Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Spacer on top of stem recommended?

Notices
Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Spacer on top of stem recommended?

Old 09-26-10, 10:18 PM
  #1  
AusTai
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Austin
Posts: 357

Bikes: Marin Verona road bike, Cannondale F300

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Spacer on top of stem recommended?

Someone at a local LBS told me that there should at least be a small spacer on top of the stem, vs just having the cap. He said there's less chance of the stem coming loose. Anyone else heard this?

Seems the two horizontal bolts on the stem are all that's necessary to keep the stem tight, so I don't see why a spacer between the cap and stem would make any difference.
AusTai is offline  
Old 09-26-10, 10:34 PM
  #2  
awesomejack
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 589
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I could see how someone could think that, if the stem is sticking up off the steer tube too far, reducing the friction. I would see that spacer as an extra safety measure, and most likely will never be necessary. There are millions of riders out there with no spacer on top of the stem
awesomejack is offline  
Old 09-26-10, 10:36 PM
  #3  
chadwick
Slower than Yesterday
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Katy, Texas, USA
Posts: 339

Bikes: Trek Domane 5.2, Specialized Fatboy Carbon Comp

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Do you have an '10 6-series Trek Madone? It needs one.
chadwick is offline  
Old 09-26-10, 10:41 PM
  #4  
CyciumX
Gimme back my gears!
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: San Jose
Posts: 1,327

Bikes: Cannondale Caad9-5 2009, Scattante XLR TT 2009, Trek Y-Foil 77 1998

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
For a carbon steerer, yes, you need spacers on top of the stem
CyciumX is offline  
Old 09-26-10, 10:59 PM
  #5  
AusTai
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Austin
Posts: 357

Bikes: Marin Verona road bike, Cannondale F300

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Why do carbon steerers and '10 Trek 6 Madones need them? The LBS does sell Treks, BTW.
AusTai is offline  
Old 09-26-10, 11:04 PM
  #6  
BarracksSi
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,861

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by CyciumX View Post
For a carbon steerer, yes, you need spacers on top of the stem
I missed that part. Just now went to look it up at Easton's site, and yup, that's what they say.

Originally Posted by Easton installation instructions
A carbon steerer tube must extend 7-8 mm above the top of the stem clamp and have a 10 mm spacer installed between the stem and the top cap (Figure 5).
https://www.eastoncycling.com/en-us/r.../ec90-sl-taper

I'd better change mine when I get home.
BarracksSi is offline  
Old 09-26-10, 11:15 PM
  #7  
trek2.3bike
Senior Member
 
trek2.3bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Midwest
Posts: 255

Bikes: Trek 5.2 and Trek 2.3 WSD upgraded to full Ultegra.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by AusTai View Post
Why do carbon steerers and '10 Trek 6 Madones need them?
WHY ???

My LBS has delivered three (3) 2008/2009 Treks with carbon steerer tubes to me with no top spacer and I've had no problem with any of them.
trek2.3bike is offline  
Old 09-26-10, 11:38 PM
  #8  
urbanknight
Over the hill
 
urbanknight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 22,837

Bikes: Specialized Allez Elite, Raleigh Pursuit tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Liked 172 Times in 109 Posts
It's a good idea on carbon steer tubes to avoid clamping the end of the tube and cracking it. More of a precaution than a necessity.
__________________
It's like riding a bicycle
urbanknight is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 12:01 AM
  #9  
Copperhed51
Senior Member
 
Copperhed51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Overland Park, KS and Denver, CO
Posts: 720

Bikes: 2008 Felt F5 w/ SRAM Force, 2002 Giant OCR2, Specialized Stumpjumper M2 Comp

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Yes, from what I've read it's a good idea on a carbon steerer. Whenever I see a good friend without a spacer on top, I tell them they might want to consider having one there if they can. I noticed one of the more popular LBS's in KC really sucks at installing forks/stems/steerers after having them do mine. I'm not a bike mechanic and I'm disappointed with how mine was done. On the felt, however, where I did it myself, I've been fully satisfied for years now.
Copperhed51 is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 07:41 AM
  #10  
Faust
Senior Member
 
Faust's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 207
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I recently purchased a Lynskey R230 outfitted with a Chris King headset. I was told that this headset manufacturer specs a spacer on top of the stem. I believe the spacer supplies added rigidity to the whole assembly. You might want to take a look at CK headset assembly instructions for a more accurate version.
Faust is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 07:52 AM
  #11  
dstrong 
Senior Member
 
dstrong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Awesome, Austin, TX
Posts: 4,204

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Interloc Impala, ParkPre Image C6

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 244 Post(s)
Liked 60 Times in 39 Posts
My Ritchey fork, with carbon steer tube, also states the need for a spacer above the stem.
__________________

2014 Specialized Roubaix2003 Interloc Impala2007 ParkPre Image C6 (RIP)

dstrong is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 08:17 AM
  #12  
teterider
On the Move
 
teterider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,219

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
The reason why is obvious, but yes millions of people have been fine without it. Having a bias cut stem is important but again not crucial.

This however makes the Alpha Q (rest in peace) forks brilliant with the epoxy fitted inserts. True star nut security plus top of carbon steerer tube strengthening.
teterider is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 08:18 AM
  #13  
AusTai
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Austin
Posts: 357

Bikes: Marin Verona road bike, Cannondale F300

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I see why now. My fork is pretty old school, with a nice and thick alloy steerer tube, so I imagine it's not going to get crushed easily by the stem clamp.
AusTai is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 08:25 AM
  #14  
DaveSSS 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Loveland, CO
Posts: 6,514

Bikes: TWO Cinelli superstar disc with SRAM Force AXS

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 722 Post(s)
Liked 339 Times in 274 Posts
Whether this is needed depends on the type of expansion plug being used. Thre are some models that support the carbon steering tube all the way to the top, but most provide no support in the top 10mm. The idea is to reduce the possibility of cracking the top of the steerer.

Even with an expansion plug that has no support near the top, using no spacer on top of the stem can work, but don't get carried away when tightening the top clamp bolt.
DaveSSS is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 08:29 AM
  #15  
FlashBazbo
Chases Dogs for Sport
 
FlashBazbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,288
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 983 Post(s)
Liked 138 Times in 91 Posts
Unless you own said '10 Trek, I wouldn't worry about it. Use a torque wrench to attach the stem at the right values and you should have no worries about damaging a carbon steerer. On that Trek, of course, there are many steps to avoiding disaster -- most having very little to do with the strength of the steerer.
FlashBazbo is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 08:57 AM
  #16  
roadiejorge 
stole your bike
 
roadiejorge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: North Bergen, NJ
Posts: 6,907

Bikes: Orbea Orca, Ridley Compact

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4201 Post(s)
Liked 27 Times in 18 Posts
Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
It's a good idea on carbon steer tubes to avoid clamping the end of the tube and cracking it. More of a precaution than a necessity.
This. I have a 5mm spacer between the cap and the stem and it makes sense because it doesn't seem like a good idea to have that much pressure close to the end of the steerer tube, especially carbon since it would crack if too much torque is applied.
__________________
I like pie
roadiejorge is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 09:28 AM
  #17  
chasmm
Senior Member
 
chasmm's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 1,637

Bikes: '85 Rossin Super Record, '88 Specialized Sequoia, '10 Raleigh Cadent FT2, '10 Specialized Roubaix Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Okay...I've got what is probably a fairly stupid newb question...

How do I know if my steerer tube is carbon or aluminum without taking it apart? I've got a 2010 Specialized Roubaix Elite and I've searched the web for about 30+ minutes without coming up with a definitive answer.

My bike's specs say:

Fork - Roubaix full carbon monocoque, w/ Zertz inserts
Headset - Alloy, 1-1/8 - 1-3/8", w/ 20mm of spacers

And from looking at the stem, I've got a few spacers underneath the stem, but none between the top of the stem and the cap...

Last edited by chasmm; 09-27-10 at 09:40 AM.
chasmm is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 09:38 AM
  #18  
gizzsdad
Fat but Fit!
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Iowa
Posts: 174

Bikes: Lynskey R340, Lynskey R230, Fisher Zebrano

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A good thing I didn't know this 10 years ago, or I might have been nervous for the last 15,000 miles.
gizzsdad is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 09:47 AM
  #19  
urbanknight
Over the hill
 
urbanknight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 22,837

Bikes: Specialized Allez Elite, Raleigh Pursuit tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Liked 172 Times in 109 Posts
Originally Posted by chasmm View Post
Okay...I've got what is probably a fairly stupid newb question...

How do I know if my steerer tube is carbon or aluminum without taking it apart? I've got a 2010 Specialized Roubaix Elite and I've searched the web for about 30+ minutes without coming up with a definitive answer.

My bike's specs say:

Fork - Roubaix full carbon monocoque, w/ Zertz inserts
Headset - Alloy, 1-1/8 - 1-3/8", w/ 20mm of spacers

And from looking at the stem, I've got a few spacers underneath the stem, but none between the top of the stem and the cap...
"Full carbon" means the steerer is carbon, too.
__________________
It's like riding a bicycle
urbanknight is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 09:54 AM
  #20  
coasting 
Still can't climb
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Limey in Taiwan
Posts: 23,024
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
I missed that part. Just now went to look it up at Easton's site, and yup, that's what they say.


https://www.eastoncycling.com/en-us/r.../ec90-sl-taper

I'd better change mine when I get home.
Mine has a 15mm above the stem because I had it cut to have 7mm above the stem and then a 10mm spacer would give 3mm scope for loading the headset. Then I realised that the expander plug had a lip on it which sat on top of the top edge of the steerer so my 10mm spacer couldn't get enough for screwing down the top cap.
__________________
coasting, few quotes are worthy of him, and of those, even fewer printable in a family forum......quote 3alarmer

No @coasting, you should stay 100% as you are right now, don't change a thing....quote Heathpack
coasting is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 09:59 AM
  #21  
chasmm
Senior Member
 
chasmm's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 1,637

Bikes: '85 Rossin Super Record, '88 Specialized Sequoia, '10 Raleigh Cadent FT2, '10 Specialized Roubaix Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
"Full carbon" means the steerer is carbon, too.
Thanks! That's what I suspected, but wasn't certain of.

Guess I should be moving one of the spacers...
chasmm is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 10:03 AM
  #22  
mvnsnd
Senior Member
 
mvnsnd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: WNY
Posts: 3,001

Bikes: Caad10, Caad2

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 292 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 37 Posts
Originally Posted by roadiejorge View Post
This. I have a 5mm spacer between the cap and the stem and it makes sense because it doesn't seem like a good idea to have that much pressure close to the end of the steerer tube, especially carbon since it would crack if too much torque is applied.
This. The top bolt of the stem will have very little effect if the carbon steerer tube is flexing and cracks. A few mm down from the end of the tube it is much stronger.
mvnsnd is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 12:47 PM
  #23  
curiouskid55
Senior Member
 
curiouskid55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: SoCal Baby
Posts: 2,137

Bikes: o5 Specilized roubaix Comp, 06 Tequilo

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If the steerer is already cut short it wont do any good to add a spacer on top of the stem.
curiouskid55 is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 01:09 PM
  #24  
gizzsdad
Fat but Fit!
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Iowa
Posts: 174

Bikes: Lynskey R340, Lynskey R230, Fisher Zebrano

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a Lynskey coming with an Edge fork, and their instructions are identical to the Easton instructions above.
gizzsdad is offline  
Old 09-27-10, 02:45 PM
  #25  
urbanknight
Over the hill
 
urbanknight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 22,837

Bikes: Specialized Allez Elite, Raleigh Pursuit tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Liked 172 Times in 109 Posts
Originally Posted by curiouskid55 View Post
If the steerer is already cut short it wont do any good to add a spacer on top of the stem.
True, and moving a spacer from the bottom to the top will have a (slight) impact on fit. So what's done is done, but now people know, and knowing's half the battle!
__________________
It's like riding a bicycle
urbanknight is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.