Stem length?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Warner, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Warner

    Warner Member

    As I posted in the "winter projects" thread, I'm making some upgrades and changes to my MAB. One of my goals is to get the handlebars up higher and closer to me, giving a much more upright riding position. I know that riser handlebars will do this in part, but since I'm converting my headset from threaded to threadless, I have to also buy a new stem as well. This is where I'm confused a little bit.....what length of stem will accomplish my intended goal? A longer stem will raise the bars up, but it would also move them further toward the front of the bike, which seems to be the opposite of what I want. A shorter stem will keep the bars closer to me, but won't raise them up, and may in fact lower them down depending on if the new stem is shorter than what's on the bike now. So I'm not sure which length stem to order. Any suggestions?



  2. ocscully

    ocscully Member

  3. Warner

    Warner Member

  4. jg767

    jg767 Member

    I have a stem that pivots in the middle, allowing ther handlebrs to set further back. I bought it from
  5. retromike3

    retromike3 Member

    stem length and body position.

    From what I have figured out over the years if you shorten the length of the stem your head naturally goes up. (I am assuming that you are using flat handle bars.) This will work to a point until your knees start to bump the handle bars.
    The one thing I might caution you is that with a more upright position you are more likely to have more stress on your back and backside. With the load taken off your hands its going to fall more on your spine and tailbone.
    If you look at pro cross-country mountain bikers and road riders their riding position is very similar.
    Believe it or not we weren't designed to walk on two legs although we "get bye" quite well on two it does cause a lot of stress on the spine. There are limits to this way of thinking but in general I think I am on the right track.

    Mike Frye the bike guy
  6. retromike3

    retromike3 Member

    P.S. the seat angle is also a critical adjustment. Tilt the seat up or down buy a few degrees and it will make a big difference in how you feel on the bike.

    Mike Frye the bike guy
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  7. Warner

    Warner Member

    Thanks Mike. I am actually going with 2.5" riser bars, so that will raise things up 2 and a half inches. I am probably going to go with the middle size stem....90mm and make that work. It'll be better than the laid out position I am in now. As it is now, my bars are a little lower than my seat level. With the riser bars, that should be corrected. Thanks for the response!

  8. retromike3

    retromike3 Member

    Don't forget that you may have to tilt your seat up a few degrees to keep your fingers from falling asleep.

    Mike Frye the bike guy
  9. JemmaUK

    JemmaUK Guest

    There is also a trick I have used on my bike and this is to reverse the stem so the handlebar clamp is to the aft of the stem riser - that can help with the problem of higher stem changing the alignment.

    I did that because I wanted a more sit up riding position - one because of the look i was going for - and two - because of what that Idiot in the Volvo on his mobile phone did to my spine... :bigcry:

    It actually made alot of difference and pretty much solved my problem re back pain entirely (I hadnt actually realised riding the bike had been causing so much of an issue)... might be worth a try?

    Jemma xx
  10. Warner

    Warner Member

    I actually thought about that Jemma....thanks for the suggestion. Of course I will keep everyone posted on my progress once I get the parts. It probably won't be at the very TOP of my list.....since it's still winter (forever!) here in Chicago....but I'll get to it and it'll all be right when I'm done. I think this will make the bike safer and more comfortable. Definitely more "custom" Haha. There's a few other things on my list for the bike. I may actually move it from the garage to my basement this weekend......we'll see!

  11. DougC

    DougC Guest

    For threadless headsets, you can get stem risers:

    You can also buy stems that have a hinge in the middle, so they can be angled up or down.
    The most-famous of these (among regular bicycle-geeks) is the Look ErgoStem, with two pivots, but they cost ~$200 (-ummm, nevermind, the ErgoStem is road-bike only).

    Here is a cheaper example, $26:
    Zoom 25.4mm Adjustable Stem 105/41mm

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2010