Spacers vs short stem

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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sparklywheels
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:12 pm

by sparklywheels

Given the choice of running a 100mm stem with 15mm of spacers or a 90mm stem with no spacers, which one would be preferable? As a clarification, there are two different size frames being compared here :) Handling and stiffness are the primary concerns, the two size fit identically. Thanks in advance!
Last edited by sparklywheels on Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MountainAddict
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:04 pm
Location: Colorado

by MountainAddict

I'd prefer the 90mm with no spacers.

by Weenie


jih
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:54 pm

by jih

I'd use whichever made the bike fit me the best.

The two aren't really equivalent. One puts the bars higher but further, the other lower but closer.

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themidge
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:19 pm
Location: underneath sweet Scottish rain

by themidge

Purely on looks, definitely the latter!

15mm spacers is a lot, I'd avoid it. 1cm in stem length is less of an aesthetic issue IMO. It depends on the frame size, but a 90mm stem usually looks fine when slammed. If it were 15mm spacers and a 13cm stem it might be a different issue.

RussellS
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Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:31 am

by RussellS

Its been 35 years since I took geometry in school. So I cannot figure out the exact position, rise, reach etc. of the choices you present. But I am pretty sure 10cm stem and 15mm spacer IS NOT equivalent to 9cm stem and 0 spacer. I think to get the reach the same, you would need about 30mm spacers with the 10cm stem. Then the reach would be the same. But a lot lower with the 9cm stem.

morganb
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Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:30 pm

by morganb

Is this about two different size bikes? ie short stem no spacers is a larger frame, spacers and longer stem is a smaller frame?

Hexsense
Posts: 801
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:41 am

by Hexsense

morganb wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:31 pm
Is this about two different size bikes? ie short stem no spacers is a larger frame, spacers and longer stem is a smaller frame?
Sound very likely.
14-20mm stack and 7-10mm reach is about the ball park of difference between bike size 49 and 52.

sparklywheels
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:12 pm

by sparklywheels

As a clarification, there are two different size frames being compared here :) Handling and stiffness are the primary concerns, the two size fit identically. Aesthetics are irrelevant :wink:

ChiZ01
Posts: 204
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:20 pm

by ChiZ01

always choose the smaller reach frame, god forbid you have an injury or gained weight during winter, the smaller frame at least allows you to go down to a 90mm, where the larger frame 90mm is at the limit

robeambro
Posts: 523
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:21 pm

by robeambro

themidge wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:10 pm
Purely on looks, definitely the latter!

15mm spacers is a lot, I'd avoid it. 1cm in stem length is less of an aesthetic issue IMO. It depends on the frame size, but a 90mm stem usually looks fine when slammed. If it were 15mm spacers and a 13cm stem it might be a different issue.
15mm a lot? I mean, I’d say 30mm is a lot, but 15mm is fairly ordinary..

shimmeD
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Location: eNZed

by shimmeD

I'd proceed with caution, first checking on the trail differences between the two frames.
I've just changed my stem from 100 to 110 and can feel the subtle difference in the bike handling, which I much prefer. It is more reach (didn't change stack) which is also noticeable but I've been able to adapt. Same frame, so different to your situation of course.
Less is more.

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themidge
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Location: underneath sweet Scottish rain

by themidge

robeambro wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:03 pm


15mm a lot? I mean, I’d say 30mm is a lot, but 15mm is fairly ordinary..
If we're talking about aesthetics then yes, it is quite a lot as far as I'm concerned. Regarding function, 15mm isn't too bad IMO, 30mm would be a bit much I think.

OP, if you aren't taking looks into account, firstly, you should :wink: and secondly, a shorter stem with fewer spacers is likely to be stiffer than a longer one with more. Handling-wise, I defer to the expertise of others, I get used to most bikes' handling pretty quickly and forget about it until I ride a different bike.

morganb
Posts: 664
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:30 pm

by morganb

I've leaned towards a larger frame size with a shorter stem for handling preference lately, but I'm still running relatively long stems 100mm on my gravel bike and 120mm on road bikes, with a -12 or -17 if I need to get the stack down. I find the slightly longer wheelbases handle better for most conditions and the front end geo can get wonky on smaller sizes. It depends on where you are at on the frame size spectrum though.

by Weenie


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