How short a stem can you get away with on a gravel bike?

Especially for light weight issues concerning cyclocross / touring bikes & parts.

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Shrike
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by Shrike

I may need to get something 50mm to make the missus' bike fit (Cannondale Topstone), is that acceptable on these sorts of bikes?

Zakalwe
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by Zakalwe

I’d expect the steering to be pretty unsettling on a typical ~72d gravel head tube. What about shorter reach bars to help get the fit with a longer stem?

by Weenie


Shrike
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by Shrike

Bars have a 70mm reach already. Hard to find shorter, but I am looking..

blaugrana
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by blaugrana

Zakalwe wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:02 pm
I’d expect the steering to be pretty unsettling on a typical ~72d gravel head tube. What about shorter reach bars to help get the fit with a longer stem?
I don't see how that would make any difference. What makes short stem unsettling is the position of the hands relative to the steering axis. If you achieve the same position with a longer stem and a shorter reach bars, the handling will be the same (assuming similar stiffness and other variables).

Zakalwe
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by Zakalwe

Yes, it was in case the bars weren’t already short reach, and was mentioning it separately as another adjustment tool

CippoForLife
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by CippoForLife

Most gravel bikes have slacker head angles (70-71.5 degrees) which allow for the use of shorter stems.
Because of the inherent stability of those geometries, short stems do not impact handling all that much.
BUT, on a 72 degree head angle, not so much :(
In other words I think I agree with Zakalwe.

Zakalwe
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by Zakalwe

Looks like the Topstone has a 71 degree HTA in size S (that’s what I think the other thread you posted in mentioned) so maybe it’ll be ok. It’s still relatively steep compared to the DH bikes you normally see those short stems on, coming in the mid-60s normally

MikeD
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by MikeD

Stem length is a fit issue. Get the length that fits. I've heard of the tiller effect from very long stems, but short stems shouldn't be an issue.

spdntrxi
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by spdntrxi

from my experience.... you are going to want shorter for offroad. I was on a 120 initially kinda on a road bike fit and went with a 100mm redshift suspension stem. I did a short section of rain gutted damp -20% action yesterday that had me wishing for a dropper.

romanmoser
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by romanmoser

buy a bike that fit

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fa63
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by fa63

The HTA is 70 degrees on size XS, and 71 on size S. I think a 50mm stem will be fine. It will feel different at first, but I am sure she will get used to it quickly.
Last edited by fa63 on Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

frogtape777
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by frogtape777

Its like going from a 1000 DPI gaming mouse, to a 3000 DPI gaming mouse, lots less input required to turn and react, but you easily get used to this after 2-3 rides and adapt your steering style to suit.

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silvalis
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by silvalis

I've never adapted quickly to high dpi mice :)

What about wide flared gravel bars to compensate for the short stem? Will slow steering back down a touch.
Chasse patate

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mattyNor
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by mattyNor

It all depends on Geo but unless things are really sketchy you'll adapt between bikes after a couple km. Between my bikes I have as long as 130mm and as short as 80mm stems and going from my raciest bike to the gravel bike is a jump but it feels normal after a short while. Flaired bars are pretty polarizing I'm a massive fan but some of my riding buddies hate them, same can be said about oval rings (I'm also a fan of those). Image

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by Weenie


TheRich
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by TheRich

silvalis wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:14 am
What about wide flared gravel bars to compensate for the short stem? Will slow steering back down a touch.
Only when you're actually in the drops.

Where your hands are is what's important, gripping the tops on wide bars isn't going to do much.

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