long top tube, short stem vs. short top tube long stem- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    long top tube, short stem vs. short top tube long stem

    I have done some searching on the forums and haven't found anything to match this question specifically.

    I am looking at getting a Blur LT and at 6'1" I fit in the large frame with a 120mm stem or the XL frame with a 90mm stem. My question is, how does a bike ride differently in these two situations?

    I am guessing long stem will make climbing easier but descents sketchy, and a long tob tube will make descents seem a bit more stable. Is this correct?

    What are the ride tendencies if I go for the shorter top tube and shorter stem combo?

    I ride up and down with a lot of technical ascents and descents with some low ground obstacles and stunts if that helps.

  2. #2
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    A shorter stem

    will supposedly make your steering "quicker." This can be good or bad. At a certain point it would be twitchy Don't know how it would play out in your particular case. I think you nailed the conventional wisdom on the clinbing and downhilling stuff.

  3. #3
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    By the way

    my LBS let me try different size stems. Its a little of a pain for them but you are spending a lot of money so make sure you get what you want.

  4. #4
    not your average bear
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    just the opposite

    Quote Originally Posted by gingy
    will supposedly make your steering "quicker." This can be good or bad. At a certain point it would be twitchy Don't know how it would play out in your particular case. I think you nailed the conventional wisdom on the clinbing and downhilling stuff.
    Longer stem = more leverage = exaggerated input = twitchy
    Shorter stem = more stability. Look at any downhill bike-short stem.
    I like smaller frames to be able to use more body english without the bike getting in the way.

  5. #5
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    Stems

    Longer stem = MORE leverage - slower steering + puts more weight over the front wheel - helps to keep the wheel down on steep climbs - makes descents, drops, lifting your front wheel over obstacles harder.
    A smaller frame is more maneuverable ( shorter wheelbase ) yet less stable on the high speed stuff .

  6. #6
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    Steering

    I started riding with longer TT and a shorter stem after buying a Fisher with the "Genisis Geometry". What I notice most of all is that the handle bar has a more rotating around the steer tube action with a shorter stem so youre weight stays more centered as apposed to the tiller swinging in a wide arc on a longer stem where youre weight shift side to side in turns is allmost mandatory. Also with a shorter stem the rear weight bias helps on steep decents but hurts on steep climbs. I like the set up so much that at 5'6" I specifically chose to run a 23 inch TT with a 75mm stem on my 5" trailbike.

  7. #7
    Shoogly
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    go for a short stem...

    A short stem will give you so much more confidence on the descents and will make your steering quicker and more responsive to input. Once you've used one you won't go back.

    I also found it helped straighten up my back and eased of the sore back i had been getting.

  8. #8
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    I'm a convert to long top tubes like Gary Fisher Genesis. A long bike is stable, good for climbing, still flickable if it is sloping top tube, and easier and more natural to turn with a shorter stem

  9. #9
    hands up who wants to die
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    Shorter stem! I have a 90mm on my XC bike and a 70mm on my trail.

    all that 120/130 stuff is really scary on any sort of tech descent.

    -r

  10. #10
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    I was in your situation

    I am 6'1". I was longing for a Superlight. I wanted to love it. I rode a L and the stem just seemed to close to my knees. There's no way I was an XL. I was in between. So I bought a Titus Loco Moto. Not exactly the same; single pivot but burlier/heavier. The 24 inch top tube felt right. Now I switch stems for ride style, not fit. The shorter 100 or 110 mm stem makes drops so much easier without losing climbing/steering dexterity. I ride 120 for the flatter stuff.
    Only you can tell, but you might be on the wrong frame.
    MCM # 57

  11. #11
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    short top tube + long stem = endo machine.

    long top tube + short stem = endless fun.

    I prefer the "endless fun" option but with many frames, getting a longer top tube usually means a larger frame size including a longer seat tube and therefore less standover.

    so make sure you still have standover room with the larger frame.

  12. #12
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    Manufacturers that have ranges or bikes featuring long top tubes:

    Planet X
    On One
    Colt
    Identiti
    Cove
    Kona
    Gary Fisher
    Airborne
    Voodoo

  13. #13
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    Right now I ride a kona dawg deelux with a 23.9" top tube and 100mm stem and love the ride. The large Blur LT has a top tube of 23.5", so if I slap a 100mm stem on it I doubt I will feel any difference, so I am pretty sure the large will fit.

    However, the XL has a top tube of 24.5 and standover only goes up by .3" and the wheelbase by an inch. This is why I am wondering if an XL might be a nice ride, as most of the bikes geometry doesn't change that much, and I would get the benefit of the longer top tube shorter stem.

    Thanks for the comments, I have lots to think about.

  14. #14
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    genisis is outdated

    Quote Originally Posted by kronik
    I'm a convert to long top tubes like Gary Fisher Genesis. A long bike is stable, good for climbing, still flickable if it is sloping top tube, and easier and more natural to turn with a shorter stem
    Genisis geometry (long top tube / short chain stays) is outdated.
    Everyone is putting 130mm plus forks on bikes these days and the short stays make controlling the front end a real PITA on climbs.
    For hardtails and singlespeeds however genisis geometry is great.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by crankpuller
    Genisis geometry (long top tube / short chain stays) is outdated.
    Everyone is putting 130mm plus forks on bikes these days and the short stays make controlling the front end a real PITA on climbs.
    For hardtails and singlespeeds however genisis geometry is great.
    You could say short top tubes are outdated. There are a lot of manufacturers out there that haven't changed there geometries much for years.

    Long top tubes are NOT outdated, they are a preference for some. If you have long arms and/or like a bent over racer position rather than a sit up like your auntie position, then a long top tube is for you. Long top tube bikes also look cool. In fact, they look much much cooler than short top-tubed bikes.

    Besides, how many people stay seated for climbs? A long top tube makes climbing easier cos you have loads of room to move around to find optimum positioning out of the saddle.

    Manufacturers that make at least one long top tube bike:

    Planet X
    Identiti
    Cotic
    Gary Fisher
    Kona
    Cove
    Voodoo
    Airborne
    On One
    Seven
    Klein
    Trek

    PS: everyone isn't putting 130mm forks on their bikes. Some are.

  16. #16
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    Im 6'2" and ride a Santa cruz large with a 90mm stem. LOVE IT! I tryed to ride a long top tube bike and just felt wrong. Its just a feel thing.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFWD
    Right now I ride a kona dawg deelux with a 23.9" top tube and 100mm stem and love the ride. The large Blur LT has a top tube of 23.5", so if I slap a 100mm stem on it I doubt I will feel any difference, so I am pretty sure the large will fit.

    However, the XL has a top tube of 24.5 and standover only goes up by .3" and the wheelbase by an inch. This is why I am wondering if an XL might be a nice ride, as most of the bikes geometry doesn't change that much, and I would get the benefit of the longer top tube shorter stem.

    Thanks for the comments, I have lots to think about.
    Do you ride with a set back seat post? your only talking about less than a half inch that can be adjusted in the seat as well. just a thought. I road a XL and it felt noticable bigger to me.Not to my liking.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the comment m-dub, you are taller than me and on a large with a shorter stem than the website suggests.

    I think I am probably going to go with the large. I went to wrenchscience and filled out their bike fit program and the large frame with a 90-100mm stem fits the suggested reach for my measurements perfectly, and I find their measurements to be a bit long.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFWD
    Thanks for the comment m-dub, you are taller than me and on a large with a shorter stem than the website suggests.

    I think I am probably going to go with the large. I went to wrenchscience and filled out their bike fit program and the large frame with a 90-100mm stem fits the suggested reach for my measurements perfectly, and I find their measurements to be a bit long.
    No problem, I admit it is probable a little short for pure XC but I like the more upright position and ride it in everything from long 3000 ft road climbs to 25+ mile epics with zero discomfort.I wish I could say the same for my road bike.

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