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  #1  
Old 10-12-2018, 10:15 AM
danesgod danesgod is offline
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stem length

I'm bad at bike fitting. Trying to get better. Maybe this is a stupid question.

The reach on my single speed commuter feels too long, I'm awkwardly stretching ride in the hoods. My stem is 100mm. I've tried fiddling with the seat position with no luck. Maybe my riding position is just ****ty? I'm certainly not paying for a bike fit on my commuter.

How much difference does one need in the stem to see a noticeable difference in fit? Is 10mm enough (there's a local 90mm stem on pinkbike for $10), or should I go shorter?

Internet research says "try a bunch," but I'd rather minimize the number of trials, its not like I can buy every stem for $10 each.

Bike for reference. Size M.
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  #2  
Old 10-12-2018, 10:26 AM
Clean39T Clean39T is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danesgod View Post
I'm bad at bike fitting. Trying to get better. Maybe this is a stupid question.

The reach on my single speed commuter feels too long, I'm awkwardly stretching ride in the hoods. My stem is 100mm. I've tried fiddling with the seat position with no luck. Maybe my riding position is just ****ty? I'm certainly not paying for a bike fit on my commuter.

How much difference does one need in the stem to see a noticeable difference in fit? Is 10mm enough (there's a local 90mm stem on pinkbike for $10), or should I go shorter?

Internet research says "try a bunch," but I'd rather minimize the number of trials, its not like I can buy every stem for $10 each.

Bike for reference. Size M.
1cm is noticeable for sure. Narrower bars may help with reach. Raising the bars can also help. Also check the angle of your bars/hoods.

Ideally you'd post a side-view of yourself on the bike, riding a trainer, in both the hoods and drops
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  #3  
Old 10-12-2018, 10:42 AM
danesgod danesgod is offline
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I'm actually getting an old, but free, trainer this weekend. So if I don't figure it out with the 90mm stem, I'll come back with photos.
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  #4  
Old 10-12-2018, 12:32 PM
davidb davidb is offline
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My experience in fitting was most can not feel 5mm. in change. However, most can feel 10mm. in a change of reach.
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  #5  
Old 10-13-2018, 06:25 AM
OtayBW OtayBW is offline
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I would revisit setting your saddle fore-aft position - this time, trying to optimize weight distribution. If you're setting too far forward, you'll have too much weight being supported by your hands and changes to stem length may not be as noticable. Only then dial in your stem. Personally, if all else is set up right for me, I can feel difference of +/- 5 mm on the stem length. My $0.02 and YMMV. GL.
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  #6  
Old 01-17-2019, 06:48 PM
Danielvetpath Danielvetpath is offline
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I am short (5'7") with short arms and felt like the reach on my bike was too long. I kept moving my saddle forward, but ended up with pain in my shoulders. Finally, I realized my weight was distributed too far forward. I have moved my saddle further back than it was initially and my should pain is gone. Overall, I feel much more comfortable. My next step is to buy a 90 mm stem (100 mm now) and I think it will be even better. Next step is to change from 42 to 40 mm bars, but want to only change one thing at a time. Good luck!
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  #7  
Old 01-17-2019, 06:51 PM
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Tickdoc Tickdoc is offline
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1cm seems to small to notice.... but you can.
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  #8  
Old 01-30-2019, 08:50 AM
Nomadmax Nomadmax is offline
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Reach can be changed a number of ways:

Stem length

Stem angle

Stem/Bar height (Spacers or raising quill, further up = further back because of HTA)

Bar reach

Here's a handy calculator to see the effects of stem angle and height.

http://yojimg.net/bike/web_tools/stem.php

I won't move a saddle to change reach.
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2019, 03:09 AM
corky corky is offline
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You can also change reach by angling the shifters......lower on the bars will increase reach and vise versa
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  #10  
Old 02-24-2019, 11:33 AM
marciero marciero is offline
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I think most could feel that. For me 1cm is the difference between perfect and sit-up-and-beg.
Your lbs may have old stems they are willing to loan for free for you to try out.
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  #11  
Old 03-03-2019, 10:43 PM
Hawker Hawker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomadmax View Post
Reach can be changed a number of ways:

Stem length

Stem angle

Stem/Bar height (Spacers or raising quill, further up = further back because of HTA)

Bar reach

Here's a handy calculator to see the effects of stem angle and height.

http://yojimg.net/bike/web_tools/stem.php

I won't move a saddle to change reach.
Love that calculator...thanks for posting.
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  #12  
Old 03-04-2019, 06:38 AM
velolab velolab is offline
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Have you ever been properly fitted at a shop ? After about 10 years of riding ill fitting production bikes I discovered that I needed a shorter top tube. I have longer legs than torso so the reach was always an issue. I now have a custom that fits me perfectly but that required buying a custom frame. I have not regretted it.
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  #13  
Old 03-06-2019, 09:22 AM
benb benb is online now
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I'd make sure you know what your fit should be but otherwise I'd go ahead and try the 10mm shorter stem...

It's not going to help if you're on a frame 2 sizes too big or the real problem is your saddle position but otherwise it's an easy/harmless/cheap option to try.

A lot of the other options have negatives:

- Sliding the brifters up on the bars - might help the hoods position while wrecking your ability to use the drops

- Narrower bar - Can actually make things worse, you're stretching out muscles in your upper back more. That really depends on whether the existing bar is too wide/narrow or just right though.

- Different handlebars - switching to a shorter reach bar is a good option but it's more expensive and more work. And if the overall reach is just too long this doesn't affect the position of the bar tops. If the bar tops feel great but the hoods feel like too much reach this might be a good solution though.

You will often see online stuff about shortening the stem messing stuff up and then recommending a shorter reach bar... that's kind of silliness as if you're talking about the hoods there isn't much change. Most of the time a shorter stem is fine unless the bike really doesn't fit.

Worst case you are like velolab (and me) and you really have long legs/short torso and maybe would need a shorter than usual top tube to really get a great fit. These days there is less need to go custom to find a bike that works that way though. Most "endurance bikes" which will result in bars level with the saddle for an average proportioned man will work just fine as a "race fit" for someone with long legs & short torso. Your longer legs equate to a higher saddle height and all of a sudden the bars are in the right place for 5-10cm of drop. And typically I think we forget if you have long legs/short torso you probably have longer than usual arms too. I didn't realize this for year... you see people talk about ratio of height to arm spread... I have long legs but when I checked my arms my "wingspan" is close to 4" more than my height, which negates some of the need for shorter top tube or stem.

No adjustment to the bars can really fix a problem caused by saddle position though.. bad saddle position can wreck your back + core's ability to hold you up and then the bars will always seem too far away and too low.

Last edited by benb; 03-06-2019 at 09:27 AM.
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