OK weirdos, help me fit a pair of dirt drops...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    OK weirdos, help me fit a pair of dirt drops...

    I am currently running a Nashbar oversize road bar on my Access commuter, which are great for gravel and paved roads. I spend 85% of my time on the hoods, breaking with one finger thanks to the BB7's. This is the go-to position and it is very comfy on these bars. I use the drops as a get-out-of-the-wind option primarily, other than that I don't really hang out down there for any length of time.

    I have recently discovered a couple miles of really cool singletrack that I can use as a commute route option, and I'm not finding the standard road bars to be super singletrack-friendly. It's very do-able, but it's not the zen thing that some of you claim to have achieved.

    I have looked and read a lot, and I think I'm down to the standard options: midge or woodchipper. You'll notice that I'm using bar-end shifters, so I'm a little worried about how far away the woodchipper would put the shifters. Not that they're super close when I'm riding on the hoods...

    My knowledge does not extend into the stem deparment. I'm using a short DH stem to get the top of my current bar in the right spot, but I know I'll need a weird looking riser stem to get the drops in the right position on either one of these bars... what do I want? Where do I start?

    It's the one on the left...

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  2. #2
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    Neat setup, I like how the access really looks like a road frame, but with big tires.

    You want your handlebars to be in a location so that the neutral position for your hands will be in the hooks of the bars... Which means in your case, you'll want some offroad drop bars, and a stem that will reduce the reach, and raise the bars up.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    Thanks...I have seen those threads, but I'm looking for more specific info on stem angle and length. What stem is that ^^^ and how long is it???

    Thanks again guys.
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  5. #5
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    These are questions we can't answer for you. Stem length and angle are all entirely dependent on your own fit. Order the bars, hold them about where you'd like them, figure out what size stem will put them there.

  6. #6
    AZ
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    /\ This , try to borrow an adjustable stem to put the bars where you want them , duplicate in new stem .

  7. #7
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    I know what kind of fit I want...I don't want to duplicate something, but I need to see some pictures and know that I'm looking at a 25* stem that is 110mm long, or a 30* stem that is 80mm long, etc... I don't know what I'm looking at with these weird stems. Can anyone post a pic and tell me what the stem measurements are, so I can get an idea of where to start guessing?
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  8. #8
    AZ
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    Ok .............

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I know what kind of fit I want...I don't want to duplicate something, but I need to see some pictures and know that I'm looking at a 25* stem that is 110mm long, or a 30* stem that is 80mm long, etc... I don't know what I'm looking at with these weird stems. Can anyone post a pic and tell me what the stem measurements are, so I can get an idea of where to start guessing?
    I wish I could help. I've read the responses to yours, and quite a few other threads, and the 29er forum seems to be crabby today

    I do agree with AZ to an extent. Once you get your "insert name here" bar, pick a cheap adjustable stem from WalMart, figure out what position you like then return it

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I know what kind of fit I want...I don't want to duplicate something, but I need to see some pictures and know that I'm looking at a 25* stem that is 110mm long, or a 30* stem that is 80mm long, etc... I don't know what I'm looking at with these weird stems. Can anyone post a pic and tell me what the stem measurements are, so I can get an idea of where to start guessing?
    No, but you can.

    Take a piece of cardboard, put it beside the stem and mark the steer tube center and where you want the bar to be. Measure it and you and you have a "guess" as where to start.

    Reach to the bar end shifter: You can shorten the end of the handlebar.
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  11. #11
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    Since that green bike up there is mine.........I think the stem is a 40 degree x 100. It's been a while.

    More pics of the bike when it was set up like that:
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/_GmTxI2i6iVQ7thLvvrMAA?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.ggpht.com/_2W6rELw9q40/SRdmIwnqjPI/AAAAAAAAB-8/bjJB03mbPJs/s800/IMG_3975.JPG" /></a>

    Same setup - just on my KM
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/_G8AJCa6yz3eYxt0DfalXQ?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.ggpht.com/_2W6rELw9q40/SUWigknEvII/AAAAAAAACLI/LEUiFSv5DHU/s800/IMG_4138.JPG" /></a>
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  12. #12
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    Thanks for the tips ... hadn't considered the 'walmart rental' option, and shiggy's cardboard creation will help too. Shortening the bar ends is always an option. How much drop is there to each of these bars? Anyone have a major preference between the two?
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    Thanks for the tips ... hadn't considered the 'walmart rental' option, and shiggy's cardboard creation will help too. Shortening the bar ends is always an option. How much drop is there to each of these bars? Anyone have a major preference between the two?
    The Midge and Woodchipper both have much less drop and reach than a road dropbar. The specs for each are on the company sites.
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  14. #14
    Never mind.............
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    My problem is a little different...

    My problem is that all the different brand stems that I'm looking at for my build seem to be out of stock everywhere. Both IRD and Salsa list their 120mm risers as "out of stock" on their websites. Anybody have any other brand suggestions? I need something in the 120mm X 30-40 degree range in 25.4....I did see the Dimension stems but I know nothing about the quality of them...
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  15. #15
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    There are a few stem options at AE Bike (with measurements!).

    Dimension
    Profile Design
    Salsa

    My advice is to use as much up-angle as you can get. Length will be personal preference, but getting enough rise to use the drops on a traditional MTB frame will take a tall stem. At ~$20 for the first two options, get a few and try them out.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbikerjohn2003
    My problem is that all the different brand stems that I'm looking at for my build seem to be out of stock everywhere. Both IRD and Salsa list their 120mm risers as "out of stock" on their websites. Anybody have any other brand suggestions? I need something in the 120mm X 30-40 degree range in 25.4....I did see the Dimension stems but I know nothing about the quality of them...
    Dimension stems are fine
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    Dimension stems are fine

    Thanks Shiggy..I thought they looked pretty decent,but I didn't know anything about them. It seems both IRD & Salsa are out of stock for the time being. I'm not in a big hurry as I'm planning on converting my bike to drops after the weather turns crappy..Right now I'm gathering up my parts I need...Got my Woodchippers and brake levers..now I just need the stem and bar end shifters...
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  18. #18
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    The way you ride, you should go with neither.
    Both are designed for the hood to serve as primarily position.

    You may want to look at Salsa Bell. Maybe the new Luxry by Ragely.

  19. #19
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    The sh*tty little stem I have on my On-One was bought off FeeBay for, like, $20 to "try" drop bars. I've taken this bike everywhere on all kinds of terrain (including some pretty gnarly rocks going up AND down) - so far so good. It's a steep rise and pretty short (like 70mm).

    The On-One has a long top-tube, however. This stem with spacers puts me in a great position that is perfectly comfortable and places my hands right above the axle of the front wheel.


  20. #20
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    Here's my EMD set up similar to yours for commuting purposes. The bar is a Soma Fab Junebug (Yeah, it's a copy, but a good copy, is easier to find, and I could get it in 31.8 diam). The stem is a Kalloy Uno Upshot, 90mmx17 degrees and a big stack of spacers. I was using the bike purely as an uber-commuter, but for off road the bar height was too low. I would have gone for the 110mm x 35degree. That being said, the stem is well made, light and stiff and cheap (less than $20). My only criticism would be that it is painted, not anodized, and there was paint in the threads for the face plate bolts.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails OK weirdos, help me fit a pair of dirt drops...-img_0772.jpg  


  21. #21
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    If you wait misfit has a new drop called the Fme bar that can run mnt brakes on which will have the 25.4 clamp. He's racing the Breck and hasn't got the time to put them up on the site yet. The product Flikr shots are up. http://www.flickr.com/photos/2283843...7624711541530/

  22. #22
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    You could go to a bike shop that has a adjustable stem fitting gizmo, and figure out exactly what length/angle you want. The rest of us will just be e-guessing. :P

    Edit: something like this. I went to a bike fitting where the fitter had something like it, great stuff!
    http://bikefitkit.com/fit_kit/fit_stem.php
    Last edited by bobbotron; 08-25-2010 at 06:55 AM.

  23. #23
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    This thread is a great start for me...thanks.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    This thread is a great start for me...thanks.
    order one, or maybe two, of these.

    http://www.universalcycles.com/searc...djustable+stem
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Climber999
    The way you ride, you should go with neither.
    Both are designed for the hood to serve as primarily position.

    You may want to look at Salsa Bell. Maybe the new Luxry by Ragely.
    Do not know who/what you are replying to, but the Midge and Woodchipper are designed to be used in the drops off road, while keeping the hoods and tops useable for general cruising.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    Do not know who/what you are replying to, but the Midge and Woodchipper are designed to be used in the drops off road, while keeping the hoods and tops useable for general cruising.
    Sorry, I misplaced the word 'hoods' with 'drops'. It is exactly as you write.
    The OP wants to use the hoods as his primary position and I don't think the Midge or Woodchipper is optimal for that. I have the Midge and if I was looking to be more of the time at the hoods, I would not get it. It is a lovely bar; my favorite, so no criticism here.

  27. #27
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    Acutally I want to be in the drops on the new bar..I wasn't very clear about that in my original post. I want to try using a dirt drop like a dirt drop... what I have going now is a true road bar, and I use the hoods all the time because that's how I set it up height-wise. I don't use the drops because it doesn't feel right on the trail.
    I want a midge or a woodchipper, and I want it in the right position so that I can use the drops as intended in the design of the bar.

    I don't use the hoods because I like it, I use the hoods because it's set up as the go-to position currently. I'm a drop-bar poser, and I want to try being a full-on freak like you people.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I don't use the hoods because I like it, I use the hoods because it's set up as the go-to position currently.
    Dude, those drops are pretty low. On my CX bike, I have a shallow 130 drop with plenty of headset spacers and it is very comfortable on any MTB trail.

    Those drops you have on your 29'er, I wouldn't even use on a road bike unless you had arms like an orangutan.

  29. #29
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    A few things:

    1. I do have arms like an orangutan.
    2. I am limited with headset spacers due to a tall headtube and short steerer tube.
    3. They are a pretty deep drop...I would never have bought them for this bike, I just had them on hand. They work well for getting out of the wind but they are not comfortable for very long at all. I used a DH stem because it was the shortest thing I had length wise...but it doesn't have any rise. It got the hoods in a great spot, but the drops are pretty low.
    4. I'm thinking that I can start just by getting a big-rise stem and seeing where that puts the drops on these bars and seeing how manageable that is, then getting some real dirt drops and figuring it out from there.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    A few things:

    1. I do have arms like an orangutan.
    2. I am limited with headset spacers due to a tall headtube and short steerer tube.
    3. They are a pretty deep drop...I would never have bought them for this bike, I just had them on hand. They work well for getting out of the wind but they are not comfortable for very long at all. I used a DH stem because it was the shortest thing I had length wise...but it doesn't have any rise. It got the hoods in a great spot, but the drops are pretty low.
    4. I'm thinking that I can start just by getting a big-rise stem and seeing where that puts the drops on these bars and seeing how manageable that is, then getting some real dirt drops and figuring it out from there.
    I think your situation is quite simple.
    Get a Midge or Woodchipper (there is a good comparison between them on 29 Inches).
    Obtain a few stems with 17d, 23d and different length. Get them from a store that allows returns no-question-asked. Install them one at the time, protecting the sensitive areas with nylon wrap. Ride, test, verify and then return the ones that don't work for you.

    In terms of the position you wish to aim, you should have a pretty good idea from your current setup. You can consult with Shiggy's website as well.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    A few things:

    1. I do have arms like an orangutan.
    2. I am limited with headset spacers due to a tall headtube and short steerer tube.
    3. They are a pretty deep drop...I would never have bought them for this bike, I just had them on hand. They work well for getting out of the wind but they are not comfortable for very long at all. I used a DH stem because it was the shortest thing I had length wise...but it doesn't have any rise. It got the hoods in a great spot, but the drops are pretty low.
    4. I'm thinking that I can start just by getting a big-rise stem and seeing where that puts the drops on these bars and seeing how manageable that is, then getting some real dirt drops and figuring it out from there.
    One of the noticable differences between dirt drops and road bars is the width. When you finally make the change, you will be much happier.

  32. #32
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    That brings up another question.I know dirt drops will be the cat's pajamas for my commute situation... but I'm considering using this bike for some touring... several days with a bob yak trailer kind of stuff...will I be happier with dirt drops or something like what I have going now? I don't want the width to be too much of a disadvantage on a long paved day into a headwind.
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  33. #33
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    Here is a great stem calculator for changes.

    Figure out where your hands need to be from where they are, and then you can keep plugging stem rise and reach into that to find the one that gets you there.

    Nothing weird about drop bars on single track.

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xUTdSyDRYAd3eb02h0BDoA?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.ggpht.com/_rrYqLPGLdY4/S-nqfj6iM3I/AAAAAAAAHhU/wK1fiQZVw30/s400/P5111370.JPG" /></a>
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  34. #34
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    Another Stem calculator that allows you to compare two stems

  35. #35
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    Depending on your usage, you can set up your bars a little differently than you might for offroad. I have WTB dirtdrops (old school) on my cross bike and I have the tops at the same height as my saddle, and I'm not particularly flexible. Around town, doing the Providence Bridge Pedal and the like, the top and the hoods make for an extremely comfortable ride. When I need to get down and dirty on singletrack, it is a comfortable reach for a while. Since you are commuting on it first and then hitting up singletrack as a later option, this might work for you without having to resort to an extreme stem.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Depending on your usage, you can set up your bars a little differently than you might for offroad. I have WTB dirtdrops (old school) on my cross bike and I have the tops at the same height as my saddle, and I'm not particularly flexible. Around town, doing the Providence Bridge Pedal and the like, the top and the hoods make for an extremely comfortable ride. When I need to get down and dirty on singletrack, it is a comfortable reach for a while. Since you are commuting on it first and then hitting up singletrack as a later option, this might work for you without having to resort to an extreme stem.
    Most mtb frames need an "extreme" stem just to get the tops to saddle height and not have too much reach.
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  37. #37
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    This is my 'cross bike. Nothing special aside from the fact that IT'S AWESOME. Anyway...

    I descend some pretty rocky stuff/singletrack/etc. in the drops on this bike. I also climb them, as well... only when the rocks start getting giganto do I pop-off and carry over. Most of the time during the fast stuff, I'm in the drops and almost all my climbing I'm on the hoods. The only time I'm on the flats is when I'm riding the road or some basic, flat fire road.

    On my drop-bar mountain bike, I occasionally sit up and pop up onto the flats, but only on the road, stretching my back. I've found the sweet spot where being in the drops is absolutely comfortable. The way I have the bar positioned - I can't ever be on the hoods; might as well ride no-handed.

    OK weirdos, help me fit a pair of dirt drops...-img_0051.jpg

    OK weirdos, help me fit a pair of dirt drops...-img_0052.jpg

  38. #38
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    ^^ Those drops look pretty low compared to the seat height.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    ^^ Those drops look pretty low compared to the seat height.
    But on my 29'er they are WAY up! It's all geometry. BTW, I'd rather climb a fire road on my CX bike over any MTB. Climbing on a MTB is like watching paint dry in comparison.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    Most mtb frames need an "extreme" stem just to get the tops to saddle height and not have too much reach.
    I know. He's talking about his commuter.

  41. #41
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    So can anyone reccomend me a stem that has a very short reach but lots of rise? Current DH stem says 75 for length, but it seems shorter than that in reality. I like the fore/aft position of this stem, just want it higher. More spacers is not an option.
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    So can anyone reccomend me a stem that has a very short reach but lots of rise? Current DH stem says 75 for length, but it seems shorter than that in reality. I like the fore/aft position of this stem, just want it higher. More spacers is not an option.
    What's the angle of your current stem? Use slocaus' or mitzikatzi's stem calculator and you can find out the dimensions yourself. If your current stem has, say, 12 degrees of rise then a 35D x 110mm stem would feel about 2mm shorter (could you notice that?) and 50mm taller. Realize that, to a point, as the bar height rises you may want to push the reach forward a bit to achieve the same feel. How wide are those bars? Mountain drops are usually wider in the drops. Your hands will be further out so you'll feel more stretched and want a bit less reach. As for specific stems, the Salsa Moto Ace S.U.L. (40D) and Kalloy Uno Upshot (35D) are both good options. Dimension, Delta, IRD, Profile Design and even Ritchey make stems at 30D or steeper. Can you afford to buy a couple of stems. I'd think the 35D x 110mm Kalloy Uno would put you in a pretty good position with your current bar, and the 90mm if you go to a wider bar - so long as you are riding in the drops.

  43. #43
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    ^^ Wow, thanks for the info... current stem is 10* rise, 75mm length. Current bars are 44cm wide. I will look into some of those those...

    edit: anyone use one of these? 40* x 105mm
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    So can anyone reccomend me a stem that has a very short reach but lots of rise? Current DH stem says 75 for length, but it seems shorter than that in reality. I like the fore/aft position of this stem, just want it higher. More spacers is not an option.
    Go to www.unrealcycles.com and look at some of the short/high rise On-One stems.

    They are all 25.4mm I believe - but that is okay because you can get Salsa Woodchippers in either 25.4mm or 31.9mm clamp size.

  45. #45
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    ^^ That website is horrible. It appears that they only carry one stem in the 'mountain' catalog, and two in the 'road' catalog. None of them look like what we're talking about.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  46. #46
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    ^^ That website is horrible. It appears that they only carry one stem in the 'mountain' catalog, and two in the 'road' catalog. None of them look like what we're talking about.
    I guess I'm just used to using it. But if you click on the On One stem, you'll see they offer numerous options with varying lengths and rises.

  47. #47
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Aaah I see now. Silly of me to think that each product should deserve it's own product page Amazon should do that. they could just sell "book", and then provide a drop-down menu where you could select which book you actually wanted. It would really simplify things.

    Seriously though, their 'reach' and 'rise' measurements being listed along with the mm dimentions of the stems helps... I'm getting it figured out, thanks.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  48. #48
    conjoinicorned
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    ^^ Wow, thanks for the info... current stem is 10* rise, 75mm length. Current bars are 44cm wide. I will look into some of those those...

    edit: anyone use one of these? 40* x 105mm

    i use a salsa 40* x 80mm, and just sold my 40* x 110mm. nothing wrong with the profile, it's just a freaking stem. i use midge bars.

    i ride some pretty nasty stuff with this setup and no issues.....

    personally for pure commuting/road riding i'd stick with a traditional drop bar with the hoods placed in prime riding position....but i can't stand the hoods on the trail so for a multi-use bike dirt drops would be my choice.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  49. #49
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    ^^ That website is horrible. It appears that they only carry one stem in the 'mountain' catalog, and two in the 'road' catalog. None of them look like what we're talking about.
    What website? No quote, no idea
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  50. #50
    Bedwards Of The West
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    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  51. #51
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferday
    personally for pure commuting/road riding i'd stick with a traditional drop bar with the hoods placed in prime riding position....but i can't stand the hoods on the trail so for a multi-use bike dirt drops would be my choice.
    And this is my delimma in a nutshell. I have a prime set-up now for the hoods...it's super comfy for anything that's not singletrack. But I have singletrack between home and work, and singletrack is a terrible thing to waste.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

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