1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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  1. #1
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    How to RAISE height on a stemless handlebar system?

    I think i'm screwed. I get severe muscle pain in my neck/traps after a 20 mi ride because my handle bars are too low. Right now they have about 5 spacers underneath and a top cap. (sorry im a noob to all this, but it appears I can't raise it by adding more?)


    How do you raise a handle bar on this system? And why would GT make a XXL bike without a adjustable handlebar? I'm 6'4, bike frame is 23".

    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v6...t=IMAG0292.jpg

    (borrowed picture)


    Do I just add more spacers? What size do I need?
    Last edited by adrianm1188; 07-25-2011 at 09:21 PM.

  2. #2
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    Your pic didn't work for me. You need the steerer of the fork to be at least as high as the top bolt (not the one on the cap but the bolts on the side) that holds the stem on. Can't see the pic but if you have spacers above the stem you can move any or all of them below the stem to raise it. Again can't see your pic but you could get bars with more rise. A shorter stem and/or one with more rise will put you more upright as well.
    Might wanna watch a youtube vid of aheadset adjustment, and one of fork or stem install so you do it right.
    the strongest trees grow on the windiest plains... ~Tone's

  3. #3
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    Pic's broken.

    It sounds like you're out of adjustability by moving up the steer tube. OMG.

    You still have a couple of options. You can get a higher-angled stem. (Please tell me your stem is already flipped up.) You can get riser bars. I'd be surprised if, between the two, you can't get your bars high enough. There are some pretty crazy risers out there for DH guys, if you need them.

    If you really have the handlebars with an integrated stem, you have too much money for your own good and I hate you. But I'd bet you're just not used to the new headset standard - now the stem is the piece connecting the handlebars to the steer tube, and the steer tube goes all the way up to a few millimeters below the top cap.

    Even if it is the goofy integrated bars/stem thing, you can always just get an ordinary stem and handlebars, in angles and styles that will move your grips higher.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Awesome replies! Took me a while to understand them flipping through my manual but here goes;


    Yes, my stem is angled up already. And yes, the spacers are ALL underneath the stem. None above it. The handlebar looks like this one, if you can see it.





    So would I need a new steering tube? Would more spacers fit? Or a new steering tube? And how much am i looking at here? ($$)

  5. #5
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    OK, from the pic it looks like the spacers are under the stem. You might be able to add another as long as the steerer goes as high as the top bolt on the side of the stem but it won't give you much.
    The stem looks pretty short already, unless your a DHer, so you could get 1 that has more rise, but then you might wanna get it a bit longer because shorter or taller stem will quicken the steering. Might be a problem for you, might not.
    I'd recommend you get handle bars with more rise because you can rotate the bars to adjust a little where as with a stem you can't.
    As far as what size for spacers, I'd guess it's 1 1/8" but you can go to bikepedia website and check year make and model for all the specs.
    the strongest trees grow on the windiest plains... ~Tone's

  6. #6
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    Opps. In the second pic that I see now, the blue bike, you have some spacers on top of the stem that can be moved below it.
    Make sure to watch a vid of how to re-tighten it up so your headset is right. I could try to explain but if a picture is worth a thousand words, than a video is worth a googol.
    the strongest trees grow on the windiest plains... ~Tone's

  7. #7
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    Thats not my picture, sorry. Borrowing pictures from this site for reference. But the first picture is definitely similar to my current setup. Same parts, same spacer position.
    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    OK, from the pic it looks like the spacers are under the stem. You might be able to add another as long as the steerer goes as high as the top bolt on the side of the stem but it won't give you much.
    The stem looks pretty short already, unless your a DHer, so you could get 1 that has more rise, but then you might wanna get it a bit longer because shorter or taller stem will quicken the steering. Might be a problem for you, might not.
    I'd recommend you get handle bars with more rise because you can rotate the bars to adjust a little where as with a stem you can't.
    As far as what size for spacers, I'd guess it's 1 1/8" but you can go to bikepedia website and check year make and model for all the specs.
    So the stem is the part what holds my handlebars? Okay, thats not what im trying to adjust.

    I'm trying to raise the stem where it sits on the steering tube. Would this still apply to what you said? And please excuse my ignorance, im still learning the terminology, flipping through this shotty manual.

    I commute on roads. What do you mean when you said "shorter or taller'', which one quickens the steering? And how would handle bars give my move rise? As in the way they are bent? Mine are pretty straight.

    I think just being able to rise the stem from the steering tube would solve my problem, as I sit comfortably with my finger tips holding onto the grips. But when I fully grip then, I have to hunch over more.

  8. #8
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    I'd be nervous about adding spacers beyond those required for proper headset installation.

    I think your best bet is probably a higher-angled stem. If it's too much, you can always move it down a spacer, or a few. Is either of the pictured bikes yours? They don't look like XXL...

    Often, stem size is printed right on the stem. My bike shipped with a 65mm stem and I didn't like that stem/bars combo very much. I did 80mm for a long time and liked it; lately I'm riding on 90mm. I think I have to be just a touch more conscious of what I do to position myself on the way down, and just a touch less of what I do to position myself on climbs. So I'd consider both of those lengths to be pretty good for general XC riding. I think 100mm is okay too, but didn't ride it that long - it was too long for my body, and started to hurt.

    This calculator isn't the easiest to use, but will give you an idea of what happens when you change angles - executive summary is that if you make a big angle change, like from +/- 6 degrees to +/- 10 or 15, you probably don't want to go to a shorter stem until you see what it does to the bike in the same length. This is going to take you some experimentation, so I recommend buying cheap stems - new bike takeoffs, used ones, the Nashbar one, or Dimension at your LBS if you're in a hurry. Wait until you figure it out to get the $200 carbon fiber wonder stem.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    If you have all the spacers below the stem than no. You may be able to raise it a bit but no higher than with the top of steerer just past the top bolt on the side of the stem.
    No opoligy necessary, there's a first time for everything.
    Last edited by theMeat; 07-25-2011 at 09:53 PM.
    the strongest trees grow on the windiest plains... ~Tone's

  10. #10
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    My bike is the same model as the first picture, but mine is XXL. I wish I had my camera cable to give you a exact reference with me sitting on the bike, but my dog chewed it up.

  11. #11
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    ...
    the strongest trees grow on the windiest plains... ~Tone's

  12. #12
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    Cell phone pic, and e-mail it to yourself?

    I've always found making a flat bar bike comfortable for road riding to be a little problematic. Bar ends can help. If it's a too much reach problem, they won't help much. For me, it's just weird to have my arms rotated that way if I'm riding in a static position. I'm tempted by dirt drops, but not enough to try them on my 'A' bike, and spend the money involved in making them work.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    After mounting my bike, I think tilting the saddle downward might help. I feel more comfortable in a more upright position because my saddle is parallel to floor.

    But before I adjust anything, tilting it downward put more pressure on my arms, right? But the problem might be im leaning too forward, and the saddle is keeping my hips/butt in a parralell position, causing my body to "crunch" more...does this make sense in solving my problem with trap/neck fatigue?


    no cell phone. sorry. I commute to work now because im broke and owe money. Reason why I bought this bike was because it seemed cheap for its value and durability. I figured it would last me forever. Anyways, now I save 15$ on gas per day riding to work 20 mi each way. Its awesome! Haven't had to use my car in 2 weeks.

  14. #14
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    Whoops.
    Last edited by AndrwSwitch; 07-25-2011 at 10:04 PM.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianm1188 View Post
    After mounting my bike, I think tilting the saddle downward might help. I feel more comfortable in a more upright position because my saddle is parallel to floor.

    But before I adjust anything, tilting it downward put more pressure on my arms, right? But the problem might be im leaning too forward, and the saddle is keeping my hips/butt in a parralell position, causing my body to "crunch" more...does this make sense in solving my problem with trap/neck fatigue?
    For me, the saddle is a sort-of independent issue - I find the height and fore/aft position that are comfortable and efficient for pedaling and then the tilt that doesn't cause me to slide forward and get a turbo wedgie, but also isn't up in my junk.

    A lot of people press against their handlebars more if they tilt the nose of the saddle downward because they're resisting the saddle's attempt to wedgie them.

    However, saddle adjustment is the ultimate "your mileage may vary" part of the bike. So if you think it might help, experiment.

    I've had most of my setups fairly static long enough that if I decide to change something, I always photograph the original setup so I can go back. Maybe not effective if the screen on your camera's not that big, but you can still take notes, if you can find some usable reference points.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Yes Andrew sorry, I deleted that post because i realized my mis understanding.
    OP, you should start with the saddle height as your first fit adjustment. Once you get that, adjust everything else. Everyone likes their bike set up the way they like it but you might wanna check out a bike fit calculator website to get you started. I, and I believe most mtbers, like the saddle at a hight were your knees are slightly bent for most types of riding, and the tilt like Andrew said.
    the strongest trees grow on the windiest plains... ~Tone's

  17. #17
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    If the saddle trick doesnt help, i deffinetely think a higher degree angle stem is the best choice, maybe even a bit shorter too. Unless going shorter AND higher is a bad thing?

    Like i said, I feel comfortable cruising if I just hold the handlebars, on top of my grips, using the middle part of my fingers. But soon as I grip the grips with my palms to be able to have reachable access to the brake levers, my comfort drops.

    My saddle height is perfect, I believe. I use the Heels on pedal, legs almost completely straight with pedal (@ lowest point in rotation) aligned with the frame. Then I checked with the ball of my foot on the pedal and my legs were slightly bent, which feels perfect for me, being a push-push pedal-er.


    You two have been great. I appreciate the time you've both put into helping a noob find his sweet spot. Thank you very much.

  18. #18
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    Small stem adjustments can feel pretty big, which is why I think people are usually better off changing one thing at a time, and by a small increment.

    You're not the first person to go through this - if you have friends who ride, they may have some stems kicking around for you to try.

    Being broke sucks. I'm promising myself a road frame that fits me better if I can dig myself out of my hole this summer. I'm doing a regular job for the first time in ages, so I may yet get that frame before I'm back in student loan mode.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  19. #19
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    Nope shorter and taller is not a bad thing. Both or either will put you more upright, but both or either will also qiucken your steering. Core strength has a lot to do with how far down you can comfortably lean too. I don't know if I mentioned it ,lol,but if you make your arms longer, or bars with more rise so you'll have a little adjustment. Just sayin'
    the strongest trees grow on the windiest plains... ~Tone's

  20. #20
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    Is there a website that shows the correct ergonomic position of a rider on a mountain bike for road riding?


    I don't know if I mentioned it but if you make your arms longer, or bars with more rise so you'll have a little adjustment. Just sayin
    confused what this means...could you rewrite that?




    What do you do to exercise your core? besides crunches/situps? I'm pretty fit, I do planches (planks) everyday, stomachs pretty solid. I'm light weight for my size 6'4" 185lbs, 10% bodyfat.

  21. #21
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    Honestly I haven't run into one yet. But this article has a really good written description of good cycling posture in general. Road and XC riding posture really still fit into his description - the range of acceptable postures is fairly big, fairly individual, and fairly tunable.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/pain.html
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianm1188 View Post

    How do you raise a handle bar on this system? And why would GT make a XXL bike without a adjustable handlebar? I'm 6'4, bike frame is 23".
    Not to be rude, not GTs fault you bought the wrong bike. Mountain bikes don't come with adjustable stems.


    Keep in mind forks have a maximum spacer amount that can be under the stem. So just don't swap the spacers to the bottom without knowing that maximum you can have there.

    Your best bet is either one or both- Riser Stem/Riser Bars.

    Found this, I think it may be you need since you're just commuting on the road
    http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?Item=100025003
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  23. #23
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    FWIW, OP, I don't think you bought the wrong size. Or, only by one size if you did - it should be within the range that you can get both acceptable fit and acceptable handling.

    When I'm being good about it, in the morning I do 20 ordinary crunches, 20 to each side (as in, I let my knees and pelvis flop over to one side,) 20 double crunches - the ones where you lift your hips - and 20 back extensions. If I've been being consistent about it for a while, of course, the numbers go up. It only takes a few minutes and I don't even get out of bed to do it. It's funny that it can be so hard to be good about something as easy as that.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  24. #24
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    Sliding the saddle back a bit can help take some weight off your arms. It moves your centre of gravity back relative to your feet. Then your legs can more easily take up the weight as you lean forward, instead of your arms.

    Maybe also just think about relaxing your upper body as you ride. If you have too much weight on your arms, I would expect sore hands or fatigued arms. But if your neck/traps are giving you trouble, maybe you are just hunching up your shoulders.

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