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Buying a new road stem - which length

timbo43timbo43 Posts: 7
edited August 2013 in Road buying advice
Hi All,

I ride a Bianchi Impulso. I've ridden it for over a year using the stem flipped over to bring the bars up (I'm 6"1'). After a significant number of miles I've gotten more comfortable riding and want to adopt a more aero position.

I feel quite stretched out on the bike and often feel that I am placing my hands just short of the hoods. I've now also flipped the stem back over to assume a flatter profile. As I can't afford the expense of a full bike fit (under my gf's observant eyes!), I was wondering what the best approach to fitting a new stem is.

I can see the hub on my front wheel behind the bars when I'm on the drops. This can be anywhere between 1cm to 3cm. Should I go for a 90mm stem, or be more conservative? I currently have a 120mm stem.

Cheers!

Posts

  • CalpolCalpol Posts: 1,039
    In my limited experience it might be better to try out 10mm reductions at a time as this can make a fairly decent difference. A 90mm stem might make things a little twitchy in the handling department. Can you borrow a 110mm and or a 100mm before buying one?
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    Will your LBS let you try a few (even static in the shop)?

    If not I would go 100mm as 30mm is quite a lot to shave off your current set up.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Calpol wrote:
    In my limited experience it might be better to try out 10mm reductions at a time as this can make a fairly decent difference. A 90mm stem might make things a little twitchy in the handling department. Can you borrow a 110mm and or a 100mm before buying one?

    90mm isn't twitchy. I can't imagine 80mm would be either - whatever the stem length, you get used to it. But borrowing is surely the way to go. If you have a LBS that takes bike fits seriously, they should have plenty of used stems for test rides that hopefully they will happily let you borrow if you are nice enough to buy the stem off them when you do know what length it should be.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • timbo43timbo43 Posts: 7
    I'm in London. I tried On Your Bike at lunch today for advice. They weren't very helpful (contrary to all the recommendations I have received). I live in Dulwich, so Cadence cafe is not too far away, and I usually pass it on my rides out of town.

    If anyone does know where you can get a good value bike fit in South London, do let me know. I've seen a wide range of prices in my research.

    I'm going to ask around to see if anyone has a spare shorter stem - good idea all! Appreciate the advice.
  • timbo43timbo43 Posts: 7
    Apparently Bontrager also offer a 30-day guarantee for comfort. So could always return if I'm not happy with the fit...
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    If you were local to me then you could borrow a 100mm stem and see how it went ... but you're not ... surely someone is?
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    When I was experimenting with stem length I found that a cost effective way of trying was to buy some cheap options on ebay in various lengths. Once I was happy with the size I bought a decent stem and stuck the others back on ebay and pretty much recovered all my money.

    Have to say though, I still can't detect any difference between a 'good' (more expensive) stem and a cheap one, but one certainly looks nicer than the other :)
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Bobbinogs wrote:
    When I was experimenting with stem length I found that a cost effective way of trying was to buy some cheap options on ebay in various lengths. Once I was happy with the size I bought a decent stem and stuck the others back on ebay and pretty much recovered all my money.

    Have to say though, I still can't detect any difference between a 'good' (more expensive) stem and a cheap one, but one certainly looks nicer than the other :)

    This is a good idea or even more flexible is to buy a decent adjustable stem as you can adjust the angle as well then which allows reach and drop adjustment. Some have two adjustable points which gives you even more flexibility. Once you get the setup you want you can then buy a suitable fixed stem.
  • Strange that people say 90mm would be twitchy, not the first time I've seen that comment. My bike came with a 90mm stem and I now run 80mm and it couldn't be more stable.
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