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First of all, I ride a Trek 2200, and everything is stock. I am pleased with the bike and enjoy the ride, but all of my riding buddies swear by their setups on mostly similar bikes. They all plead with me to flip my stem upside down like theirs.

I know that conventional wisdom (especially on this forum) says "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," "stick with a proper fit," and "that's very subjective, some like it, some don't" but I want to hear some independent opinions. I started riding with the guys in my group years ago. They have all done crits and TTs in the past, and I just enjoy being on the bike. I enjoy a fast pace and pushing myself, but there are also times when I like to go for distance or simply just get out of the house for a stroll on nice days. Also, I'm still young and in shape, so the back is not a problem YET.

I just want to hear some opinions about what to expect and what I might expect to gain/lose from making this move before I try it. All other things equal: what advantage does this sort of move primarily yield? Weight distribution? Reach? Drop? Position? Are there drawbacks? Stability? Stamina/comfort over distance?
 

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It took me about 2 weeks after getting me bike to realize that the reason it didn't look as cool as it did on the manufacturer's website was that the stem wasn't low enough, i thought about it and decided to flip it. It look's 50 times more 'roadie' which is what we're all after in the end i guess. But honestly, it allows you to get a lower front end on the bike making you more aero and the comfort factor sort of sorts itself out after a while, you just get accustomed to it, i never notice it. I wouldn't flip it back ever and if i got a new bike, id flip it straight over. Give it a go, it will keep you out of the wind more and make you look a bit more respectable to your mates. If you don't like it, simple, flip it back. No harm in trying.
 

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Squirrel Hunter
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3,806 Posts
Fit and Fashion

texass4 said:
...They all plead with me to flip my stem upside down like theirs...
Do they all call each other so they can wear the same jerseys and match? No need to change for a fashion decision.

texass4 said:
...All other things equal: what advantage does this sort of move primarily yield? ...Drop?
Drop will be the primary change you see. Was your bike "fit" to you when you bought it or just he saddle height adjusted? Have you become more flexible and adept at riding since you had it fit? If you think you might benefit from the drop spend the next few rides with your hands in the drops (bottom portion of the bars) most of the ride. See if you are comfortable with the lower drop. If so then go ahead and flip the stem.
 

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classiquesklassieker
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3,106 Posts
texass4 said:
I just want to hear some opinions about what to expect and what I might expect to gain/lose from making this move before I try it. All other things equal: what advantage does this sort of move primarily yield? Weight distribution? Reach? Drop? Position? Are there drawbacks? Stability? Stamina/comfort over distance?
Fit first, fashion second. Nobody here can telll you for sure what changing the fit of your bike will do for you. You can certainly try changing it, and then assess yourself over time. Of course, there is the risk of injury, and the fact that a new position will feel fresh for a while because you'll be using a new set of muscles. The real problems can reveal themselves only in the longer term.

Instead of pondering over fashion statements, why don't you try to figure out if you have a good fit or not? There are many common misconceptions about fit, one of the worst ones being that higher handlebar = more comfort. That's why nobody can tell you with any reliability whether loweing your position will be good or bad, given that you have given almost zero information.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Look vs function.

Looks

IMO, a stem closer to parallel to the ground is more pleasing aesthetically....but I wouldn't ever sacrifice looks for comfort & performance. I have replaced bikes because I didn't like the way they looked but preserved fir.

Function.

I'm assuming from your post that the change you are making is from a post that is pointing somewhat up to & flipping it so it is closer to Parallel. This change will have two effects.....it will increase the drop from the seat to the bars, and it will lengthen the distance from the seat to the bars. This will result in slightly more weight forward on the bike which can improve high speed handling. The other aspect of this change is that getting longer and lower might put more pressure on your privates depending on your anatomy and your seat.

Len
 

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Does it matter?
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also if you flip your stem, you may have to trim your front brake cable/housing. And if you do, then you'll have to most likely replace the housing if you go back. All of this is a maybe depending on the angle of the stem. just thought I'd add the thought
 

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Never, never base a fit decision on looks.

For starters, what works for your buddies may not have anything to do with you. Flip the thing over and see how it feels if you want, but don't stay with it just because a stem parallel to the ground is visually pleasing.
A quick note about stems and bars in general: When drop bars were developed, the idea was to give a comfortable cruising position on the tops, with an option to go down on the drops to get aero when you needed to. Over the years, we've lowered the bars until many people have the tops nearly down where the drops should be. A few years ago I adjusted my two road bikes so the bar tops are level with the saddle (it's easy with quill stems). I was immediately more comfortable, so could stay on the bike longer, so went faster, and now I'm rich, handsome and know how to tap dance.
I made the last part up. But don't ever change anything because it LOOKS better. That's just dumb.
 

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I'm an older rider, 55, and I had the stems on all of my bikes set to a positive rise. When I had my last bike built up a couple of months ago, the mechanic put the stem in the negative position (flipped) and I thought what the heck, I'll give it a try. For some crazy reason, I find the new position more comfortable than before and now I've flipped the stems on 5 of my 7 bikes. Just had one flipped this week and I rode it today with great satisfaction. No one can tell you what's right for you, you need to try it. If you like, more the better, if not, flip it back. But from my experience, it's worth the effort to check it out.
 
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