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Advice on Stem Length

Old 05-06-07, 11:50 AM
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MaxBrokeAway
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Advice on Stem Length

Hi,

I am a new MTBer and i need some advice:

I recently bought a new handlebar, Bontrager Select Crowbar with 1 inch rise and 7 degree back swing, I am trying to figure out what stem to buy to go with the new handlebar.

I am about 6 foot 1 inches tall.

Based on my height and handlebar specs...what stem do you recommend I get so I can have a comfortable position on my bike. At the moment I am looking at a Bontager Sport @ 110mm with a 10 degree rise. I would like input on this before i commit to buy...Thanks!

Max
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Old 05-06-07, 11:56 AM
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what bike are you on now, and what length/rise stem do yhou have on it? without seeing or knowing more about your bike setup, and what sort of riding and trails you hit, it's pretty hard to say what would work best...
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Old 05-06-07, 12:59 PM
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Please dont flame me because of my ignorance or my bike set-up, I just got out of the Army not to long ago and wanted to try and pick up MTBing as a hobby. My bike is a Triax Blade that I bought from target...I decided that I like MTBing so I am upgrading it piece at a time. The stem thats on there now my LBS told me is an old type threaded stem. I bought a Rock Shox Dart 2 along with the handlebar and they are going to convert it to a threadless for me but informed me that I need to buy a stem.

The trails I hit are a mix of XC with some ups and downs...lots of roots and rocks.
I haven't put any upgrades on it yet...but what I have for it so far is the Rock Shox Dart 2, Shimano ST-EF29 Brake/Shifter Combo, Shimano Alizio front Derailleur, Bontager Select Crowbar with Bontager Select Grips. Basically im redoing the whole front end with the exception of the rim.

Heres some pics.






I like the feel of the set up i have now...but I think i would like to be leaned forward maybe a LITTLE bit more...I believe the rise in my handlebar now is a 2 inch. I have no idea of the angle and length of the stem though...maybe you more experienced people can tell me by the photo.

thanks,
Max
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Old 05-06-07, 01:04 PM
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heres also pics of the handlebar i got...and the stem i am thinking about
Thanks again!


Handlebar: 1 inch rise, 7 degree backswing


Stem: 110mm with 10 degree rise.
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Old 05-06-07, 01:12 PM
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Your bike appears to have a threaded headset, and quill stem. the stem you have pictured is for a threadless system so it wouldn't work. That is if I'm really seeing it right.
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Old 05-06-07, 01:16 PM
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i you read earlier, he said he picked up a rockshox dart3, and his LBS is going to change everything to threadless for him... so it should work
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Old 05-06-07, 01:30 PM
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Well, guesstimating from the pic, it looks like your current stem is 120mm or so (measure from the center of the bolt on top of the stem to the center of the handlebar clamp for an accurate determination). It also looks to be at least 15 degree rise.

If you want a little bit more stretched out/forward position, you could keep the same rise and get a longer stem (although this would slow steering a bit) or you could keep the same length and get a shallower rise stem (i.e. 5-10 degree, depending on how much lower --and effectively more forward you want the bars).

Your current bars look more like 1" rise to me (again, guesstimating), much like your new bars. So that shouldn't change too much. One thing to make sure of is that your new bars diameter is the same as your new stem's bar clamp diameter, and that the stem's headset clamp is the same as the headset you're getting installed -- which is important to note because most older threaded type headsets/headtubes are setup for 1"; and most modern headsets/headtubes are for 1 1/8". But there are 1" threadless out there. And that might not be an issue for you, but it's something to be sure of (measure) before you go buying parts.

And thanks for your service. My brother put in 11 months in Iraq, and I appreciate your contribution very much.

Good luck with the new hobby. It's fun (and can get expensive if you let it!).
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Old 05-06-07, 02:05 PM
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OH I KNOW ALL ABOUT HOW EXPENSIVE LOL!!

Yea my LBS told me to get the 1 1/8 threadless stem and I made sure the bar is compatible with the stem...so i think im good on that part.

When I asked my LBS waht stem to get they said that 120mm might be stretching me out a bit..but I dont think they knew what other specs I was currently using...So like you said if my current setup a 120mm and a 15 degree rise...then i definantly want to get the 120mm with a 10 degree rise...I dont think I want to go longer or shorter with length but I could definantly go for a lower rise...Thanks for the input...

SO now im looking at this:


As opposed to this:


Anyone else feel free to comment...(i hope your guesstimation was right!

ONE MORE QUESTION...my new bars backswing is 7 degrees...is that pretty standard?? and can anyone guesstimate from the picture what the backswing on my current setup is? Cuz I dont want any more backswing then I havecurrently, thats borderline too much as it is.

Thanks again.

Last edited by MaxBrokeAway; 05-06-07 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 05-06-07, 03:26 PM
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I've got a 120mm Ritchey Comp with a 6 deg rise that I don't need if you are interested. $10
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Old 05-06-07, 03:34 PM
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OK I measured it officially...found a nifty website where you can actually print out a metric ruler (google: Printable millimeter ruler). From center of nut to center of clamp was 110...I dont think I want to go longer so im gonna go with the first one of being a lower rise...

My only concern now is that my new handlebar backswing will be greater than my current handlebar backswing...any help would be great
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Old 05-06-07, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by MaxBrokeAway
My only concern now is that my new handlebar backswing will be greater than my current handlebar backswing...any help would be great
I wouldn't worry about it. the bars i run vary between 6-8 degrees, and they feel fine, similar to the majority of bars I've ridden on other bikes.
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Old 05-06-07, 05:22 PM
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I hate to highjack your thread, but I'm just curious about something that was previously posted. How does stem rise affect handling? I've noticed that (at least for trek bikes), once you get to the 6000 series, the rise is only 10 degrees instead of 25 (the other measurement for that handlebar the OP is looking at). How much does that really change you, besides being stretched out more?
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Old 05-06-07, 06:37 PM
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in my personal opinion regarding general physics (though I could be wrong when it comes to bikes) but the lower you and more spaces out (with limitations of course) the better you should be able to handle a bike...I see it as the higher up your body is...the more unbalanced and likely to tip over you become...like I said though...when it comes to bikes I could be totally wrong.
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Old 05-06-07, 06:42 PM
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Oh, ok that makes sense. I've just noticed that on a lot of "recreational" mountain bikes, the stems seem to be 25 degrees. So maybe that makes it easier for cruising around, whereas a lower stem would stretch you out and make you more aerodynamic on the trail.
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Old 05-06-07, 06:49 PM
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I suppose I can see how being lower could make turning sharp corners a bit more difficult...but personally Id rather be lower than higher...Though it is important to find some sort of middle ground. Which is why I wanted to make sure that I dont stretch myself out TOO far but at the same time ensure that im not to high.
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Old 05-06-07, 07:11 PM
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Yeah, I think I agree with that. I used to ride my dad's bike which was a hybrid and had handles that dropped, then went to the mountain bike and have a 25 degree stem, so I feel really upright, and it's something I didn't notice when purchasing the bike. It's the only bad thing I have to say about it. That's why I was curious as to knowing if it affects handling or just comfort.
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