At what point would this start looking, um, ungainly?
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  1. #1
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    At what point would this start looking, um, ungainly?

    I think I erred on the side of ignorance when I bought my first road bike last spring, a '15 Fuji Sportif 2.3: it was nice and comfy to start, but as I got more flexible and aspired to aeroness, there were only so many spacers to remove beneath the stem that itself got flipped down. So now I find myself wanting a racier frame to present less of my frontal area to a pushy atmosphere.

    "But wait!" you say. "You can get a longer stem with a deeper drop for much, much less than the cost of a new bike."

    "Indeed," I respond, "but at what length and degree does a stem just scream, 'hey, the guy who bought me was too stupid to buy the right frame to begin with'?"

    So that's my question. What do you think?

  2. #2
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    This is your first road bike? You shouldn't be too hard on yourself. Start saving for your second bike. Ride it as is until you are ready for the second bike. I recommend combing the lbs floor in January or February to pick up 2015 models that are on sale.
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  3. #3
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    From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I think the standard tilt of 6° - 8° complements most modern road bikes quite nicely, especially those with sloping top tubes.

    Valverde.JD4_6859.jpg


    A -17° stem (which is horizontal on a 73° head tube) appears a bit extreme on a sloping frame ... as if you're compensating for bad geometry or fit.

    Quintana-Canyon-1.jpg


    On a bike with horizontal top tube, I think the -17° looks a lot better.

    Movistar005p-e1421668002471.jpg


    Just an opinion. I don't believe there is a right or wrong answer, here.
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  4. #4
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    What length of stem will give you the needed position?
    .

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teuthis View Post
    "Indeed," I respond, "but at what length and degree does a stem just scream, 'hey, the guy who bought me was too stupid to buy the right frame to begin with'?"

    So that's my question. What do you think?
    I think it says, "This guy who bought me, bought the right bike, rode the ish out of me, got healthy and fit and now he's ready to move on."

    Bike #1 did its job, and you put in the work... reward yourself with that new bike and keep #1 as a backup for rainy days.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfaas View Post
    This is your first road bike? You shouldn't be too hard on yourself. Start saving for your second bike. Ride it as is until you are ready for the second bike. I recommend combing the lbs floor in January or February to pick up 2015 models that are on sale.
    Good advice. Then you will have the N+1 backup bike.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teuthis View Post
    I think I erred on the side of ignorance when I bought my first road bike last spring, a '15 Fuji Sportif 2.3: it was nice and comfy to start, but as I got more flexible and aspired to aeroness, there were only so many spacers to remove beneath the stem that itself got flipped down. So now I find myself wanting a racier frame to present less of my frontal area to a pushy atmosphere.

    "But wait!" you say. "You can get a longer stem with a deeper drop for much, much less than the cost of a new bike."

    "Indeed," I respond, "but at what length and degree does a stem just scream, 'hey, the guy who bought me was too stupid to buy the right frame to begin with'?"

    So that's my question. What do you think?
    Don't worry, that's the path of a lot of cyclists who take up the sport as adults. And for the majority of them it's the smart move not the ignorant one because jumping right into a full on race bike doesn't work, initially, for most people who haven't been on a bike for years.

    Now you have the perfect bad weather bike to compliment the race-ish bike you're about to buy.
    I wouldn't worry about looks. The problem with weird stems and being on the wrong frame for you're desired riding isn't about fit (any frame can be made to fit) it's about getting the handling and performance you desire. You're just not going to get race type handling from a bike not designed for that or good handing from bad weight distribution. So if you desire a race type bike jerry-rigging another type of bike into it isn't a good solution and I say that without respect to aethetics.

  8. #8
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    Not entirely sure. Right now I have a 90mm at -7. The best I could estimate in my living room was to elevate my saddle 5cm and slide my butt waaaaay to the back of it to simulate more reach and drop. If I recall correctly, my trig calculations guessed I'd need a 140mm at -30, or something similarly extreme.

    I'm planning a visit to my LBS to seek their expertise and mebbe a test ride to confirm the kinda ergos I'm looking for, but my wallet's already saying, "nope," hence this thread.

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    Valverde. Yikes. Maniac man.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teuthis View Post
    Not entirely sure. Right now I have a 90mm at -7. The best I could estimate in my living room was to elevate my saddle 5cm and slide my butt waaaaay to the back of it to simulate more reach and drop. If I recall correctly, my trig calculations guessed I'd need a 140mm at -30, or something similarly extreme.

    I'm planning a visit to my LBS to seek their expertise and mebbe a test ride to confirm the kinda ergos I'm looking for, but my wallet's already saying, "nope," hence this thread.
    Ninety is kinda short. I use a 130 on a 55.5cm TT bike and I'm 5'8". And it doesn't look long. 100 would look short to me. 140 stems exist and some pros use them but they tend to ride frames a size too small anyway.
    .

  11. #11
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    I was in a similar situation. I rode a -10degree 120 stem on that bike and it looked the business, but I found myself needing more reach. I could have gone 130, not many spacers were left, but I got a great deal on a more aggressive frame/bike and so I picked that up. I'm confused though: Are you concerned about the aesthetics of this position, or its effect on the handling of your current bike?

    There's nothing aesthetically wrong with a long stem and it says exactly what the other guys told you. It looks hell of a lot "smarter" than a guy on an aggressive frame with a +10 80 stem under 40mm of spacers. The conversation about its effects on handling is a more in depth one.

  12. #12
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    When you buy a bike, you buy it for the type of rider that you are, not the type of rider that you want to become.

    Agree with those that say, it did its job. It got you in shape. It got you in bike shape. Now, you're ready to move on, but you have a bad weather/commuting bike.

    Start road testing new bikes. Try some carbon race geometry bikes. Try some high end AL alloy race bikes (e.g. Cannondale CAADX, Specialized Allez Smartweld, etc.). Start making notes on what you like about those bikes versus each other, and versus the Sportif.

    In the meantime, try getting a negative angle stem like the -17 one on the Canyon above.

    And don't move your seat to try to help your reach. You'll end up killing your legs.

    GH

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColaJacket View Post
    Start road testing new bikes. Try some carbon race geometry bikes. Try some high end AL alloy race bikes (e.g. Cannondale CAADX, Specialized Allez Smartweld, etc.). Start making notes on what you like about those bikes versus each other, and versus the Sportif.
    GH
    I think you're referring the Caad10 or maybe even the Caad12... and perhaps you put the X in there simply to say look at the Caad series of bikes, bu the CaadX actually is a cyclocross model, which I don't think you were recommending.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    So if you desire a race type bike jerry-rigging another type of bike into it isn't a good solution and I say that without respect to aethetics.
    Kudos, Mr. Strongbow. You correctly stated my question for me, then answered it. I wasn't concerned with the looks of a stem that was merely long or slightly angled, I was bothered by the thought of post-facto engineering one type of bike into another, as evidenced by a mile-long downhill stem.

    UPDATE: Visited my LBS and traded my 90mm 6 for a 120mm 6 for free! Seems so many peeps around here are swapping longer stems for shorter on new bikes that the mechanic could just give me one. :-) Ridden it once already, and it seems like a good thing so far.


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TricrossRich View Post
    I think it says, "This guy who bought me, bought the right bike, rode the ish out of me, got healthy and fit and now he's ready to move on."

    Bike #1 did its job, and you put in the work... reward yourself with that new bike and keep #1 as a backup for rainy days.
    Absolutely! Save up and shop around. Spend a whole lot of time in the drops until you get the new bike!
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    Quote Originally Posted by PBL450 View Post
    Absolutely! Save up and shop around. Spend a whole lot of time in the drops until you get the new bike!
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