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What if your stem doesn't fit?(12 posts)

What if your stem doesn't fit?Kristin
Aug 2, 2002 6:49 AM
Now don't go there--this is a serious question. Last year I purchased a Nitto Technomic road stem; however the stem didn't seem to fit in the steerer tube--too long. In the end, the stem was cut down to make it fit. (Don't grimmace, it was done by a professional and not in the shed out back.) When the stem was cut, I determined the length and kept a 2 inch drop to the bar top, and a 3-4 inch drop to the hoods. Later I rotated the bars up even more to bring the hoods level with the top of the bars.

I've decided to keep the DeBernardi for two more years and install a CF fork. I've also decided that I'd like to eliminate that remaining 2 inch drop. I could order another Nitto, but will it be too long? Is that possible? How/what would I measure to determine the longest quill that can be installed on my bike?
So you want to raise your handlebars 2 inches?Spoke Wrench
Aug 2, 2002 7:15 AM
Two inches is a HUGE amount of change if you think your position is anywhere close to dialed in. I'd sure recommend trying half that amount before I committed myself to anything.

I'm thinking a threaded style fork and another Technomic stem. I don't think you'll have to cut the stem, in fact it sounds like it was probably a mistake the first time. The only reason Technomics exist is to stick farther out of the head tube to give you the higher handlebar position you seem to want.

I don't think threadless would work very well for you. You'd have 3 or more inches of stack spacers.

Good luck.
The reasonsKristin
Aug 2, 2002 8:00 AM

I don't know if you remember, but when I bought the DeBernardi, there was a 5.75 inch drop to the hoods. Thats 14.6 cm!! (But of course you know that.) Well I hadn't ridden a road bike since I was 15 (now 32) and I ended up super uncomfortable riding that setup. Unfortunately, the stem that came with the bike could only be raised 1 cm. Since appearances are important to me, I sucked it up for a while and lived with the pain. Once it got bad enough, I decided to replace the stem with a friends help. At that time, I should have eliminated ALL of the difference between the bars and the seat. But I dreaded jokes about "bus boy specials" and old arthritic ladies. When we decided what length to make the stem, I kept 2 inch drop (w/4 inches to the hoods). That was still painful, so I rotated my bars until the hoods were level (2 inches). That's much better, but now I can't use the drops.


I'm now past "appearances". I'd like no more than a 2 inch drop on the hoods and still be able to use my drops. I don't care if it looks funny to have my bars the same height as my seat. I don't care if I must show a crapload of stem to get there. I just want to be able to ride comfortably. I miss the days when getting on my bike didn't suck. That means I need the bars the same height at the seat.
excellent reasons, imo.Steve_0
Aug 2, 2002 8:17 AM
nothing sillier than making decisions based upon ppearances, imo.
Salsa 105 degree stems on sale at ExcelAlex-in-Evanston
Aug 2, 2002 9:34 AM
Marked down from $65 to $30. I just installed one on a track bike that's a size too small and it made all the difference.

Good luck,

Alex
deluxeSteve_0
Aug 2, 2002 7:51 AM
If youre worried, get the technomic deluxe, which is 180 mm (vs the technomic's 225 mm).

To find out for sure, simply measure your current length (in MM), add 2 inches, and see which of the above two will suit your needs.

Ive gotta ask.... why did you (initially) get the longest stem made, if you were looking for a 2 inch drop?
Um...I didn't know what I was doing? (nm)Kristin
Aug 2, 2002 8:01 AM
re: What if your stem doesn't fit?tarwheel
Aug 2, 2002 8:02 AM
I will resist the urge to make tasteless wisecracks. First of all, it sounds like you would be best off with a threaded (quill) stem so you can make height adjustments easier. Then determine how high you would like the top of the stem to reach. Stem height is determined from the minimum insertion line. Your bike shop should have a catalogue with the distances listed from the insertion line to the stem top. You want a stem with a lot of adjustability. Nitto is one option, but I would consider something like the Profile H2O. It is available in a wide ranges of reaches, black or silver, and several angles (at least 73 and 90). Other nice things about the H2O are that it's relatively inexpensive ($30-45) and has a removable facecap, making it easy to swap out if you decide you need a longer or shorter reach.

From the problems you have described in the past, it sounds to me like it might be good for you to start out with a handelebar height that is about even with the saddle height. You should be able to accomplish that with the H2O stem, and it would be easy to lower if you decide to do so. Back in the old days, most bikes were set up with handlebars about even with the saddle or 1 lower. It is only in recent years, particularly with the advent of the threadless stem, that bike shops and manufacturers seem to push ever lower handlebars. Low handlebars may be more aerodynamic, but they can be uncomfortable and can cause injuries for many cyclists.

BTW, I speak from experience on this matter because I developed severe numbness in my hands after switching to a bike with low handlebars (3-4" drop). The problem didn't go away until I raised my handlebars, which are now about 1" below the saddle. I had a Nitto Technomic stem for a while but recently switched to the H2O and it is more convenient (due to the removeable face cap) and I can actually raise my handlebar higher than I could with the Nitto. Good luck.
is that to say you can offer Kristen a good deal on a tecno?Steve_0
Aug 2, 2002 8:12 AM
BTW - do you know the effective height on the h20? Cant imagine it beats 225mm. thx.
is that to say you can offer Kristen a good deal on a tecno?tarwheel
Aug 2, 2002 9:48 AM
Offhand, I think the maximum length from the insertion line to the top on the H2O is 10-12 cm, about 4-4.5 inches. However, with the 90-degree rise, the effective height is more like 5-5.5 inches. This is not as much as Nitto, but few people need one with that much extension unless their frame is too small. (As Kristin said, they had to cut her Nitto down to size.)
I need a little more clarityKristin
Aug 2, 2002 10:33 AM
On our first attempt to install the Nitto, we slid it down into the head tube (is that right?) and it stopped with the insertion line appearing 2 inches above the top of the tube. That was it, we couldn't get it to go in any further. So was the stem physically too long to be used on this frame, or is there another possible reason for that to happen??
my guesstarwheel
Aug 2, 2002 10:59 AM
I think the Nitto stem physically was too long for your frame. I don't know how tall you are, but many women's frames are in the 48-52 cm range for seat tubes. If the Nitto has a 225 mm extension, that's almost 9 inches -- or probably twice as long as the head tube. It's no wonder it wouldn't fit. What's important is not the total length of the stem, but the length you can extend it above the headset -- that is, the length from the insertion line to the top of the stem. Unless you've got your saddle raised way above the frame, you should be able to achieve adequate extension with a stem like the H2O. If your saddle post has more than 6" of extension showing, your frame might be too small, but that's another issue. Since you are buying a new fork anyway, another option would be to buy one with a longer steerer tube than usual for your size frame and install some spacers under the top of the headset. You don't see spacers used that often with threaded headsets, but it can be done as long as your fork steerer tube is long enough. I would recommend taking your bike to a bike shop you trust and tell them you want to get a new fork and stem with enough adjustability to raise the handlebar even with the saddle height. They should be able to figure out all the details for you. That way, you can still swap out stems if you find that you need one with more or less reach. And buy a stem (whether it's the H2O, TTT Motus, Deda Murex, Salsa SUL, or some other brand) that has a removable facecap. It saves a lot of hassle when doing swaps.