Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB beginners

stem length?

tomb118tomb118 Posts: 32
edited May 2008 in MTB beginners
Another beginner question...

I keep reading about bikes have better/worse geometry or "...see if you can get a stem swap..." regarding new bikes. My firrst question is can't you just move the saddle forward a bit so the stem isn't too long? What benefits does a shorter or longer stem have and how would you know if it was too short/long? Then how are they measured, is 100mm from the ends of the clamps or is it just the middle bit? and finally if you decided your current stem was the wrong length how would you know what the right length was without getting four different lengths and repeatedly taking your bike to bits?

I know there are a few questions there and possibly all of them are stupid! its just confusing me!



  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    you can move the saddle forwards and that will make the whole "cockpit" shorter and therefore negate the fit related problems with a stem being too long but moving the saddle has effects on your position for climbing and general trail riding.

    also, a longer stem means that the bike steers slower (you'd be suprised at the effect it has) but for some folks, thats better.

    a shorter stem makes the bike more snappy, the steering is sharper and your position will be more upright. of course you could end up sitting too high affecting your centre of gravity and the bike could feel a bit twitchy and the steering could be less stable.

    for me, bout 70mm offers the best of all worlds, nice position and quick enough (but not too quick) steering. i have been lucky as the golden willowhas an adjustable stem so i have been able to test different variations.
  • tomb118tomb118 Posts: 32
    thanks for the response!
    im asking because ive noticed generally on a longish ride (mainly on the road sections between trails) i get a bit of back ache at the base of my back and was wondering if the stem being too long could be why? Ive moved my saddle forward since my last ride but i'm doing exams at the mo so haven't been able to go out since to try it out.
    how do you measure the stem length? im not sure what the length of my current stem is, its just an unnamed part that came on my bike (trek 4300 from a few years back).
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    sorry for the lewd post, but if women seem generally nonplussed, then your stem is too short :lol:
  • tomb118tomb118 Posts: 32
    so come on then, how do u measure your stem (where stem = lump of metal that attaches your forks to your bars and not a part of your potentially embarassing anatomy)? is it end to end, or just the length between the clamps?
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    Nothing embarrassing about my stem. I'm proud of it.

    Measure your stem from the centre of the steerer to the centre of the bars. I think.
Sign In or Register to comment.