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stem length

mr_sjmr_sj Posts: 507
edited January 2011 in Road beginners
are there any basic tips/rules regarding correct stem size ?

my current stem measured from the centre of steerer to centre of handlebar mount is approx 110mm, i generally ride on the hoods and it does feel as if i overstretch a little and its particulary hard to get a comfortable position on the drops. in fact i suppose i often ride with my hands slightly farther back from the hoods as this is the most comfortable position and im wondering if witha shorter stem i would find the position a lot more comfortable.

im unsure if i should take the plunge and go for a 90mm or 100mm stem, any advice please !!


  • ErudinErudin Posts: 136
    Try both if you can borrow or get them cheap (try ebay), a compact bar can also be used to shorten reach. My back was a bit stiff/inflexible when I got back into road bikes, I found pilates/yoga exercises helped.
  • ProssPross Posts: 34,832
    It's all dependent on your individual body proportions. I'm just over 6' but with fairly short legs and long body and ride with a 130mm stem (140mm on my old bike as the non STI brake hoods mean it is less stretched out.

    Advice as always - get a bike fit done.
  • Not sure how new you are to cycling but I had same problem, I brought my first road bike (Trek 1.2) in November and after a few rides decided to change my stem to a 80mm from 110 and it felt much better.
    However I've now changed back to the 110 and it feels fine so I guess it was just me not giving myself enough time to get used to the correct riding position along with general cycling fitness.
    Whilst trying to find solutions I found one tip which stated that from your normal riding position (on hoods) if you look down at the top bar it should be in line with your front wheel spindle - but make sure your saddle position is correct first in relation to forward/back adjustment.
    Hope this helps.
  • mr_sjmr_sj Posts: 507
    i would say from my normal position that my top bar is about 10mm in front of front wheel spindle. think i might ask around and see if anyone can lend me a 100mm stem so i can try it out
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    Sounds like your stem is too long.
    Generally as a starting point the stem size should be proportional to the top tube length so
    This is generally what you find on stock bikes.
    Then you can fettle around the with length to your hearts content.
    Too long results in slower handling.
    To short results in twitchier handling BUT you get used to both situations.
    I use 80mm on a medium frame and it suits me fine.

    Ignore any nonsense about the bars obscuring the view of the hub. This is a byproduct of some correct fit with some people, not a precondition.
  • derosaderosa Posts: 2,819
    Blimey! Have never used a shorter stem than 120mm - usually 130mm.

    Big H

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
  • mr_sjmr_sj Posts: 507
    thanks for all the advice everyone, will let you all know how i get on
  • sungodsungod Posts: 15,256
    if saddle height/position are not correct, that'll throw your position on the bars out

    unless you are sure saddle position is correct, i'd get that checked before looking at changing the stem
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Sonny73Sonny73 Posts: 2,604
    This superb link was posted to me on here when I was asking about stems, it may help if you were to also change the rise with the length:
  • topdudetopdude Posts: 1,557
    You could try flipping your stem over (if it is angled down now) this will raise the bars a little for no cost. Worth a try ?
    He is not the messiah, he is a very naughty boy !!
  • mr_sjmr_sj Posts: 507
    im going to spend some time tonight making sure the seight position is spot on and then go from there and see how it feels, thanks again for all the advice
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