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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Short stem, long frame vs. long stem, short frame

    Iím thinking I might upgrade my wifeís mountain bike. She is currently on an extra small with a stem length of 100mm. The bike Iím considering would be a menís small where Iíd have to run a stem of 60mm to get the same fit. For anybody who has done something similar, was the change to a shorter stem, longer frame a good move or not.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    I think that she's going to have to ride it to find out. Shortening the stem on a frame that was meant for something different can really change the geometry & handling characteristics. For instance, I did a similar kind of thing with my Klein hardtail a few years ago (went from a 110 to a 60) & it really lightened the front end. Not such a bad thing on some bikes, but if the front end is already pretty light?

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: smilinsteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    The trend these days is for shorter stems anyway for shifting the center of gravity back a bit. Don't forget to consider stand over clearance as well.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nakedbabytoes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    For MTB, I definately like smaller frames if I am inbetween. Road or fat or cargo, it can be a toss up depending on SO(cargo & fat) or bars(curls vs aero tris on road). But I usually don't ever regret smaller, I have regretted bigger though.
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  5. #5
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: mtbxplorer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    In so doing, I lost a little goat-like climbing ability, but gained on the downhill steeps.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    I have extremely long legs, but a short torso so I have to run short stems on all my bikes to get a proper fit and feel. On my road bike, a Specialized Ruby, I have an XL (57) frame and a 75mm stem, and also 38 bars since I have narrow shoulders and was having elbow pain with wider bars. On my mountain bike, Specialized Epic, I have a Medium frame and once again a 75mm stem as I couldn't reach the bars comfortably on the stock stem. I kept the bars at the same width. I felt like the bike handled a lot better once I could actually reach the bars comfortably (I rode about 50 miles on the longer stock stem).

    Sometimes you just have to play around with different things... also can depend on what you're doing. My road bike is a 57 but my cyclocross bike is a 54, for example. Two different disciplines and two different sizes.

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