Road bike stems

stu_kawagoe

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#1
What have you got on your bikes and why?

I’m asking because I just bought a threadless converter for my old quill stem so I want to get some ideas. After reading around, I’ll probably go for 80mm with a 6 degree rise as that seems to be standard and looks about the same as what’s on there already.
 

jdd

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#2
Rather than going for what seems to be standard/okay, isn't this a chance to upgrade your fit a little? You may already be spot on, or close, but it's at least a chance to check and try something else.
 
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leicaman

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#4
Buying a stem like that is the same as buying a pair of shoes in a Uk size 9 because they are the most common size 😂. A bike fit would certainly help, or at least find out what size your old one was and if you feel stretched out too much, buy a slightly shorter stem, or longer if you fee bunched up. Btw, the kalloy uno stem on eBay is a steal and is pretty damn light for the money. Usually around 25 usd shipped. The graphics are awful but you can strip them off in 5 mins with your nail polish remover 😜
 

stu_kawagoe

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#5
Thanks for the replies guys. Sorry I should have made myself a little clearer in my first post. The reason I liked 80 and 6 is because that appears to most closely match the quil stem and position I already have. Maybe I can take my bike part finished and see if I could try a few different stems. Then I guess I’m tied to buying one from that particular shop🤔 I do understand about the bike fit, though I don’t know if it’s really worth it when there are other things I’d rather put the money to on my bike. Have others here benefited from a professional bike fit in Japan? I did read on some old threads that one of the TCC members does bike fits. We’re his fees reasonable?

Anyway, I’m still interested in what others are riding, which was the main intention of this post as I do love reading about that kind of stuff on here to get ideas and inspiration.

@leicaman thanks for the tip about the stem!

Oh, it was me who bought the bars @Sibreen had advertised so that might change the fit too, which I’ll also need to consider.
 

Karl

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#6
I used to have one of those adjustable stems that allow you to adjust the stem angle. They are a bit heavy, but you can play around with how high you like the stem on the steerer, then adjust the angle based on the stack height you like. That said, I still have about 5 different stems laying around for the various bikes I had/have. I swear that some days my arms feel longer than other days.
 

bloaker

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#7
- Have I had a bike fit? Yes
- Did it help? Yes
- Was it worth it? Yes, because I was riding enough to justify it.

I have a 110mm neg 6 degree on my Ritchey.
BUT - as said before... that is my fit on this bike.
My older bike was a 110mm neg 10 degree.
It comes down to every other factor on the bike. Headtube length, top tube length, seat tube angle, rider flexibility, etc...

I do have a few stems I can look through if you are interested.
If we can arrange a day, you can come down and we swap out stems giving you a feel for different setups. The shortest I have is a 50 and the longest is probably a 120mm. I would have to dig them out though. Let me know if interested.
 

stu_kawagoe

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#8
@bloaker thanks for the offer mate:) If you could let me know what you’ve got via PM with prices and whatnot that would be great.

I dug out an old bike fitting thread from TCC here for interest. It seems there are a few different options at a wide variety of price points!
 
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#9
I’m asking because I just bought a threadless converter for my old quill stem so I want to get some ideas.
This is probably the last thing you want to hear but how come you're changing your quill stem for a converter if you already feel comfortable with the dimensions of the quill? (Maybe I'm getting confused about what you're doing). Seems to me that with a converter you get all of the downsides of a quill stem with none of the upsides of a threadless headset. I guess you probably get a faceplate on the stem to make removing the handlebars easier but you can get quills with faceplates anyway. If it's just an aesthetics thing then that's cool, but a lot of people tend to prefer the aesthetics of quills anyway, including me (although I wouldn't specify one on a custom build)
 
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bloaker

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#10
This is what I found laying around not really looking to hard.

The bottom is a 50mm, the top is a 120.
I don't have a spare 80mm in the group, however I think I have a 70mm on one of my bikes.
As I said before you are welcome to try them out for free. If you are willing to come down to Zushi, you can try them back to back to back.
I will also remove stems from my bikes if you want to test out the ones I already have mounted.

If anything, it will give you and idea if you want to order something.
stems.jpg
 

stu_kawagoe

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#12
@Joe McCarthy Fair point. Aesthetics is definitely a part of it. I also want to make the bike feel a bit more modern as it’s the only bike I have. Also, as it is, it’s not really vintage looking as it’s got a reasonably new groupset, seat and wheels. The frame is nice (custom late 80s) so I guess I want that kind of modern “steel is real” thing but on a budget - ha! If I swap out the quill for a black stem, bars and bar tape, I think it’ll get a bit closer to the look I want. There’s lots of other things I need to do but I’m limited by my budget and skill level. In all honesty, I’d be happy if I could get it looking a little like the blue Ritchey Road Logic here. Btw, my frame is a shade of cyan.

Anyway, sorry for that ramble.

@bloaker that picture is very amusing! I’ll have a look at the logistics and see if I can ride down to yours one of the days. Bit of a beast of a trip for me mind. I really appreciate your kindness mate:)

@OreoCookie I put about 7,000 km on my bike last year so I guess it’s a fair amount. I’ve been thinking about the fit of my bike a lot since I started the thread. I get a bit of a sore back (doesn’t everybody?) at times but no hand numbness. I also feel that I seem to be in a more slung out (lower position) than people on a more modern rig. I also spend a fair bit of time on the drops, I’d hazard a guess that modern bikes are designed to make it easier to do so. But I could also be in the wrong position🤔
 

Karl

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#14
I don't intend to be critical of a good bike fit, but these are some things that have held me back from getting one:

1) I change my body position depending on the kind of riding I'm doing. It also seems that from day to day, I prefer different positions. On day's I feel genki, I like a flatter position and on days I'm just doing leisure riding, I'm more upright. Can one fit work for a variety of riding styles?
2) I'm always messing with my bike and changing saddles, stem lengths/height, handlebars, etc. Don't you mess up a fit if you do this?
3) Wouldn't you have to be fitted for each bike you ride if they have different geometry?
4) With decades of riding behind me, I feel like I know what works for me and if something isn't working, I feel like I know what to tweak. Am I fooling myself? After being fitted, were you really surprised by the difference, or was it more, "Meh."

Still, I'm intrigued by having a professional fit, just to see if it would make a big difference in comfort and efficiency. But being someone who likes to get the most from my money ( read "cheap" ), I've been hesitant to spring for a fitting.

Update: Just stumbled across this from GCN. https://bit.ly/2FsubuE Answered some of my questions anyway.
 
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bloaker

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#15
@Karl
1) I change my body positions on my road bike by using the hoods, drops etc... My road bike is my road bike, so it has a purpose - getting from point A to B as efficiently as possible. A fit does that by first getting your saddle to pedal position first. We spent an amazing amount of time working on this before i ever reached for the bars to be fit. It was intriguing how methodical the process was.
2) Once fit, you don't necessarily need to fiddle anymore because you understand why you are where you are. A good fit should involve explaining everything to you as you go through the process. I have not changed anything other than tires on my road bike since my fit.
3) Yes you would - if you wanted to get the most out of each bike. BUT - the first half of the fit is the fitter understanding you body, so doing another bike takes significantly less time since the body remains the same.
4) I thought this too. I also argued my fit. I didn't like it and it wasn't what I expected. I made a deal with my fitter that I would ride it for a month. If I still had a complaint, he would re-fit me. - 5 years later, no change to the fit.
 

OreoCookie

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#16
@Karl
@bloaker covered most of it, and I heartily agree with him. Let me just add some deltas:

1) Of course you have to tell your bike fitter what you want out of a bike fit, e. g. if you are an aggressive rider who spends lots of time bent down you might get a different fit than if you are a more relaxed rider. And it depends on how many components you are willing to change: Is it ok to also buy new handlebars with a different shape? What about cranks, are you willing to change them just to get the crank length right? If you want a good bike fit, at the very least you should expect to buy a new saddle and a new stem, though. Especially the saddle is a matter of personal taste, and depending on the body position, you might need a specific shape or cutouts.

2) This is a sign that you haven't found the right fit. I noticed, for example, that on the photos of the bike you sold me you added all spacers and flipped the stem up. Assuming that this is how you had set it up for yourself, that's typically a classical sign that the fit isn't right for you.

3) For a perfect fit, yes, of course. However, the most important factor is to get the saddle position and the saddle height (measured from the BB) right. When I ride a new road bike, even when the frame is a different size, it fits relatively well once I got the saddle height nailed. (That's of course what @bloaker said in his response to 1), once you get the saddle position right, the rest usually falls into place.)

4) For me the experience was eye opening. I knew what I liked on mountain bikes, and I had gotten bike fits (albeit not great ones), but I haven't had much experience with road bikes. So I had no clue how it is even supposed to feel riding it. After my fit a lightbulb went on, and I got “it”.
 

Karl

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#17
@Karl
@bloaker covered most of it, and I heartily agree with him. Let me just add some deltas:

1) Of course you have to tell your bike fitter what you want out of a bike fit, e. g.
Two things struck me from the GCN video I linked to. The coach kept saying that a fit gives confidence, as if a big part of it was mental. For the pros, at least, changes to the fit tended to be a millimeter or two.The second thing that stuck with me was the first pro they talked to who said that you need to get a fitter whose philosophy of fitting fits your sense of how a fit should go. He thought it would be not productive to get a fit from someone who would set you up in a fit that wasn't right for you (paraphrasing). OTOH, @bloaker mentioned that he learned to love the fit he got. I guess, if I got a fitting, and it was a significant/radical departure from how I usually ride, I'd probably try to make it work, but wonder if I'd grow into it or if I'd eventually abandon it.

2) This is a sign that you haven't found the right fit. I noticed, for example, that on the photos of the bike you sold me you added all spacers and flipped the stem up. Assuming that this is how you had set it up for yourself, that's typically a classical sign that the fit isn't right for you.
Not sure if that photo was how things were with it just out of the box, or if it was how things were after I'd ridden it some. I know I had the stem turned up, but think I had only a couple spacers in. The rest were above the stem. Anyway, I do like a more upright position. I'm rarely in the drops. A slammed stem or one that puts me in an aggressive position tends to cause neck pain for me (I'm in the over 60 crowd) and tends not to be comfortable on rides over 80 km. I give up a more aero position for comfort since speed isn't usually my thing. The geometry of the Cube, size, reach, chainstay length, trail, was not different than what I usually ride.

4) For me the experience was eye opening. I knew what I liked on mountain bikes, and I had gotten bike fits (albeit not great ones), but I haven't had much experience with road bikes. So I had no clue how it is even supposed to feel riding it. After my fit a lightbulb went on, and I got “it”.
Another take away from the GCN video was that the method of bike fitting has become much more scientific, with laser markings and pads in the shoes to measure differences in leg length. Is that what you got when you got fitted? About how much does something like that cost?
 
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OreoCookie

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#18
Two things struck me from the GCN video I linked to. The coach kept saying that a fit gives confidence, as if a big part of it was mental.
No, it is definitely not mental. However, communication and trust are key. In your case it wouldn't make sense to aim for the setup of an amateur racer, because that is not how you ride (from what I am able to gather).
Not sure if that photo was how things were with it just out of the box, or if it was how things were after I'd ridden it some. I know I had the stem turned up, but think I had only a couple spacers in. The rest were above the stem. Anyway, I do like a more upright position. I'm rarely in the drops. A slammed stem or one that puts me in an aggressive position tends to cause neck pain for me (I'm in the over 60 crowd) and tends not to be comfortable on rides over 80 km. I give up a more aero position for comfort since speed isn't usually my thing. The geometry of the Cube, size, reach, chainstay length, trail, was not different than what I usually ride.
Just out of curiosity: why don't you ride a flatbar bike then? I find those are easier on my neck, because I am more upright.
Another take away from the GCN video was that the method of bike fitting has become much more scientific, with laser markings and pads in the shoes to measure differences in leg length. Is that what you got when you got fitted?
My local bike shop doesn't have that but the highest-end shop around here does. The owner of the bike shop put my bike on rollers in the back and fixed the front wheel in a stand. He replaced the stem with an adjustable stem where you can change length and angle. We started with the saddle height and got that dialed in. He just used his smartphone to take videos and pictures of me pedaling. Then we adjusted stem length and angle. Turns out the stem that came with the bike had the right length.

I think I will ask for another bike fit because now I know all sorts of things I would like to change — plus, I ride way more aggressively than I thought, I am almost always wither in the drops or in an aero hoods position with the elbows bent. And I don't like the handlebar shape. In any case, I don't think I got a bad bike fit, the bike fit was for a more relaxed position on the bike (I was a road bike noob then, so I didn't know how I would ride).
About how much does something like that cost?
My bike fit cost 7,500 ¥ or thereabouts and it was worth it. Of course, in case you need e. g. a new saddle or a new stem, you have to add those to the bill. It took about one hour. So I think that was well worth it.
 

bloaker

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#19
Another take away from the GCN video was that the method of bike fitting has become much more scientific, with laser markings and pads in the shoes to measure differences in leg length. Is that what you got when you got fitted? About how much does something like that cost?
Mine was done with laser, video, tracking, etc...
Body was measured up front with any required show inserts, cleat placement, etc done at the beginning - hence why I said a second fit would take less time, the first part was doing all of this.
My fit was more in the 25,000y range and took about 4-5 hours to complete.

I could buy a new bike tomorrow and set it up myself and be 98% correct. The extra 2% is where the money is going.
 

Kangaeroo

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#20
:oops:
This whole thread (and the GCN video) is utterly fascinating.
Till I came here, I just thought hurting was part and parcel of riding and never dreamed it could be treated with a proper fitting, or that those fittings are so sophisticated.
Thanks to all!