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.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    35

    Stem length question

    Hi all, I've been riding my bike everywhere I can and except for a tyre upgrade is stock. I must have an odd body shape long legs and arms short torso, my problem is even with the seat moved forward I still find myself sitting on the front of the seat. After a bit of reading I am thinking a shorter stem may help my riding position ie get my ass on the seat properly. My current stem is 90mm thinking maybe a 70mm may help. Any advice?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    133
    go straight for a 50mm. ask your LBS if they have any old ones you could try.

  3. #3
    Unpredictable
    Reputation: Ridnparadise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,914
    It is possible the toptube on your bike is just going to be too long for you regardless of stem changes and it is also possible you are running your seatpost too high or bars too low and need to have that checked by someone skilled in bike fitting. However, shortening the stem should bring the bars back toward you.

    I was cautioned about going from 100mm to 70mm, but it was a great move. I did not get wider bars. In your case though it is worth looking at wider bars because they will open your chest and make you feel like you are reaching less far.

    To put this in perspective: I started with 100mm stem on 680mm bars and then went to 70mm on the same bars. Now I am using a 60mm stem with 800mm bars on basically the same bike. It's for rough XC and AM, not freeride or DH.

    Yes a shorter stem should help, but maybe you will need wider bars to make a more complete package.

  4. #4
    Rogue Exterminator
    Reputation: kjlued's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,877
    Or 40mm

    There can be a little trial and error involved and stems can range in price a good bit.
    I noticed my bike was nosing down and it had a 120mm I went with a 40mm Truvativ Hussefelt. Solved the problem. They are inexpensive compared to other stems and can be bought for about $30 shipped. A little heavier than others but if you want weight then look at the Truvativ Holzfeller for twice the price.

    I would rather the stem be a little short than too long.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    35
    Thanks all, Yeah I was thinking of keeping my bars they are a 680mm flatbar. That's a good idea I will check with LBS re old stems. Ridnparadise it's not like I feel over stretched I just find I have to keep repositioning my backside on the seat after a while. It feels like I am sitting on the front 2/3rds of the seat. I will check out the seat height and bar height with my LBS hopefully they can advise.

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    14,322
    Do you feel like you're being pulled forward by your bars? Can you do wheel lifts and manuals?

    Some people just like their saddles pretty far forward. There are zero setback seat posts to address that too.

    A different stem is certainly worth a try. Get one from Nashbar for $15 - makes it a cheap experiment. For me, 10 mm is a lot. So in your shoes I wouldn't go shorter than 70 to begin with. Bear in mind that this is also going to effect the weight distribution of the whole bike/rider system, so you may have a little more trouble keeping the front wheel tracking nicely on technical climbs. I don't know if that matters for how you like to ride.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
    I'd rather be on my bike
    Reputation: TenSpeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    1,609
    Be sure to check if your saddle is level or not. Any chance you can post a picture of the bike taken from the side? If it is off, even just a little, you will feel like you are sliding forward.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.
    2014 miles - 3053/2500

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Wisconsinite762's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    82
    Found this when I was looking for a new stem, thought it might be helpful.

    Stem Comparison Tool | yojimg.net

    I went from a 105mm long 10 degree stem to a 30 degree and 80mm long stem.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 53119's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,996
    best way to fit the stem is to ride your comfortable fast pace off the saddle. any speed gains and technique for the trail from soil, grade & features will have you up and moving dynamically on the bike. that's when handling is critical. then you can also figure out stem & handlebar height/rise/sweep preference from that standing position.

    the shorter stem should address your torso and getting wider bars should address your arms. more responsive steering balanced out by the leverage and control of the wider bar=win! i'm with kjuled on this one. 40/50 w/750s to start.

    climbing? who cares?! hehe. move forward or check your suspension settings for your trail. that's when lo spd compression can help. if it's steep and smooth you gotta move forward and down. if it's tech or close to trials you need the shorter stem to pull easier anyway.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    35
    More great advice I love this forum! My LBS gave me a 70mm to try have fitted it with the standard bars and gone for a quick lap around the yard, will get on the trails this weekend and try it.
    I find when I am climbing out of the saddle I often have to shift my weight rearwards to stop wheel spin so lifting the front has not really been a problem. I am eyeing off the wide bars on my sons Scott, wander if he would notice them missing...

  11. #11
    Unpredictable
    Reputation: Ridnparadise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,914
    It's fun making these changes. They are not cheap, but so valuable compared to buying a new drivetrain or a different size bike.....

    Tasnoob, I know that wandering arse on the saddle feeling. It messes with your riding shorts. Every time you shift back, your shorts don't. I solved it by going back to an old saddle with a felt-like surface. If you have a dropper post, better grip on the saddle is desirable. Shorts wrapped around the nose of the saddle and your jatz does not contribute to fond riding memories. It may be a slippery saddle rather than a long toptube is an issue.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    35
    Just went and checked the seat level as suggested by Tenspeed looked ok but I rolled the front up a little, then rode a couple of laps of the house. with the shorter stem and altered seat did seem that I was sitting on the whole seat, and it felt pretty good can't wait to hit the trails.
    I agree Ridnparadise love making changes and seeing what happens even better when it is noticeably better.

  13. #13
    I'd rather be on my bike
    Reputation: TenSpeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    1,609
    I hope that you can get it set up for how you need it. Not everyone needs a perfectly level saddle as everyones body is different. You may need to angle it back ever so slightly vs someone that needs to tip it slightly forward. Post back with your post ride results.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.
    2014 miles - 3053/2500

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 53119's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,996
    check your shock/fork & tire pressure setups it has a huge effect on your ergos. can't rely only on your new ergos with determining proper grip if you don't set up your suspension/tires properly

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    35
    Quote Originally Posted by 53119 View Post
    check your shock/fork & tire pressure setups it has a huge effect on your ergos. can't rely only on your new ergos with determining proper grip if you don't set up your suspension/tires properly
    Can't really do much with my front fork as it's a Suntour xcm only preload is adjustable, have checked the sag. I set my tyre pressures depending on where I ride but I never run anymore then 30psi,but usually lower and I am running maxxis High roller II on the front and ardent race on rear. Awesome grip with this combo.

  16. #16
    I'd rather be on my bike
    Reputation: TenSpeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    1,609
    Have you tried leveling the seat out? It could also be too far forward or backwards. Try making those adjustments and seeing how it is after.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.
    2014 miles - 3053/2500

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    35
    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    Have you tried leveling the seat out? It could also be too far forward or backwards. Try making those adjustments and seeing how it is after.
    I had originally moved the seat forward on the rails to help but still found I had an issue. It's raining here tonight but I am going riding this weekend if it is the last thing I do.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    3,102
    changing your stem length is not going to affect where you butt naturally rests on the saddle. it will affect how far forward you bend at the waist and where your shoulders and elbows end up. in other words: stem and frame length affect the top half of your body.

    Likewise, saddle position should be based on where your knees bend as you go through your pedal stroke.

    if you have to slide your butt forward, and your saddle is at the correct height, it's because your frame is too long, or your seatpost is set too far back. changing a few mm on your stem is like adding padding to the inside of a sneaker that is three sizes too big. who fit you on this bike?

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    35
    Have been for a good hard trail ride today trialling the shorter stem and revised seat position. The stem made a noticeable difference to the steering, it always felt it was a bit lazy but the 70mm stem has sharpened it up considerably. Would love to try a 60mm stem and some wider bars around 700mm to start. Just as a side question I measured the bars on my ride they are supposed to be 680mm as listed on bike specs but I can only measure 660 at the widest regardless of how I measure them, Is this a usual thing for manufactures to do?
    Seat level seemed to be more the problem then stem length for my seat position I actually adjusted it back to the original position and all is good

Similar Threads

  1. Stem Length Question
    By sacstatemtbr in forum 29er Components
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 06-13-2013, 02:27 PM
  2. Lefty and Stem Length Question
    By beecrazy in forum Cannondale
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 04-04-2013, 07:35 PM
  3. philosophical question on stem length for SB-66
    By barcolounger in forum Yeti
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 03-18-2013, 08:05 PM
  4. Stem length question
    By MinskyBA in forum Ibis
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: 10-19-2012, 02:31 PM
  5. Stem length question...
    By xxbrittonxx in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 02-25-2011, 09:46 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •