Bars, Stem, & Seatpost and how they affect everything- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bars, Stem, & Seatpost and how they affect everything

    I have an 06 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc that I'd like to make a bit more comfortable. The previous owner installed a Thomson Elite seatpost to it, but I'm just trying to get an idea of what I can change with what component. The bike is by no means uncomfortable and is sized right (6'1", 19" frame) but I'm just thinking.

    Basically, here's my questions:

    If I shorten the stem, what happens? Lengthen the stem? Raise/Lower?
    Narrower bars, wider bars? Setback seatpost?

    The bike right now feels like I'm steering it with a 2x4, not very quick and agile. And I'm a little "hunched over".

    Finally, am I opening Pandora's Box and should I just save my money.

  2. #2
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    longer stem moves your weight over the front wheel, reducing the tendency for the front wheel to wander. It also makes it more difficult to get your weight back behind the seat, since you're that much further forward and you've effectively lengthened the cockpit. It also slows the steering. A shorter stem makes all the opposite true.

    Raising the stem moves your weight back, making it more natural to descend. Its usually more comfortable.

    Narrower bars speed up the steering. Everyone has preferences with wide bars, people with broad shoulders and huckers tend to prefer wider ones. You can move your brakes and shifters inward to see if you like them narrower.

    Setback post changes your position over the pedals. There's an ideal distance to be setback for a given bike, and you don't want to stray too far from this. Moving it forward makes the bike less likely to wander while climbing, and doesnt generally affect descending much since youre standing. Too far forward (for you and that bike) and it feels like you're pedaling through mud. Lowering the fork will move you forward over the pedals.

    You can fiddle with the set up to some extent by adjusting things, like moving your seat around on the rails. You can also change 2 things to cancel eachother out, like the popular wide bars + short stem combo for added dh prowess. A lot of shops have a box of loaner stems you can try.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

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