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  1. #1
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    Stem length question

    Hi all. I recently picked up a size large Salsa timberjack. The stock stem it came with seems pretty long at 70mm. I'd like to try something 35-50mm. I realize stem length is a personal preference thing but I am hoping to get some other opinions and experiences. Unfourtunately I don't have a way to borrow or rent any different stems so I'll have to buy to experiment. I come from a BMX background and this is my first MTB. I'm hoping to make the bike more playful for jumps, drops etc. Thanks in advance for any help.
    Last edited by Rally718; 06-12-2018 at 04:28 AM.

  2. #2
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    Some prefer to look down at the front axle and have the bars directly in the line of sight towards the axle.

    Your LBS has a bucket full of stems.
    Borrow a super short one and maybe a 30 or 40ish one...

    Go climb something steep with the 70mm stem a few times seated and a few times standing. Does your front wheel want to lift too easily?

    Pay attention to how things feel during the climb with the other stems too.

    In some applications a super short stem can destroy climbing potential.

    70mm is not bad per say.
    The 70mm stem could be your favorite.

  3. #3
    All fat, all the time.
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    I've never wanted to make a bike more poopy

  4. #4
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    Non-profit/Co-op bike shops are a great source as well for cheap stems.

    The shop (retail/mega store) I worked at, contrary to popular belief, we did not have a bucket of stems to loan out (much to my dismay). But when I was manager of the non-profit shop here in Boulder, I rarely sold a used stem for more than $5..
    Deflated - buy parts to sell parts to buy more parts.. bikes are my drug of choice

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  5. #5
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    Stem length is a byproduct of your reach, handlebar position and the geometry of the bike, to an extent. For reference, the Timberjack is very similar in geometry to my '18 Verhauen. The reach is a little different, and I'd fall in between a Small and Medium Timberjack. I'm running a 90mm stem on the Verhauen and would probably run a 100mm stem on the Medium Timberjack. I come from a XC background, though, and still find that kind of fit comfortable, even when bikepacking.

  6. #6
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    I'd go to a 50-60mm stem. I had a 70 on my Marin Pine mountain and it felt like too much weight was over the front. I've got a 50 and 60 on my Surly Instigator and Wednesday respectively and they feel better although I also go wider bars the shorter them stem to make up the difference. All the bikes mentioned are very similar in geo to the Timberjack.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    I've never wanted to make a bike more poopy
    Autocorrect bites me again... haha

  8. #8
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    I appreciate all of the replies. I don't have many local shops to me and none have much of a selection of new stems, definitely not a bucket of used stuff to try unfortunately.

  9. #9
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    Measure how far your knees are from the bar when they are closest and estimate what is shorter but not too short. With stems shorter is almost always better until you are too cramped. I currently use 30 and 35mm stems and won't get a frame that needs more than 40mm to get a good fit. Stem obscuring the hub is an old wives tale, just like you need a long stem to climb.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  10. #10
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    OP asks how to make his bike more fun for jumps and drops...only replies are with regards to climbing and XC.


    Oh, gotta love the forums.

  11. #11
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    Bike shops have buckets full of “long stems”... rarely will you find a short stem that is used. These days, few shops carry short stems new; they will gladly order one for you

    Just order some inexpensive stems from Jensen in a size run: 40, 50, 60. Try one for a few rides and see what you think.

    Dropping 20mm is a lot, I’d start with a 60mm and go from there.

    Long stems are not inherently evil, not long ago a 70mm stem was considered short. There is such a thing as having a stem that is too short.

    I have a 60mm on my medium Wozo; anything shorter and the front end was too light and lifted when climbing steeps. I have a 40mm on my large Full Stache and it feels just right.

    The distance from the bars to the nose of the saddle is the same on both bikes, go figure

    A short stem is not going to make your bike more “playful”; honestly, I’m not even sure that terms makes sense. In my mind, a bike is playful when it has short chainstays, lightweight, long and low geo... really it’s all about geo. What comes to mind is pigs and lipstick

    Anyways, tightening up the cockpit will change the fit, which could be good or bad, it kinda depends on you and your riding.

    Other things to consider: weight, bar width, bar height, dropper?, gearing, tire size, flats vs clipless, etc...

    Are you running the drops all the way forward now?

    When it’s all said and done, you could slide your seat forward for free and simulate a tighter cockpit... it’s not the same, but it’s a point of reference.

    Yes, how tall are you? The large Timberjack has a fairly modest reach (458mm), so a longer stem might make sense. My large Full Stache has a 484mm reach. I’m 6’ with longish arms.
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  12. #12
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    I started out on my bike with the stock 70 mm stem and It felt like a perfect fit.

    Moved to a 60mm stem and It was way better, so I tried a 50mm stem, hated that...
    My point, small changes are best.

    This thing Is fun to play with :

    Stem Comparison Tool | yojimg.net
    “I seek only the Flow”,
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    Shut Up Legs :P

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osco View Post
    I started out on my bike with the stock 70 mm stem and It felt like a perfect fit.

    Moved to a 60mm stem and It was way better, so I tried a 50mm stem, hated that...
    My point, small changes are best.

    This thing Is fun to play with :

    Stem Comparison Tool | yojimg.net
    That is cool. This one is pretty useful too. Stack and reach calculator

  14. #14
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    Those comparison tools are very helpful. Thanks!

  15. #15
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    Just a quick update. I found a good deal on a 45mm Race Face stem. So far I'm a fan. The response and steering are definitely improved for me. Thanks again for the help everyone!

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