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What's the popular opinion of riser stems?

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What's the popular opinion of riser stems?

Old 04-29-24, 10:21 PM
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What's the popular opinion of riser stems?

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?
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Old 04-29-24, 10:51 PM
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I would rather just picked up a new fork to be honest if it is causing that much pain. If you raise the bars, then you have to futz with the seat position and then you might never find the correct position and you are really limited by the stem rise anyway. Should be able to pick up a good fork for not that much money.
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Old 04-29-24, 11:35 PM
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The Velo Orange happy stem might fit the bill, I have not used it but do have a lot of VO parts and find them good quality.

https://velo-orange.com/products/vo-happy-stem-31-8mm
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Old 04-30-24, 12:06 AM
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I never understood the taboo of a riser stem, but I came from the MTB world where they are common. It's the cheapest way to see if the bike can fit, so try it out.
Worst that happens is you try a couple, nothing works, and then you sell the bike. Best case it fits and you love it.
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Old 04-30-24, 12:07 AM
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Top Shelf handlebars from Redshift..

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Old 04-30-24, 05:45 AM
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Unless you are a flipper, it's not a steal if it doesn't fit.
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Old 04-30-24, 06:16 AM
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Shelbyfv, I am with you on this. The bike fit, as described, is way off and should be sold off as it is the wrong fitment for the rider. Nothing rides sweeter than a bike that fits properly. You can take that to the bank.
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Old 04-30-24, 06:38 AM
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it’s possible a riser stem will help (?)

maybe a 25 degree stem similar to the Ritchey stem pictured above … there are a number of other similar stems available (including Salsa, Uno etc)

there is nothing wrong with a riser stem - just as there was nothing wrong with larger cassette / lower gearing, wider tires, etc

Last edited by t2p; 04-30-24 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 04-30-24, 06:49 AM
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Popular opinion on bikeforums is that they’re silly looking. Popular opinion in the real world is that they can be incredibly useful for fine tuning your fit. I wouldn’t use “popular opinion” as a deciding factor to see what works for you.

If you need more than a couple inches extra height, you might have the wrong size bike or wrong bike entirely.
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Old 04-30-24, 07:22 AM
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I could use the same reasoning, buy trousers on sale with inseam two inches shorter than correct.
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Old 04-30-24, 07:26 AM
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If aesthetics are important to you, then a 2" riser may do the job but still look "hinky". I wonder how much a new/old fork with a longer steerer will cost? With spacers and a modest rising stem you can get the stack that you need.
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Old 04-30-24, 07:27 AM
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Maybe try an adjustable stem and see if you can 'fine tune' it to your size. This is a Ritchey version, I have an older version on one bike and it worked to get the bars up about 1.5":



Also maybe try a head tube extender. They work, but may not be appropriate if you are sensitive about popular opinion:
:
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Old 04-30-24, 07:32 AM
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Riser stems, they look goofy but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

That said, it sounds like this bike simply doesn't have a geometry suited to you.
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Old 04-30-24, 07:35 AM
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Steerer extensions, recalled
And it took a while… they recalled all the way back to 1998

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Old 04-30-24, 07:39 AM
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I don't think it was mentioned why the bike was purchased. If it has better components, they could be swapped to OP's existing tri bike that presumably fits. If the goal was to show up with a "cooler" bike, that will be dashed by any of the various stem kludges.
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Old 04-30-24, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by skidder

Also maybe try a head tube extender. They work, but may not be appropriate if you are sensitive about popular opinion:
:
Keep in mind that these extenders are not safe to use with carbon steerers (which this bike may or may not have).
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Old 04-30-24, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
If aesthetics are important to you, then a 2" riser may do the job but still look "hinky". I wonder how much a new/old fork with a longer steerer will cost? With spacers and a modest rising stem you can get the stack that you need.
I’m thinking buying a replacement fork to get the bars higher may negate the sweet deal the OP apparently got on the bike.
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Old 04-30-24, 08:16 AM
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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.
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Old 04-30-24, 08:26 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.
while this might be the case - there is also the possibilty the size / fit of the bike is appropriate - but the bar height is too low

which is not uncommon (and unfortunately too common) - especially older bikes with a short / cut steerer

note how many newer bikes are now equipped with a longer steerer and spacers (obviously excluding bikes with one piece bar / stem)
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Old 04-30-24, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by t2p
while this might be the case - there is also the possibilty the size / fit of the bike is appropriate - but the bar height is too low

which is not uncommon (and unfortunately too common) - especially older bikes with a short / cut steerer

note how many newer bikes are now equipped with a longer steerer and spacers (obviously excluding bikes with one piece bar / stem)
OP states that she needs about 2" more stack. The bike doesn't fit.

A riser stem is unlikely to get her that much additional stack because of, well, trigonometry. And even if it would work, it's a hack for an ill-fitting frame.

The bike was not a "steal." It was wasted money.
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Old 04-30-24, 08:36 AM
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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?
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Old 04-30-24, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
OP states that she needs about 2" more stack. The bike doesn't fit.

A riser stem is unlikely to get her that much additional stack because of, well, trigonometry. And even if it would work, it's a hack for an ill-fitting frame.

The bike was not a "steal." It was wasted money.
agree - that (2 inch) does not sound good
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Old 04-30-24, 09:22 AM
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Triathlon bike with riser stem kinda negates the whole triathlon geometry.
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Old 04-30-24, 09:35 AM
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A stem change is a great way to fine tune a bike fit.

If the stem is not 90° from the steerer tube, but angled down, you could just flip it over to get a rise instead of a drop. Assuming that's not an option, I like the suggestion in Post #3.

I have an adjustable stem on one bike, not only does it look hinky, but it's also a LOT heavier than a one-piece stem, which kind of defeats the point of that bike, IMO. (it doesn't matter on my commuter eBike)

Changing handlebars would be a last resort for me, esp. on that bike.
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Old 04-30-24, 10:10 AM
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VegasJen: You would be better off with one or two bikes that fit rather than several that do not; the latter is a false economy.

You can use this tool to determine what stem would put the handlebar at a more comfortable accessible position: Stem Comparison Tool | yojimg.net
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