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  1. #1
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    Scalpel carbon - thinking of shorter stem, looking for feedback

    I got a discounted Scalpel Carbon 1 on discount a month and a half ago. I love the bike, but am wondering whether shortening the stem a bit would be beneficial for me. I have long legs and a short torso. I am on a size large and it feels OK but probably a bit longer reach than I really need. It has the stock 110mm new-style OPI stem. Sometimes I feel like steering initiation is a bit slow and I feel like I it resists input for sweeping banked switchbacks. My prior bike was more of a trail bike with 750mm bars and a 75 mm stem, so the 700mm bars and 110mm stem feels a little odd to me now.

    I was thinking of shortening the stem to 100mm or even 90mm, still with the -15deg drop. Problem is, that is an expensive experiment and my shop doesn't have them to just try out. For now, I was planning on leaving the bars as they are, but I could certainly change those to 120-140mm if needed to compensate for the shorter stem. Has anyone changed to either (or both) of those lengths? Can you provide feedback as to how much it changed the handling of the bike, for better or worse? Would 110mm to 100mm even be noticeable, or should I just go to 90mm? From a fit standpoint, I'm pretty sure that either of those would be reasonable, but again that is hard to figure out for sure without trying them out.

    Feedback appreciated.

  2. #2
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    If you feel that the top tube feels a little long , that would be the best place to start.

    I'm 6.0 with a 32" inseam and 110mm feels perfect but my last 3 bikes were all L cannondales with 110mm stems.

    So yes....I would do the 90 to give you that familiar feel back and give you a better fit.

  3. #3
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    Re: Scalpel carbon - thinking of shorter stem, looking for feedback

    I guess I'm torn between the 100 and 90 - I wasn't sure if the 90 would be TOO skittish, but then worried that 100 wouldn't be a noticeable difference.

    Here is where a standard stem that is easy to swap and a cheap one can be thrown on as a trial is a big advantage over the opi design.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk 2

  4. #4
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    Every self respecting mountain biker should have a drawer full of old stems from all the fiddling around with fit over the years.


    Seriously, don't stress about 90 vs 100. Put your thumb and index finger 1 cm apart. That's what you are stressing about.

    How far back is your saddle on the seatpost? You can experiment by moving your seat forward to see how you like the shorter reach.

    How tall are you?

  5. #5
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    Re: Scalpel carbon - thinking of shorter stem, looking for feedback

    Yeah, unfortunately none of those stems I have work on the Scalpel lefty!

    I'm 5'10", but long legs. My brother is 6', but if we swap bikes we only need to adjust our seats by half an inch. I'm therefore relatively short in the torso.

    Because of my relatively long legs, my saddle is pretty centered in the lay back stock seat post. My previous bike was a RIP RDO trail bike - the saddle was 2/3 back on that bike's straight post.

    Based on measuring the 2 bikes' cockpits, I would be fine with a 90mm stem in the Scalpel in terms of fit. Since nobody has posted to stay away from that short of a length on the Scalpel, I'll give the 90 a try. That way I'll get to try out both extremes.

    Thanks

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk 2

  6. #6
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    5'10" on a large frame with a short torso, I would guess 90 would work fine, maybe even shorter. Shorter stems are this years fashion trend anyway.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    5'10" on a large frame with a short torso, I would guess 90 would work fine, maybe even shorter. Shorter stems are this years fashion trend anyway.
    OH...then I need to do that to lol just kidding

  8. #8
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    " 5'10" on a large frame with a short torso, I would guess 90 would work fine, maybe even shorter. Shorter stems are this years fashion trend anyway. "


    you can't fit shorter stem than 90 mm on lefty , especially if you go - drop .
    Last edited by Zagi; 12-01-2013 at 07:13 AM. Reason: edit text

  9. #9
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    Re: Scalpel carbon - thinking of shorter stem, looking for feedback

    Thanks for all the replies. Turns out my shop had a used 90mm they could lend me for a trial. It is a -5 deg stem instead of the stock -15 degree stem. I had 3 spacers with the stock stem and calculated that putting the 90mm stem on without any spacers would result in the same bar height as before, but 2cm closer of course.
    I rode today with the 90mm stem on the same trails I'm very familiar with and had ridden already twice this week. This ride has somewhat rocky sections, fast contour line singletrack, a swooping, bermed descent with some jumps, and several punchy, steep (15-20 percent) climbs. I MUCH preferred the handling with the shorter stem. Turn-in was more immediate, but still not twitchy. It was easier to maintain and adjust any line throughout the high-speed or off-camber turns. Rutted and rocky sections still felt controlled and precise. I also found the bike more neutral in jumps. The bike also still tracked well climbing.
    I'm sticking with the 90 mm stem for sure. My only decision now is whether to stick with the -5 degree version and keep it slammed or get the -15 degree version and put spacers. The latter option will give me the option of lowering it further if I find the need, but means I'm running needless spacers if I leave it as is. I have about a 1-1.5 cm drop as it currently sits.

    Suggestions? What changes in handing should I expect if I lower the bars 5-10mm?



    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk 2

  10. #10
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    Lowering 5-10 mm won't have any noticeable effect on handling but will give your cockpit a different feel.....slightly shifting some weight forward and perhaps lowering your center of gravity.

    I would ride a few times with your current set-up and see if it feels like home.

  11. #11
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    It's good that you changed the stem without changing bar width etc. It will make the next step easier. If your main intention is to climb fast (sounds like it may not be) then low bars may help, but it makes little sense to ride butt up, neck and back stressed if you can do it efficiently with wider bars set at a more neutral rise.

    Although my bike is different, I reduced from 100 to 70mm stem and it makes all riding easier, although a little cramped in some situations. The main issue is tight climbing and I would guess having lower bars would only make that worse.

  12. #12
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    Re: Scalpel carbon - thinking of shorter stem, looking for feedback

    I guess specifying my main intent would have been helpful. I'm a strong climber and don't want to compromise that, but what I'm trying to improve is confidence and handling while turning. In particular, high-speed semi-bermed switchbacks and sweeping turns or s-turns in fast singletrack. These are situations where I feel like my front end may wash out if I don't hit them perfectly while at race pace. I realize that it is all technique dependant, and I'm working in it and steadily improving my descent times. Any tweak I can make on the bike that will help is a bonus. Of course, I don't want to get so front-heavy that I start feeling like I'm going to go over the handlebars when it gets steeper or rockier or on a trail that has a lot of "whoops" within a fast descent.

    The trails are about to get covered with snow tomorrow, so I may not be able to test the stem position again for real until spring. I wish I could test a -15 deg 90mm stem as a comparison, but my shop doesn't have one.

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  13. #13
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    BTW. Have you seen this ?
    Cannondale Stem OPI 31.8 -15 Deg. - CannondaleExperts.com

    Don't know if this any help, perhaps the height of the comparison.

  14. #14
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    Re: Scalpel carbon - thinking of shorter stem, looking for feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by xluossa View Post
    BTW. Have you seen this ?
    Cannondale Stem OPI 31.8 -15 Deg. - CannondaleExperts.com

    Don't know if this any help, perhaps the height of the comparison.
    Yes, I had seen that. Thank you. I had also done some trigonometry to calculate that bar height...

    My shop sold me the demo stem at a discount since it was only the stem without face plate or bottom steertube. So I've decided to stick with the 90mm -5 deg stem which puts my bars about 1 cm below my saddle when there are no spacers in the stem.



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  15. #15
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    I'm 6-1 on a Large and swapped the 110mm/-15Deg OPI stem for a 100mm/-5Deg OPI stem, plus added a 20mm riser bar to get the handlebars up to dead-level flat with the top of my seat. I now have 31" from BB centerline to top of saddle and 23-1/2" from saddle tip to centerline of handlebar, and the bike fits me a lot better than when new. I would think 90mm -5Deg angle, depending on your leg length would work fine, but of course fit is very personal. You might also work better on a zero-offset seat post, and riser bars are an easy swap, too.

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