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For all you fellas who are afraid of longer and lower,(11 posts)

For all you fellas who are afraid of longer and lower,bill
Aug 3, 2001 7:43 AM
I would just like to say that I've started using a stem a cm longer (and about a cm lower, because of minimum insertion point) than I was riding pretty comfortably previously, and I am more comfortable. Shorter is sort of comforting, because you're more erect and you can lean on your arms, but you end up pushing back. I didn't go longer and lower to be more aero -- longer and lower can be more natural.
I was original fit with a 100 stem. About 18 mos. later, after a professional fitting I got a 110. I then ordered a slightly slicker 110 stem (don't ask) that, because of differences in the way things are measured, ended up being a cm longer (and lower). Broke said slick stem (too slick, actually, could never get the bars to stay put, anodized 3TTT on anodized 3TTT is too much anodizing, I guess), and decided, what the hey, I'll try a 120.
Works, man. Longer and lower is sometimes misleadingly termed "aggressive," and people think that it's gonna hurt and who wants to hurt. Not necessarily. I'm not advocating everyone's going longer and lower, which would be silly, but don't be afraid of it. You could end up more comfortable. You too, ET.
I agree.railer
Aug 3, 2001 9:06 AM
Disperses your weight better.
Aug 3, 2001 9:50 AM
I'd say the longer bit is more about the geometry of the bike and TT length...basically how well the bikew fits you already. If you need a 130+ stem is the bike really a good fit for you? Height will affect the weight distribution somewhat (as will the length) but in most cases higher is better for backs.
Aug 3, 2001 10:45 AM
I've found that the more upright I sit the further up my back I feel bumps and chatter. It takes some time each spring, after wintering on the stand, to get used to reaching, but I find it ultimately much easier on my back.
one thing I noticed with the longer stembill
Aug 3, 2001 11:18 AM
is that my arms remained more relaxed and elastic, bearing less weight, and my front end, as a result, took the bumps more easily, with less stress to my hands, arms, shoulders, stem, bar, everything. You see lots of riders with rigid arms, elbows locked (many of them, for reasons unknown, perched on the lower drops, so that they are hunched over with their arms locked nearly vertically beneath their shoulders). That's gotta hurt.
By the way, I don't consider myself extremely flexible; I'm probably about average (saddle is 9 cm above bar height), and I think that, while not completely unrelated, the benefits I'm touting for me came more from being longer than lower. In this case, for me a little lower was not a problem, either. Speaking of LA (ALL LANCE, ALL THE TIME!), he may not be that low, but he is long. Maybe relative to other pros he's sitting up, but relatively to most riders, he ain't sitting up.
Obviously, as other posters have said, a fit is a fit is a fit. My point is to encourage people who even may think that they are pretty comfortable now or who are sort of struggling along with some neck, back, hand and/or arm problems to give it a try. It may be wrong, but it may not be wrong. In this instance, "aggressive" does not necessarily imply increased pain; it could mean less pain.
I had the same experiencemike mcmahon
Aug 3, 2001 9:15 AM
My Torelli has a 57.5 top tube and a 110 stem. When I had my Strong built with a 58.5 tt, Carl Strong suggested a 130 stem. Although I had my doubts, he told me to give it a try. Although I felt a little too stretched out for the first few rides, I adjusted quickly and feel more comfortable now than I ever have. When I do some work on the Torelli to get it ready for winter riding, I'm going to put a 130 or maybe even a 140 on it.
It's all about individual fit ...bianchi boy
Aug 3, 2001 10:18 AM
I'm one of the shorter and higher guys, I guess. For me, the big issue with the "longer and lower" fit is that it caused all sorts of numbness problems in my hands from the weight distribution. But if longer and lower is comfortable for you and doesn't cause hand or neck problems, go for it. I know it's generally more aerodynamic.

My whole issue over the height of handlebars & stems is based on the limited adjustability for threadless systems compared to threaded. BTW, what's comfortable for the height and length of stems is probably more related to an individual's flexibility than anything. I was reading Chris Carmichael's Lance Armstrong training book and he has a guide to determining handlebar height (relative to seat height) based on how far you can stretch when touching your toes. If you can barely touch the floor (like me), he says handlebar height should be close to the height of your saddle. If you can place your palms on the floor, the drop can be much more. Interesting way of looking at it.
for me lower maybe, but not longerET at home
Aug 3, 2001 1:57 PM
You seemed to miss my point. I'm not an advocate for upright riding positions (unless the rider absolutely needs it); it's less efficient and you catch all the wind. I am riding almost every day now. My bike works. I have a long reach and like it. I am very flexible; I can just about flatten my hands on the ground. What I am saying is that the Serotta fitting was so long that it was hard to reach the hoods at all, at least under riding conditions (as opposed to an anchor). I'm not going to grow into that?

How many of the "pros" here are 5'10", 84 cm inseam and have a top tube + stem of around 68, which I have? I ain't going one cm longer.
Give it time.grzy mnky
Aug 3, 2001 2:12 PM
What feels good and fast now may not be that way after some miles and time. Definitely agree that one needs to experiment, but try to keep track of your changes.
y'mean, sort of like martinis?bill
Aug 3, 2001 6:05 PM
one martini is not enough. two, are too many. three martinis are not enough. Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
You think that it may seem like a good idea on a twenty-miler, but not an eighty-miler. Good point.
re: For all you fellas who are afraid of longer and lower,mackgoo
Aug 3, 2001 3:52 PM
I couldn't help but think as I was watching the Tour this year that all of them had stems that looked to be a mile long. I'm not going for a mile but I'm going to try a 130.