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Road Increase the height of the stem

Discussion in 'Cycling Department Forum' started by Bram Hengeveld, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld Senior Member


    I am currently having three small spacers but I'd like to increase my steering-bar a tiny bit for a more upright and comfortable position but I have no idea how to do this (tech noob).

    Any pointers are much appreciated.
  2. Jim Layee

    Jim Layee Senior Member

    How much higher do you want ? The simplest solution is to flip your stem over which will raise the bars a few mm and shorten the reach slightly. Do this then go for a few rides and see how it feels . Any more than you'll need a new stem.

    Finding what length and angle you want is the rub. If you know any other riders with spare stems to try would be the ideal solution. Failing that buy an inexpensive stem that's shorter and higher then again see how it feels after a few rides.

    Someone will be along telling to spend silly money on a professional bike fit but unless you've been racing for a while and your body has already adapted then its a waste of money.

    As an aside it P's me off that road bikes are sold with the fork steerers cut down so it matches what the racers in the comics ride thus leaving an inadequate range of sizing options.
  3. arthur666

    arthur666 Senior Member

    Some good bikeshops will have an assortment of stem sizes that you can try, and then purchase the stem of your choice in the length/angle that fits you best. ( @Jim Layee : here I am :) ) If you're uncomfortable, I would actually recommend finding a shop that has a trained bike fitter, and let them take a look at you. I have a friend who does this and she helps all sorts of cyclists, not just hardcore racers. Sometimes that's worth the cost if you ride a lot and are having comfort problems.

    I would like to add that there is no way (other than flipping it) to raise the stem in your picture. The top stem clamp bolt MUST be lower than the very top of the fork's steerer tube inside the stem. If it clamps unevenly, it can come loose or even fail at the worst possible moment (usually when you hit a large bump). Well, I shouldn't say there is "no way" to raise the stem... you could buy a new fork with a longer steerer. $$$:eek:

    Conversely, you can lower a stem on a steerer tube. Just move one or more spacers to the top, sliding the stem down.

    I agree with Jim about the steerer tubes on new bikes. I guess they just don't look as cool on the rack with a beginner's riding position. I assemble my own bikes, and they often come with an uncut steerer. Before cutting the steerer, I set the bike up with plenty of extra length, ride it a while to check fit, then cut the steerer. And I always leave room for one extra spacer on top, just in case I ever need to raise it a little. You can kinda see the extra top spacer in this old picture. You can also see that I left the steerer very long on the touring bike hiding underneath, using 8 or more spacers. Not very stylish as my friend pointed out, but it fits me well. :p
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
    Burke Wells likes this.
  4. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld Senior Member

    @Jim Layee flipping it did the trick. Really had a comfy ride the other day. Thanks so much for your suggestion.

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