But this thing is so aggressive, it's literally painful. The steerer tube barely comes up to the lowest seat post height, which bends me over far more than I can hold for any length of time. But there's really no additional steerer tube to go up. All the stack is already used. And I can't go down any further on the seat post without hip angle issues.

So I need to go up about 2 inches, give or take, on my stack. I don't have any steerer tube left to go up, so my thinking is one of those jacked up stems at like 45*. I think that can get me another inch or so. Then I can take the elbow pads up with spacers to get me in a position I can hold for time. I certainly don't want one of those adjustable angle stems because they just look hinky to me. I'm not happy about it, but I think a fixed 45* stem could be a cheap solution to this problem.

Is there anything concerning about using a stem to get me up a little higher?
Apart from looking like ass, there's nothing wrong with riser stems. You should also consider riser bars - I thing RedShift have a new bar that gives (IIRC) 25mm or 70mm rise while still looking semi-normal. Also consider yoga for flexibility - I found that a few months of gentle yoga enable me to get far more comfortable down on the drops
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Old 04-30-24, 03:04 PM
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Back in the days of quill stems, I had a Look Ergostem. Anybody remember those? Double articulating stem that allowed a range of positions from extended gorilla to bolt upright. There wasn't anything like it.

It had a fair amount of flex, but it came in super handy when setting up a bike, almost like your own fit machine for bar position. I'd dial in fit on the Ergostem, then find a rigid stem with the same rise and extension or as close as possible.

These days, I use a Ritchey adjustable threadless stem the same way. Dial in the fit on the adjustable, then transfer that to a rigid stem, or as close as I can get with what's available.

This avoids a lot of the guesswork involved. Also, if you can't get a good fit even with an adjustable stem, chances are that's not the bike for you.
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Old 04-30-24, 03:08 PM
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They're trending upward?
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Old 04-30-24, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat
They're trending upward?
TT positions? Then the answer is yes, bar height is trending upwards from their older, low as possible positions.

Last edited by terrymorse; 04-30-24 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 04-30-24, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry2
Steerer extensions, recalled
And it took a while… they recalled all the way back to 1998
The linked article states: "No injuries have been reported, but there has been one report of a stem riser shifting during use."

If the stem riser shifts during use of a regular handlebar (either a drop bar or a flat bar), imagine how much worse it would fare with a TT bar mounted and more body weight on it.
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Old 04-30-24, 07:38 PM
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Stem risers, riser bars, up-angled stem ... whatever it takes to make the bike rideable.

or, sell it. No other options that I can see.

As for popular opinion ... the opinion on function is important. The fact that a lot of people think only slammed, flat stems look good is irrelevant to me. What you think is your business.
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Old 04-30-24, 07:57 PM
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If the only choice is to keep the bike and 'make it fit' then go ahead. Why would you care if someone else thinks it looks goofy? F em all, it's your bike and if it means you can ride it comfortably then that is all that matters.
But........on the other hand if you bought a bike that doesn't fit and is uncomfortable as you say you would probably be better off in the long run to sell it and buy a bike that works for you...you won't regret it and enjoy riding it much more than you seem to now.
But.......an alternative that might work would be an adjustable stem in place of a stem riser. There are a lot of good suggestions in the responses and hopefully you wind up with something that works.
Good luck and keep us informed...
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Old 04-30-24, 08:16 PM
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The issue I see is that this bike was a tri bike---and VegasJen does tri .... and it was exceptionally inexpensive. Selling it for very little and then trying to buy a bike which fits perfectly ... well, the options are to spend what it costs or to wait as long as it takes. What she has is what she has. if she can safely make it work to meet her needs ... there she is.
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Old 04-30-24, 09:32 PM
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A stem with a higher angle is not a bad thing I use them and not qualms about using them but buying a bike that is an ill fit out of the gate probably either a good bike to strip and sell the frame or re-sell it and get a bike that fits better.

A good deal is not a good deal if the bike is not a good fit. I have seen plenty of bikes at decent prices but they are too big (usually) or too small and I just pass on them. But if just raising bars a little probably not terrible.

I would generally avoid the stem risers as many of them are not designed for carbon steerer tubes and that is a key to buying a stem. If the device you are putting on your steerer tube is not safe for your steerer tube you shouldn't use it.
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Old 04-30-24, 11:25 PM
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My name is Jennifer and I am an addict. I buy **** I don't need. So for those of you wondering why I bought this bike, well, for one, I want to replace my older Ridley Cheetah, which has been a very good bike. But as some as you may recall, I endeavored to alter the geometry on that bike to sit farther forward. Additionally, that bike is a little heavier, being all aluminum. And lastly, it won't fit modern carbon wheels without modification because the frame can only accommodate about 23mm outer width rims.

In contrast, this Cervelo, can accommodate a wider carbon aero wheel and the seat post allows for a much farther forward position, which I prefer. Also, being a CF frame, it's marginally lighter than the Cheetah. Another advantage, which is almost worth what I gave for it, is it came with a set of Giant SLR tubeless ready wheels. And as anybody who has followed my adventures riding in rural Nevada may recall, I'm constantly battling various road hazards and have become a tubeless believer.

So, did I need it? No. I have my Shiv, which I absolutely love. But I want a second bike which I will set up primarily for hilly courses. This is the bike I intend to use for that purpose. If I get it sorted and I'm happy with it, the Cheetah will be rehomed.

Originally Posted by bboy314
Iím thinking buying a replacement fork to get the bars higher may negate the sweet deal the OP apparently got on the bike.
Maybe. I mean, if I ran across a fork at a stupid good price, it might not. I do actually have a carbon fork/aluminum steerer tube sitting in my garage right now. I just don't want to use that because it doesn't match. But it's plenty long enough. Already have the part.

Of course, I can get a riser stem for <$50 and if that solves the issue, it's still a great deal.
Originally Posted by curbtender
Sounds like you are running aero bars? You might want to go to a shorter stem and get some that sit higher. Maybe get some ideas from a local coach?
It's a tri bike, so yes, aero bars. The reach is not the problem. I've compared this to another bike and almost everything is the same (or can be adjusted to the same), except the bar height.
Originally Posted by terrymorse
Not necessarily. That's a 2012 TT bike, made back when "get low to get fast" was the thing. It's likely an old-style geometry, with a dinky head tube.

After years of testing in wind tunnels and ergometers, people now know that lower is not always faster, and TT positions are now more upright than they used to be.

Supporting evidence: That 2012 Cervelo P2 in a 51 frame size had a 90mm head tube. The 2019 P2 had a 97mm head tube. The current P5 has a 101mm head tube.

Granted, 2 inches is a lot more than 11mm. But the important TT position is the height of the aero bars and elbow pads, not the "bull horn" bars that don't get that much use. Adding stack to aero bars is trivially easy.
The 2 inches is just a spit ball guess as what I need. But I think you're right about the geometry. It's very low in the front. I mean, the frame design is extremely similar to my Cheetah, the biggest difference is just the steerer tube on the Cheetah is about 2" longer. So I think this bike was originally more TT focused than triathlon focused.

And to those of you bashing for buying it despite this difference, I would argue this is something that is not so easily identified when just jumping on a bike and riding around a neighborhood for 10-15 minutes. But maybe I'm buying used bikes all wrong. Do you guys take a bike out for an hour or two before you make a deal?
Originally Posted by 79pmooney
@VegasJen, my take? Fit rules. The job of a stem is to put the handlebars where you need them to support your body as it functions as an engine to drive the bike in a manner that is comfortable and as aero as you need to be. the great advantage of all the unusual shapes and sizes of stem (and seatposts) is that we can try all sorts of stuff to find "the fit". (Good thing - when you are there, you will know. You'll be doing rides at new speeds, feeling good and it's fun! This is assuming you are coming from a fit that wasn't there yet. If you are say a pro rider, burned out on a hard campaign, it may be that your body is just spent, even though you were riding that perfect fit. In that case, only rest works and possibly no bike ride will be fun.)

Jen, I recall you posting a while back of a ride or rides where you felt in the zone. Was that on this bike or a previous? Do you have records of the fit? That is what you want to document. And if the next bike requires a goofy stem to get it, well get used to looking goofy. Your body will thank you. And next bike, look for a frame that will put you there with a regular stem.

The other piece of the bike fit puzzle is bike handling. That is a matter of frame and steering geometry (stuff you cannot change) and the weight balance of you over the wheels. That weight balance is directly related to your fit for your best physical performance. I strongly advise against tailoring your fit to improve bike handling unless you have no choice but to ride that criterium on a bike that fits you poorly. Crashes cost too much!
I'm not being argumentative here but I am struggling to see the logic in how it puts any additional force on the steerer tube. I'm not looking for any more leverage. That I could understand. I just want to raise it up. Hell, since it's a tri bike, I could realistically leave the bullhorns exactly where they are and just raise the elbow pads. Pretty much every tri bike sold in the last 10 years has some kind of vertical adjustability in the aero postion.
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Old 04-30-24, 11:47 PM
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The original position on my race bike wasn't as kind to me as the years rolled on, and I ended up putting a MTB-type riser quill stem on it (and bullhorn bars). No, it's not the original stem and bars, but it doesn't look horrible and the bike is much more comfortable. And if a bike isn't all that comfortable, it may not see many miles - or worse, create or aggravate an injury.
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Old 05-01-24, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
But maybe I'm buying used bikes all wrong. Do you guys take a bike out for an hour or two before you make a deal?
A tape measure would be enough.
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Old 05-01-24, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
I don't speak for the masses, but my opinion of riser stems is that they are ugly and suggest that the rider bought an ill-fitting bike.
Ö.or, the rider is not as flexible as he/she was 20 years ago on a correctly fitted frame.
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Old 05-01-24, 09:51 AM
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Picture always helps. When you say rise you mean angle and not an extension, correct?
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Old 05-01-24, 10:27 AM
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Popular opinion is the ruin of our souls.
Look-up a guy named Moulton.
People have different length torso's, arms and legs.
Find a bike you like and make it fit if you want to, so what?
If money is your concern that's a different issue.
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Old 05-01-24, 01:31 PM
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In addition to stems there are gull wing style riser handlebars that achieve the same thing. A bit more expensive proposition but they offer a comfortable flat section that is nice on long rides.
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Old 05-01-24, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by curbtender
Picture always helps. When you say rise you mean angle and not an extension, correct?
Riser stem, OK; who cares what others think.
Adjustable stem, iffy (especially with TT handlebar mounted).
Stem riser or steerer extension, hard no; too risky.
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Old 05-01-24, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tomm Willians
In addition to stems there are gull wing style riser handlebars that achieve the same thing. A bit more expensive proposition but they offer a comfortable flat section that is nice on long rides.
What Tomm sez -

That would be the Specialized Hover Bar. I got one (~ $40) and they make a big difference. Once you get over the 'wonder what the bike studs think' the riser bars are great. Not all of us can be as flexible as those more fortunate riders, and riser stems and bars can really make the difference. The steerer tube extenders that insert into a 1" tube and convert to a 31+mm stem stud are a help to get more modern bars/stems on older bikes. Just BE SURE that the cinch bolt/wedge is BELOW the threaded portion of the steerer - else you can crack the threads, and let evil leak out.
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Old 05-02-24, 07:05 AM
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If the riser stem gives you a fit you like, there is no reason not to use one and no reason to get a different bike.

If you want to maintain the same reach you will need to get a longer stem length.

.
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Old 05-02-24, 09:22 AM
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Related...

Analyzing the Bike Positions of Top Pro Triathletes

https://www.triathlete.com/gear/bike...o-triathletes/


The variety of positions is kind of cray
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Old 05-02-24, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
Related...

Analyzing the Bike Positions of Top Pro Triathletes

https://www.triathlete.com/gear/bike...o-triathletes/


The variety of positions is kind of cray
This quote jumped out at me:

"Not only can Sanders maintain this position, but he can also maintain more power (330–350 W) for 2–4 hours at a time than most anyone."

That 350 W at his weight (72 kg) is ~4.9 W/kg. The 90th percentile for pro cyclists at 4 hours is reported to be only 4.6 W/kg. And they don't have to swim before or run after.

Dang!
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Old 05-02-24, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
Good, bad, indifferent?

Yesterday I picked up a 2012 Cervelo P2 for a steal. Well, not totally a steal. I did have to put a few hours into it to get it road ready. But I took it out today for a test ride. Rode 34 miles and honestly, by mile 15 I was almost ready to leave it by the side of the road. Everything about the bike is good, except for how aggressive the position is.

I ride tri bikes all the time, so I'm used to, and even prefer, the geometry of a typical tri bike. But this thing is so aggressive, it's literally painful. The steerer tube barely comes up to the lowest seat post height, which bends me over far more than I can hold for any length of time. But there's really no additional steerer tube to go up. All the stack is already used. And I can't go down any further on the seat post without hip angle issues.

So I need to go up about 2 inches, give or take, on my stack. I don't have any steerer tube left to go up, so my thinking is one of those jacked up stems at like 45*. I think that can get me another inch or so. Then I can take the elbow pads up with spacers to get me in a position I can hold for time. I certainly don't want one of those adjustable angle stems because they just look hinky to me. I'm not happy about it, but I think a fixed 45* stem could be a cheap solution to this problem.

Is there anything concerning about using a stem to get me up a little higher?
Assuming the bike 'fits', and only you would know that - or you have someone to advise you, local...
Bar height... reach and rise affect that
on a bike you're already riding and feel 'accustomed to', measure from the saddle nose to where the bar is clamped to the stem - that's your current reach (not really... but it works most of the time...)
now check the new bike, same measure (once you have the saddle positioned)
measure or find the stem length that would get you to the same 'reach' number as your current bike.
Get a cheap adjustable stem - amazon or similar - a bit longer (1 cm...) than the stem you would need to get the same reach, on the new bike...
Why Longer? Because as you adjust the stem upward, it becomes shorter , down becomes 'longer'... Perfect? No, Life and cycling are not perfect.
Position the adjustable stem to the same 'saddle/bar drop' as your current bike - the vertical distance of top of saddle to top of bar... go ride for some days.... find some 'measure' of how you do - performance wise...
then re-adjust the stem downward for a further drop of 1/2cm / 5mm, go ride for a few days, then do the same, exact performance test as before
Repeat everything...
Until you find a good point of 'performance' and 'comfort' (your decision on weight of each aspect).
Once you think you have that optimum point (for the time being) - you can get a fixed stem to mimic that setting - or just continue to use the adjustable...
Ride On
Yuri
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