Stem length on single speed?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Stem length on single speed?

    I'm new to the single speed thing. Currently building one right now. Should the stem length on a single speed be the same as my 2x10 mtb?

  2. #2
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    Stem length should be suited to your fit, so if the frames are identical, then the stem should be the same also.

    There's no real specific aspect of single speeding which suits either long or short stems. I prefer short stems for better handling, but that would apply to any bike.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  3. #3
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    I dunno - what does your 2x10 feel like when you don't shift?

  4. #4
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    If you have went with bikes with the same ETT, use the stem off your 2x10 and see how it feels then start from there.
    Santa Cruz Hightower LT Evil Following Trek 9.9 Superfly SL IndyFab Deluxe 29 Pivot Vault CX Cervelo R3 Disc

  5. #5
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    As a starting point, the stem should work in relation to your top tube length and equal what you already have. That's if your gearie is sized correctly.

    What i have noticed when going back and forth between the SS and gearie is that i stand and mash more on the SS. This puts me further forward with the same top tube + stem measurement. This will decrease the rear grip on the climbs. This is somewhat compensated by the gearing (bigger gear = less torque). But, for me, a slightly shorter stem works a bit better. It gets me over the rear just a bit more and more force into the ground.

  6. #6
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    I think bar length is matter than stem length.

    You'll need wider bar for stand and hammering pendulum dance thingy.

    As for stem length which I recently experiment, consider this is for stand pedaling your arm position as the pivot/center. I change from 60mm to 80mm which is noticeable enough.

    Short stem: This will make your riding position lean forward a little bit, it's easier to get your body over the bar for hammering but your arm will easy to bar pull so in my case my arm is exhausted.

    Long stem: Your riding position will lean forward more, it's harder to get body over bar so you'll need to move your body further. In my case my arm doesn't exhausted but my leg is, the good thing this makes me faster because I lean my body forward more cause me to push the pedal more.

    So basicly it's pedaling in a different angle. If I describe with circular clock movement, short stem my foot on 11 to 6 while longer stem 1 to 6.

    I change stem because my bike ETT is to short for 60mm, as I change to 80mm the power distribution is better but the handling response especially for pendulum dance it's kinda late response.

  7. #7
    Robtre
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    I have to agree with Jetboy23 I have been SS for last 4 bikes now spanning 5 almost 6 years now. I have had a full range of stem lengths from 110 mm now to 50 mm. I feel its personal preference. My latest frame is 22" Jabberwocky and the top tube is 25.5 I think. I switch back and forth from steel to suspension fork. I prefer the really short downhill/BMX type stems for traction when standing and mashing. It keeps more weight on the back wheel I feel. I owned a Fisher RIG with G2 geometry and felt it was neccesary to have a 110mm stem to move me forward a bit more because the wheelbase was longer. Currently I am hunting a bit longer stem (70mm range) for experimental purposes. Another advantage of a short stem is I find it easier to pick up the front end which is neccesary with a rigid fork when riding a rooty trail.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackspade View Post
    I think bar length is matter than stem length.

    You'll need wider bar for stand and hammering pendulum dance thingy.
    I find you waste a lot of energy rocking the bike side to side. You also lose traction by rolling the tire to its side and only using half the tread. If i require more traction and power, i will rock the bike forward then back on the downstroke. This utilizes the full tread, pushes the rear tire into the ground, allows me to pull up and push down on the pedals at the same time, as well as maintain my line. Many of my tough climbs are on gravely granite over hardpack. So, i need all the knobs i can get to cut through the loose stuff.

    I only rock side to side on short excelleration bursts with good grip.

  9. #9
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    @jetboy23
    Rock side to side mostly for non steep climb, but if it's steep I do the rock forward too. I remember reading it somewhere about singlespeed this technique called scissoring and indeed this works great.

    Since I start singlespeeding I found a lot riding interesting technique which I don't know what the name is LOL like scissoring, zig zaging, turtleing, hammering, etc.

  10. #10
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    When I'm out of the saddle hammering on a steep hill I feel that I don't get as good of a traction compared to when I'm seated. That's why I'm concerned, because I know that on a single speed I'll be out of the saddle a lot on the climbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by GhostRing View Post
    I dunno - what does your 2x10 feel like when you don't shift?

  11. #11
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    I think stem length is dependent on frame geometry, fit, and bar width. On my Inbred, I used to have a 680mm bar with a 110mm stem and it felt fine. I went to a 745mm bar with a 70mm stem. Coincidentally, On-One recommends a 40-60mm stem for that frame, and quite frankly, it feels "at home" with a short stem.

    I have adopted this technique for climbing: no rocking, standing and keeping the knees in... kinda like stepping on a stairmaster. I stand straight up, keeping my weight evenly balanced between my weight on the bar and my pedals. All that rocking uses the large muscles in your back, biceps, triceps, and chest (plus legs and glutes) and therefore requires more oxygen to keep all those muscles moving. With this standing technique, most the work is in your legs and glutes... less energy expenditure. Plus, traction on the fat of the tire is a plus.

    I think getting your bike right plus adopting proper climbing technique is key. Before adopting this climbing technique, I gassed out more easily and lost traction a lot; losing traction also requires energy, making gassing out worse.

  12. #12
    Robtre
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackspade View Post
    @jetboy23
    Rock side to side mostly for non steep climb, but if it's steep I do the rock forward too. I remember reading it somewhere about singlespeed this technique called scissoring and indeed this works great.

    Since I start singlespeeding I found a lot riding interesting technique which I don't know what the name is LOL like scissoring, zig zaging, turtleing, hammering, etc.
    LOL like scissoring, zig zaging, turtleing??? please explain.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by robtre View Post
    LOL like scissoring, zig zaging, turtleing??? please explain.
    When climbing on your mountain bike, don't forget 'scissors' | Active.com

    This up-and-down, back-and-forth technique is called "scissoring," and it works because of the bodys far greater mass (five or six times that of the bike) and the momentum gained by standing up to lurch the bike forward with the arms. Once youve mastered it youll find yourself cleaning those steepest final parts of climbs that stopped you cold before.

    The other two is somewhere out there I don't remember where since it's a long time ago before I even start singlespeeding LOL.

    Zig Zag-ing basicly for steeper climb where you do diagonal instead straight confront the climb, which is easier and lighter.

    Turtling is your body form a crouch turtle like when stand pedaling. Elbow bent, nose over the stem, knee as close as possible to stomach - basicly it's another form of riding.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackspade View Post
    When climbing on your mountain bike, don't forget 'scissors' | Active.com

    This up-and-down, back-and-forth technique is called "scissoring," and it works because of the bodys far greater mass (five or six times that of the bike) and the momentum gained by standing up to lurch the bike forward with the arms. Once youve mastered it youll find yourself cleaning those steepest final parts of climbs that stopped you cold before.

    The other two is somewhere out there I don't remember where since it's a long time ago before I even start singlespeeding LOL.

    Zig Zag-ing basicly for steeper climb where you do diagonal instead straight confront the climb, which is easier and lighter.

    Turtling is your body form a crouch turtle like when stand pedaling. Elbow bent, nose over the stem, knee as close as possible to stomach - basicly it's another form of riding.
    The article you posted is applicable to geared riding, but climbing rocky, steep, technical terrain or super steep singletrack, you kinda don't have the option to sit. Zig-zagging can't be done on a single track nor a double track and is good to take a break, but just makes the climb longer... I prefer to just hammer through if I can bear it. I use the "turtle" position when I climb my geared bike, but again, I stand climbing my SS most of the time.

    On the SS, I've found the less zig-zagging, the less moving around atop the bike, the better. All that uses a lot of muscle, and therefore uses a lot of oxygen. I try and focus on the legs, try to keep light on the bars (no leaning on them as much as I can), no grip of death and no face grimacing. All that, again, takes energy.

    During a cyclocross race I did, I was bunnyhopping a curb every time I came to it on a lap. My brother told me to just rock over it instead, and I didn't listen. By time I bunnyhopped it for the third time, I was gassed. After the race he said I was using way too much energy to hop the curb, when I could've reserved that by going over it a lot easier.

    I used my "energy conservation" technique on yesterday's ride and my average heart rate was much lower than I usually ride with. I had more energy and I didn't gas as bad, and that's all with going one-tooth lower on the cog. Also I only loss traction once.

    I'm a big guy at 215 and carry a lot of muscle. Energy conservation is key, and I've found that technique always beats out trying to muscle it.
    Last edited by Dion; 05-26-2012 at 09:12 AM.

  15. #15
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    All the technique I mention I use for SS riding and standing, never have chance to try it on geared bike before LOL.

    I am glad riding SS bike for these past years, it's amazing that even only one ratio for climb I can learn many techniques - not only pedaling but also breathing and power distribution.

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