stem or frame?
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Thread: stem or frame?

  1. #1
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    stem or frame?

    I have been feeling recently like I am too stretched out on my bike. I make this judgment based on some back discomfort (which feels like it is caused by too long of reach), estimates provided by my LBS that match wrenchscience.com fit guidelines, and the fact that I do have a shorter torso that would match my 53.5 cm toptube if I had a stem that was more reasonable, such as 90-100 mm instead of 120.

    So, I figure the solution is a new stem. I have a 80-90's Bianchi handmade steel road racing frame (Campione D'italia), with all new campy centaur, fizik arione saddle, rolf sestriere wheels, and look keo sprint pedals. I just got it earlier this summer, all components new, and the frame old, but just barely test ridden, for $850 on ebay.

    My bike has a Chris King headset and runs a 1" quill stem. First off, where should I look to buy a new stem? My current one is a 3T Motus, and I really like it, but I haven't been able to find the model on the web in the right size. Any companies/websites you know of that carry NOS quill stems that will look good and be solid enough for racing? Should I just get any old quill stem I can find for a good deal on ebay and see how it feels?

    And finally, I'm not sure what to make of it, but my LBS suggested a whole new frame. They said that based off of the fact that a newer frame would be considerably lighter than my tank of a steel frame and that it would have the newer integrated headset and stem system that mounts on the fork steerer, which he said provided a lot more adjustability and what not.

    I bought my bike online and not through my LBS...I'm wondering if this was subtle motivation to buy a frame through them. I dunno. I guess I was planning on replacing the frame eventually anyways (into some nicer/lighter/newer/stiffer something). Since I have the classic Bianchi celeste saddle/bartape, it would probably be easiest to get another Bianchi frame to avoid needing rebuy a saddle I don't need (i love my arione haha). And celeste with some red/black frame would just beg God's wrath for being so ugly haha.

    Anyone have any frames, Bianchi or otherwise, that would be a great buy for someone like me? Longer legs, shorter torso, beginning racing in college this next spring, looking for a do everything racing bike that can be ridden all day and will serve me well for years to come?

    So what would you do? There's only been one summer of use on my bike. I really love it, except for the trouble with the long reach. I love my saddle/wheels/drivetrain, so I just need a new stem for $40-70 or a whole new frame/fork which will probably be $500 plus assembly costs. Is this just silly new-bike-lust kicking in or should I plan on getting something new for collegiate racing?

    Sorry for the long post. Thanks for the help.

  2. #2

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    keep the steel bike. hands down winner there. now for the stretch situation google quill stems they are out there. also you can get a quill adapter for like 10-15 bucks that will allow the use of a modern stem. I did that for my old 97 caad3 saeco team bike. Worked like a charm. Dond get caught up on a few pounds of weight. I would say that 99.9% of all races won were not necessarily by the lightest riders or the lightest bikes. Watch the classics the big guys win. They can carry 20 or more pounds than most of the riders and yet they win anyways. Build your engine and don't rely on trying to buy performance cause you will never be able to. Now once you get to be at or near the top of the riders out there then you can buy performance to keep even or beat the competition when less than a second counts.
    It was good enough for Eddy

  3. #3
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    I think you are right. And honestly, I have such an attachment already. She just looks so pretty, and rides so nice. Nothing like steel to soak up the road.

    But I have to say, is new bike lust always present? I am pretty much in love with the Merckx bikes I've seen, especially the older Team SC's and the current Merckx premium and AXM.

    Oh well. Build up the engine, then I'll think about it. : )

    Any suggestions on where to get the stem adapter purchased?

  4. #4
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    Where is the pain exactly? I just curious because I had a sharp pain between my shoulder blades. Come to find out my bars were too narrow. I moved from 42 to 44 c-c, and just like that no problems. I am 5'11" so no bike shop thought I needed wider bars.

    Just a heads up. Keep the frame and find an alternative method hopefully.

    Good luck

  5. #5
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    A 53.5 top tube means a relatively small frame(it's the same size as most of mine). I have no idea how tall you are or your measurements but as a point of reference I use either 90mm or 100mm stems... Since I'm a retro grouch, I'd keep the bike quill. eBay is filled with quill stems... you can still find 3T(stay away from Cinelli stems make before 1996, they won't fit your bars) If you want new, Nitto makes some of the nicest quill stems out there..The Pearl insn't cheap but it's probably the best stem made today

    http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...s.php?id=17207

    http://www.benscycle.net/index.php?m...5e94d398397536

    If you go this route make sure you buy the 26.0 not 25.4 clamp diameter
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

    My 3Rensho Blog: http://vintage3rensholove.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
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    Yeah, the pain is definitely lower back. Almost as if I have to go way too far forward to reach the bars/hoods whatever comfortably, so I either have to slide too far forward on my saddle (which isn't super comfy) or I just have discomfort. As a result, I'm stretched out and with the way I'm supported by arms/seat I end up with my lower back bearing weird weight and sagging/curving in a way that isn't correct.

    I'm 5'8", 140 lbs, with a shorter torso and longer legs.

    I did the wrenchscience.com fit system as I heard it was pretty well trusted for a good top tube length idea. With overall reach being 63.2 cm for me (TT length plus stem) my 53.5 TT plus 120 mm stem puts me over that number by about 2 cm.

    I think a 100 mm stem will cure all my problems. My bars match up to my shoulder measurements, and thus far have felt great.

  7. #7
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    And on that Nitto stem...

    Does the handlebar clamp open wider than that or am I going to need to strip the bars to change them out?

    It just doesn't look like I can pop it right in.

  8. #8
    yellow is mellow
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    I'm empathetic too since I can't stand those ugly half stems. Another temporary solution might be the adjustable stem:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Kalloy-1-Adjusta...QQcmdZViewItem

    So can test out the most comfortable angle. Might even be a permanent solution if you don't care what snooty roadies think. Though I admit I wouldn't use one since you gotta lock that screw down for those sketchy downhills??

    Also scuze me not sure if the description has clamp width.
    Last edited by paper warrior; 09-03-2007 at 12:11 AM.
    The nail that sticks out gets hammered down

  9. #9
    JP
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    A centimeter or two of stem length can make a huge difference. Yes, you are going to take at lease one lever off and retape your bars. It will make you stronger. ;-)

    No question keep the steel bike.

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