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Changing stem length

ziglarziglar Posts: 112
edited November 2012 in Road beginners
I am a complete newbie to cycling and bought a 2006 Cervelo Team Soloist 54cm bike in August and love it to bits. However, at 5'7" I find myself sitting forwards on the seat too often and have to push my backside back to get slightly more comfortable on the seat. Sitting back on the seat also seems to give me slightly more power but I could be imagining it.

Would changing the stem length help? It's currently 110mm and I was thinking of trying 60mm or 70mm?

Posts

  • Mikey41Mikey41 Posts: 690
    Is the saddle level? It's not uncommon for people to have the saddle pointing down too much and sliding forwards on it. Having said that, that frame sounds too big for you, so changing the stem will help your reach.
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  • pinarellokidpinarellokid Posts: 1,208
    quick rough guide is when riding take a look at the front wheel axle,
    if you see it something is wrong
    in front of the handlebars and the stem is too short.
    if you see it behind the handlebars the stem is too long.
    iholding a broom handle and getting a friend to measure will help you find the stem length you need
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  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    The frame is too big as that's the size I would ride and I'm 5' 11". If you shorten the stem by that much you're going to find the steering super-twitchy. Can you flip the seatpost head on the soloist team? If so it would shorten the toptube length enough for a better fit, but you're still putting a band-aid on a broken arm. I learned the hard way to stop trying to get the wrong size frame to fit and just do it properly.
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  • ziglarziglar Posts: 112
    Seat is as far forward as it will go. Seatpost has been flipped and is as far forward as it go. So running out of easy options. Changing the stem is more convenient and less costly than changing the frame/bike but I have to agree that the frame is probably too large for me.

    Having said that, other than consciously having to force myself to sit back in the seat I am experiencing no other issues with an overly large frame - what are the implications of a frame that is too large?
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Lack of comfort, compromised position, injury due to stresses of incorrect positioning, lack of stability, etc.

    Taking 10mm off a stem is one thing, you're talking about 40-50mm. I went from 110 to 100 on my old frame and the twitchiness above 25mph scared the living censored out of me. You can make a small frame fit without too much trouble, but it just doesn't work well the other way.
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  • I totally agree with the comments from Grill. I suffered a frame for a while that was a touch too big. No matter what I did it always felt wrong, it's difficult to describe how you can have a bike that you can reach the bar, seem to be comfortable, yet I never felt quite happy with it. I tried reducing the stem length and ended up with a death trap. looking at how much you are talking of reducing the stem, it's a worrying amount that will probably alter the handling of the bike considerably.

    Having been through the experience of a really thorough bike fitting, and coming away with a bike that is perfect for me, my whole cycling experience has moved to another level. I have gained comfort, better posture, better knees, and even better speed.
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  • ziglarziglar Posts: 112
    So why are stems available at 60, 70, 80, 90mm if they introduce instability in the handling?
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Cross.
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  • SproolSprool Posts: 1,022
    Grill wrote:
    Cross.
    Cross? I'd be livid.
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  • ziglarziglar Posts: 112
    Not that I didn't take on board the advice given but I went ahead and bought a cheapish (£20) 70mm stem and fitted it as I wanted to see for myself.

    I was amazed at how much difference it made - not only did it feel more awkward (unstable?) in turns but I did not feel at all confident in some high speed downhill (well 30mph is high for me) slopes where the surface was uneven.

    I will be refitting the old stem and looking at getting the correct size frame early next year when funds (and wife) permit.
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Not to say I told you so or anything... ;)

    Gotta find out for yourself sometimes.
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  • SproolSprool Posts: 1,022
    110 to 70 is a big leap. The frame would have been designed around a 110 stem. I'd think +/- 10mm on that would not affect handling drastically and may help make it more comfortable.
  • Try a 90mm stem ... It's not ideal but the bike should handle reasonably (I had a 90mm stem on an old Spesh 52cm bike and I rode that for more miles than any other bike I've owned ... I'm 5'6" and now ride a 50cm 'dale with a 110mm stem so the reach is pretty much the same as the old setup taking into account the top tube lengths) ...

    Wish they made them in 5mm increments ... 105 would be perfect (maybe shimano could make me one) ...
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Try a 90mm stem ... It's not ideal but the bike should handle reasonably.

    My 90mm stems are ideal! :lol:

    Twitchiness is relative. Of course it will seem initially twitchy to go from 110 to 90 but after a few miles it won't - you just get used to it. I wouldn't describe the handling of my bikes to be in anyway twitchy but they all use relatively short stems (Long legs, short torso means it is a slight compromise to get the bike geometry spot on). Incidentally, 90mm is quite long for MTB stems (though of course they have wider bars to compensate).
    Faster than a tent.......
  • I agree Rolf ... 90mm stems do work well, on a 54cm you might be pushing it a bit though ... My gf had an 80mm on her 48cm bike and got on perfectly (I now have that stem on my badboy and it works a treat) ...

    I guess it's all relative to needs and frame size/geometry ...
  • I don't know if I've just got no feel or anything but.....I suffer with a bad shoulder from time to time and this affects my reach,so I swap my 120 stem for a 60 stem and I have to say, I find no difference whatsoever in handling.
  • gezebogezebo Posts: 364
    houndlegs wrote:
    I don't know if I've just got no feel or anything but.....I suffer with a bad shoulder from time to time and this affects my reach,so I swap my 120 stem for a 60 stem and I have to say, I find no difference whatsoever in handling.

    I'm very similar. I found no real difference and I certainly would not describe handling as twitchy. Even at 60mph. To the OP- Just try it if you think it will help, its a lot cheaper than a new bike.
  • DesB3rdDesB3rd Posts: 285
    +1. My last bike came from a short bodied freak; 70mm stem, too upright for me but the handling wasn't in any way wayward. Changing over to an "as stock" 110 gave moderately more laid-back cornering, but nothing radical.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Sprool wrote:
    110 to 70 is a big leap. The frame would have been designed around a 110 stem. I'd think +/- 10mm on that would not affect handling drastically and may help make it more comfortable.

    In what way is a frame designed around stem length? I keep running this one through my head and it doesn't make any sense to me. Even if the head tube angle changes, it only means a relative change in stem length for the same reach but utlimately, what determines your stem length is the relationship between your leg length, your arm length and the length of your torso.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • generally you can make a smaller frame fit but if the frame is too big....its to big you need a 52, possibly a 50.
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