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This is just a question.

Stems have an angle or are neutral. The angled stems can be flipped. So why flip the stem down and then put spacers under it? Why not flip the stem the other direction and get rid of the fat stack of spacers. I see this quite often and most bikes pictures in magazines. My bike included. This is how the shop set it up. I assume shops do this to get your position without risking cutting it too short. Or does it look better??

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kkowalsk said:
This is just a question.

Stems have an angle or are neutral. The angled stems can be flipped. So why flip the stem down and then put spacers under it? Why not flip the stem the other direction and get rid of the fat stack of spacers. I see this quite often and most bikes pictures in magazines. My bike included. This is how the shop set it up. I assume shops do this to get your position without risking cutting it too short. Or does it look better??

Thanks
I think most people agree that downward flipped stems look much better. I am contemplating a custom frame at the moment, and I am probably going to ask for a longer than usual headtube so I can use a negative rise stem and still not have very much saddle to bar drop. This is strictly about aesthetics for me. In a few years we'll probably see riser road bars like the mountain folk have. :rolleyes: I so hate those riser bars.
 

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Many pro racers, who are young and flexible, have their stems pointed down so they can get into a more aero position. So everyone else thinks that's how its supposed to look. I agree that it's silly to have a stack of spacers just so the stem can point down, but that seems to be important to some people.

I have bikes set up both ways, but if I was getting a custom bike, I'd get a shorter headtube and have the stem pointed up. It looks fine to me. More important: it's lighter.
 

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I just like the looks better and wish my steer tube was long enough to allow me to comfortably install my stem in the downward angle (actually, with my stem and fork, it's about horizontal, maybe even angled up a little still). Can't think of any reason not to go with function first, aesthetics second on this one. For the weight weenie: how much does 1.5 cm of steerer weigh?
 

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Flipping the stem up shortens your reach as it raises the bars. Also it will affect the front geometry of your bike (handling). Bike manufacturers take into consideration the angle of the head tube and what stem angle would work with it. Having a lower stem helps you extend your back and rotate your pelvis. It's easier to ride a road bike more stretched out. Only exception I could see if someone with a back problem. It's more to do about anatomy and flexibility. I have a ride bud who flipped his stem up on his Colnago Master X-Light (I have same bike) and he said it gets real squirrelly when he descends. Probably because of his position. Getting low and flat is more aero.

If you flip the stem over and remove the spacers then you have to cut your steerer tube. So you better be sure of what you are doing.

Stems come in different rises, that's the correct way to do it.

The young pro's can ride with no spacers as they are world class athletes. They can ride in positions that us mere mortals can't.
 

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Riser Stem = Looks less fast (eg. hybrids)
 

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Whether you flip a stem or not is all about fit, but some of the wannabe "style men" make a bigger deal out of it than it is. My stems are flipped up because I'm much more comfortable that way and can ride longer and faster when I am comfortable. I wish more cyclists would leave the steerer tubes on their forks uncut. I've passed up buying several used bikes because the fork was cut too short for me.
 
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