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Benefits of Long and Short STEMS?

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Benefits of Long and Short STEMS?

Old 06-06-02, 08:55 PM
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Giantismic
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Benefits of Long and Short STEMS?

I just bought a 100 mm Thimpson elite stem. I took it out on the trail and noticed that I had quite a bit more maneuverability vs the 130 mm stock stem that came on my rockhopper.

Over the last day, since I bought it ive wondered if I should have gone smaller, perhaps 90 or less. My question is, should I have got a smaller stem, or would too short hurt my speed and climbing ability?. Keep in mind that im trying to make my hardtail a good xc bike, but at the same time, something I could do some downhill with.
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Old 06-07-02, 12:34 AM
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Richard D
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Stem choice is very much a personal thing - I found the most important thing for me was a stem that allowed me to ride comfortably for longish distances.

In theory a longer flat stem will give you a lower position, slow down the steering and give you more leverage for climbs. Shorter stems are stronger for downhilling and give you quicker steering.

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Old 06-07-02, 02:32 AM
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I agree. I've been riding a 135mm stem, and i find that it's too long, to the point where I have only my fingers on the bar when I don't need brakes. This caused some fatigue in my hands by the end of the ride.
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Old 06-07-02, 03:02 AM
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The ratio of top tube /stem length should be about the same for all sizes of rider, for "normal" riding.

The only guide to appropriate stems length I have seen in in the book Touring Bikes by Tony Oliver (He does deal with MTBS, and is esp proud of his ultra-light steel MTB about 20lbs in 1980). This is just his experience, not the result of scientific experiementation.


You can chose to ride longer or shorter, but extremes of stem length do affect handling. This also depends on the steering geometry.
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Old 06-07-02, 10:23 AM
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I'm an old BMXer, so I prefer a quicker handling bike, thus I use a shorter stem. I've got a 100 on my P.3, but I'm running a 120 on my XC bike. I've been riding my P.3 a lot lately and have really gotten used to the shorter stem so I'll probably swap out the 120 on my XC bike to a 110 and see how that goes!

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Old 06-07-02, 11:18 AM
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Yeah, 100 milimeters seems to be the happy medium. Now that I think of it, the next big jump in maneuverability would proabably be to a 70 mm stem.

Im not experienced enough to know, but would going to a very short stem affect speed and climbing ability?
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Old 06-10-02, 07:56 AM
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I recently got a 2001 Stumpjumper M4 and switched the OE 130mm stem to a 100mm Thomson stem and noticed a big difference with the steering response of the bike. It is quicker in the twisty singletrack in my area. It allows me to ride faster.

I like... love the way my bike handles now.
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