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How do you guys get a rise out of your stem?(33 posts)

How do you guys get a rise out of your stem?LeanneWilde
May 7, 2002 1:31 PM
Will someone please explain what this is all about:

Does stem length affect handling?
"flip your stem around to get a rise"
Size matters: stem a little short

Do I need to be concerned about stem length?

I have seen these things posted and I don't have any idea what you all are talking about.

Some questions are better left unanswered ...nmSoftrider
May 7, 2002 1:45 PM
How do I know if I need a longer stem?LeanneWilde
May 7, 2002 1:52 PM
This has me worried because everyone seems to think their stem is too short? How long should it be? Do some stems work better than others?

I'll biteDougSloan
May 7, 2002 2:21 PM
This issue is reach as well as rise. If you don't have enough rise, sufficient reach won't help much.

Not everyone, as you state, believes their stem is too short; frequently, stems can, in fact, be too long, but it does depend upon the rider's anatomy. In either event, too long or too short can affect handling and ride satisfaction.

There are many other qualities of stems that are important, too. Some are better at damping vibration. Some have better faces. Yes, some people might even prefer the appearance of the polished stems. Some require adapter sleeves to fit the steer tubes. Some are certainly stiffer than others. Thick walled stems are typically stiffer than thin walled models. Four screw models tend to be stiffer than two screw or single screw models.

A stem should be long enough to fit the anatomy of the rider. Excess length is a waste. Appropriate rise depends largely upon the rider's flexibility and riding posture desired.

Stems are highly individualized, that's why there are so many different kinds and sizes. They can make an otherwise maladjusted frame work reasonably well. Oddly enough, women usually prefer a shorter stem, but with more rise, than men. Men typically try to avoid high rise stems, at least in public. Men prefer longer stems to achieve a more prostrate position.

There do exist variable length and rise stems. If you aren't sure what you want, you may try one of them. Oh, and some have built in shock absorbers, too.

Double entendre tour de force!Sintesi at home
May 7, 2002 2:39 PM
Is there no end to this man's talents?!!
lol! nmcolker
May 7, 2002 3:14 PM
Doug is funny! Who knew?Ahimsa
May 7, 2002 3:27 PM
Jest kiddin'. Good stuff Doug, absolutely perfect!



sshhhhhhh!!!! he heheh hehe NmSpirito
May 7, 2002 6:35 PM
"Oddly enough, women usually prefer a shorter stem"elviento
May 7, 2002 3:38 PM
Odd indeed.
do you refer to "a-head" or dogleg(quill) type stems? ;-0Spirito
May 7, 2002 5:20 PM
there is many who have a preference over threadless and threaded stems and each are with their own nuances and obviously aethetics which is why i chose the old fashioned threaded.

indeed perhaps you could extrapolate in regard to stem flex and also prescribe appropriate lubricants prior to mounting.

there is a part of me that would argue that a single screw to be stiffer (than multiple) as the stem shape is more rigid to offer support and indeed can be tricky to get bars in or out. this is in my experience anyway as im sure all stems mate in (with?) different bars.

you sure know a lot about stems!..... where are you from again - frisco?

respect the man formerly know as "Ridelots".
A good place to start is the fit/feel of your bike...PdxMark
May 7, 2002 3:13 PM
If you have discomfort, it might mean your stem is too short, or too long, or too low... etc. A good bike fitter can help you figure out what adjustment to make. If you feel great on your bike, your stem is just fine enough, probably.

As an example, a fitter had me raise my stem 1 cm, and it made all the difference in the world... and I would never have figured out that adjustment...
First rule...Crankist
May 7, 2002 3:19 PM
If it doesn't perform under pressure, then just rip it off
and throw it the hell out.
Leane, I think these guys would just love to show you how theirAllisonHayes
May 7, 2002 4:30 PM
particular stem works. It is very hard to explain, but Doug did a great job. Maybe one of you guys can give her a demonstration. Any volunteers out there?

Whatever you do, don't let them pull your leg.
Ok, I'll show! Hey Leanne, look at my new stem!Ken of Fresno
May 7, 2002 5:03 PM
It may be a classic, but it's very adjustable. When I get serious I simply get out my allen wrench and drop it down. What do you think? Hmm?

And all this time I thought salsa was something that added aAllisonHayes
May 7, 2002 5:17 PM
some hot stuff to the je ne sais quois. You guys are dancing around this issue pretty well.

But, you haven't cleared up a thing, whatsoever. All you have managed to do is add an entirely new meaning to bicycle nomenclature.

Absolutely classic!!!
i dont know about graphics and brands......Spirito
May 7, 2002 5:28 PM
call me old fashioned but i like my stem just the way it is and in its raw and simple state. no fancy colors for me.

it is well polished tho and of course meant for the older style oversize i mean bars with olympic rings (?) and fancy crests (????).

sure the newer one's are more high tech and fancy looking but ive never heard of the older, heavy type stems breaking or flexing unduly. last a lifetime and then some....and im sure they will still work perfectly when we are all dead and buried!

Scientific explanation: Blue Light Effects on Stem LengthAllisonHayes
May 7, 2002 5:46 PM
This should clear everything up. A picture is worth a thousand double entrendres.
science can't always qualify user feel. what about lugged stems?Spirito
May 7, 2002 6:02 PM
there is much joy and beauty in a hand brazed and lugged stem even if they are rare and very expensive nowadays.

and it was an effort to have one produced......from rivendell

""We wanted to do this way back in 1995 but things take time and money and energy. The three finally converged in mid-1999 when we got the lug prototypes made and then the first stem prototypes. We tried all kinds of plating but none was as good as what we've seen on Nitto products, and since Nitto is a stem maker too, we asked them to build and plate and test them for us. They agreed and we rejoiced.

As with all of our stems, once it has been inserted and scratched up, NO RETURNS!

The very idea of a lugged stem is indulgent since there are plenty of excellent stems already, but we like lugs and wanted to do something different with them. Lugged stems have been made--we aren't the first--but they are hard to come by and even more expensive than ours!

The tubing is specially drawn Reynolds 853. The finish is nickel, sort of satin-like. It's a finish that Nitto calls "dull-bright" and it looks good. IT IS NOT CHROME-LIKE!

The quill is 180 mm, the extensions vary from 80 to 120 mm, and the clamp diameter is 26.0 mm. The angle between the quill and the extension is 73.5 degrees and it tightens with an aluminum wedge.

It fits only 1" threaded steerers (no, we won't make a  threadless version).

It is hand made and it shows. If you look closely you can see the brazing material around the edges of the lug. This is not a bad thing it just adds to the character. Each one is unique and takes a long time to make. To make a lug stem as perfect as our Rivendell frames it would easily cost twice or three times as much.

It's not a superlight stem and it's not a heavy one, either. It is super strong though--it passed one extreme test after another with no sign of failure.""

how can you argue - handmade, satin finish, indulgent and tightens with a wedge etc etc. blue lights aint but mumbo jumbo on this classy piece of crafty pipe. of course it is known or referred to amongst stem cognescenti as the "bobbit" stem.

how d'ya like them apples ;-0...or ....if that ain't enought to pop yer "blue lights" then what is

not to sound antagonistic but with regard to stems - if it fits...wear it

er...sorry to all its poud glory...Spirito
May 7, 2002 6:15 PM
Neato Nitto!Ahimsa
May 7, 2002 6:49 PM
Meh. Sorry for that. Couldn't resist. Been saving that bad joke for waaaay too long. Must get over that.


A. (Charming when drunk. Really.)
May 7, 2002 6:13 PM
"...meant for older style oversize I mean bars with olympic rings(?) and fancy crests(????)." mean it's suitable for middle aged fat women with body piercings and strange bird-like hairdos?

Spirito! What damned bar have you been drinking in now? I told you to stay out of those aging old school punk joints.

Good grief! I leave ya alone for one minute....; )


gee.....are you saying i cant drink with me mum? NmSpirito
May 7, 2002 6:16 PM
May 7, 2002 6:51 PM
No, but your mum's blue hair is unintentional.

Heh heh!

and lets not get on the topic of "priest bars" ;-0 NmSpirito
May 7, 2002 6:18 PM
Can you imagine?Ahimsa
May 7, 2002 7:01 PM
An actual "Priest bar"?

Gawd awful!

Do you have to kneel at the bar?

Open your mouth and stick out your tongue for the complimentary peanuts?

How about "Altar boy night" with free wine for the lads?

I suppose they'd put little windows in the toilet stalls for "confession"?

The only bar in town that has both Gregorian chant and "Boys don't cry" on the jukebox?


A. (Body of Christ, body of Christ...)
i love you....i wish i was you....Spirito
May 7, 2002 7:27 PM
nice work me by the short and curlies with the juke box and toilet stall confessionals.

i dont know how to praise and show my admiration for your wit other than to announce that of all the posts ive read on this site and people here who have made me laugh ...your one of them

well...actually your the best and my favorite (of course not in a gay way or anything like that).

indeed i shall soon be posting "spirito interviews ahimsa".

drum roll...........and ill include some pics of you so others can see your beauty...
I believe Leanne would get better advice if she went to herAllisonHayes
May 7, 2002 7:22 PM
Dentist for a mammogram than what she is getting from you guys.

I think she is "pulling" one over on you guys.
re: How do you guys get a rise out of your stem?Bacco
May 7, 2002 5:40 PM
This issue was addressed in the Components discussion group. C-40 posted a good explanation about stem rise and provided a good reference to a web site with a Stem Fit Chart(
Generally, stem lengths between 100-140mm are "normal". Handling may be adversely affected once you exceed these limits. If you are riding a "man's" frame versus a "woman specific design" frame, the top tube maybe too long for your torso. Putting on a shorter stem on the bike would reduce the reach to the handlebars which may fit you better. Flipping the stem (if you have one that is flippable) would raise the end of the stem that holds the handlebar and effectively shorten the reach (assuming the stem is not already in the highest position). Get help from your LBS or a knowledgeable friend who can help you determine what stem length/position provides you with a good fit based upon one of the standard fitting models. There are many variables that come into play, so you will have to experiment to find the right fit for you. Using one of the standard fit models is a good starting point to begin with.
Don't know if it's genger specific, but here's a formula to tellKen of Fresno
May 7, 2002 5:55 PM
stem lenght:

Top tube length + Stem Length = Torso Length + Arm Length divided by 2 + 4cm.

Seems odd, but I measured my bike and, uhm, my anatomy and it is exact down to the cm for my bike. Guess I got lucky on that one. Don't know about rise. I think there are more theories and schools of though on that topic.

Best of luck,
The move to threadless is a conspiracy!!koolaid
May 7, 2002 6:13 PM
By the way boys:
SIZE does matter!
re: How do you guys get a rise out of your stem?pa rider
May 8, 2002 5:08 AM
Hi Leanne. I'm late on this post since it looks like it went south some where. I picked up a thread yesterday by one of the guys on the forum who answered a post about fitting of bikes. He gave site to answer someones question.

I was interested in seat angles. Why do builders use 73 angle compared to old 69 in 70's. Keith Bontager put a good topic on the issue. He was saying about seat angles and top tube length how they effect the rider's output is all false interpreted.

I got the answer to the information I want, but found that shops use the stem to dial in your reach by putting different lenghts, but don't account for your hill climbing stance.

I can ride a 575 to 600cm top tube bike, but have to see what difference each bike "room compartment" handles for me. There's no true method to say one formula is better over the other. Read Keith's article and make an opinion.

I found that to have a higher rise stem or lower (2 to 4 inches) is how do you want to ride. If your doing training rides a lower stem maybe ok, but if your riding longer rides (5 hours or 100 miles) you need to see which height you like that doesn't bother your back or neck.
Have you tried talking dirty? (NM)mikebikr
May 8, 2002 5:47 AM
I've got a long one...Kristin
May 8, 2002 6:51 AM
I haven't always had it. A friend purchased it for me last year. When it first arrived it looked perfect, but I quickly realized that it was a bit too big for the steerer to handle. Now I liked both the steerer and the stem, and didn't want to get rid of either. In the end the best solution was to cut the stem down a bit to achieve the perfect fit. At first, installation may be a little tricky, but once you get the right fit, you'll feel right at home with your stem.

My point is this: If you already have a stem that you like, you don't necessarily need to dispose of it (as one poster suggested); there are things that can be done.