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How long's your stem?What's best for handling?ieWgt dstrbtn?(4 posts)

How long's your stem?What's best for handling?ieWgt dstrbtn?Swat Dawg
Mar 17, 2003 8:18 PM
So I've got long legs and a short torso. I checked the archives and that helped a little. I'm 5'9.5" with a 33" inseam, but a 63.75" calculated reach. I am in the process of deciding whether or not to get a new frame because my trek (56 cm) seems too big in the Top Tube (I use 90 mm stem). This seems ridiculously short, and doesn't seem to make sense. I am curious as to what everybody else rides, and what length is generally recommended for optimal handling, especially considering the impact of weight distribution, based on how far one is over the front wheel. For example, I put my numbers into the wrenchscience website and it spat back that I should be riding a 56 cm, but when I look at the bikes their system puts me on bikes with stems between 60 and 90 mm, with one really short at 50 mm. Most bikes I'm seeing are running 100-130 mm stems. My collegiate team is sponsored by Leader Bikes and I am thinking about sliding onto a 53 cm frame with a 54.5 cm top tube. This would put my stem at about 110 mm, which seems to make more sense. So give me a shout. Thanks for the help.

Swat Dawg '04
re: How long's your stem?What's best for handling?ieWgt dstrbtn?morency
Mar 17, 2003 11:14 PM
according to Eddy Merckx, a perfect frame size corresponds to a stemlength of 110mm
much more to it...C-40
Mar 18, 2003 5:58 AM
Treks have about the longest TT lengths when compared to other brands. It would be quite common to use a 10mm shorter stem on a Trek.

You must consider the seat tube angle when comparing the TT length of your Trek to other brands, if there is a difference in the angle. A 56cm Trek is really a 54cm c-t frame with a 73.5 STA and a 56.1cm TT length. If you compare a frame with a steeper STA, like 74 degrees, add .6cm (1.2cm per degree) to the length of that frame's TT length to make a valid comparison. This addition accounts for moving the saddle further back.

Your saddle position also has a great effect on the total reach. If you have long femurs or like the knee placed 1-2cm behind the pedal spindle, placing the saddle far back will also create the need for a shorter stem. A seat tube angle that is not as steep (like 72.5 degrees) would also help to increase the stem length.

Your Trek is actually on the small side (vertically). If you get a frame that's too small, you'll need a high rise stem or too many steering tube spacers to make up for the short head tube length.

Don't rely on body measurements and fit calculators to recommend a stem length. These recommendations are meaningless. Evaluate how you fit on your bike and decide if you really need a change in the reach. Do you feel too stretched out now? Do you have knee to elbow clearance when riding in the drops with your fingers within reach of the brake levers and the back horizontal? If you have very little or no knee to elbow clearance, then it tells me that you just can't tolerate a long reach. Short stems will be inevitable.

There really is no ideal stem length,IMO. People will note that a shorter stem will speed up the steering response. While this is true, a careful evaluation reveals that the change in the length of the "steering arm" only decreases by about 10% when you decrease the stem length from 120 to 80mm. Also remember that most steering is done by leaning the bike, not turning the wheel.
I ride a med. Giant but,scottfromcali
Mar 18, 2003 11:39 PM
I am the same size as you. 5.9" with 33 inseam. I ride with an 80 stem. I rode a Treks before buying the Giant and the closest fit for me was a 54?