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Stems: How short is too short?.....(6 posts)

Stems: How short is too short?.....Shylock
Mar 18, 2001 2:10 PM
Hi all. Being one of the resident weight weenies over at the MTBR "weight " forum, I decided to buy alot of trick carbon stuff for my new roadbike...including the EC90 road bar. Overall, I really like the feel of this bar, but as others have noticed, it extends the cockpit quite a bit, making riding on the hoods a pain (and wreaks a havoc on control setupand cable routing, too)
So, since my current el cheapo stem is too long to work in conjunction with this bar, I' m getting a new one. Currently I have a 12-12.5cm. Is there any reason not to get a 10cm? Will I have overly twitchy steering?....If it matters, the fork rake is 45 degrees.

thanks for the input
re: Stems: How short is too short?.....shmoo
Mar 18, 2001 3:14 PM
What you want to do is match the reach of the stem/bar combination to what you had before. Your steerer doesn't "know" or "care" about the length of your stem per se, only the total reach of the combo. You've heard that reducing your stem length creates twitchier steering, and lengthening your stem gives you a rudder affect that slows your steering. That's only true if you're comparing the stms while using the same reach bar, in which case what you're really doing is lengthening the total reach of stem and bar. Even then it's a relative thing, and somewhat subjective. Think of your steering mechanism as a fixed triangle with your hoods and the center of the steerer as the three points of the triangle. As long as the triangle doesn't change, the feel of the steering doesn't change, no mater what your do inside the triangle. Try to determine what your overall reach was before, and just match it.
Mar 18, 2001 4:10 PM
If I remember right you're my height - what'd you get, a 56 or 57? Try an 11cm. 11s feel prfect to me handling-wise on those size bikes - and it's what Merckx designs his bikes around (this according to something I heard Andy Hampsten say--Andy put a 12 on one of Motorola bikes and Merckx freaked and had new frame built with a longer tt for him so he could go with the 11). To my eye they also look right. 10 works but will feel just a tad quicker. Wouldn't go shorter than 10. I have a 12.5 on my cross bike and it definitely slows the handling down.
Mar 18, 2001 6:29 PM
The frame is roughly a 56cm with a semi-short top-tube. I think the extra reach courtesy of the Easton Carbon handlebar is the only reason I'm considering going to a 10. I think the bar's design makes a 10 feel like an 11 when on the hoods. But we'll see....I appreciate the input (both your's and Schmoo's).I was expecially apprehensive about going any shorter than a 10 and always heard 11 was basically the standard.

In other news, I now own a 17.2 lb custom built, stainless lugged roadbike that rides beautifully, looks gorgeous, and has the local Odonata owners in a tizzy :)...

feel the gin
Mar 18, 2001 8:56 PM
a 17.2 pound lugged steel road bike. I like it (I think mine is about 21 w/tubulars). What's the tt legnth/STA?

I ride Cinelli 66/42s. I think they're 320 grams, but I don't have to worry about replacing them after a season. And they look cool.
Mar 19, 2001 11:49 AM
....I will have to find out the measurements. It's been a while since we did them. Seems to me we did something in between the Lemond and Bianchi on relative TT, and the seat angle was kicked back a bit to compensate for my slightly long thighs. Thanks to the limited lug angles available from Henry James, I had to settle on only an inch of standover. A size smaller, and I'd have too many spacers to facillitate a carbon steerer up front.

It Don't really matter to me, ya know. the bike fits me perfectly.....I