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Thread: How does stem length and bar reach effect handling when total reach is held constant?

  1. #1
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    Question How does stem length and bar reach effect handling when total reach is held constant?

    Can someone tell me if the handling of a bike with the following characteristics:

    73 desgree STA, 48.3 cm TT, 11 cm 17degree up stem, 9.5 cm reach bars would be adversely affected by changing the stem and bars to a 13 cm 17 degree up stem w 7.7 cm reach bars. A calculator indicates reach would be the same. BTW it has a 24" front wheel (17.5" terry titanium isis- her name is Isis).

    The reason I ask is that I recently purchased a 48 cm cervelo RS w 650 c wheels that I absolutely love (her name is Rhea). Rhea has a 73 degree STA, 51.5 cm TT, 9 cm 6 degree up stem, and 7.7 cm reach bars. I never had a bike feel so right, it terms of my balance on the bike. But, I want to continue riding Isis as a commuter/back up weekend bike. And want to make her feel more like Rhea.

    The reaches on both bikes are identical, but I just love my new compact bars. Its not just the short reach, its the compact drop (3T ergonova team). Its the first drop bar where I could comfortably ride in the drops on. My old bike has a nitto noodle which was the best bar I ever found before this one. I liked the short ramp to the hoods, but always felt too stretched out to spend much time in the low drops. Isis is now my commuter, which means I actually ride her every day, whereas Rhea is reserved for club rides and events on the weekends. But my body doesn't like that the available hand positions on the two bikes feel so different. So, I am thinking about the stem bar change described above. I found a good deal on a ritchy axis WCS stem and the aluminum version of the ergonova bar, so I can also chop 145g of weight off the titanium bike for ~$160, which seems good since I also want Isis to be my back up go fast bike. (I could cut 220g total w a carbon bar, but thats another $150...)

    BUT, I worry that since the titanium bike has such a short top tube, that I might screw up the handling to move to a longer stem shorter bar combo, vs what is on there. Any thoughts?

    And I know, I screwed up on Isis, but I still love her as my commuter. I bought one frame size too small, cuz I couldn't find a bike in my size with a 73 degree STA (I have super long femurs and super short arms) that didn't have toe clip overlap and handled well, and I was in a rush cuz my last bike was stolen right before I was to go on a cycling vacation.
     
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  2. #2
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    i have a headache and i feel vulnerable.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swoop View Post
    i have a headache and i feel vulnerable.
    yes, now I'll have a drink and reconsider everything.





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    i'll keep it simple:
    transferring your points of contact... that is: where your ass, feet and hands go relative to the bottom bracket and each other.. is what we all do between different bikes. ideally this stays consistent unless you're setting it up differently for a reason (like a tt or a cross bike).

    what you'll notice between the two bikes is that they are different bikes. they are made of different materials and perhaps have different wheel bases (the distance between hubs), different front centers (the distance between the center of the bottom bracket and the front hub) , rear centers, etc.... including the overall height of the bike (bb drop)...

    and you'll ride both and maybe describe the differences... that you'll notice as stability or nervousness relative to each other, or as how it feels when you turn it at different speeds.

    or they might not feel different to you at all. figuring this stuff out as you ride is how you discover what traits you like in a bike....

    assuming they both fit well enough.

    sometimes manufacturers measure stems differently and different angled stems of the same length aren't all the same length. so, you just have to have at it when you build it and see.

    hope that makes sense.


    *i belong to the society that encourages people not to name bikes as if they were pets or people or had a gender.
    just sayin' y'all.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.
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    Yeh, thanks, that is helpful. The bottom line is if the reach, setback, addle height, etc. is the same on the two bikes (which it is to the mm), and they feel differently, its not cuz the bars are different, its that the frames are different.

    Rhea is carbon, lighter, has lighter wheels, has a taller headtube, distributes my weight better, and basically fits me better. END OF STORY. No matter what I change on Isis, she's not gonna be Rhea, so I need to suck that up and be really glad that I have a weekend bike that is absolutely amazing, and a titanium beater that I thought was amazing until I got Rhea. She's still way more fun to ride to work than any other commuter I've ever had.
     
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    What's wrong with naming bikes? I do it cuz its just easier, rather than having to write out:

    my 2008 carbon cervelo RS I just say Rhea
    my 2005 terry titanium isis I just say Isis
    my 2003 terry steel S/S coupled isis I just say Feronia
    my 2001 terry steel classic I just say Athena
     
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    Friends don't let friends name bikes. It's a bike and not a dog-child. One must have standards.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.
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  8. #8
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    All this typed by my left nut whom I refer to as Stephen.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triskeliongirl View Post
    What's wrong with naming bikes? I do it cuz its just easier, rather than having to write out:

    my 2008 carbon cervelo RS I just say Rhea
    my 2005 terry titanium isis I just say Isis
    my 2003 terry steel S/S coupled isis I just say Feronia
    my 2001 terry steel classic I just say Athena
    georgena rocks.





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  10. #10
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    My mom's name is Rhea.
    GO!
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    if I understand the question, it is basically whether going from an 11 cm to a 13 cm stem (with a bar reach difference keeping overall reach the same) will adversely affect the handling. the answer is no.

    and it's ok to name your bikes. the guys around here are too macho to admit they do it, but a good number of them fetishize their bikes more than you do (just ask their significant others!)
    cheers
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by swoop View Post
    All this typed by my left nut whom I refer to as Stephen.
    i worked in a metal shop where we put stick-on googly eyes on all the tools one long winter......i fondly remember sucky the hand-cart............i BET your cervelo rides nice after riding one of those Terry funnybikes. good for you. 650c rocks. Steve.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com
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    While we're on the naming thing, can we stop calling them "steeds" too. The only person riding "steeds" is this guy...



    just sayin.
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve garro View Post
    i worked in a metal shop where we put stick-on googly eyes on all the tools one long winter......i fondly remember sucky the hand-cart............i BET your cervelo rides nice after riding one of those Terry funnybikes. good for you. 650c rocks. Steve.
    ja, i was speaking to her success in the biz, not nec. any one product.





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    try it
    see what happens
    probably nothing
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by swoop View Post
    All this typed by my left nut whom I refer to as Stephen.
    Does Stephen, the scribner, have a neighbor? Is he nuts too?
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triskeliongirl View Post
    Can someone tell me if the handling of a bike with the following characteristics:

    73 desgree STA, 48.3 cm TT, 11 cm 17degree up stem, 9.5 cm reach bars would be adversely affected by changing the stem and bars to a 13 cm 17 degree up stem w 7.7 cm reach bars. A calculator indicates reach would be the same. BTW it has a 24" front wheel (17.5" terry titanium isis- her name is Isis).


    it's not a great ideer to sanction the use of a 13cm stem on a frame that small,
    especially with a 24" front wheel. my inner fitter says that the combination could
    not and will not work efficiently atmo. i fear we're either missing info or getting
    skewed numbers. hey - thanks for reading.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    it's not a great ideer to sanction the use of a 13cm stem on a frame that small,
    especially with a 24" front wheel. my inner fitter says that the combination could
    not and will not work efficiently atmo. i fear we're either missing info or getting
    skewed numbers. hey - thanks for reading.
    I think 'up stem' might mean a lot of the length is going to elevating the bars? Stephen wonders as well.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by nerdwin View Post
    While we're on the naming thing, can we stop calling them "steeds" too. The only person riding "steeds" is this guy...



    just sayin.
    man i'm glad i don't have to push all that up a hill. hey, which one has a prettier mane?





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  20. #20
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    Thanks, that's my gut feeling too. The set up I have on Isis is just fine for my commute, so I need to be glad for that. As I said, this bike is just one of those 'mistakes', and while its hard to admit a $2000 mistake, throwing more money at it isn't gonna fix it.

    Basically, buying Rhea was the best thing I could have done. In defense of Georgena, at least she made the first bike with brake levers I could reach, and enabled me to ride. Yeh, now I know there are better ways to build a small framed bike. Heck, even Georgena builds bikes w 650c wheels now, and that's the irony of my mistake. If I just bought Isis in the next larger size she did have 650c wheels, but I was afraid I couldn't get set up on the 74 degree STA that all her 650c wheeled bikes are spec'd with (combination of long femurs and short rails on my brooks finesse, so its a struggle for me even with a 73 degree STA). The guy who fit me on my Cervelo (Matt at Bicycle Heaven) did it with the Look ergo post 2, a $200 post he threw in to make the sale. Too bad the boys at Harris Cyclery that sold me Isis didn't give me better advice.

    I always thought I had bad bike handling skills, but now I realize I just had badly handling bikes.

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    it's not a great ideer to sanction the use of a 13cm stem on a frame that small,
    especially with a 24" front wheel. my inner fitter says that the combination could
    not and will not work efficiently atmo. i fear we're either missing info or getting
    skewed numbers. hey - thanks for reading.
     
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