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Stem Choice Help

Old 09-10-09, 06:16 PM
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Pharcyder1406
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Stem Choice Help

I am building up my first bike from scratch (Scrambler frame with bullhorns) and I am not sure how to pick out a stem. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-10-09, 09:07 PM
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You can never go wrong with Thompson.
 
Old 09-10-09, 09:21 PM
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Truth. Currently saving my pennies for one myself (kid on the way...need to be careful!)
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Old 09-10-09, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Dion Rides View Post
You can never go wrong with Thompson.
Thompson's are awesome, but I love the look of the Cinelli Alter.

Not my bike:


and plus you get the badass chick stickers on them
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Old 09-10-09, 09:38 PM
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thats freaking hideous, imho.

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Old 09-10-09, 10:39 PM
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buy a stem that puts the handlebars in a comfortable position for riding.

anything else is irrelevant
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Old 09-11-09, 08:44 AM
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is it true cheap stems can snap during the winter because of the cold? I'm wondering if i should upgrade my stock kilo stem because of this...
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Old 09-11-09, 08:53 AM
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Are you using a threaded or threadless fork?
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Old 09-11-09, 08:57 AM
  #9  
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Yes, in some parts of the world where it rains liquid nitrogen this is definitely a concern.
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Old 09-11-09, 11:00 AM
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Anyway, how long is your frame's top tube? The stem's length and rise is what you should be concerned with--for the roughest starting point, look at a 10 degree rise. If your frame is 52-54cm, try a 90mm.. 55-57cm try 100mm.. 58+ try 110mm.

You just don't want to feel stretched out when you're on the bars. Err on the side of small/compact for your first bike.

Last edited by Samwiches; 09-11-09 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 09-11-09, 12:12 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Dion Rides View Post
You can never go wrong with Thompson.
Thanks for the suggestion, but my main question is how to find a stem that is the correct size for me and my first bike. They are a bit pricey for my budget, but Ill keep those in mind once I figure out what size I need, though.

Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
buy a stem that puts the handlebars in a comfortable position for riding.
anything else is irrelevant
Yes, that is what I am trying to figure out!

Originally Posted by Yo! View Post
Are you using a threaded or threadless fork?
Sorry, I should have specified this. Frame has a 1 1/8" threadless steer tube.

Originally Posted by indiglow View Post
Yes, in some parts of the world where it rains liquid nitrogen this is definitely a concern.
Totally loled at that.

Originally Posted by Samwiches View Post
Anyway, how long is your frame's top tube? The stem's length and rise is what you should be concerned with--for the roughest starting point, look at a 10 degree rise. If your frame is 52-54cm, try a 90mm.. 55-57cm try 100mm.. 58+ try 110mm.

You just don't want to feel stretched out when you're on the bars. Err on the side of small/compact for your first bike.
The geometry spec. sheet gives two measurements for the top tube. Actual: 54.7 cm and Virtual: 55.8 cm.

I would prefer a tad of a more upright riding position as well.
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Old 09-11-09, 12:22 PM
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That Cinelli stem is hideous.

It's really hard to determine stem length/angle when you have nothing to start from. Frame size is pretty irrelevant because everyone is proportioned differently. Try rummaging through a LBS/Co-op free box for a few old stems or even borrow the stem off of a friends bike to see how it feels, and then make adjustments accordingly.

Also, some bullhorns are much longer than others. Depending on which ones you get, you might want to go with a shorter stem.
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Old 09-11-09, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Pharcyder1406 View Post
The geometry spec. sheet gives two measurements for the top tube. Actual: 54.7 cm and Virtual: 55.8 cm.

I would prefer a tad of a more upright riding position as well.
Then you have a 56cm top tube.

I don't know if telling someone that their body is not the same as anyone else's and that they just have to go try stuff randomly is very helpful, is it? The only way the framesize is irrelevant is if it's not the right size in the first place. What might be a better way to see it is that the frame is not in anyway versatile in sizing. Yeah, go for a bunch of stems to try on but start with conventional wisdom.

Last edited by Samwiches; 09-11-09 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 09-11-09, 12:46 PM
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This 110 and 120 are still on sale, if it suits you.
https://store.interlocracing.com/e4endurostem.html
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Old 09-11-09, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Pharcyder1406 View Post
Thanks for the suggestion, but my main question is how to find a stem that is the correct size for me and my first bike. They are a bit pricey for my budget, but Ill keep those in mind once I figure out what size I need, though.
You may have to obtain a cheap stem and try from there. Most bikes come stock with a 110mm stem, but but it really depends on the length of your top tube to determine the length of your stem. Also, your handlebars will be a determining factor on your reach.

Remember, that as you become more flexible, a longer stem may be needed to adjust to your ability to flatten out over the length of the bike. Whatever handlebar you choose, make sure that you are not putting any unnecessary pressure on your wrists and hands.

A bike should be fitted so well, that you can ride it for extended periods of time without pressure fatigue on the contact points (bars, pedals, seat). Also, being so far leaned forward restricts breathing for some, and it's refreshing when somebody actually wants a more "upright" seating position. By the look of some of the extremely dropped bars and stems on a lot of street fixed gear bikes, it really makes me wonder if people actually take any of that into consideration.
 
Old 09-11-09, 12:55 PM
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Go to an LBS, and ask about their replacement policy. If they won't let you ride a stem for a week, then return it, find a new LBS.

An adjustable stem can be useful, but remember, they are meant to be replaced.
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Old 09-11-09, 12:59 PM
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Since I still have not cut the steer tube, would it be better to cut it low (closer to the top cup) and get a stem with a bigger rise or use spacers on the steer tube and get a stem that is more horizontal? Or is this simply two ways to end with the same result?
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Old 09-11-09, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Pharcyder1406 View Post
Since I still have not cut the steer tube, would it be better to cut it low (closer to the top cup) and get a stem with a bigger rise or use spacers on the steer tube and get a stem that is more horizontal? Or is this simply two ways to end with the same result?
Cut enough so that you can put a good amount of spacers both on top and on the bottom. When I was trying to figure out my road bike stem height, I had a bunch of spacers on there. It looks ugly, but you're not going for looks at this point!

Now that I've figured it out, I put a carbon fork on my bike and the steerer tube is cut to where I want it.

 
Old 09-11-09, 01:13 PM
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The following applies to a street bike and not to a track bike, a road-racing bike or a mountain bike.

Before anything else, get your saddle properly positioned, because this will determine your handlebar position, and your handle bar position will then dictate what length and angle of stem to use.

Lower your saddle until it feels too low.

Raise your saddle from its too low position to a height above the bottom bracket that allows you to fully lower the heel of your foot at the pedal's lowest position, while retaining a slight bend in the knee.

Then move your saddle back until, with your cranks level, a plumb line hanging from your knee, just behind your kneecap (not the point of your kneecap0, passes through either your pedal spindle or the ball of your foot/toe (depending on whether you ride clipless or with clips).

With your saddle better oriented fore and aft, readjust the height.

Then readjust the fore and aft.

On the street (and not on the track, nor on the Tour de France, nor in the Mountains), start by adusting the height of your handlebar so that a horizontal line drawn from the "saddle" (low portion, assuming a level saddle) of you saddle passes through the part of your handlbars that would correspond to "the hoods" on a road bike.

In other words, hoods and saddle the same height (if you don't have hoods, you know what I mean; don't make it difficult for yourself).

Now, magically move the handle bar backwards, towards your saddle, so that it gives you a torso angle such that, if you wanted to, you could lift your hands off the bars.

What does this torso angle look like?

Take off your shoes and sit in a hard chair on a hard floor (no carpet).

Place your heels on a line between the two front legs of the chair.

lean forward and reach out for your imaginary handlebars.

In slow motion, start to stand up so that your bottom starts to get light on the seat.

At the moment your bottom breaks contact with the seat, note the angle of your torso.

With your handlebars at the same height as your saddle, move the handlebars backwards until you recreate this torso angle.

You move the handlebars up and down with spacers on the steering tube, between the top of your headset and the bottom of your stem; and, you flip the stem rightside up or upside down for further height adjustment, up or down.

To move the handlebar forward or back, you borrow cheap spare stems from your local bike shop and try them on in the parking lot until you find the right length and angle of stem, and spacers, that puts your handlebar where it needs to go.

Then buy a nice stem of the same angle and length from your lbs as a "thank you."

Generally, if you have a bike either one size too small, the right size, or one size too big, you will need a stem of 90mm to 120mm in length, with a six degree angle (flip it up or down as needed).

And if you ride with bullhorns, as you ought to do on the street, it will make all of this much simpler.

Again, everything above applies to riding on the street in an urban and suburban setting, and not to track, road or mountain.
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Old 09-11-09, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Dion Rides View Post
Most bikes come stock with a 110mm stem, but but it really depends on the length of your top tube to determine the length of your stem.
Hate to hijack, but anyone know what size stem is on a stock '08 Madison?
It seems longer than most I've seen-
I'm not sure where to measure from or how accurate I'd be-
I'd like to find out so I can figure out how much smaller I can go before I order a new one. Thanks
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Old 09-11-09, 01:39 PM
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The image on Schwinn.com has a 115.
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Old 09-23-09, 12:11 AM
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if you have a threadless fork just get something thats long enough/has enough rise to be comfortable. other than that ive ridden alot of cheap stems and never had any problems
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