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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I picked up a used mid 1990s Serotta Colorado CSI (lugged steel) bike. It is a size 54L which in Serottas from that era means it has a 54 seat tube but a 55 top tube. The size was not intentional, it was what was on offer, and I grabbed it at a good price. I do fit on most 53-54 cm bikes well though I can also go with 56 cm in some cases. I am 5 ft 10 inches tall. Coming to it from a hybrid and having this as my first road bike makes me want to adopt a more upright posture than is traditional for a road bike. I raised the Ritchey quill stem it came with as high as it will safely go but am still seeking an easier reach.

I am thinking of getting a Nitto Technomic stem and using that to go higher. I am also contemplating getting one with a shorter reach (it comes with as little as 50 mm reach. I intend to start with the stem higher up and go gradually down as I get more used to a traditional road bike posture. I am OK with having to buy another stem later (or reuse the Ritchey quill stem I am currently using) as the season progresses.

Am I thinking along the right lines?

Should I consider another reach for the stem other than the shortest (50 mm)?

Any other good options instead of the Nitto Technomic? I am thinking of a quill stem due to the easier adjustment on the fly and since it is more appropriate for bikes from that era.

Unfortunately most LBS do not have many quill stems in stock so I may have one ordered online, or ask the LBS to order it, before asking for it to be installed.
 

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the technomic's are nice. If you're not sure of rise & reach, you might buy one of the quill stems that you can adjust the angle, until you figure out what you need, or a quill to threadless adapter and a gaggle of threadless stems... some bike shops have a bunch of stems they'll loan out. Ideally, a decent bike shop will do a fitting for a reasonable fee, often with a discount on cockpit items(eg stem &/or seatpost) you buy after the fitting.

Things to also think about, the effective reach of the stem gets shorter as you raise it up (due to angle of headtube). Handlebars make a big difference too, since different ones have different reach, width & drop.
There's a few stem height/reach/fit calculators out there on the internet (webpages or in form of excel spreadsheets), so you can fool around with various setups virtually. I've got a couple of fit calculators for excel if you want 'em.
 

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I think you're almost on the right track. It seems to me that bike may be a pretty good fit for you, so you may not need the shorter reach. For the kind of adjustment period you're talking about, bar height (rather than reach) is the major variable, and the Technomic will give you a huge range of adjustment on that. So I'm guessing a little, but I'd probably get a more normal reach (80-90?), start with it high, and adjust as your body adjusts.

This is the major reason I dislike threadless stems. The loss of easy height adjustability, for me, is bigger than the advantage of easier bearing adjustment and the tiny (sometimes illusory) weight loss). They're ugly, too (IMHO), and quill-to-threadless adapters are a really ugly kludge.
 

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I just want to reiterate what is being said so far - since I've kind of done the same thing and am going through it again with a vintage steel frame I'm trying to get set up just right.

Get one of the adjustable quill stems, if you're planning to stick with a quill stem in the long run. Probably go with a ~100-110mm length on the stem. Adjust the shaft of the stem up and down and the angle of the stem. Set lower, but angled up will mimic a shorter stem, and the more horizontal the stem angle, the more it will be like it's true length. I'll bet you can mimic an 80-110 mm stem length and an infinite number of heights with some judicious and thoughtful adjusting. Then when you get something that feels comfortable, simply measure the height of the handlebars from the ground, and the distance from the nose of your saddle to the bars**. That will give you an idea of the length of stem you ultimately need, and how high you'll need to raise it - in other words,whether you need a high rise (like Nitto Technomic) stem or will a regular one work. Given your general body size and the frame you bought, after you get used to riding a road bike, I kind of doubt you'll be far off the "norm" for stem length of 90 - 120mm. You might need a higher stem than what a conventional quill stem will give you, but that's a different factor.

Remember the position of a road bike, while it doesn't have to be extreme drop and reach to the bars, is intended to distribute the weight somewhat between the legs, butt and arms as opposed to an upright hybrid or such which is pretty much sitting on your butt. This really is much more comfortable and efficient when you get used to it. But handlbars even with the saddle, or a cm or so above or below is perfrectly normal. I like mine even or 1-2 cm lower, and am right on the edge of needing a high rise Nitto stem, maybe need 1 cm more of height than a regular one will give me.

**By the way, before you do any fiddling with bar height and reach, (1) get your seat positioned correctly over the pedals and (2) decide on a set of handlebars that really are comfortable for you, in terms of how they fit with the brake hoods, how our hands feel in whatever positions you usually ride in, etc. Only then, fiddle with the stem business. Of course you can kind of mess with this stuff at the same time, but it is important to understand that saddle position is done independently of handlebar reach, and then you adjust the handlebars according to what you need for that saddle position. And the design of the bars can make a good 10mm either way difference in stem reach and height.
 
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