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Got the frame and fork sorted...Now, stem Q?(19 posts)

Got the frame and fork sorted...Now, stem Q?DannyBoy
Mar 26, 2002 9:59 PM
My new frame is being made deliberately smaller in the head tube by 3-4 cm's when compared to my current ride, basically for aesthetics as it's a compact style frame. The top tube isn't going to be disproportionately short as it's a custom frame. It'll look a bit like the picture enclosed, but not so short in h/tube.

Assuming I could handle a slightly lower hand position than present (by say 1-2cm's) and taking into account I'm now using an 110mm ITM Millenium stem (not inverted), what stems are suitable to create the same('ish) hand position, i.e that have a suitable rise etc?

If relevant to the equation I'm currently on a Record 1 1/8th h/set and will probably spec a Chris King on the new frame as I gather they're rather good.

I did ask my NZ Serotta dealer, but he was a bit perplexed as product knowledge/availability in NZ's not as good as you guys in the USA have. I want to avoid the extra cost of a custom stem as I don't think it's required, all I need is a gentle rise of 2-3 cm's!

Once again thanks for steering me right, it's been a helpful resource over the last month or so!! Dan.
Stem thoughts, by Jack Handy...Pedal Jockey
Mar 27, 2002 6:29 AM

I think there are two modes of thought to your stem question. 1. What rise should you have on the stem? 2. What height of spacers should you use beneath the stem. Most of the typical stems, such as the ITM you mention above, have ~10 degrees of rise/drop from 90 degrees. The beauty in these threadless stems is that they can be flipped to give more rise, and radically change your upper body and hand position on the bike. I like my Cinelli Solido stem, but the Ritchey WCS and Deda Newton stems are also very good stems and quite popular.

The next issue, and one that is very easy to test, is the stack height of the spacers below the stem. You did not say if your fork has a carbon steerer tube, but if it does, have the shop cut the steerer to allow for the maximum amount of spacers (usually 2-3cm depending on the fork manf.). Then you can move the stem up and down by placing spacers above the stem until you have achieved the desired height. One you have found the desired position, the cut the steerer tube to length.

Good luck,

Append, more Ritchey information...Pedal Jockey
Mar 27, 2002 6:35 AM
The Ritchey WCS Road stem is available in 73 and 84 degrees of rise.

fashion victimgtx
Mar 27, 2002 7:43 AM
Salsa has a huge variety of rises and lengths, but if I was paying for a nice custom frame I'd make sure to get the right length head tube--one that would allow me to run a -17 or -10 rise stem with few or no spacers.
Mar 27, 2002 7:44 AM
agree with that...C-40
Mar 27, 2002 9:23 AM
It would be silly to pay for a custom and not get the perfect head tube length to set the bars at the desired height, using a standard 80 degree stem with little or no spacers. This is particularly true if you're buying a sloping top tube model, the top tube can be sloped as needed to match the selected head tube length.
Mar 27, 2002 4:32 PM
He's the one that wants the goofy compact style frame and is then all worried about asthetics. Guess it kind of calls into question the whole "customer is always right" notion.
I sort of agree with that...DannyBoy
Mar 28, 2002 4:57 AM
Well that's true. I was trying to reduce the head tube a bit, but avoid having heaps of spacers, I think a small rise is all I'm going to need.
This is true, what....DannyBoy
Mar 28, 2002 5:05 AM
True, all I'm trying to do is make sure that the head tube and seat tube don't look too out of proportion, as 'm fitter I can take a lower hand position now anyway, but assume I can acheive the look I want with just a small rise, bit yep you're right.

Look guys, don't get me wrong, I might not be the sharpest tool in the box, but I'm certainly not having a frame built that doesn't fit so it'll look nice. I just want something compact looking, but that does fit. Nothing wrong with that, I like the look of the dudes bike I posted, not everyones cup of tea.....

Ta for your comments.
Is that the Spokesman window??(NM)James
Mar 27, 2002 12:45 PM
I'd have to concur. (nm)grzy
Mar 27, 2002 4:27 PM
Sure looks like the Spokesmen (nm)ciclista
Mar 27, 2002 5:53 PM
Meaning the Christmas time setup, i was just there today(NM)James
Mar 27, 2002 9:13 PM
I'm worried...C-40
Mar 27, 2002 3:48 PM
If you're buying a custom, how come the builder isn't smart enough to provide the proper head tube length to place the bars at the height that you desire? It would be a huge mistake to get a frame with a head tube that is 3-4cm shorter than it should be. Head tube length is a very important feature of a custom built frame. Is your local dealer misleading you? I can't imagine a reputable company like Serrota building a frame like you've described. Compact frames generally have no shorter head tubes than conventional frames. You've never mentioned the frame size that you intend to buy, but for reference, a 55cm should have a head tube length of about 13cm (if used with a standard threadless headset). Head tube length will change almost 1cm for each cm of frame size. Head tube lengths on frames with integrated headsets should be about 3cm longer due to the lower headset stack height.

Also, why should you have to figure out an appropriate fork rake? You should be telling the builder the intended use of the bike, and he should be suggesting an appropriate head tube angle and rake that will produce an appropriate amount of trail.
in answer....DannyBoy
Mar 28, 2002 5:18 AM
I posted a picture of my custom Roberts compact. I think the seat tube's 52cm centre to top, and the head tube 18cm's.

The new frame'll be about 48cm, and I was simply going to reduce the head tube by say 3cm's to keep things looking a bit more proportionate, using a small rise to make up say 1-1.5cm of the drop?

Why such a small frame, purely because I like the look and feel of smaller frames like the Santa Cruz, new Rossin, Giant and the Serotta I posted above.

Now, in answer to your point about the dealer, yes I agree he should be more helpful. I'm out in NZ now and can only guess they sell a few of these a year, product knowledge here is also poor, basically there's les of everything here!! The Serotta guy here doesn't even have the fit cycle!!!

I was going to see an independant guy for measurements, or get them faxed from my UK frame builder, then tell Serotta dude the ride characteristics I want, and I gather Serotta sorta do the rest. Trust me the service you get here is not like the service you guys get (no offence if anyone from New Zealand is reading this!)

Thanks for your input.
more on head tube length & stems...C-40
Mar 28, 2002 9:23 AM
The 180mm head tube length is pretty long; it would be common for about a 60cm frame. I can't tell from the picture if your stem is an 80 degree model. If it is, flipping the stem over to produce a 100 degree angle will raise the bars about 3.6cm. It will almost make up for a 4cm shorter head tube length. If your current stem is a 90 degree, the 100 degree angle will only raise the bars about 1.8cm.

What I don't understand is your desire for a tiny 48cm seat tube. What's the point? You've already got a lot of setpost showing on the 52cm, and more standover clearance than you'll ever need. If you get a 48cm seat tube with a 140mm head tube length, it will just look like you bought a frame that was too small.

You obviously want very little height difference between the saddle and the top of the bars. IMO, the longer head tube is a better looking way of getting this height than using a 100 degree stem angle.
Maybe he's joining the circus?;-) (nm)grzy
Mar 28, 2002 11:06 AM
Was going too, but not enough talent, ha ha (nm)DannyBoy
Mar 28, 2002 5:02 PM
more info.....DannyBoy
Mar 28, 2002 5:00 PM
I agree the 18cm head tubes a bit long. I think Chas Roberts built it that way as I was just getting back into riding and really only wanted a 'club' or 'fitness' style ride. I asume he thought it'd be a bit more comfortable. I'm fitter now and want something a bit more responsive/racier. A lower position by a few cm's isn't going to be a problem for me.

The current millenium stem is a 110mm with the numbers 13-00 on it? not sure what those digits represent.

I agree that I may need to find a halfway house. Mind you, assuming the top tube length is correct I wouldn't have thought say 48cm and 14-15cm would look too odd, not far off the piccy I posted initially?