Handle bars and stem!

OP
LibraRider

LibraRider

Active Member
More than likely to have a 90 OS stem if you want it , dont quote me thouh till i have a rummage , have you trie flipping the stem you have yet ?
I haven’t tried it yet as been at work. Just got back. May have a go at flipping it now and see how it feels. Gonna try and bring the break brake leaver and gear shifter a bit closer too so I can reach them better.
I will let you know - how it goes
 
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cyberknight

As long as I breathe, I attack.
I haven’t tried it yet as been at work. Just got back. May have a go at flipping it now and see how it feels. Gonna try and bring the break leaver and gear shifter a bit closer too so I can reach them better.
I will let you know - how it goes
I assume you have done your saddle height and set back to get them right 1st ?
 
OP
LibraRider

LibraRider

Active Member
So I have now flipped the stem and moved the saddle forwards but I still feel like I’m having to reach too far forwards and the shifters are too big for my grip.
I tried to adjust the shifters but I need to get rubber blocks to put inside them to bring the leavers closer.
I am taking it to my local co op this weekend to see what they think as suggested by some others.
 

Vantage

The dogs chew toy
60mm vs 90mm and I can say right now that there is f all difference in handling.
35+ years of cycling here and gone through countless bikes like many others here.
There's no difference other than reach.

504504


When you consider that almost every sub £200 bike which generally, the "newbie" market buys up, has a short stem, cries of "twitchy handling" are bs.
 
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Location
Loch side.
60mm vs 90mm and I can say right now that there is f all difference in handling.
35+ years of cycling here and gone through countless bikes like many others here.
There's no difference other than reach.

View attachment 504504

When you consider that almost every sub £200 bike which generally, the "newbie" market buys up, has a short stem, cries of "twitchy handling" are bs.
Whilst I obviously agree with you, you are reiterating my point, after all, I am shuddering at that stem. What's going on in there? Why is the steerer so low down? If indeed you are riding it like that, stop, it is dangerous.

Edit: I see now you have one stem atop the other for demo.

As you were.
 
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Milkfloat

An Peanut
Location
Midlands
Whilst I obviously agree with you, you are reiterating my point, after all, I am shuddering at that stem. What's going on in there? Why is the steerer so low down? If indeed you are riding it like that, stop, it is dangerous.

Edit: I see now you have one stem atop the other for demo.

As you were.
I was about to write the same and criticize the uneven bolt threading, - it was only your post about the demo that saved my blushes.
 

Jody

Veteran
@Yellow Saddle How come stem length doesn't effect handling? I swapped from a 110 to a 50 on the MTB and it made quite a difference when keeping the bars at the same width. I prefer short stems anyway but it felt very different which I don't think is soley due to my weight moving further back/up

Genuine question.
 
Location
Loch side.
@Yellow Saddle How come stem length doesn't effect handling? I swapped from a 110 to a 50 on the MTB and it made quite a difference when keeping the bars at the same width. I prefer short stems anyway but it felt very different which I don't think is soley due to my weight moving further back/up

Genuine question.
All questions are genuine and I never mind a question.

Keep in mind that this thread started off with the OP being uncomfortable on her bike and enquiring about fitting a shorter stem and smaller bars.
The the warnings came in. "be careful" "be aware" etc etc.
This is of course pure nonsense. None of us, when trying out a bike for the first time or riding someone else's bike, need to be careful or aware that the stem length is different. That's because no-one falls off a bike because of a stem difference of any reasonable length. Different bikes feel different for various reasons but if you have a bike and change stem length, the only difference you notice is better or worse reach. Ditto with handlebar width.

No-one came up with a definition of "twitchy" but I would assume it means "slightly more unpredictable handling" or " creating fast handlebar movements that are tricky or difficult to control". It may even mean "loss of stability", who knows. Those two clowns in the video used it without definition, yet agreed with each other. Or disagreed, I can't remember.

That takes care of the subjective.

For for something more concrete. Bikes don't steer by the rider turning the handlebars. If that were the case, then you won't be able to ride and steer without hands on the bars. I can do that and plenty of others can too. Perhaps you can ride no-hands. I recommend occasionally riding like that because it makes you agile and makes you think. Bikes steer by leaning through a counter-intuitive process. If you ride no-hands and concentrate on how you steer, you'll discover that to turn left, you move your weight (concentrated on the saddle) in order to get the front wheel to steer right (that's correct, you lean left to get the wheel to steer right). This then increases the lean in a controlled way and the wheel turns to the left ever so slightly and you now follow a left curve.

Motorcyclists and some cyclists are fond of calling this counter-steering. You can read about it here and it has been discussed plenty of times. I don't like the term, you'll find why somewhere in the archive. Nevertheless the mechanics are the same, whether you lean or steer in the opposite direction, that's how you turn.

Since this is the mechanism for steering, the stem length has nothing to do with steering.

There are instances where you can feel a (large) difference in stem length and that is under unusual circumstances. You can feel it if you are climbing extremely steeply, very slowly, and out of the saddle. Then there is a noticeable feel in different bikes with different stem lengths. When you ride extremely slowly, the steering mechanism is completely different. In order to stay upright, you steer into the fall. In other words, if you fall over to the left, you steer left. It is like balancing a broomstick on your hand - another good exercise to do for understanding. You continuously move your hand so that it remains underneath "the fall". If the stick falls left, you move your hand left etc. Riding slowly requires this technique. Now your hands are clenched on the bars and you are using the bars to keep the bike upright and steer. It is a powerful movement, as opposed to when you are balanced at speed. Then your touch on the bars are light and there's no force going through the bars to the wheel.

Does that help?
 

Jody

Veteran
No-one came up with a definition of "twitchy" but I would assume it means "slightly more unpredictable handling" or " creating fast handlebar movements that are tricky or difficult to control". It may even mean "loss of stability", who knows.
That seems fair enough. I wouldn't describe my MTB as twitchy but the steering is faster which was my intention changing to a shorter stem.

Does that help?
Yes, especially the bit about slow techy climbing. I don't really think about riding no handed, I just do it whether on or off road. Even on bumpy tracks or dropping off kerbs the bike still goes (almost) straight. No handed on the rollers was a leap of faith though.

I can't find it but remember years ago seeing an image showing steering arks when using different stem/bar combos and it looked like the longer stem gave a bigger ark, therefore more leverage. It may have been my interpretation of it that wasn't correct, hence asking the question.
 
Location
Loch side.
I can't find it but remember years ago seeing an image showing steering arks when using different stem/bar combos and it looked like the longer stem gave a bigger ark, therefore more leverage. It may have been my interpretation of it that wasn't correct, hence asking the question.
Of course a longer stem gives you more leverage, but you don't require leverage because there is no torque going through the stem/fork. You steer by lean, not through leverage on the bars. This is the opposite of how a car steers. Complete opposite.

In years go by, before a bike race, a marshall used to walk around the bikes at the starting line and do safety checks. One of the checks was to face the bike, grip the handlebars and squeeze the front wheel between his knees. He was looking for loose stems and usually found a few. The fact that the stem so easily turned in the fork, yet the rider has been using it like that, is another indication that steering doesn't require torque.
 

Jody

Veteran
Of course a longer stem gives you more leverage, but you don't require leverage because there is no torque going through the stem/fork. You steer by lean, not through leverage on the bars. This is the opposite of how a car steers. Complete opposite.
Excuse my explanation of this. It was more using torque (of a long stem) to stop the bike steering, say when you hit a pot hole or a rock garden. It deflects the wheel away from its natural course and the extra leverage takes less effort to keep it under control. Or flipped the shorter stem means less leverage so more force needed by the rider to control the bike. Maybe why people feel the bike is "twitchy" when length is reduced.
 
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