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stem length. what's too long?

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stem length. what's too long?

Old 05-14-07, 03:54 PM
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its measured center to center of the bar and fork
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Old 05-14-07, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by roadwarrior
Yes...agreed

I have a 130mm stem on a 60 Cannondale, and it's a freakin' rocket.

Every day I come here and read stuff I can't believe.

It's about fit, a subject about which very few seem to know. People that have longer torsos and shorter legs might need a longer stem.

Exactly! 130mm on my bike. I am 5'10" with a 28" inseam, a long torso, and short arms.

Yes I am funny looking.
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Old 05-14-07, 07:04 PM
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I agree that there is no "right" stem length, and that this is totally a matter of fit...with stem length / height to be determined AFTER the saddle is correctly positioned....on a variety of bikes my stem length has ranged from 130 to 140....In part this has to do with what type of position one is aiming for...see the Eddy fit vs. competitive fit from CC for example.

Also agree that a longer stem should in general stabilize steering. It can make handling a bit squirelly in one setting however....standing sprint....The longer stem can lead to more weight on the front wheel...less on the rear...with potential rear wheel hopping...all depending on how smooth one is on the pedals....

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Old 05-15-07, 12:47 PM
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Average torso length with long arms - use 140mm stems all day long with no problems. For the record, I'm 6'2" with broad shoulders and use a 38mm wide handlebar! It's all about getting aero, baby! Low and narrow is the desired body position at 50kph!
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Old 05-15-07, 01:10 PM
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First -off, a longer stem won't make a bike "squirmy OR nervous or twichy", actually,it has the OPPOSITE effect,i t locks the steering in so to speak. A lever travels the greatest distance at a slower speed in proportion to the distance from it's axis,a leverage theory(fact) look it up, I haven't, it may be explained better. That said: I've used a 130+ stem for fifteen years, other stems on different bikes as well, one aspect of too-long stems is that out-of-saddle climing suffers a bit, not alot, a little (oppinion).I wouldn't recomend using a stem length to dictate frame size, I don't feel I need to explain that. My newest bikes have the "correct" dimensions to accomodate a "normal" stem: 110 to 120,given my body "size". Long top tube bikes, LeMond comes to mind,use 100mm stems,in the 55, 57s for example. Typically though most companies use 110-120 in the med.to lg. frames to a point. When I get in good shape, I'll try a 130 again. You see, now that I've a frame that's not too small, I have room to "grow" in that reguard: more aero possition, flexibility and a nice locked-in caster-effected steering /handling bike if I wish.
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Old 05-15-07, 01:18 PM
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I use a 120mm stem on my CX bike, a 130mm on one roadie, and a 150mm on another roadie.... it's all about fit and the intended job of that particular bike.

Saying a long stem makes the bike unsafe is total BS....

A long stem will put more weight over the front wheel though.... and makes a race bike handle properly. I personally realy like about a 56.5cm ETT and a 140mm stem on a road racing bike as ideal.
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Old 05-15-07, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by DocRay
LOL...I love Bike Forums, people get to spew out this crap with such authority, when it's all made up.

Many pros ride 140mm stems-stem length makes no difference to handling. Zero.

then there's the "100 is right" or "120 is right" nonsense. There's a reason why stems are 90mm-140mm.

The correct stem length is easy to determine. Once the correct saddle setback and height is determined by knee alignment over the pedal spindle, a good rule of thumb is that the front axle should align with the handlebar when you are looking down in the drops. For some racers, they prefer 10-20 mm longer to get lower on the bike.
It depends on the rider's torso length and the top tube length of the bike, you can't just say any stem size is the correct one.
That rule is too vague, a small change in torso/head position would cause a big change in the bar/axle view.
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Old 05-21-14, 02:07 AM
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As I wrote elsewhere (but repeated here since this seems to be the relevant thread) I have found that there is one handling penalties to longer stems.

When you use the front wheel brake hard going downhill this can cause the front wheel to judder a little, and since the handlebars and brake levers are connected to the front wheels, I found that this juddering vectored through the longer stem resulted in a greater modulation of the pressure that I applied to the brakes, resulting in a positive feedback loop, and more juddering on a 135mm stem going down a steep hill. I reduced speed using the rear brake. I do not race so it does not make all that much difference to me, but if I were racing and yet braking on hills, this might be a bit of a problem.

In general the longer stem improves handling unless you want super fast "squirrelly" cornering (e.g. for downhill MTB).

The biggest problem with long stems is that they are difficult to get hold of these days (old ones are common). The 3T ART PRO/TEAM is the most commonly available but that is about 80-120 USD depending on the version.
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Old 05-21-14, 02:22 AM
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congrats on resurrecting a 7 year old thread...
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Old 05-21-14, 02:50 AM
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Got a 140 on my 52cm road frame. Bike handles great.
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Old 05-21-14, 02:58 AM
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If you're trying to impress the ladies then this one, of course.


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Old 05-21-14, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by EnsitMike
If you're trying to impress the ladies then this one, of course.


I've got a 150 in my box and thats longer.... 170?
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Old 05-21-14, 03:25 AM
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Originally Posted by krobinson103
I've got a 150 in my box and thats longer.... 170?
200 haha
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Old 05-21-14, 03:52 AM
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short is best. but not too short.
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Old 05-21-14, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by DocRay
LOL...I love Bike Forums, people get to spew out this crap with such authority, when it's all made up.

Many pros ride 140mm stems-stem length makes no difference to handling. Zero.
You spewed crap with authority. Stem length does make a difference. A bike will turn quicker with a shorter stem, slower with a longer stem and it changes the center of gravity. That's not even debatable. Downhill bikes use short stubby stems for a reason and it's not for looks. They need to make fast, minute changes in steering and get their weight rearward. A longer stem can be beneficial in distributing the weight forward for climbing out of the saddle. But on a road bike for the average Joe it is mainly a fit issue.
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Old 05-21-14, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by EnsitMike
200 haha

I mght go with 150 but 200 is too long. Never even seen one that long.
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Old 05-21-14, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by nobrainer440
+1. It takes a bigger motion to turn the wheel with a longer stem, since the bar moves side to side more, but really the wheel hardly turns anyway except at very low speeds. Thus I'm inclined to think it doesn't much matter, except that super low speed turns would become quite awkward with a really long stem.
The stem is a first class lever as posited here and by surferbruce. The farther away from the fulcrum (bars/stem point of attachment at headset) the more input is required to move the wheel.

Last edited by bruce19; 05-21-14 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 05-21-14, 06:48 AM
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If you want to get stem length right go for a fitting by a competent fitter and get the whole bike to fit right.
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Old 05-21-14, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by DocRay
LOL...I love Bike Forums, people get to spew out this crap with such authority, when it's all made up.

Many pros ride 140mm stems-stem length makes no difference to handling. Zero.

then there's the "100 is right" or "120 is right" nonsense. There's a reason why stems are 90mm-140mm.

The correct stem length is easy to determine. Once the correct saddle setback and height is determined by knee alignment over the pedal spindle, a good rule of thumb is that the front axle should align with the handlebar when you are looking down in the drops. For some racers, they prefer 10-20 mm longer to get lower on the bike.
It depends on the rider's torso length and the top tube length of the bike, you can't just say any stem size is the correct one.
Speaking of crap! Your fit principles are out of the dark ages. KOPS? Align the bar with the front axle visually? While those may be correct for some, they have been discredited as rules for all many years ago. Hey you forgot to mention that your saddle tip to bar length should be the length of your forearm from elbow to fingertips. Good thing. You should read up on modern fit principles.
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Old 05-21-14, 07:45 AM
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People, you do realize this is a seven year old thread? Not to mention that the guy you're responding to with such vitriol seems to have had his account deleted.
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Old 05-21-14, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Fiery
People, you do realize this is a seven year old thread? Not to mention that the guy you're responding to with such vitriol seems to have had his account deleted.
OH! Yeah. Right. Heh, heh.
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Old 05-21-14, 08:21 AM
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whatever length your stem is, shorten it.
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Old 05-21-14, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by coasting
whatever length your stem is, shorten it.
Sounds painful.
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Old 05-21-14, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by NomadVW
I have 130mm stem riding on a 61cm frame. Not squirrelly at all.
Same. 130mm on a 63cm, and it's the bees knees.
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Old 05-21-14, 10:16 AM
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anything over a couple of feet.
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