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Stem Angles - HELP!!(2 posts)

Stem Angles - HELP!!wilier
Jan 20, 2002 3:20 PM
Since there are quite a few overly technical people on this board, I figured someone may be able to help me out. The question is at the bottom if you want to skip the detail.

In building a new bike, I unfortunately purchased a threadless fork that was pre-cut. Thus, I don't have enough room for more than 5mm of spacers. Since it has a corbon steerer, it's probably not smart to use more spacers than that anyways.

In all my previous bikes, I've used stems with quills, thus, having no problems with adjusting handlebar height.

With the new bike, I am using a Ritchey WCS which is plus or minus 6 degrees from the angle of the head tube. Initially, I had the stem down 6 degrees (or about 10 degrees to the ground) and felt a bit too low. Turning the stem around (22 degrees to the ground) feels about right, but the bike feels like it handles differently.

Question - Does the angle at which the stem protrudes from the head tube/fork steerer really affect bike handling or is this in my head. If it does, could someone explain the scientific theory to me?

The answer: yes and noKerry Irons
Jan 20, 2002 5:34 PM
To the extent that it shifts your weight on the bike, or moves your handlebars to a different position relative to the steering axis of the fork, it changes your handling. And flipping a stem does both. However, the angle itself means nothing - everything can be represented by a "virtual" normal stem and you couldn't tell the difference between two setups that kept the h'bars in the same place.