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Stem Mounting: Spacers or Reverse?(18 posts)

Stem Mounting: Spacers or Reverse?8cht
Feb 5, 2003 5:02 PM
I'm currently mounting a Ritchey WCS stem (84/6d) on my Merlin compact frame with an Ouzo Pro fork. To get the bar to the right height for me, I have to use about 1 1/8" of spacers. My other option is reversing the stem and using 1/4" of spacers (in this configuration, the stem has a steaper rise). I know many of you dislike multiple spacers, but I cannot get over the look of the steap rise. Does it really make a difference? Which is the generally accepted option and why? Thanks.
re: Stem Mounting: Spacers or Reverse?atpjunkie
Feb 5, 2003 5:54 PM
1.125" of spacers is really not recommended for carbon steerers (which the ouzo pro falls under). Too much torsion when hammering a sprint or climbing on that section of 'exposed' tube. The headset and headtube provide a solid base that the steer tube sits in. everything above is left to you and your forces which can be quite something when wrenching the bars. Besides being unsightly you also expose your steer tube to possible stress fractures or failure. I know an upturned stem doesn't look cool but they are quite common on compact frames. You actually see them in the pro peloton. So turn it up, get an alloy steertube fork or buy a standard frame. (IMHO they look better anyway)
don't cut the steerer tubetarwheel
Feb 7, 2003 5:53 AM
Once you cut the steerer tube, there's no going back. If you find you need more rise, your only option will be a riser stem. Personally, I have no problems at all with riser stems. At first, I didn't care for the look, but now that I've gotten used to it, I think they look fine. Take a look at the bikes at the Steelman web site. Nearly all of them have riser stems, and they are some of the nicest looking bikes I have ever seen. A riser stem does not adversely affect handling, as long as you take into account that flipping a stem will also decrease the reach. To keep the reach constant, you need a longer stem if you increase the rise. For example, a 12 cm Salsa 105 stem has about the same reach as 10 cm/ -17 stem.
re: Stem Mounting: Spacers or Reverse?Akirasho
Feb 5, 2003 5:55 PM
... both "can" be used to get you to the same point (position) but many of us are also pressured by aesthetics...

... both methods will produce a certain amount of flex (dependent on you and your style of riding)...

... some will question whether or not you've got the right size frame...

... in the end, it's your call... if you leave the steerer long, you can experiment and tell for yourself.

Be the bike.
re: Stem Mounting: Spacers or Reverse?atpjunkie
Feb 5, 2003 6:37 PM
ask any trusted wrench or go to Reynolds website and look for info on suggested stack heights and warranty. Both will produce flex but stacked risers isolates the steerer tube section above the top race of the headset. The higher you go, (and the wider your bars) the more torsion you place on this area. If you weigh under 150, never stand to climb and don't sprint (riding style) follow this guys advice. Seriously check the warranty info on the fork. It should be spelled out clearly there. If the mfr won't replace it with that much it's probably not a good idea.

Be the Bike
(Hopefully in one piece)
Feb 5, 2003 6:58 PM
...according to their website, the recommended maximum stack height for spacers on a Reynolds Ouzo Pro fork w/1-1/8 carbon steerer tube is 1-1/2 inches. I'm thinking he'd be quite safe with his setup AND his ride would look look better to boot. I'm not a fan of rising stems, if at all avoidable.
Feb 5, 2003 7:13 PM
cool, well he's under the limit. That is for 1.125 steer tube correct? I think it is much lower for 1".
Yep, for the 1", it's just 1" of spacers. nmseyboro
Feb 5, 2003 7:16 PM
It's a 1.125" steerer8cht
Feb 5, 2003 7:23 PM
So it sounds like I'll be save with the 1.125" stack of spacers. Thanks.
the change in reach...C-40
Feb 6, 2003 5:19 AM
To each his own, but I think the spacers look far worse than a high rise stem. A picture was posted of a nice Lemond with what appeared to be a 100 degree (flipped 80) with no spacers and it looked fine.

If someone gives you a hard time, tell them that an engineering analysis shows that using a riser stem is a lot more rigid than spacers.

The other thing to remember is that placing nearly 3cm of spacer under the stem or flipping the stem will reduce the reach by about 1cm. In either case, the stem needs to be one size longer.
..this picture?Spunout
Feb 6, 2003 5:29 AM
This is a Thomson road stem, 95* like the picture.

Since this picture, I have flipped it to 85, and turned the handlebars up a bit to lengthen my reach. Much more aggressive position in the drops, long and high on the tops. This is what happens to most, as we get 'into' our fit and a bit fitter on the bike at that!
the change in reach...koala
Feb 6, 2003 8:15 AM
You are right of course that spacers will be more flexible, but I just cant get used to a flipped stem. It got to the point I was going to buy a new fork and cut it a little longer and go to an 84 from a 73 degree rise(which I did anyway.) As it ends up I had the money but just thought I am going to turn my bars up a tad and with the 84 stem on adjust to it with more stretching and riding so my injured back can handle it. So far so good. Its a good debate because there is a technical and aesthetic consideration.
re: Stem Mounting: Spacers or Reverse?scorpionking
Feb 6, 2003 6:04 AM
Nothing wrong at all with running 1 1/8th of spacers on an ROP carbon fork, lots of guys do this with no flex issues or safety issues at all. You'll flex your handlebars way before you will ever generate significant leverage force to flex the portion of the steerer tube surrounded by your spacers. Your talking about a leverage position of barely 1 inch over the portion of the steerer tube fully supported by the headtube abd headset, no way you will flex an ROP carbon steerer tube in this manner before your handlebars flex, there simply isn't enough distance there to create a significant leverage position in most cases.

As far as safety is concerned, some manufacturers of light weight stems, which the Ritchey WCS certainly classifies as, specifically DO NOT recommend turning up the stem from a durability or safety standpoint, with some it will even void the warranty. Ritchey allows their stems to be turned up but not all.
Reversed stem seemed to affect my handling -nm-sodade
Feb 6, 2003 6:31 AM
Space AwayRJF
Feb 6, 2003 7:12 AM
Nothing at all wrong with running 1 1/8 of spacers. If Lance can win the Tour with that amount of spacers (could have been more judging by the pic in the current Cycle Sport -- and on top of a Deore XT headset, no less) then you should feel free to dress your bike the same.
Use spacer stack, and you can ride today. n/mfracisco
Feb 6, 2003 9:03 AM
what the pro's (Lance) do....atpjunkie
Feb 6, 2003 9:46 AM
shouldn't be your guide. They have daily mech. inspections by their wrenches and can replace (Freely) at will. It's like kids who emulate pro snowboarders doing railslides (it voids the warranty) and mom and dad have to shell out the $400 bucks to replace. Don't let the whims of sponsored pro's be your guide (unless you have amoney tree)
My point was...fracisco
Feb 6, 2003 5:18 PM
My point was stack the spacers, see how you like the bar height, ride on it for awhile, and then consider having the steering tube snipped. The spacers can be played around with until the rider feels pretty confident about where he wants to end up. The steerer, once it's cut, it's cut.