Results 1 to 22 of 22
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    45

    Stem Length for do-it-all (all mountain) bike

    I've done some research on my bike, I have a TT length of 23.2 " which is about 58.928 cm, on my 18" frame Giant Reign 2 from 2005. I currently run the stock stem length which is a Evolve Raceface XC, 90mm in length, not sure about the rise. I want to turn my bike into something that is more akin to modern all mountain bikes, and I currently can't seem to get as much air as I want to when hitting jumps. I think part of my problem is that I have more weight shifted to the front due to the length of the stem. I come from a background of riding hard tails with shorter stems than 90mm, and this is my first full sus bike, have had it almost 2 months now so part of it is also my skill level. I'm thinking of a range from 40-70mm for my new stem length, and will probably need new handlebars to fit said stem. Any suggestions on what to look for in purchasing a stem? Thinking of this one due to being more in my price range (got the bike for $450 and want to keep price down on components for the most part). Also, I am 6' tall

  2. #2
    Anytime. Anywhere.
    Reputation: Travis Bickle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    8,303
    The problem is that the bars may end up too close to you. See is you can borrow some shorter stems and see what works. I went from 90 to 50 on and old bike, and increased the bar to 760mm at the same time. Slightly cramped but the bike handled better. A shorter stem/wider bar go together, and the bar will bring back a little of the reach you lose. It is something you need to experiment with
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Posts
    23
    Totally agree with Travis. And a tip to get you close to the right bar width, get in the push up position, do a couple and adjust your hands to the most comfortable width. Now measure the distance from the outside edge of each hand. That should be pretty close to your ideal bar width. Seen that on gmbn and it worked well for me. Then experiment with stem length.

  4. #4
    Anytime. Anywhere.
    Reputation: Travis Bickle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    8,303
    For bars I suggest starting too wide, 800mm+ and moving the grips and controls inward until you find the length you like. Take your time, and give each increment a good shot. Go back and forth if needed, then cut. You can't glue it back.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,858
    Depending on how much sweep the bars have, wider doesn't automatically equal a shorter stem. Besides being too cramped, you will take weight off the front wheel (depending on bar width and sweep). I settled on 60mm, because anything shorter caused a decrease in front wheel traction without exaggerated body adjustments.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: RS VR6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    4,489
    Just keep in mind that the older bikes will typically have a shorter reach. If the bike came with a 90mm stem stock...going to a 40 or 50mm stem (even with the addition of a wider bar) will be a pretty drastic change in the way the bike handles. It'll be a wheelie-fest on your first ride out with it. It may feel nimble at first...but as 24 says...it'll take a bunch of weight off the front end.

    If you're cool with your local shop...maybe they'll have a parts bin with some stems that they can loan out to you.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: targnik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    4,802
    40 to 60... Widen bars accordingly

    Sent from my kltedv using Tapatalk
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LyNx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    23,559
    I would personally say that being 6ft and having that short a ETT, that the shortest you'll most likely be able to go is about 60-70, even if you go for a much wider bar. Absolutely agree with Travis on bar width, buy an 800mm bar, try it, if it feels too wide, then move your controls in a CM and give that a go. Keep doing this until you feel comfortable and give it good time at each setting before you cut anything. I'd guess that at 6ft, you'll want a bar of at least 750mm wide - I'm 6'2" and I like my bar 785-800mm, no shorter.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    737
    Shorter stem may also have less rise which you may need to account for with riser bars. Sometimes it compensates itself though as while you shorten the reach you drop the bars so it can result in your being the in same effective position and not effect weight transfer as much.
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: d365's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,014
    What width is your handlebar now?

    At your height (unless you have pretty short arms), I bet you can't get below 60-70mm stem/780mm bars without feeling too cramped in the cockpit. That will still be very noticeable change though.

    If people wanted to use a 40-50mm stem on your '05 bike, then they sized up one frame size to do it.

  11. #11
    mbtr member
    Reputation: scottzg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    5,305
    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    I would personally say that being 6ft and having that short a ETT, that the shortest you'll most likely be able to go is about 60-70, even if you go for a much wider bar. Absolutely agree with Travis on bar width, buy an 800mm bar, try it, if it feels too wide, then move your controls in a CM and give that a go. Keep doing this until you feel comfortable and give it good time at each setting before you cut anything. I'd guess that at 6ft, you'll want a bar of at least 750mm wide - I'm 6'2" and I like my bar 785-800mm, no shorter.
    As usual, lynx with great advice. Follow this. Or better yet, sell the bike and buy what you really want.


    The problem with modifying bikes is that they're designed holistically- you can't copy a couple parts from a different bike and turn a clown nose into a tomato. The suggested short stem/wide bar works because one change kindasorta compensates for the other.

    In your case a 23" top tube is too short anyway, and it comes from a time period where seat tubes were slacker; your ETT might just be 1.5 inches too short, but it's really like 2.5" because the bike has you sitting further behind the cranks. All told, your front axle is probably 3.5" closer to your feet than the bikes you're trying to emulate. 3/4" of stem is small potatoes.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: JoePAz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    4,888
    Quote Originally Posted by doc007 View Post
    I've done some research on my bike, I have a TT length of 23.2 " which is about 58.928 cm, on my 18" frame Giant Reign 2 from 2005...Also, I am 6' tall
    I think you will have an issue. My 2013 SC Solo hasa 24" top tube and I run a 50 mm stem. It fits me well and I am 5'7". This for all intents and purposes my "All Mountain" bike as my other bikes are XC 29er HT and use 90 and 80mm stems, but with shorter top tubes.

    If you put a 50mm stem on bike with 23.2" top tube it will be really short. Even for me too short and will not be stable handling.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: l'oiseau's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    1,200
    Yeah I don't know, I don't think you'll get away with too much and have it be useable. The key here is how the relations of the bike were designed.

    I have a "modern" bike that has a 90mm stem. It's a 2015 MY. I also have a 2016 MY that has a 60mm stem. They both have relatively wide bars although the 60mm stem has a bit longer (725 vs 760).

    The key difference is the rest of the geo on the bikes. The 2016 is an AM bike so it was designed to run a short stem and fit me properly. It's still a bit shorter in the cockpit and the weight is a bit more rear biased. It works great for trails but for distance riding, I don't think I'd like it as much.

    My 2015 is designed as a more traditional XC bike with more front bias. A 90mm stem feels perfect on and I ride it hard. I also ride it on gravel/bike trails for distance and it's very comfortable for my frame. I could get away with a shorter stem on it, maybe like a 70mm but it would feel tight and not really compliment the rest of the geometry.

    It really all depends on what you intend to use the bike for. If it's just for a few miles of trails here and there and you want something that will pop up a bit easier, then take off 20mm or so of stem length and give it a try. If it's a bike you intend to ride some distance on, then I would leave it as it is, assuming it fits you properly and look into building a bike that is designed to have more rear bias.
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  14. #14
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    30,660
    Quote Originally Posted by ridingblind View Post
    Totally agree with Travis. And a tip to get you close to the right bar width, get in the push up position, do a couple and adjust your hands to the most comfortable width. Now measure the distance from the outside edge of each hand. That should be pretty close to your ideal bar width. Seen that on gmbn and it worked well for me. Then experiment with stem length.
    May have worked for you, but has nothing to do with where you put your arms on a bar for riding a bike.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    1,945
    I disagree with the push up method as well. If anything measure the distance for a bench press. This is where you are bio-mechanically optimal for strength and stability. But I feel this is just a starting point.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: l'oiseau's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    1,200
    Ummm - your BP width is significantly different than push-up width? You should be using your optimum for strength and stability doing a push-up.

    And no way is anyone under 6' BP their max at a 800mm span.

    Push-up width is just as valid for biomechanics but rarely does anyone stay there. I'll say it's the absolute most comfortable position for me.
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  17. #17
    Anytime. Anywhere.
    Reputation: Travis Bickle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    8,303
    If I was doing pushups or bench presses while riding then this might be valid. I just go by feel, start too wide and work inward.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    1,945
    Quote Originally Posted by l'oiseau View Post
    Ummm - your BP width is significantly different than push-up width? You should be using your optimum for strength and stability doing a push-up.

    And no way is anyone under 6' BP their max at a 800mm span.

    Push-up width is just as valid for biomechanics but rarely does anyone stay there. I'll say it's the absolute most comfortable position for me.
    Quite a few people do push ups with a narrower stance, since you're stabilize by your toes. Put them under a bar and they get wider.


    I'm an ex powerlifter, only 5'6" but I have wide shoulder so my bar grip is about 780 same as on my bike.

  19. #19
    flow where ever you go
    Reputation: noshortcuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,520

    A good starting place, but

    Quote Originally Posted by ridingblind View Post
    Totally agree with Travis. And a tip to get you close to the right bar width, get in the push up position, do a couple and adjust your hands to the most comfortable width. Now measure the distance from the outside edge of each hand. That should be pretty close to your ideal bar width. Seen that on gmbn and it worked well for me. Then experiment with stem length.
    wider will likely be better. We aren't' doing push ups on the bike. Wider will give more comfort and control for most mountain bikes/riders.

    "I must not be crazy because I'm seriously questioning my sanity"

  20. #20
    monster member
    Reputation: Wheelspeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    744
    I skimmed thru pretty quick, so apologies if this was already said, but your bike shop or ebay should have some $10 stems around. Just buy some and try them out yourself. Maybe friends have old ones they'd let you try for a month. You'll know what you like then. Just be sure to only buy ones where the entire faceplate comes off so they're easy to change out. Once you find the length you like, then you can look for a light one or strong one or good-looking one.
    Have fun!

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    392
    A stem with more rise to it might help, and it wouldn't shorten the reach. If you do that and it doesn't seem like enough, you could get some bars with some rise and/or backsweep.
    Also for the record, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that your stem length is the problem (THATS WHAT SHE SAID) without more info and a specific thing you feel would be easier with a short stem. Just because most modern bikes are designed for them doesn't mean it will work on your bike.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: One Pivot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    7,962
    This is an old thread... but that poor guy probably looked like a russian bear riding a tricycle.

    I had the same size reign, but I'm only 5'7, and realistically that bike was too small for me. Not that I could have gone bigger due to the silly seat tube sizing. He probably needed an even longer stem AND wider bars, plus an offset post just to sort of hack it. He was on a medium, and realistically could have been riding an XL.

    Nothing wrong with having an old bike, but an old bike thats already too small for you is already a huge compromise, dont try to make it worse by going to shorter anythings.

Similar Threads

  1. Stem Length vs Top Tube Length?
    By biggrumble in forum All Mountain
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 05-21-2016, 08:17 PM
  2. Stem Length on All Mountain Hardtails
    By CB2423 in forum All Mountain
    Replies: 43
    Last Post: 09-18-2015, 11:32 PM
  3. Sizing - Top Tube Effective Length and Stem Length
    By noonievut in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 02-13-2014, 03:26 AM
  4. How does stem length and frame length affect handling
    By Fargo1 in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 10-31-2012, 07:23 AM
  5. All mountain stem/ bar length
    By Sebas69 in forum All Mountain
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: 03-26-2012, 05:01 PM

Members who have read this thread: 138

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.