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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Aside from aesthetics what are the advantages to having one's stem flopped to a <90° angle.

My old Raleigh Hustler, Olmo and Holdsworth frames came w/quill stems but when I joined the aheadset set my bike came stock w/the stem flipped up and I never bothered changing it.
I liked the setup so much that when I recently bought my Fuji Team Issue I set it up the same way. However I'm not immune to the beauty of a flopped stem and was wondering what others thought?

BTW - I'm 41 - cat4 racer and can touch my fingers to the ground (just)

Here's my current setup:
 

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lower bars...

If you really need your bars up that high to produce a tolerable comfort level, then there isn't much option. You wouldn't want another 2-3cm of spacer.

Racers usually want there bars a lot lower, in the range of 8-12cm below the saddle, to yield a lower and more aerodynamic position. Those who can't tolerate this much drop usually are lacking in fitness, either core strength and/or flexibility.

I'm old and don't race, but my bars are still 9cm below the saddle on a 51cm c-c frame no flipped up stem for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
C-40 said:
If you really need your bars up that high to produce a tolerable comfort level, then there isn't much option. You wouldn't want another 2-3cm of spacer.

Racers usually want there bars a lot lower, in the range of 8-12cm below the saddle, to yield a lower and more aerodynamic position. Those who can't tolerate this much drop usually are lacking in fitness, either core strength and/or flexibility.

I'm old and don't race, but my bars are still 9cm below the saddle on a 51cm c-c frame no flipped up stem for me.
Ok - I think I'm in pretty good shape. Resting heart beat of 40bpm, podium finishes etc but I do occasionally get lower back pain despite all precautions after doing heavy lifting around the house etc. This might be a question for the training forum but what would be a good way to increase my flexibility/strength in that area? I'm by no means a contortionist but I'm not unsupple either.

Should I just flip it over and see how it goes?
 

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The result of flipping...

a typical 84 degree stem is lowering the bars about 2cm and increasing the horizontal length of the stem by nearly one size. That's a lot of change to tolerate all at once, but you never know, unless you try it.

A more subtle method to try a change would be to remove 5-10mm of spacer at a time from below the stem and put it on top. When you've removed 2cm of spacer, you'll be at nearly the same position as flipping would have produced, since the bars will be 2cm lower and the horizontal reach will have increased by about 6mm. Then you might try flipping the stem and putting the spacers back below the stem.

As for exercises I won't go into a lot of detail, but I do hanging knee raises and use an ab wheel to work the abs. Flexibility can be increased by simply bending over to touch your toes. When you've got more flexibility, you may eventually be able to place your palms flat on the floor, in bare feet. Just don't make the mistake of bouncing to increase the stretch.
 

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one last thing...

It's difficult to tell with the angle of your picture, but the brake hoods look to be quite a bit lower than the top of the bars. There's a lot of variation in the bend of bars today, but newer styles don't have much of an angle from the horizontal top section of the bars to the area where the STI levers mount. This keeps the brakes hood up higher and makes a greater saddle to bar height difference tolerable. The Deda 215 anatomic bar is an example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok - they are Kestrel EMS OS's I'll snap a better pic for you tomorrow (bike is loaded in car for tomorrow's ride). I did notice that although I mounted the levers in the prescribed area (the surface of the bars is different in this area) they were towards the lower part of that little band. I've got new tape coming in soon anyway so it might be a good time to experiment w/the hood position.
 

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not too bad..

The bend on the Kestrel bars has plenty of ramp down. You've taken care of a lot of the problem by rotating the bars up a bit. I've seen STI levers mounted higher, but the problem that eventually occurs is the brake lever swings out, making it difficult to reach.

Campy levers are even more sensitive, there's a very narrow range, where the brake hood is level or tilted up a few degrees and the brake lever is within a decent reach.

I've yet to find the perfect bar. I should have the new Easton EC-90 tomorrow. I'm anxious to see how the bend works with ergo levers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm not hugely fond of the Kestrels - I prefer the bend in the bar to be flatter whereas these are still pretty curved below the brifters. My actual favourite is a Weyless Al jobbie. If it weren't for the fact that this is a semi-weightweenie bike I'd try and source another.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ahhhhhhhhh...... That's much better!

Ok - I think we're pretty much done here. Flipped the stem, DA pedals arrived and there's new Cinelli Cork Ribbon on the bars. Will be racing her this weekend so we'll see how my back holds up over 53 hilly miles at race pace.

 
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