Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Being new to road biking, how do you know what length your stem should be. I ride a 58 cm Specialized Allez and the 120mm stem that came with it feels too long. I'm stretching to reach the brakes (a bit, my finger tips).

I was at a shop and sat on a 57" Cervelo with a 90 mm stem and it felt good. Went home and put on a 90 mm. +/-6 degree stem, I have a bunch from mountain bikes.

The 90 feels good. I was told when your in the hoods you should look down and the bars should hide the front hub. Is that true? That happens with the 90 mm stem.

When I see every picture on this web site, most everyone has a 120 or 130 mm stem. Is 90 to short for the road? I'm 6'1 and have a bit of a longer upper body. Should you be upright or stretched out on a road bike?

I'm assuming it also affect handling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,604 Posts
kananaskis said:
.........I was at a shop and sat on a 57" Cervelo..................
A 57" Cervelo - now that's a BIG bike. :D

Sounds like the 90mm stem may be the one for you.

Some bikes have longer top tubes than others so you can't just compare to what everyone else has in stem length.

The "hide the front hub" rule isn't too bad a start.

If you find out later than you are pushing yourself back too far on the saddle (as a result of a short stem), you might consider something a little longer. Otherwise, seems like you are on the right track.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Without shelling out bucks for a bike fit, just go with what feels right. The "hide the front hub" rule is pretty good, but it depends on your position on the bike, too (back hunched or flat, neck stretched out or scrunched).

I've found that the as I've ridden more, my flexibility has improved, and I like to be stretched out on the bike more. For instance, if I go back and ride my first road bike, it feels waaay too short (horizontally) for me. So keep the longer stem - one day, it may feel better for ya.

The pros generally rock/run longer stems because it gives more precise control over the bike.
 

·
10-81
Joined
·
515 Posts
Sounds like the 90mm will work for you then if that is what feels right to you.

Read in a couple books and have been told by others that a good rule of thumb is to get on the bike and put your hands in the drops. Looking down you handle bars should block the view of the front hub. If the the hub is behind the handle bars the stem is too long and if it is in front of the bars the stem is too short.

But in the end it is what you like
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,444 Posts
This whole "rule of thumb" about the stem blocking the front hub is pure coincidence. There are way too many factors involved for it to be a legitimate fitting guideline.

Unfortunately without a more formal fitting, it is all guesswork and feel. In my mind a switch from a 120 to a 90 is a pretty big leap.

Fittings can be expensive and for many years I adjusted and tweaked based on feel, and for the most part that was good, but resulted in nearly constant tweaking and adjusting, which can get pretty expensive with different stems and seats and such. I've had good results since a formal fitting. But I'm sure there are others who do just fine on feel and experimentation alone.
 

·
'brifter' is f'ing stupid
Joined
·
15,567 Posts
i'd recommend a fitting from someone that is VERY experienced. as an example i just built a new bike for a rider that's new to the team i work for. she had all of her fit numbers from her previous bike. i set the bike up that way and she thought it was great. after 2 rides and a race, she was fit and did power testing w/ the team sponsor. he made some adjustments to saddle height, cleat position, and saddle set-back and she was amazed at the effect the small changes made in her power and comfort. this is a pro road racer that has also competed at the world cup level on the track. you may think you're set up just right on the bike, but someone w/ more experience and knowledge may be able to make things even better. this is not generally something that the average bike shop fitter will be able to accomplish...our sponsor has a masters degree and has developed a steady state power test protocol using over 10yrs of experience. he coaches a number of pro/elite racers that are getting fantastic results.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top