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Long or short stem length

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by sboss86, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. sboss86

    sboss86 New Member

    Been thinking of getting a shorter stem for my Cube. Just about every one i see has a short stem and say it makes the bike handle faster. What is a good one to buy?
  2. Greg

    Greg MTB Rider Staff Member

    Stem length choice depends on a few things, like rider size, riding style and frame geometry. So if you ride lots of XC on a XC specific bike (with steep head angle, etc) then a short stem will exaggerate the "nervous" twitchy feeling, even with wider bars and could make for an unenjoyable ride most of the time.
    The common thing is to fit a short stem and wide bars on frames with slacker head angles - the shorter stem compensates for the duller feeling steering with a slack head angle, the wider bars allow easier control of the steering on technical descents.

    Try before you buy if possible to experience how it will actually feel. If anyone can lend you a stem to try or you can get a cheap second hand one and give it a go, you might find you only need to go down by 10 or 20mm.
    As an example: I've got 780mm bars and tried a 50mm stem, it was great for really steep descents, but there aren't many around here and so it wasn't so nice for really long XC rides. I've got a 70mm now and its easier on long rides but still controllable on techy descents.

    Any of the common brand names are good, perhaps be cautions of the unbranded cheapo ones on ebay.
  3. paulsmith73

    paulsmith73 Member

    There are a couple more benefits to wider bars on shorter stems if you don't just ride down hills. A shorter stem reduces your reach, moving your position a little further back, wider bars cause your body position to move forwards again. This in turn helps with climbing hills as your weight further forward.
    Greg likes this.

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