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Stem Police, Don't Shoot! I'm comin' out with my hands up!(30 posts)

Stem Police, Don't Shoot! I'm comin' out with my hands up!TNSquared
Jul 2, 2003 7:42 PM
OK, go ahead and give it to me - how bad (if you buy into spacer/stem fashion) is it? 130mm, -17% stem with 4 cm of spacers. Equates to a 9cm drop from saddle to bar.

Let's say for arguments sake that I want to cut the steerer tube and lose all the spacers. What degree rise would I need to maintain the same bar height?
Here's a close-up lookTNSquared
Jul 2, 2003 7:45 PM
Here's a close-up lookeayste
Jul 2, 2003 7:58 PM
With the closer view . It looks almost like you would need a 0 degree stem w/0 spacers. But without getting out the protractor and straight edge it's to hard to be sure.
Good eyeGregJ
Jul 2, 2003 10:30 PM
I concur. Looking at a little graph I made a while ago to solve this very problem, it would appear that a 0 degree stem with no spacers would get you very close, within .5 cm both in reach and height. Just so you know, if you flipped your -17 you would gain around 7 cm in height, and lose 2 cm in reach. If you removed all the spacers, you would have a net gain of 3cm height and a loss of 1cm reach(lowering the stem on the steering tube moves it forward.) Going to a 0 stem with 0 spacers gets you a net loss in height of .5 cm and a gain in reach of about .5 cm. Leaving a half cm spacer would bring you even closer. This info is coming from a pretty well drawn graph and not the trig formulas.
FWIW, I have your exact stem in 120 reach and yes it is flipped to rise with no spacers. I think it works great like that and looks clean. The insistance on a level stem that seems to pervade this board is nuts IMO, after all the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line!
Don't forget that you can try different positions first by stacking spacers on top of the stem before cutting it off.
looks good.. what's the problem with that set up?colker
Jul 3, 2003 11:57 AM
could imagine a quill stem raised some...
Just flip that stem...KEN2
Jul 2, 2003 8:23 PM
Why not just flip that stem? Then you'll need 0 or 1 spacer max.
Flip what you have and....B2
Jul 2, 2003 9:06 PM
leave 2cm of spacer and you will end up with about 0.34cm longer horizontal reach and 0.58cm less drop to the bars.

Sorry - Don't flip what you have - go w/ a 84 degree...B2
Jul 3, 2003 5:42 AM
I saw the Ritchey and was thinking 84 degrees as your final result. The above dimensions assume a 84 degree stem.

If you flipped what you have and went to zero spacers you would get a shorter horiz reach by about 1cm and a higher bar by about 3.5cm.

Because the spacer delta is significant the horiz reach is impacted significantly by the spacer adjustment alone.

re: Stem Police, Don't Shoot! I'm comin' out with my hands up!zippi
Jul 2, 2003 9:25 PM
most will agree these are great stems. ritchey makes a 73 and an 84 degree stem. you have a 73. trade or buy an 84 and you'll for sure lose at least 2 cm of spacers. why do shops let customers walk out the door with so many spacers and dorky stems. with the right degree stem you'd have a better looking bike. btw, nice bike. by dropping some spacers and pointing an 84 slightly up you'll have the same drop and reach.
re: Stem Police, Don't Shoot! I'm comin' out with my hands up!bicycle268
Jul 3, 2003 3:29 AM
although I agree with you that too many spacers make a bike look a little goofy, I disagree about the stem. I own a 73 degree Ritchey WCS and I love the clean look of a stem parallel to the top tube (for non-sloping models). IMHO, I think it looks sleeker than an 84 degree.

BUT, in this situation, the extra rise in the stem to negate the spacers is the right thing to do (asthetics alone)

Looks like....Alexx
Jul 3, 2003 3:25 AM need the next larger frame size.
Not the frame size...TNSquared
Jul 3, 2003 5:55 AM
This is a 58cm frame, and just to be sure I rode both a 56cm and 60cm as well before buying. The 60cm was *too* big. I'm 5'11' with only a 31" cycling inseam, and I had no standover at all on the 60cm.

I simply have a very long torso, hence the long stem.
Not totally true.........Len J
Jul 3, 2003 6:02 AM
It's more about the Trek geometry.

Most people don't ralize that the Trek geometry, will (for normally proportioned people) result in the need for more spacers. Your 58 has a 58 TT (C to C) and a 54 seat tube (C to C). Trek measures it's seat tube center of BB to seat tube collar, not Center to center. A Normal "Square frame" would have a 58 st Center of BB to Center of the intersection of the Seat tube & Top Tube. Therefor, compared to a square frame the Trek will always need 4 CM of spacers more (assuming the same rider, the same drop to the bars & the same stem, seat tube & head tube angles.)

Not totally true.........TNSquared
Jul 3, 2003 6:22 AM
Actually, I did intuitively know this about Trek. I know the geometry is more agressive, and why else would Trek build the stock set up with so many spacers? But I've never been able to verbalize it in the concrete terms you have. Thanks for the explanation!

At first I thought Alexx was commenting on my stem length, not necessarily the spacer issue. However, now that I re-read I think his point may have been that a larger Trek frame., i.e. one with a longer seat tube and same overall geometry, would reduce the saddle height and therefor bring me closer to the head tube and require less spacers? (Compared to this bike, not one with a different geometry.)

Nonetheless, after doing several test rides on three different sizes, I think this is the best fit for me. Just gotta get it dialed in.
Jul 3, 2003 6:54 AM
I was commenting more on the length than the height. 130mm is waaaay long for a stem. I once had a 120mm stem on a poorly-fitted bike, and the handling was just awful. If you really need a 130mm stem, your frame is too short.
Jul 3, 2003 7:22 AM
What total baloney. A 120 or 130 stem will not significantly affect the handling of the bike.

My 54cm C-40 is an absolutely perfect fit, but depending on the saddle position that I choose, I have used 100, 110 and 120 stems and all worked fine. No handling issues whatsoever. I could easily see a longer torso rider using a 130.
Can't be accurate...C-40
Jul 3, 2003 9:17 AM
If you had a 31 inch or 79cm cycling inseam you could not standover a 58 or a 60cm Trek. You would also have very little seatpost showing.

From the pictures, you have a lot of seat post showing. I would guess that the saddle is 18-19cm above the top tube (measured vertically near the nose). With the saddle that high, you probably have 5-6cm of standover clearance to hard crotch contact.

The 60cm Trek would be 2cm taller and require a 1cm shorter stem. It should still have 3-4cm of standover clearance.

For comparison, my C-40 has the saddle considerably lower than your pictures, at 17cm above the top tube and has about a 9cm drop from the saddle to the bars with an 84 degree stem and no spacers. I also have about 4cm of standover clearance to hard contact, which is plenty.
Argh...I'm a dummyTNSquared
Jul 3, 2003 10:09 AM
31 is my pants inseam. 33 is my cycling inseam. I hadn't had enough coffee for my previous post.

However, I think my saddle may be slightly too high - at least at the very top of my range. My hips aren't rocking back and forth, but after riding my mtb for the first time in months last week, I realize I feel like I'm really reaching for the bottom of my pedal stroke on the road bike.

I may try lowering my saddle slightly (say .5 to 1 cm.) In order to make the first adjustment you described earlier, I assume I would only need .5 or 1 cm of spacers then to correlate to the lower saddle.
saddle height...C-40
Jul 3, 2003 12:56 PM
I've made the mistake of raising the saddle too high. If it feels like you're reaching, it could be 1-2cm too high.

As a very rough guide, I always make sure that my heel will drop several centimaters below horizontal with my leg locked out at the bottom of the stroke. A saddle set too high will really hurt your cadence.
re: Stem Police, Don't Shoot! I'm comin' out with my hands up!AllUpHill
Jul 3, 2003 4:07 AM
Leave the stem and spacers alone unless you're uncomfortable. They look fine to me (but I'd rotate the bars downward a bit, from an aesthetic standpoint). I don't see why the antipathy toward spacers + a drop stem. Yes, you could get the same saddle-bar drop by losing the spacers and pointing the stem at the heavens, but I favor your way because it mimics the look of a traditional quill stem (and no one would complain at the same stem height if it were a quill sticking out). Upward-pointed threadless stems are technically more material-efficient, but they look worse to me than a few spacers.
Absolutely rightMel Erickson
Jul 3, 2003 5:44 AM
I've probably got about that much showing on my quill stem and nobody says a thing. Fashion is fickle. Go with what fits. Regarding the bars, I pay no attention to whether the bottom of the bar is parallel to the ground. I position the bars and the hoods so they're the most comfortable for me. Most of my riding is done on or near the hoods so that's what I position my bars for. Mine are nearly parallel but not quite, slightly sloping up. Alot also depends on the shape of the bar.
Bar positionTNSquared
Jul 3, 2003 6:05 AM
I positioned my bars so that the hoods are in the most comfortable spot for me. All day on the computer keyboard and all night playing drums puts enough strain on my wrists, so I don't like reaching down for the hoods.

I also like the fact that I have nice flat platform across the top of the bars all the way to the hoods. Gives me plenty of room to rest my forearms on the bars and extend my gangly upper body during long rides.
I'm similarMel Erickson
Jul 3, 2003 9:44 AM
Except the tops of my bars angle slightly down, but not as much as you would see when the bottoms are parallel with the road. I find it gives me a better hand and wrist position when on the hoods and still lets me grab the tops of the hoods and rest my forearms for a more aero/tri position. I find it very relaxing and would rather be there than on the drops and am at least as aero, if not more. It's my favorite position for those long, flat straights into the wind.
Jul 3, 2003 6:21 AM
Unless you have a problem with your current setup, why change?

no guessing, the correct answer...C-40
Jul 3, 2003 4:46 AM
A 130mm 84 degree Ritchey will raise the bars 2.5cm. leaving the need for 1.5cm of spacer. The reach will be increased about .5cm, if 2.5cm of spacer is removed.

a 90 degree stem will raise the bars 3.8cm. The reach will be increased about .5cm if 4cm of spacer is removed.

With either of the above options, you have to decide whether to live with .5cm more reach, or .5cm less reach (with a 120 stem).

A 130mm 84 degree stem, flipped to 96 degrees would raise the bars alsmost 5cm and increase the reach by only 2mm, if all 4cm of spacer is removed.

The 84 degree with 1.5cm would permit some adjustability, while the other two options don't.
Stem calculator chart atgeeker
Jul 3, 2003 5:30 AM
re: Stem Police, Don't Shoot! I'm comin' out with my hands up!MR_GRUMPY
Jul 3, 2003 6:11 AM
Don't go with a 90 deg stem. That would look worse than what you have now. Your Ritchey 'Pro" stem, also comes in a -6 deg size. The problem is that they don't make a 135mm stem. If you can loose 1 cm of spacers, you will have close to the perfect look. If you can't, it's not too bad now.
I've got a -6 deg 130mm WCS on my bike, and I found that I had to rotate the bars so that the bottoms were parallel to the ground, so that the drops felt right. That was because on the "bumps" on the Ritchey bars.
What kind of cages are those? ..nmt0adman
Jul 3, 2003 9:44 AM
Tacx Tao nmTNSquared
Jul 3, 2003 10:12 AM
bring a level, measuring tape, and some good beerJS Haiku Shop
Jul 3, 2003 8:47 PM
ok, i have a level & the tape.

of course i also have several stems, but not sure if any are 0*, or what your steerer tube measures (i'm guessing 1&1/8"). J2 might have a 0*, but i don't want to share the good beer you're bringin' over.

the answer is to measure your current position by an absolute reference point, and move stuff around until you equal it without those spacers. that is, if removing spacers is your goal.

personally, and IMHO, and all that: if it fits, ride it. if you feel better w/out spacers, so be it. i'm building up the next frame (coming soon...look kg286) with 2cm spacers. that's 2x1cm spacers.

the only way to avoid spacers =or= avoid a strange stem angle and make a frame fit perfectly to your measurements is to have a custom frame built. that is, unless you fit the mass-built frame template. if you do (fit the template), you're a lucky duck.


"back in those days, everything was simpler and more confused"