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maximum spacers vs. angled stem(18 posts)

maximum spacers vs. angled stemET
Jul 18, 2001 6:51 AM
For a given frame, which would you find preferable: 4 cms of spacers with a horizontal-looking stem, or 2.5 cm of spacers with a noticeably angled-up stem? Contributing factors to be considered or minimized are:

1. performance

2. dorkiness

3. safety

4. dorkiness

5. durability

6. dorkiness

7. dorkiness
re: maximum spacers vs. angled stemgwilliams
Jul 18, 2001 7:31 AM
I perfer a 0/90 degree rise stem with a minmum of spacers. I have a ritchey WCS with +/- 6 degree rise, I use the plus 6, and 1.5 cm of spacers, also an extended head tube. Could not find a stem I liked in 0 degree rise.

re: maximum spacers vs. angled stemBirddog
Jul 18, 2001 7:57 AM
I was just getting ready to post a query on basically the same subject. I am building up a Serotta Atlanta and probably will use a Ritchey WCS bar and stem coupled to an Ouzo Pro fork with Cane Creek S5 threadless headset. I too like the 90 (73) degree look and am trying to decide whether or not to go with the WCS 84 or the WCS 73 (-17. With the the 73 I'll have an estimated spacing of no more than 2cm, how this will effect a carbon fiber steerer is my concern. With the 84, there will be little if any spacers required. All input appreciated.
re: maximum spacers vs. angled stemgwilliams
Jul 18, 2001 8:55 AM
I have a Serotta Legend Ti with about 1/2 inch extended head tube, when I had a 73 degree stem on I needed 4 CM of spacers to get my seat a little less than 2 inches higher than the handlebars, which is what the fit specialist at the LBS recommended.

I think...PsyDoc
Jul 18, 2001 7:55 AM
you are perhaps overly concerned with your bike looking "dorky." Why? If you go to the photo gallery, you will find that, unfortunately, people will pick apart damn near everything about someone's ride. I do not believe that performance or safety is an issue given the fork is installed correctly using the manufacturer's recommended numbers of spacers. For example, the Reynolds Ouzo Pro should not have more than 3.81cm of spacers. Which solution are you leaning toward using?
re: maximum spacers vs. angled stemGregJ
Jul 18, 2001 8:51 AM
By all means, go with the angled stem. I think they look better than a flat stem with tons of spacers. Road bikes are all about straightforward elegance and using an angled stem is a good way to achieve this. I think one of the major shortcomings with the threadless system is the lack of choice in stem offerings. Most stems come with a slight rise, and that is the only offering. It is interesting that you can get almost any angle you want in a cheap MTB stem, but the nicer road stems are very limited.
you can't hide a dorknm
Jul 18, 2001 8:58 AM
This post just oozes dorkiness. nmrailer
Jul 18, 2001 1:05 PM
re: maximum spacers vs. angled stemDog
Jul 18, 2001 10:21 AM
1. performance - I'd bet slightly better stiffness with an angled stem, assuming it's a stiff stem; I've noticed some flex in carbon steerers that stick up (like you do before you decide how much to cut); not an issue with alum or steel, though; carbon spacers and a light, shorter stem, would likely be lighter, though.

2. dorkiness - the least dorky would probably be a slightly angled stem with a few spacers; again, check out the carbon spacers - they add a kewl factor; you can get them all the way up to 25mm; I have a bunch that I can interchange.

3. safety - I'd bet the angled stem with fewer spacers would be safer, assuming the steerer is more likely to break the further it sticks up (this is the same as durability, to me).

More considerations:

4. Flexibility - fewer spacers and a variety of stems would give more flexibility, without the dorkiest of situations - a bunch of spacers *on top of* the stem. If you need to lower the handlebars, do it through another stem, rather than moving spacers over the stem.

5. Expense. The least expensive, however, is to simply move spacers around depending upon the height you want; this may require having an inch of spacers above the stem, though (see number 4).

6. Does it really matter? I've seen everything now, and with all the variations out there, I doubt many people give it much thought.

7. Finally, one last solution: I've see a few bikes where the riders needed a lot of rise. They had the frames custom made with a longer head tube above the top tube. Looks and works great for them, but might not for a potential future buyer of the used bike.

and what about a formula to switch between options?ET
Jul 18, 2001 10:56 AM
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. All that switching naturally leads one to ask, is there a reasonably accurate ballpark formula to determine angle/height combinations likely to work? This should be of interest to someone considering another, different-sized frame. E.g. if one's (horizontal, vertical) reach on his current bike is (x,y) (e.g. (68cm, 7.6cm), what would be the ideal z component on another, different-sized bike with a given y (but same STA).
you must be an engineer ;-)Dog
Jul 18, 2001 11:21 AM
I couldn't even begin to think in terms of a formula for this. It's more of a "I know it when I see it" thing. I'd try to be as moderate in both respects as possible, angle and spacers.

no, a mathematician, and I'm offended :-)ET
Jul 18, 2001 12:03 PM
Let me re-word that. For every centimeter you shorten your reach horizontally, around how much should your reach drop vertically? I am talking about small reasonable changes here. If there is such a ballpark rule, it would help a lot in frame feasibility and setup.
a bored egineering internbike_rider81
Jul 19, 2001 6:55 AM
have you ever thought about making a spreed sheet on this it shouldn't be too hard. i was thinking about doing one for sh!ts and giggles. but then i decided to be lazy. and then when i was getting fitted at the shop that i work at on the weekends i found out that serotta actually made a spreed sheet that you can plug numbers into to find out this sort of stuff. you might be able to get it from their website
How do you guys DO that?MikeC
Jul 18, 2001 12:05 PM
I mean counting spacers, eyeballing rise, etc.?
After watching the Giro and half of the TdF, I decided to pay more attention to the bikes I see on the road, on car tops, etc. I have a hard enough time identifying Campy vs Shimano on a moving bike, and unless it's one of those with major design cues (GT, Colnago, Trek OCLV, Litespeed, etc.), I'm not that good at picking out frames, either.
I know intellectually what's what, but eyeballing it is another matter, unless it's parked at the meeting point or in front of me in a paceline. Dorky? It takes a full team kit over a beer gut for ME to notice!
it's not how you ride, it's how you and your bike look :-)ET
Jul 18, 2001 12:38 PM
Everyone knows that. :-) Here's some more reasons:

1. to be able to show your bike on Photo Gallery without getting laughed off (this might be unattainable, though)

2. to most proudly show off your prized Colnago hanging on the mantlepiece that you never ride

3. to laugh with the guys after a bike event secure in the knowledge that they won't laugh at your bike setup

4. in case the photo of you riding in the TdF gets published

I'm sure there's some more reasons I haven't thought of yet. :-) What I'm really trying to say is that if you could choose several frames (other than custom with an extended head tube, if necessary) each giving a certain setup, which is the most desireable, ceteris paribus?
Jul 18, 2001 12:47 PM
Don't you know car guys who can tell the difference between a '67 and a '68 Corvette from the sound 1/2 mile away? Wine drinkers who can tell you what region of Burgundy a grape came from? Same thing. You obsess about things, and you learn to discern minute differences that are neither distinguishable nor important to most people.

Spend enough time here, and you, too, will be able to distiguish a B-Stay from an earlier C-40 from 100 yards. It's not a pretentious thing, although it appears that way many times, it's just obsession and trivia. :-)

Jul 18, 2001 1:34 PM
I guess you're right. But for some reason, it just doesn't click with me. I've been road riding for 20 years, I competed for 9 seasons, I do between 4,000 and 5,000 miles annually, and I know the difference between a Campy dual pivot and differential rear brake. But when it comes to on-the-road identification, I must be a gestalt kinda guy...or just plain unobservant!
I know, I'm out of it most of the timeDog
Jul 18, 2001 2:04 PM
When I'm riding, I'm usually thinking of my body, the wheel in front of me, the glass on the pavement, the wind, or I'm just plain delerious. For the most part, as you said, I don't *notice* that much, but if I focused, I could easily. Likely the same with most of us.