New rider, and a building question

Sloper Posts: 141
edited September 2009 in MTB beginners
Hi, I'm returning to cycling (from motorcycling - still a biker but need to get fitter!) after a very long break. I'm now er.. quite old :lol: , but used to build and ride 'mountain bikes' in my teens, although they weren't called that then of course. We used to do trials (in a fashion!), timed off-road racing, and a little cycle speedway too. I also rode a Mercian racing bike and did a lot of cycle-touring. I did have a Kona Hahanna about 13 years ago, which I used mostly for commuting but did no off-roading.

Anyway, I recently purchased a Merlin Malt 2 and I'm also building another bike based on a Kona Caldera aluminium frame, which I have a question about...

Having bought a pair of Rock Shox Reba forks, I am still undecided on what type of 'bars and stem I want. I want to try a pair of riser bars as I feel standard mtb ones are too narrow. Maybe I get that feeling from riding off-road motorcycles, I dunno... but I think I would feel more comfortable with slightly wider and higher bars with more sweepback than the ones on my Merlin.
My idea is to get some likely-looking bars and try them in this old no-name stem I have to get an idea of how I fit the cockpit. I will then buy a nicer new stem based on how it feels. My question is this..

I'm concerned that after cutting the steerer tube, that it might be too short for the new stem. I want to know if all mtb stems are of a standard depth (I think the terminology is 'stack height'?) at the point where they clamp the steerer tube?


  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Stack height of stems can vary - but is typicall 40mm.

    Best bet is to cut the steerer longer and uses headset spacers - you can use about another 40mm safely. This gives you a lot of flexibility as you can put the spacers on the stem too.
  • Sloper
    Sloper Posts: 141
    I have some Hope spacers! I know they go under the stem, but I'm not sure what you mean by headset spacers :?

    Another question: I have only read of people using hacksaws to cut the steerer. Is there any reason I can't use a pipe-cutter?

    Thanks for the quick reply btw 8)
  • ^^ as super said, and there are plenty of really wide bars to play with!
  • they go under the stem, if your steerer is too long you can fit them above as well, look at my 456 in my sig.

    pipe cutters are fine for alloy bars, and maybe steel, but you need a hacksaw for carbon ones.
  • Sloper
    Sloper Posts: 141
    Aha! I see now..spacers above the stem! Thanks ride_whenever.

    So in theory, and within reason of course, you could even leave the steerer uncut (up to 40mm - I'm guessing that's what supersonic was referring to). This would give me room to play with the height of the stem, and also allow a bit for a new stem having a different stack-height?

    I think I get the idea now. Cheers! :D