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  1. #1
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    Help: Stem has 3 spacers under it...eating up my reach

    I'm a taller guy (6-4) and still working out my stack/reach/stem/bars stuff. I currently have a nice RF Stem 50mm long and 35mm diameter with RaceFace Next 35mm riser bars on it. I thought that would be enough rise for my liking but its not. So I'm riding with 3 spacers under it (sometimes) too but while that feels nice and comfy, its eating into my reach by 10mm (according to bikegeo.net). So I could go with Enve M9 50mm riser bars and a new 50mm 31.8 stem and slam it. BUT is there a better, easier way to this without screwing stuff up? Maybe a different 35mm diameter stem with a sharp rise that way I can keep my bars? Thanks

  2. #2
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    Use a longer stem to compensate...

    Or get a high rise bar.

  3. #3
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    Whether you use a riser bar or spacers with a longer stem doesn't matter. What matters is where your grips are in relation to the steering axis, not how. The stack is so important when looking at bikes because the reach is calculated at that point on the steering axis and the more you travel up that axis the shorter your reach.

  4. #4
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    Why is reach so important to you?

    Ride what feels good and works for you.



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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    Whether you use a riser bar or spacers with a longer stem doesn't matter. What matters is where your grips are in relation to the steering axis, not how. The stack is so important when looking at bikes because the reach is calculated at that point on the steering axis and the more you travel up that axis the shorter your reach.
    OK, this is good to know Jeremy/Beer. So If I move to a 60mm stem and keep the 30mm of Spacers it'll technically handle the same as slamming the 50mm stem and getting the requisite riser bars while having the same "effective reach"? I've often wondered about that (I haven't been doing this for a decade) but see so much of the "SHORT STEM OMG" stuff that I probably didn't research that enough.

    Jermey, where should my grips be to the steering axis? Is there a best practice is how to measure or eyeball that?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    OK, this is good to know Jeremy/Beer. So If I move to a 60mm stem and keep the 30mm of Spacers it'll technically handle the same as slamming the 50mm stem and getting the requisite riser bars while having the same "effective reach"?
    Yep, it's the same if you're grips end up in the same location. There might be some minor differences (I assume unnoticeable) due to the difference in material stiffness/damping between the setups. Also, remember a longer stem with the same angle/height will raise the bars and not be quite 10mm longer measured horizontally.

    where should my grips be to the steering axis? Is there a best practice is how to measure or eyeball that?
    That's personal preference. I just mean if you go bike shopping and you have a certain reach number in mind or you're just trying to find something long enough, remember that the reach figure is based on taking the measurement at the frame's stack height. If two bikes have the same listed reach but one has a 23.5" stack and the other a 25.5" stack, once you set your bars to your preferred height the bike with the taller stack will have a significantly longer reach as it's measured at your stack height (because you've deviated further from the listed measurement point along the rearward angled steering axis). IOW, like you know, the more spacers under the stem the more reach is lost and the lower the stack the more spacers you'll need.

    The handling aspect (ignoring fit) of cockpit setup is determined by what changes you make in relation to a reference point on the steering axis. We talk about stem length as if it's an intrinsic aspect of handling but it's not. Someone with higher rise bars, bars with less sweep, different HTA, bars rolled forward, etc could end up with their hands further away from the steering axis than someone with a longer stem...which has the same effect as what think of when we talk about longer stems.

    This article touches on the concept a bit. https://www.pinkbike.com/news/explor...em-length.html

  7. #7
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    Is the "Steering Axis" just the center of my steerer tube whilst looking straight down at it? (thank you for the help btw, this is enlightening).

    Fwiw I did do the measurement stuff shown in the PB article and the string when positioned on the grips did lay in front of the steerer tube center by about 22mm or so, which is within a desired range. Perhaps if I went with some high rise bars and a slammed stem that would change that value to 30+ and have a negative impact.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    I'm a taller guy (6-4) and still working out my stack/reach/stem/bars stuff. I currently have a nice RF Stem 50mm long and 35mm diameter with RaceFace Next 35mm riser bars on it. I thought that would be enough rise for my liking but its not. So I'm riding with 3 spacers under it (sometimes) too but while that feels nice and comfy, its eating into my reach by 10mm (according to bikegeo.net). So I could go with Enve M9 50mm riser bars and a new 50mm 31.8 stem and slam it. BUT is there a better, easier way to this without screwing stuff up? Maybe a different 35mm diameter stem with a sharp rise that way I can keep my bars? Thanks
    You said you like where your bars are now. Use this calculator to figure out what rise in bars you need to put your grips in the same position and get your reach back.

    I used a 65░ head angle because I dont know your bike but it would take 23mm more rise in your bars to stretch you out another 10mm in reach.

    If you went with a longer stem you would need a stem flipped with negative rise to keep the same grip position.

    If you tend to follow the manufacturer's stem length the frame was designed around, put your grips where you are comfortable and use the right size frame you won't upset your steering.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Is the "Steering Axis" just the center of my steerer tube whilst looking straight down at it?
    Yes, so the steering axis angle is whatever your head tube angle is.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by beer_coffee_water View Post
    You said you like where your bars are now. Use this calculator to figure out what rise in bars you need to put your grips in the same position and get your reach back.

    I used a 65░ head angle because I dont know your bike but it would take 23mm more rise in your bars to stretch you out another 10mm in reach.

    If you went with a longer stem you would need a stem flipped with negative rise to keep the same grip position.

    If you tend to follow the manufacturer's stem length the frame was designed around, put your grips where you are comfortable and use the right size frame you won't upset your steering.
    Aesome, that link is really helpful. After putting the numbers in, I could get my bars the exact same effective reach\horizontal grip position by just getting a 60mm stem instead of 50mm...or get a slammed stem with higher rise bars (those Enve M9 highrise bars are spendy!).

    Is there any real advantaged to the high rise bars/slammed stem solution vs the longer stem with more spacers if they put my grips in the same place?

    Thanks again for the help!
    Last edited by svinyard; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:59 AM.

  11. #11
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    An excess number of spacers can cause flex. Not sure if I would notice this. Some manufacturers stipulate a maximum number of spacers.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    An excess number of spacers can cause flex. Not sure if I would notice this. Some manufacturers stipulate a maximum number of spacers.

    Sent from my SM-G935S using Tapatalk
    Got it, I think I'll end up at 20mm of spacers, I'm at 30mm now and while its comfy...I seem to get some wheel lift unnecessarily when pedaling up some steeper stuff. Bars are even with my saddle with the 30mm fwiw.

    Thinking of pushing the seat up, STA is like 75degrees.

  13. #13
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    You can go to many geo calculators or fitters.... in the end those are starting positions and with more riding you dial it more in. If you feel OK, don't worry about not meeting the 10mm more or less the calculator says.
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