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  1. #1
    what the quan?!
    Reputation: dangdang's Avatar
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    shorter stem for cx?!

    Coming from an MTB background, I am used to shorter type stems. I ride a size large in MTB's and my new SS cross build is a 58. I know length is all about personal preference and what not, but is anyone running a shorter (or even raised) stem and finding it to be more beneficial? Currently my stem is a bit over twice that of what my MTB is, 50 vs 110 on the cross.

    Ahh well, maybe I need to just get used to being hunched over more and stop being such a sissy.

    Any input would be great!

  2. #2
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    I know when I tried a 100 on my CX all of a sudden my knees were hitting the ends of the bars when standing to climb...had to go back to a 120...

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  3. #3
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    You can try raising the stem on top of the spacers or flipping it positive if it isn't already to help some initially with reach.

    Im adjusting to a CX bike as well and had to do this to get used to the seat being so much higher over the bars.

    Over time if you are inclined you can start changing the position to something more aggressive.

  4. #4
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    I like a larger frame to avoid toe overlap, so although I am 'sized' for a 54, I take a 56 and shorten the stem. I usually go from 100mm to ~80mm - the one drawback is that it tends to make the bike very twitchy in some situations.

    I'd not like to go lower than 80mm for safety reasons.
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  5. #5
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    What would those safety reasons be?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curler View Post
    What would those safety reasons be?
    The possibility of me falling off, which is generally my primary safety concern.

    I tried less than a 80mm stem (a 50mm), and coming out of ruts and/or rough ground at speed, the steering was just too quick and twitchy for me to feel safe.
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  7. #7
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    I like quick handling and went to a 70mm stem but put on the widest bars I could find, 46cm, to compensate eventhough my shoulder width would traditionally dictate a narrower width. I would put on an even wider bar if someone made it. This gives me good handling on the single track even on rocky descents.

  8. #8
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    I initially used a 100mm stem on my cross bike then dropped back to 60mm version and liked the change. Helped with slow speed steering on the trails. I find my knees just clear the bars now, but it is enough. I run a 56cm frame and am right at 6' tall.

  9. #9
    jrm
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    I use a stem long enough so that my hand position on the brake hoods is over or just behind the axle of the front wheel. I ride a 55cm frame using a 105x7 stem with a cowbell 2. The additional rise retains my reach while raising the bar a bit.
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  10. #10
    Kilted Cyclist
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    My geared Curx has a 90mm and my Bianchi San Jose has a 80mm because I use 44cm Salsa Woodchipper.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc2211 View Post
    The possibility of me falling off, which is generally my primary safety concern.

    I tried less than a 80mm stem (a 50mm), and coming out of ruts and/or rough ground at speed, the steering was just too quick and twitchy for me to feel safe.
    Try the 50mm again, only raise it up. I am taking a wild guess that the stem is set up pretty low. That short stem should allow you to slide back over the rear pretty easy to make rolling through those tough sections easier.

  12. #12
    what the quan?!
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    Had to wait a week for it to come in, but I swapped out my 110mm/0-degree rise for a 90mm/10-degree rise and it seems to have made quite a difference. At almost an inch shorter, it surely feels better sitting at a slightly more upright position and no so hunched. It definitely turns with much more ease out of sharp turns and it feels a tad easier to bunny hop logs etc... I was worried about the bars after SlowPoke mentioned being too close to knees, but luckily they've got plenty of clearance. Whew!

  13. #13
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    Shorter stem for me vs my road position plus plenty of saddle layback means I can get my butt over the rear-wheel for traction in mud and sand. I ride a fair bit of singletrack and technical trails and like to keep my weight back over the steep stuff to stop me getting pitched forward over the bars.

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