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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been sized for a bike and have been told that my recommended frame size will require a 95mm stem to acheive optimal reach for the bike I am considering. This is due to 2 dynamics:

1.) The frame I am looking at has a long top tube, and
2.) My legs are long in relation to my height.

SO I ASK: Is there anything wrong with using a shorter stem? My prior bikes have always been a little smaller and used 110mm stems. I have always assumed that using a stem less than 100mm would indicate a frame which is too large, or a geometry which is not suitable to the rider. Comments?
 

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aka Zonic Man
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Basic fitting will tell you a 10-12cm stem is ideal.

HOWEVER, if you're VERY SHORT or an unusual fit, i'd think an 8 or 9 would be good, or if you are very tall, a 12 or 13 would be right to get the proper fit.

But I think you are correct in that GENERALLY a stem less than 100mm would throw off the handling of the bike.
 

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check the geometry..

Are your sure that the new frame is really that much different, or has some fitter suggested a change in position that requires this large a reduction in stem length?

Not many stem come is half sizes. Usually you can only get a 90 or a 100.

Another way to keep a longer stem is to use shorter reach bars. I switched both of my bikes to Salsa Poco bars which have a reach that is 1-1.5cm less than most popular road bars. I have a short torso and like my saddle pretty far back for climbing. The shorter reach bars allow me to use a 100-110mm stem.

If the two bikes are relatively new or you know the geoemtry, I can do a comparison for you.
 

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C-40 said:
Are your sure that the new frame is really that much different, or has some fitter suggested a change in position that requires this large a reduction in stem length?

Not many stem come is half sizes. Usually you can only get a 90 or a 100.

Another way to keep a longer stem is to use shorter reach bars. I switched both of my bikes to Salsa Poco bars which have a reach that is 1-1.5cm less than most popular road bars. I have a short torso and like my saddle pretty far back for climbing. The shorter reach bars allow me to use a 100-110mm stem.

If the two bikes are relatively new or you know the geoemtry, I can do a comparison for you.
Question: assuming you ride a lot on the hoods or drops, wouldn't Poco bars with a 100mm stem have the same handling as a 90mm stem with longer reach bars?

FYI, I use the Poco bars on one of my bikes and really like their fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Position the same ...

The position on the new bike would be almost identical to my old bike. The difference is that the fitting has recommended a taller frame as opposed to more exposed seatpost. The taller frame is also proportionally longer.

If I go to a smaller size, I will have almost 6" of exposed seatpost (measured to the seat rails). My fitter thinks this is a little much and will require too many spacers up front.
 

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probably...

Dave Hickey said:
Question: assuming you ride a lot on the hoods or drops, wouldn't Poco bars with a 100mm stem have the same handling as a 90mm stem with longer reach bars?

FYI, I use the Poco bars on one of my bikes and really like their fit.

I just don't care to use a stem that short and I like the shape of the Poco bars better than the Easton EC-90 or Deda 215 bars that were on my bikes. It was a win-win choice.
 

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Old, slow, and fat.
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JBF said:
The position on the new bike would be almost identical to my old bike. The difference is that the fitting has recommended a taller frame as opposed to more exposed seatpost. The taller frame is also proportionally longer.

If I go to a smaller size, I will have almost 6" of exposed seatpost (measured to the seat rails). My fitter thinks this is a little much and will require too many spacers up front.
Re: fit. 5-6" of seatpost showing is about normal any more. I'd be more likely to recommend a shorter TT/longer stem (10-12cm) vs a long TT/shorter stem. There's stems with rise (Ritchey, etal.) that allow a lower HT but still a less aggressive bar to saddle distance.

This is true ESPECIALLY if you're short leg/long torso like me. Compact frames are a godsend as far as I'm concerned! Now I can have the TT I need and the ST my legs will fit over.

That help?

Mike
 

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I have the same fit issue

I just went to a custom Seven frame due to an inability to get a good fit on several attempts with regular bikes. I have a short torso in relationship to my longer legs. In going throught the fitting with Seven and the local dealer, using a longer stem was the preferred way to go...we went with a shorter top tube, 53.3 and a 120mm stem with a 10 percent rise. Whether this was for handling or what, I can't say...that's the way the custom fit came out. However, someone mentioned that a shorter stem could throw off the handling...I find that hard to visualize...seems like having a proper reach to the bars would be more important.
 

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Dave Hickey said:
Question: assuming you ride a lot on the hoods or drops, wouldn't Poco bars with a 100mm stem have the same handling as a 90mm stem with longer reach bars?

FYI, I use the Poco bars on one of my bikes and really like their fit.
aside from looking like Fred with 90mm MTB stem and limited stem choice :p no difference in handling.
 

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SoCal--S Beach to the Dam
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The right size is the one that make your fit work.
 

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Not Too Short for Me.

I recently bought a KHS flite 800 frame. I think KHS has longer top tubes than other manufacturers. I was not sure which stem to choose, I went to www.wrenchscience.com and they have a bike fit calculator that goes through several measurements. One incorporates the overall length of stretch you need (sorry don't know the technical terms). Using the top tube length and the result of that calculation I was able to determine the right stem length.
 

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sounds wise...

The head tube length is an important consideration. Many of today's compact frames have short head tubes to cover a wider range of users, but leave many folks with no option but to use a lot of steering tube spacers or a high-rise stem. I expect my new LOOK KG461 will have a 90 or 96 degree stem, but no spacers to get the bars at the height I need. If you flip an 84 degree stem to 96, it will reduce the spacers by about 2cm and allow you to use a 10mm longer stem.

Unless the frame has a sloping TT, 6" of post showing is too much. A better indicator of appropriate vertical frame size on a horizontal TT frame is the height of the saddle above the TT. A 16-18cm range is common. Even an 18cm height will produce about a 10cm drop to the bars with an 84 degree stem unless spacers are used.
 

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It will work, but you would be better off to buy a frame that had a shorter top tube. This may mean that the frame that you are looking at, isn't for you.
You don't have to go "custom." I'm sure that there are some stock frames out there that will fit you fine.
 

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Its the reach to the bars that determines...

I don't think that in isolation a 90mm extension is either "good" or "bad". The critical dimension is the reach to the bars - if you look at the "set up" schematics that the pros use each year, they measure the distance from saddle tip to bottom bracket (i.e. setback) and then saddle tip to bars (reach). The reason I say this is that I have a custom Spectrum, fitted by Tom Kellogg (one of the East Coast gurus, and Merlin's designer) and he spec'd a 90mm stem, even after choosing the top tube length. (I'm another long legged short torsoed rider...) So there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a 90mm stem. Now after 3 seasons of racing and 30,000 miles I've become a lot more flexible, so where Tom originally had 2 spacers and the extension flipped "up", I'm down to no spacers and the extension flipped down, so the effective reach is significantly longer, still with the 90mm stem.
 

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Arrogant roadie.....
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90mm used to be standard

Years ago, if you had a 120mm stem, people would think that you were trying to make a frame that was too small fit you. Most frames were bigger then, stems were shoter, bars narrower. Stems even shorter than 90mm weren't uncommon. My current fixed-gear is using a 60mm stem, although that is with bullhorn bars.
 
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