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Thread: Stem Length

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    Stem Length

    I realize this topic has been discussed quite a bit on this forum, but unfortunately my specific situation has not yet been addressed, so here we are again...

    Just traded in my 2012 Tarmac SL4 for a new Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2. Love the way the Canyon rides and went in for a proper fitting (retule). I'm relatively short (5'6") and the XS Canyon "fits" really well aside from one issue: the reach. The Canyon has a longer wheelbase versus my Tarmac (size 52) and it unfortunately comes with an integrated aero cockpit (size 90-390), so can't really make any adjustments. The fitter suggested getting a separate bar / stem combo as can do much more with it. I am fine with that suggestion as can sell the Canyon aero cockpit.

    The one issue is that because of the longer wheelbase and overall reach versus the Tarmac, fitter is recommending a 70mm stem, which I've never ridden before (90mm on my Tarmac). I trust this fitter fully as he isn't trying to sell me anything and didn't even give me a hard time for getting a Canyon through direct-to-consumer. Worst case, I think by switching to separate bar / stem will give me some flexibility down the road to try out different combos.

    Is riding a 70mm stem really going to be that big of a deal? I could always return the Canyon, but pricing for a similarly spec'd bike is more expensive.

    Let me know what y'all think...first post here, so please be kind!
    Last edited by kirktash; 4 Weeks Ago at 01:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kirktash View Post
    I realize this topic has been discussed quite a bit on this forum, but unfortunately my specific situation has not yet been addressed, so here we are again...

    Just traded in my 2012 Tarmac SL4 for a new Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2. Love the way the Canyon rides and went in for a proper fitting (retule). I'm relatively short (5'6") and the XS Canyon "fits" really well aside from one issue: the reach. The Canyon has a longer wheelbase versus my Tarmac (size 52) and it unfortunately comes with an integrated aero cockpit (size 90-390), so can't really make any adjustments. The fitter suggested getting a separate bar / stem combo as can do much more with it. I am fine with that suggestion as can sell the Canyon aero cockpit.

    The one issue is that because of the longer wheelbase and overall reach versus the Tarmac, fitter is recommending a 70mm stem, which I've never ridden before (90mm on my Tarmac). I trust this fitter fully as he isn't trying to sell me anything and didn't even give me a hard time for getting a Canyon through direct-ti-consumer. Worst case, I think by switching to separate bar / stem will give me some flexibility down the road to try out different combos.

    Is riding a 70mm stem really going to be that big of a deal? I could always return the Canyon, but pricing for a similarly spec'd bike is more expensive.

    Let me know what y'all think...first post here, so please be kind!
    I was once on a 70mm stem. Bought a used bike that is a size larger. The bike came with 90mm stem. My bike fitter advised to change to a 70mm stem to accommodate my reach. It's ok. I don't feel the bike becomes sensitive or unstable or anything like that. Visually it is not as nice because the short 70mm stem kinda ruin the aesthetic but that is a personal preference.

  3. #3
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    i have shorties on all mine: all around 90mm.

    no biggie.
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

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    I'm 5'6" as well. I don't know what your inseam is, but I think if you're using a 52cm Tarmac, you should be using a longer stem and a 90mm.

    I'm inclined to think the Canyon is larger than the Tarmac, with a longer top tube. Sounds like the Canyon is actually too big for you.

    Wheelbase has little to do with reach. The only use I have for it is as a clue that it's larger than the Tarmac because you say the Canyon's wheelbase is longer than the Tarmac.

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    I run a 50cm on my bikes, one 37d turned up.
    BANNED

  6. #6
    ngl
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    Unfortunately you purchased the wrong size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kirktash View Post
    I realize this topic has been discussed quite a bit on this forum, but unfortunately my specific situation has not yet been addressed, so here we are again...

    Just traded in my 2012 Tarmac SL4 for a new Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2. Love the way the Canyon rides and went in for a proper fitting (retule). I'm relatively short (5'6") and the XS Canyon "fits" really well aside from one issue: the reach. The Canyon has a longer wheelbase versus my Tarmac (size 52) and it unfortunately comes with an integrated aero cockpit (size 90-390), so can't really make any adjustments. The fitter suggested getting a separate bar / stem combo as can do much more with it. I am fine with that suggestion as can sell the Canyon aero cockpit.

    The one issue is that because of the longer wheelbase and overall reach versus the Tarmac, fitter is recommending a 70mm stem, which I've never ridden before (90mm on my Tarmac). I trust this fitter fully as he isn't trying to sell me anything and didn't even give me a hard time for getting a Canyon through direct-to-consumer. Worst case, I think by switching to separate bar / stem will give me some flexibility down the road to try out different combos.

    Is riding a 70mm stem really going to be that big of a deal? I could always return the Canyon, but pricing for a similarly spec'd bike is more expensive.

    Let me know what y'all think...first post here, so please be kind!
    I'm confused. Was the Tarmac setup working for you? If yes, then why not just go for the exact same placement of the bars and saddle relative to the BB as you had on the Tarmac? You can measure these things precisely and don't need a fit to determine them. If getting the bars on the Canyon in the same relative position as the Tarmac requires a 70mm stem, then so be it. This is your goal, not a particular stem length.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ngl View Post
    Unfortunately you purchased the wrong size.
    There's absolutely no way you can know this

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    Quote Originally Posted by kirktash View Post
    I realize this topic has been discussed quite a bit on this forum, but unfortunately my specific situation has not yet been addressed, so here we are again...

    Just traded in my 2012 Tarmac SL4 for a new Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2. Love the way the Canyon rides and went in for a proper fitting (retule). I'm relatively short (5'6") and the XS Canyon "fits" really well aside from one issue: the reach. The Canyon has a longer wheelbase versus my Tarmac (size 52) and it unfortunately comes with an integrated aero cockpit (size 90-390), so can't really make any adjustments. The fitter suggested getting a separate bar / stem combo as can do much more with it. I am fine with that suggestion as can sell the Canyon aero cockpit.

    The one issue is that because of the longer wheelbase and overall reach versus the Tarmac, fitter is recommending a 70mm stem, which I've never ridden before (90mm on my Tarmac). I trust this fitter fully as he isn't trying to sell me anything and didn't even give me a hard time for getting a Canyon through direct-to-consumer. Worst case, I think by switching to separate bar / stem will give me some flexibility down the road to try out different combos.

    Is riding a 70mm stem really going to be that big of a deal? I could always return the Canyon, but pricing for a similarly spec'd bike is more expensive.

    Let me know what y'all think...first post here, so please be kind!
    There are all sorts of factors that go into what stem length you should run. Your arm length, flexibility, core strength as some examples of things that have to do with you. Your handlebar reach, hood choice as some examples of things that have to do with the bike.

    Your bike will handle much better with a 70mm stem and you in a comfortable position than with a longer stem and you listing over the front or riding in the tops.

    Also, trust your fitter. They have seen you on the actual bike you're getting fit on and presumably have some sort of training and experience in the field. If you don't trust your fitter, ask a different fitter rather than us schmoes on the internet.

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    Given that you trust your fitter and he know details we don't, it would go to figure you should ask him or her not strangers on the internet. You've already seen were that will get you.

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    ngl
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    Quote Originally Posted by masont View Post
    There's absolutely no way you can know this
    Actually, there is no way YOU can know I'm wrong.

    If the OP got a fitting before purchasing the bike (including the one piece bar/stem combo) there would be no reason to ask strangers on the internet for reassurance as Jay stated. To the OP, if your fitter is recommending a 70 mm bar/stem combo to correct the problem is his other (more expensive) recommendation to return the bike for a smaller size and correct bar/stem combo?
    Last edited by ngl; 3 Weeks Ago at 12:04 PM.

  12. #12
    ngl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Given that you trust your fitter and he know details we don't, it would go to figure you should ask him or her not strangers on the internet. You've already seen were that will get you.
    ^^ this^^

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    Quote Originally Posted by ngl View Post
    Actually, there is no way YOU can know I'm wrong.

    If the OP got a fitting before purchasing the bike (including the one piece bar/stem combo) there would be no reason to ask strangers on the internet for reassurance as Jay stated. To the OP, if your fitter is recommending a 70 mm bar/stem combo to correct the problem is his other (more expensive) recommendation to return the bike for a smaller size and correct bar/stem combo?
    Right, which is why I didn't claim you were wrong.

    Generally, bikes change in reach much less than they change in stack from size to size. The bikes we're discussing change 7mm in reach, from 378 to 385 between XS and S. Since the rider's saddle will be at the exact same position relative to the crankset (since they have the same crank length) he could probably move up to an 80mm stem if he went to the next size down. The stack, however, would go down by 22mm, almost an inch. Perhaps his fitter decided that he didn't need to be any lower and that the difference between a 70mm and 80mm stem

    I don't think that a 70mm stem is proof the bike doesn't fit. Basically you're saying that people with short arms shouldn't have bikes that fit. You should stop that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by masont View Post
    Right, which is why I didn't claim you were wrong.

    Generally, bikes change in reach much less than they change in stack from size to size. The bikes we're discussing change 7mm in reach, from 378 to 385 between XS and S. Since the rider's saddle will be at the exact same position relative to the crankset (since they have the same crank length) he could probably move up to an 80mm stem if he went to the next size down. The stack, however, would go down by 22mm, almost an inch. Perhaps his fitter decided that he didn't need to be any lower and that the difference between a 70mm and 80mm stem

    I don't think that a 70mm stem is proof the bike doesn't fit. Basically you're saying that people with short arms shouldn't have bikes that fit. You should stop that.
    The thing is NGL said he or she purchased the wrong size. What he didn't say was it was the wrong choice of all options for that particular brand/model.

    I'm not a mind reader and don't want to say exactly what he meant but there is a difference between 'correct' size and 'best available from a particular model' and I think he addressed the former and your response was as if he addressed the latter.

    Personally I do think that need for a 70mm stem is an indication the bike isn't the correct size. But that's not to say it's any better or worse than moving up or down within the same model.

    Some lines of bike just don't provide the right size for certain people. If you get the stem right there's top tube/spacer issue and visa versa with any size available.

    And no I don't think it's a big deal to use a 70mm stem. Just that it's an indication they frame size is less that optimal but can work just fine.

    Does anyone think a custom builder who know sizing would design a frame so it fit perfectly with a 70 stem? If we can agree some custom builders really know what they are doing and that the answer to that question is 'no' than I think we can agree a stock bike that take s a 70 stem to fit perfectly ain't quite right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    The thing is NGL said he or she purchased the wrong size. What he didn't say was it was the wrong choice of all options for that particular brand/model.

    I'm not a mind reader and don't want to say exactly what he meant but there is a difference between 'correct' size and 'best available from a particular model' and I think he addressed the former and your response was as if he addressed the latter.

    Personally I do think that need for a 70mm stem is an indication the bike isn't the correct size. But that's not to say it's any better or worse than moving up or down within the same model.

    Some lines of bike just don't provide the right size for certain people. If you get the stem right there's top tube/spacer issue and visa versa with any size available.

    And no I don't think it's a big deal to use a 70mm stem. Just that it's an indication they frame size is less that optimal but can work just fine.

    Does anyone think a custom builder who know sizing would design a frame so it fit perfectly with a 70 stem? If we can agree some custom builders really know what they are doing and that the answer to that question is 'no' than I think we can agree a stock bike that take s a 70 stem to fit perfectly ain't quite right.
    I don't necessarily disagree with any of this when it's teased out. I responded because he said that you bought the wrong size, not the wrong bike. So I addressed the size of that particular bike to be as relevant to the conversation as possible.

    I don't think running a shorter or a longer stem is inherently "wrong" or "right" and I'm not really in a hypothetical about what custom builders do, because it doesn't prove anything one way or the other, and I don't think we disagree very heartily.

    People should be on the bike they want that best fits them. Sometimes there will be parts selection that is on the edges of the bell curves. Some people use 165 crankarms, some people use 170mm stems, and some people have 130mm width saddles.

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    Why not just go do a couple of rides with the integrated cockpit setup and see how it feels? Worst case is your fitter was correct as it doesn't feel right and you have to sell the existing cockpit as a "take-off" as you would now anyways.

    Many people tend to (incorrectly) think of bike fits as a rigid "thou shall" rather than as a good starting point subject to personal tweaks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by masont View Post
    I don't necessarily disagree with any of this when it's teased out. I responded because he said that you bought the wrong size, not the wrong bike. So I addressed the size of that particular bike to be as relevant to the conversation as possible.

    I don't think running a shorter or a longer stem is inherently "wrong" or "right" and I'm not really in a hypothetical about what custom builders do, because it doesn't prove anything one way or the other, and I don't think we disagree very heartily.

    People should be on the bike they want that best fits them. Sometimes there will be parts selection that is on the edges of the bell curves. Some people use 165 crankarms, some people use 170mm stems, and some people have 130mm width saddles.
    yeah I got ya. I was just trying to bridge the gaps in the exchange between the two of you. Or what I thought they were anyway.

    And yes, agreed, less than optimal (AKA wrong size) is not a big deal as long as it's within certain parameters and a bike that take a 70 stem to work could very well be withing them.

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    Canyon geometry:

    Stem Length-canyon-geometry.jpg


    Tarmac geometry:

    Stem Length-specialized-tarmac.jpg


    going by the geometry of the Canyon and the Tarmac, they don't appear to be that much different, and if anything, the Canyon is the smaller of the two.

    Yes, the Canyon has a longer overall wheelbase, and that is because it's a disc bike, which requires longer chainstays, hence its overall longer wheelbase. But wheelbase is not what is important here.

    I'm 5'7" and I ride what would be considered a size 51cm frame, and while it is a whisker smaller than your Canyon XS, I use a 110mm stem. Going to any shorter stem would not allow me to get into an aggressive climbing position on the hoods, and it would also be awkward to me to sprint out of the saddle due to the shorter stem putting my arm too close to my body.

    I wonder how was it that you were able to ride a larger bike (the Tarmac) with a longer stem (90mm) all these years? and now you're on a smaller frame and yet still need a shorter stem? It's a little baffling to me!

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    The very nature of this thread suggests that the OP doesn't really trust the fitter. If they did trust the fitter, they would have no issues with 1) asking the fitter the very question that has been asked here - Is a 70 mm stem really going to be that big of a deal? 2) doing exactly what the fitter recommends.

    Since they are here asking for reassurance or a reason to disregard the fitter, means they are not happy with something. Likely the fitter's advice and the concern that they bought a bike that didn't work for them out of the box.

    The best advice here is to set up the bike exactly the way the previous bike was set up (or as close as possible), assuming the previous fit was acceptable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jspharmd View Post
    The very nature of this thread suggests that the OP doesn't really trust the fitter. If they did trust the fitter, they would have no issues with 1) asking the fitter the very question that has been asked here - Is a 70 mm stem really going to be that big of a deal? 2) doing exactly what the fitter recommends.

    Since they are here asking for reassurance or a reason to disregard the fitter, means they are not happy with something. Likely the fitter's advice and the concern that they bought a bike that didn't work for them out of the box.

    The best advice here is to set up the bike exactly the way the previous bike was set up (or as close as possible), assuming the previous fit was acceptable.
    As a former fitter, i don't really see a problem with asking strangers for a second opinion. Being informed so you can ask the right questions and communicate your values is an asset to both yourself and the fitter. The hardest clients were the ones who couldn't give me feedback and just said 'make it amazing.' I don't have any advice here, i'm almost a foot taller than kirtash and i know i'll never know what a bike feels like to him. That said, as a fitter i could almost always improve someone's experience fairly dramatically with their bike and fitting equipment in hand. Sometimes that just meant doing my fitting, changing almost nothing, and having an open dialog on how the customer should proceed with those last small adjustments.



    The fitter is already constrained by the internet frame the customer brought in, so he has to choose whether to make the best of the customer's choices or tell the customer they screwed up. Good communication from the customer made this much easier.

    Handling preferences are an individual thing. I've known for a long time how to set up a bike exactly to my tastes, and i could detect 3mm of any dimension change... then i built a frame with coo-coo dimensions and it's dramatically better in every way and it turns out i was deep down the wrong rabbit hole. It's an embarrassing revelation, but it also hasn't yet penetrated the bike industry.

    Stem length is 1 variable in about 8 that determine handling. In isolation a 70mm road stem sounds like a kludge, but if the weight distribution and steering geometry works... then it works.


    I trust the fitter, but good communication is key to a good fit.

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    Most guys that are on that frame size relative to your height will be on a 'stem longer than 70mm'. I don't trust most fitters because if you go to five fitters, you will end up with five different fits. Some fitters are gurus and some are incompetent and every gradation in between.

    Stems are inexpensive...or at least not cost prohibitive to experiment. No fitter is going to optimize a given rider's fit. Its up to the rider. Test what works best...both in frame size and stem length. Best fit is trial and error. Two identically sized riders may end up with different fits based upon flexibility and even power differences.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubble View Post
    In isolation a 70mm road stem sounds like a kludge, but if the weight distribution and steering geometry works... then it works.
    Related video.

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