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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: KevinGT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Dumb question about effective top tube length

    My current bike is a wonderful, but old, aluminum HT with a 22" effective top tube length and I'm running a 120mm stem.

    I'm going to buy a FS bike this year (either a Yeti ASR-5 or an SB-66) and noticed that both of those bikes have longer top tubes -- 23" for the SB-66.

    Obviously, I can run a 90mm stem to get virtually the same riding position and reach, but how will the longer top tube combined with the shorter stem affect how the bike handles?

    Will I even notice? Is the trend these days to run a longer top tube and a shorter stem? That's what I'm seeing on new bikes and I'm not sure of the advantages.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bigfruits's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    quicker handling. some people say it is harder to climb with a shorter stem but it doesnt affect me much. it feels a lot better on the downhills.
    id go with a 720mm handle bar (or longer, you can always cut it down) and a 70 or 60mm stem to start off. it will probably give you a more upright riding position than your XC HT which i think is better for general trail riding.
    i am 510" and i like to ride with a 23.5" ETT length and a 50mm stem

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    yes, that is the trend. there is even a new bike out there designed to run without a stem, but a steerer handlebar clamp.

    if you compute your current reach and approximate it to your new bike with your chosen stemlength, and get close, you should be fine.


  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Saul Lumikko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Far more important measurements when it comes to how a mountain bike fits you are reach and stack. Especially if you have an old HT and are switching to a modern full sus, the geometries could be quite different.

    Longer effective top tubes and shorter stems (sometimes combined with wider handlebars) are the trend of the day - and that's not to belittle it, as a lot of people like those setups and to me it seems like an evolutionary step instead of temporary fad.

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