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Stem Height - What is Too Much?(6 posts)

Stem Height - What is Too Much?lnin0
Aug 27, 2003 3:59 PM
I am putting together a small road frame for my girlfriend and we are not sure which quill stem to get.

We found one H2O stem (105deg x 80mm) she kind of likes. The neck on it though is so long, and her headtube is so small that the stem only fits down to the second marking of four on it(but still above the min insertion). So the most it can go down still puts her bars up a good inch higher than her old stem.

The part I am worried about is that it puts her handlebars about an inch, at best, lower than her seat. What does the seat to stem height really mean? Is it just about comfort becuase she has a bad back and would probably like a more prone position? There is a good amount of hieght sticking out on this stem - will that affect handling?

There is also a 90deg x 90mm stem at the lbs that looks like it would be about half the distance height wise between the old stem and the one she she likes. However, it also looks like it would push the bars out a fraction further which I don't know is so good either.
No rules!Kerry Irons
Aug 27, 2003 4:58 PM
Stem/bar height is a personal preference issue, and usually is a balance of comfort (this means higher for many people) and aerodynamics (= lower). Also, as one becomes more experienced, flexibility typically increases and a lower bar is more comfortable. There is no "right height."
Anything over 35mm is going to start looking pretty damn dorky!the bull
Aug 27, 2003 5:55 PM
But if you got long legs and a short torso and cant afford a custom bike whatdaya gonna do?
statements like that are pretty dorky! nm.Steve_0
Aug 28, 2003 3:40 AM
how aggressive is she?Steve_0
Aug 28, 2003 4:05 AM
funny, a couple of decades ago, 'only an inch' below the saddle was rather extreme. During that same era, cyclists didnt have the ubiquitious complaints they have today: backpain, crotch numbness, hand numbness, sore necks, 'uncomfortable' saddles.

Is she so aggressive that a larger drop would benefit her in comfort or performance? If not, why worry? High bars are good, despite todays current marketing trend.
how aggressive is she?Fez
Aug 28, 2003 8:11 AM
Some of those pains you describe certainly are a function of low bar height.

But they could also be due to stiffer and lighter weight frame/fork designs, minimalist saddles, and different component materials (hardly anything is steel anymore).