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Longer Stem?(17 posts)

Longer Stem?Squishy
Jun 10, 2003 9:25 AM
I bought a used race bike (with a pedegree) and the seat tube is one cm too short for my frame. I've been riding it as my main ride for a couple of years and have been suffering with neck/shoulder pain after century rides. The seat is about 2.5" above the bars. The stem is an old Cinelli quill-type. My mechanic said that he could replace the stem with a longer, modern one, but I'm a little concerned with the integrity and looks. Should I lift weights a little more to handle the extra drop or let my mech change the originality of the bike?

BTW, it is a pristine 7-Eleven Huffy/Serotta with Record and Deltas.
Longer stem?Steve_0
Jun 10, 2003 9:55 AM
or longer quill?

I'd experment with raising the stem rather than lengthening it. 100 miles is a long way to go with a 2.5" drop.
Longer stem?Squishy
Jun 10, 2003 10:04 AM
The current stem is maxed out.
figured as much...Steve_0
Jun 10, 2003 10:18 AM
yeah, I shouldve been more clear; which actually emphasises my point; If you want your stem raised, be sure to ask for a longer quill. Otherwise you may get a longer reach, possibly exasperating your problem.

Nitto makes a fine stem with plenty of quill.
I agree with Steve ODave Hickey
Jun 10, 2003 10:33 AM
The Nitto long quill stem would look much better than a modern stem. Absolutely fantastic bike. That's a keeper.
Here's a link to the Nitto StemsDave Hickey
Jun 10, 2003 10:37 AM
Just another commentDave Hickey
Jun 10, 2003 10:41 AM
If you replace the stem, your going to have to get new bars also. The Cinelli stem uses a 26.4 clamp. Only old Cinelli bars were 26.4. The Nittos come in 26.0 or 25.4. Nitto makes bars that are the same shape as your old Cinelli's.
oh. good catch. nmSteve_0
Jun 10, 2003 10:44 AM
You may want to try raising the nose of the saddle.dzrider
Jun 10, 2003 11:51 AM
Keeps your weight from sliding forward onto your hands.
re: Longer Stem?russw19
Jun 10, 2003 10:51 AM
Squishy, I know exactly what you are going thru! I just got a mid-80's Merckx with Super Record, and it came with a 110 stem. I really want a 130 on there to match the geometry of my other bikes, plus I like to have a stretched out bike. I am having the same problem you are in that it is very hard to find a good quill stem of the period. You can still get hold of stuff like a Salsa stem, but it doesn't look right. I have been watching some stems on ebay, and that's about your best bet. I work in a shop and can not find a distributor that still carries some quill stems. The one I was looking for in particular was the ITM Krystal which is a Ti stem, or the Cinelli Grammo, but they are hard to find.

How long of a stem do you need? I saw a few Cinelli 1A's and XA's on ebay in a 120 length. You just need to look around. I think I have resigned myself to either using a Control Tech or Syncros that I have, even though they are much more modern looking than the one I have on there. The other problem for me is that the stem on there looks sweet because it's a pantographed stem.. if I replace it, I lose that coolness factor.

Good luck,


Nice looking bike by the way!
Could you tell us more about the bike?Fez
Jun 10, 2003 10:58 AM
Like where you got it, who rode it, what year it was built, what parts and anything else?

Looks real nice.
Could you tell us more about the bike?Squishy
Jun 10, 2003 12:00 PM
Ben Serotta traced the serial # for me and said it was Robbie Ventura's backup bike for '88. He was a junior then. My step-dad bought the frame and fork unbuilt in '89. He had the Campy Super Record gruppo of the day with delta brakes put on and rode it for a few years. I put on a Flite seat and X-2s.
looks vs conveniencetarwheel
Jun 10, 2003 11:46 AM
If you want to keep the classic appearance, go with a Nitto Technomic long quill.

If you want convenience, get a Profile H2O with 90-degree rise. It's butt-ugly but is inexpensive and has a long quill, plenty of rise, and a removable face-cap. I wish Nitto would make a stem with a removable facecap -- they sure make life simpler.
Yes, Longer StemKerry
Jun 10, 2003 5:44 PM
Obviously you don't give your measurements, but given the frame size (58cm, +/- ?), I would expect a 120-130mm stem. It looks like you've got a 90-100 mm on there. This could easily be the cause of your back problems if you feel scrunched.
Too little reach shouldn't cause pain - before you buy, try thisBergMann
Jun 11, 2003 8:21 AM
Here are some things you should try first, before you go out and buy a new stem.

Judged by your picture, you've got that saddle pretty far forward on the rails. Try moving it back 1 cm. You don't have to leave it there indefinately, just ride a couple of times with that setup to get a feel for whether more reach makes things better or worse.

Another thing to check -- where do you do most of your riding: on the bar tops, on the hoods, in the drops? Make a point of riding for an extended period on the bar tops. Then switch to the hoods. Which feels better? If it's the bar tops then a longer stem will only make things worse. If it's the hoods, then you probably do need more reach.

As for going to the gym, you don't need iron to help your back. I've been riding with 4" of drop for over 15 years and my back feels better than it did when I was racing at 20 because of a regular regimen of stretching, sit-ups, and back extensions. A little core strength and flexibility go a long way!
It did for me...TNSquared
Jun 11, 2003 11:22 AM
With a 110 stem I was experiencing tightness, fatigue and slight pain in my lower back. Once I switched from a 110 to a 130, all discomfort in my back vanished - too quickly to be attributed simply to time in the saddle.

Of course, this being a matter that differs from one person to the next, YMMV. I agree with trying some of the other suggestions before buying.

Good Luck.
Stem angle?BergMann
Jun 14, 2003 1:07 PM
Was the angle on your new stem different than on the old one?
Unless both stems were -15 degree stems (i.e. effective 0 degree), then a shorter stem is generally also _lower_ relative to the saddle due to the angle of the head/steerer tube.

In other words, unless both stems were effectively parallel to the ground, a shorter stem _increases_ the drop from saddle to the bars, which is also a back stress factor.

While it is possible that your old stem just had you too bunched up (particularly if you're the type to lock out your arms), it is also likely that part of the relief you experienced was due to _less bending_ in your back, not more reach.