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  1. #1
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    Stumpy -- reducing stem length?

    my 2011 stumpy fsr elite is stock with 90 mm stem (Specialized XC, 3D forged alloy, 4-bolt, 31.8mm clamp, adjustable rise). i've been wondering if i'd be able to get more control for manuals, etc if i reduced the stem length, maybe to 70-75 mm. has anyone done that? what's been the positives and negatives? would it really compromise hill climbs (which i love to conquer)? with a head tube angle of 68.5 degrees, i recognize a shorter stem could/should lead to some trouble in hill climbs, but curious what has been other's experiences. i'm 5'11" if that matters, and with the 90 mm stem i can take most hills seated if i want to, but past a certain incline i'm either partially seated or fully standing. would a shorter stem materially change this to be fully standing 'most' of the time on hills?

    appreciate any feedback.

  2. #2
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    I rode a large Epic (105 mm stock stem) for about a year, and then swapped in a 40 mm stem to see for myself what would change about position, comfort, handling, after reading a bunch about it. It was not a world-changing event. The front end lightens up while climbing, definitely, but this was sometimes nice for placing the wheel where I wanted it on the trail. You can compensate for a shorter stem with your upper body, like getting your chest low when seated climbing. I bumped a shifter pod once or twice with my knee while standing.
    Descending, it was nice to get a little farther behind the front wheel.

    All of this is just to say stem length is not as strictly policed by would-be biomechanics or cycling coaches like some other fit stuff is. It's all about what works for you, which you'll only find out if you try different things. Borrow a 70 mm and a 50 mm and compare them to your 90 mm. Then you'll know.

    BTW the epic ended up w/ a cheap 65 mm stem after the 40 went to my other bike and I'm perfectly happy with it. Bikes with XC roots (like your stumpjumper) seem to still have pretty long top tubes, which a short stem compliments well.

  3. #3
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    much appreciated, and plan on doing exactly that (testing 50-70 mm stems). does it matter if the stem is a Specialized product or can any manufacturer's stem work just as well in terms of fit/strength/etc.?

  4. #4
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    Any stem will work. It just needs to be sized for a 1 1/8" steerer tube and a 31.8mm diameter handlebar.

  5. #5
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    I use a 90mm Ritchey WCS stem. I really like how it holds the handlebars. You have to slide the handlebars into the stem and then put the front piece of the stem on.

    But back to changing the length. Is your fit ok on the bike? If you move the stem back how does that affect your position? Can you slide the saddle back but that's going to affect your pedal position. Just small things to think about that might affect your performance other than just the handling. The other option would be to decrease the travel by 10mm or so.

  6. #6
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    I am using a 75 mm / +8 degrees on my 2011 SJ FSR Pro. Started with a 100mm ( off 08 FSR Comp) when I built up the bike, but far too long. Dropped to 90, then 75. Feels solid now both climbing and descending. May swap for a Thomson 70mm / 0 Degree at some point, but pretty happy for now.

    Bike handles far better with the shorter stem... frame is a Medium.

  7. #7
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    I also reduced my stem length from 90mm (stock) to 75mm. I haven't ridden much with the change, but 90mm was a bit too long for the angle that I like having my stem at (-8). Frame is a 17.5 (medium).

  8. #8
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    From what I've experienced when going to a shorter stem (90mm to 75mm), it makes the steering quicker. It made my bike react too quickly at first, but you get used to it after a while.

    '14 Epic Expert World Cup
    '14 Niner RLT9 105 (ordered)
    '13 R3 Ultegra, Enve 3.4 w/CK R45

  9. #9
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    bars need to be wider or just get used to what i have?

    i've changed to 60 mm (+10 degrees) stem and love the extra control, but am starting to feel too much twitchiness and having trouble with technical sections that i didn't have before (with prior stock 90 mm stem) and some steep hill climbs that i didn't have before. my bars are still stock at 680 mm (27"). as a reminder, i'm 5"11" on a large 2011 spec stumpy fsr elite fwiw.

    i've done the push up test and find that i'm most comfortable with 33" width between hands. i also measured what's most comfortable for me doing hanging chin ups (mimics pulling handlebars inward towards the body as in mountain biking so could be more relevant than the pushing movement in pushups) and it's 29" width between hands. so, the question is what should i be aiming to do?
    1) adjust to the 27" bars i currently have?
    2) try new bars with 29" width (735-740 mm)?
    3) try new bars with 28" width (720 mm)?

    appreciate any feedback from those that have the same circumstances (bike, size of bike, stem size, height).

  10. #10
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    Going from a 90mm to a 60mm stem is a big change. Small adjustments to stem length have a noticeable effect. A shorter stem is fashionable but not necessarily the best option for handling. I'd try a stem length somewhere in between the two before swapping the bars. 75mm or 80mm perhaps.

  11. #11
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    ... and if we just ... Same situation

    Hello

    Did you change it already?
    i have a SJ FSR 2011 as well and i have the exact same question

    regards

  12. #12
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    i'll be checking out wider handlebar length this weekend so can't provide any feedback of my own for at least one week or so. hope others in same situation that have made the change already can share some insights/experiences.

  13. #13
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    Posted above as well regarding stems...

    I also swapped out the handle bars recently and was another nice upgrade. Went from 630mm FSA K- Force Carbon bars to 710mm Truvativ AKA riser bars. All specs were almost the same except the width(and Carbon vs Alum). Much better leverage and control... Very happy with change. Need to watch the trees on the narrow sections at first though!

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