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artistic...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
once they were kings.. now they have a bad name. i'll come out and say: i like the long stem! whenever i tried shorter, 120's(now they are long, 120's), i went easily otb, didn't corner as well at speed and riding was harsh. sure, it is funny to throw the bike around w/ a short stem but it feels smoother w/ the "medium lenght" 135. maybe i'm all wrong.
 

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colker1 said:
once they were kings.. now they have a bad name. i'll come out and say: i like the long stem! whenever i tried shorter, 120's(now they are long, 120's), i went easily otb, didn't corner as well at speed and riding was harsh. sure, it is funny to throw the bike around w/ a short stem but it feels smoother w/ the "medium lenght" 135. maybe i'm all wrong.
It depends on the top tube length. I still use 130-135mm on my Bontrager, and a 130mm on my Blur. However, a 120mm works fine on a bike with a longer top tube. The LBS does look at you funny when you ask for a 130mm stem though.
 

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Recovering couch patato
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I once bought a 21" Giant, too small for me as it turned out. I needed a loooong stem to gt a correct fit on it, and scored a deal on a 150mm Control Tech. First small 5-step staircase I rode off, ended in a faceplant. I was used to taking that thing with a 120-130mm, and didn't think of my longer stem.
I still have a Titec steel 150mm stem, unused, that I'm trying to find a good purpose for.
I must say, on straight or flowing trails, long stems give a relaxed feeling. On my 29" bikes, I now consider 110-120mm and long top tubes to be the sweet spot for allround riding properties. This may all turn back around in a few years, time will tell.
 

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Illuminati
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135, that aint too bad. I used a 150mm for years!

how times change
nearly all my (in use!) bikes now are 110mm.
anyone want to buy a mint 120mm 10deg rise 7 ti stem?! rode my FAT in the week & couldnt believe how different it felt!

ta

scant
 

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Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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I only own 1 mtb stem shorter than 135mm

So to me 135mm is still a pretty standard size. I must have a long torso or something becasue at 6' tall I havent found a frame with a long enough top tube to let me run anything shorter.....and I ride 20-21" c-c frames.
 

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I've got to say, 135mm stems are one of the things I am glad are no longer around. I feel downright terrified going down anything with a stem of that length anymore. I am down with 50mm forks, 7sp drivetrains, thumbshifters, steel frames, even rim brakes, but I am sticking with my 75- and 100mm stems on all my MTB's.
Tim
 

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you're not wrong

the trend to short stems is just another part of the industry's attempt to dumb down mountain bikes for the masses. a long stem on a bike with a 71 degree head angle can be twitchy if you're a newbike and not smooth on the bike, due to the leverage of the longer tiller.
but longer stems also require less upper body input and less conscious steering input to control the bike, I've always described a bike with a nice long stem as "steering from the hips" like a road bike, vs steering from the shoulders, which always annoys me when I ride my SS with a shorter stem.
My two "good" mtbs, not counting the one with dirt drop bar and LD stem, both have 135 x 0 degree Ringle stems, The Perfect Stem in terms of weight, strength, aesthetics, lack of ugly protruding clamp bolts; both with moderate riser bars, and both handle superbly. I would hate them with shorter stems.
other examples of dumbing down bikes for the unschooled masses: V-brakes that can be installed by trained monkeys but lack the tunability of canti brakes; shitmano shifters with front click shifting and inadequate trim adjustment; hype-er-glide ramps and pins and such whatever they call it this year so you don't have to learn how to shift but at the expense of fast ring and cog wear and the change to bust chains under load; idiotproof cartridge bearing BBs that require no skill to "adjust" but of course can't be serviced; and Genesis geometry for idiots who can't help flying over the handlebar because they never learned to ride well.
 

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On the old bikes you had to have a long stem. The top tubes were shorter. Now, you dont need them. Top tubes are longer and head tubes are steeper. A lot of the old Bullmoose on Fishers and Ritcheys are 170 even. A 150 on a modern bike is tougher to ride on technical fast stuff due to the incorrect weight distribution it would cause.

I dont know that I like the steering feel any better either way from a 110 to a 150. It just depends on the bike to me.
 

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artistic...
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Fillet-brazed said:
On the old bikes you had to have a long stem. The top tubes were shorter. Now, you dont need them. Top tubes are longer and head tubes are steeper. A lot of the old Bullmoose on Fishers and Ritcheys are 170 even. A 150 on a modern bike is tougher to ride on technical fast stuff due to the incorrect weight distribution it would cause.

I dont know that I like the steering feel any better either way from a 110 to a 150. It just depends on the bike to me.
steeper head angles? modern bikes have 71/73 angles froont and back don't they? some of our old frames had from 70 to 72º up front. tomac raleigh, although not a production bike, was 72 at the front and he rode w/ 135 stems.
what changed for sure was what can or can not be ridden: hucking, jumping etc.. are new. those don't feel good on low and long stems. sometime ago we would climb and bomb downhills or cruise fast singletrack.switchbacks were rad.
old frames had a shorter wheelbase.. i mean old as in late 80's. a xl ibis has 42in wb, a medium one has 41.5. a small modern hardtail has a 42in wheelbase due to an extended top tube and a 71º head tube. i don't know if i like ridin a long bike in the singletrack...
 

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colker1 said:
steeper head angles? modern bikes have 71/73 angles froont and back don't they? some of our old frames had from 70 to 72º up front. tomac raleigh, although not a production bike, was 72 at the front and he rode w/ 135 stems.
what changed for sure was what can or can not be ridden: hucking, jumping etc.. are new. those don't feel good on low and long stems. sometime ago we would climb and bomb downhills or cruise fast singletrack.switchbacks were rad.
old frames had a shorter wheelbase.. i mean old as in late 80's. a xl ibis has 42in wb, a medium one has 41.5. a small modern hardtail has a 42in wheelbase due to an extended top tube and a 71º head tube. i don't know if i like ridin a long bike in the singletrack...
Well, except for Tomac's bikes, 72 degrees was quite rare. I was mainly talking about even older bikes than that though. The 150 low stem became en vogue probably around 86-87 when top tubes were short and head angles were more laid back. I think too, that later, in the early 90s, as top tubes lengthened and head angles steepened, a long stem was just the way a mountain bike was and thats the configuration we knew. It was a slight compromise when going down but we didnt know any better and went fast anyway. Theyre great for steep climbs. Now people use risers and a shorter stem and prefer to take their advantage on the downhill.

Given the longer front ends nowadays, I think we can safely say that as a whole the cross country MTB world rides quite a bit more upright than 15 years ago.
 

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bulC said:
the trend to short stems is just another part of the industry's attempt to dumb down mountain bikes for the masses. a long stem on a bike with a 71 degree head angle can be twitchy if you're a newbike and not smooth on the bike, due to the leverage of the longer tiller.
but longer stems also require less upper body input and less conscious steering input to control the bike, I've always described a bike with a nice long stem as "steering from the hips" like a road bike, vs steering from the shoulders, which always annoys me when I ride my SS with a shorter stem.
My two "good" mtbs, not counting the one with dirt drop bar and LD stem, both have 135 x 0 degree Ringle stems, The Perfect Stem in terms of weight, strength, aesthetics, lack of ugly protruding clamp bolts; both with moderate riser bars, and both handle superbly. I would hate them with shorter stems.
other examples of dumbing down bikes for the unschooled masses: V-brakes that can be installed by trained monkeys but lack the tunability of canti brakes; shitmano shifters with front click shifting and inadequate trim adjustment; hype-er-glide ramps and pins and such whatever they call it this year so you don't have to learn how to shift but at the expense of fast ring and cog wear and the change to bust chains under load; idiotproof cartridge bearing BBs that require no skill to "adjust" but of course can't be serviced; and Genesis geometry for idiots who can't help flying over the handlebar because they never learned to ride well.
Fine, call me stupid if you want, and go into a tirade about all the other stuff you don't like about new bikes while you're at it. Me, I cut my teeth on a bike with a short top tube, long stays, rigid fork and 135mm stem. I did a lot of steep descents on that bike that I wouldn't try these days, but that has more to do with being younger and less wise than bike geometry and stem length. I realize that kind of bike has some advantages, but not enough for me to go back to them.
As for V-Brakes being meant for chimps, well, there's no need to take such an elitist position. Fine, they're meant to be easy to adjust. That's good. Is a bike there to be difficult to repair to the extent that it allows only a mechanic or total bike geek to fix it? Or is it there to ride? Besides, you attacked indexed front shifting on the grounds that it lacks trim adjustment. By the logic of "harder to adjust is for smart people" logic, then the harder to adjust indexed front shifting should be the ticket. Genesis geometry for idiots? Give me a break.
 

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artistic...
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Fillet-brazed said:
Well, except for Tomac's bikes, 72 degrees was quite rare. I was mainly talking about even older bikes than that though. The 150 low stem became en vogue probably around 86-87 when top tubes were short and head angles were more laid back. I think too, that later, in the early 90s, as top tubes lengthened and head angles steepened, a long stem was just the way a mountain bike was and thats the configuration we knew. It was a slight compromise when going down but we didnt know any better and went fast anyway. Theyre great for steep climbs. Now people use risers and a shorter stem and prefer to take their advantage on the downhill.

Given the longer front ends nowadays, I think we can safely say that as a whole the cross country MTB world rides quite a bit more upright than 15 years ago.
i forgot to mention bridgestone... 72º mb's. but they were not the norm.
my next bike will have a 41.5 wb. i'm still not convonced on the merits of short cs, looong top tube, looong wb and very short stems. my main doubt is: rigid or susp. fork?
 

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That's what is on most of my bikes...

colker1 said:
once they were kings.. now they have a bad name. i'll come out and say: i like the long stem! whenever i tried shorter, 120's(now they are long, 120's), i went easily otb, didn't corner as well at speed and riding was harsh. sure, it is funny to throw the bike around w/ a short stem but it feels smoother w/ the "medium lenght" 135. maybe i'm all wrong.
Got 110 on the bike with the 72 Deg headtube and the 135's on all the other bikes.

The shorter stems just don't feel right. Probably due to when I started riding too. All the short stems back then were on the crap bikes. Tried a Sugar, and my first thougt was... maybe I can go to a smaller frame size and a longer stem. :)

JmZ
 

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Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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remember 'em? I own lots still. Should see my stem drawers...filled with 130 to 150mm threaded and threadless stems.

Hell, I just bought six NOS girvin flexstems (threaded) and 4 of them are 130 or better.
 

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colker1 said:
i forgot to mention bridgestone... 72º mb's. but they were not the norm.
my next bike will have a 41.5 wb. i'm still not convonced on the merits of short cs, looong top tube, looong wb and very short stems. my main doubt is: rigid or susp. fork?
My custom MTB has got 16" stays, 71-74, and a 41.5" wheelbase. It feels fine with the 75mm stem, but sometimes I do have some trouble getting enough weight on the front wheel in turns. Maybe I will go to something longer, 100mm would be the max, though. As the bike is set up now, I can roll down some pretty steep stuff without thinking of endoing, and the thing climbs well enough, sort of slow and sure going up, as opposed to being able to get a little more ast and aggressive like on a bike with a long stem.
 

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Back from the dead...

135mm stems quite the sh!t back in the days of Johnny T and Ned.
It wasn't too long ago really. Even my 2001 Stumpie FSR came with a 130mm as OE.

I road a 135mm/6deg stem on my old Superlight with flats and barends.

Retired it for a couple of years and chucked it into the magical tupperware-bin-o-parts. Switched to a 100mm and a 1.5 riser bar.

Dug it out recently to mount my Jones H-bars, which require a 15-25mm longer than your usual stem. I am glad I didn't give it away back then. It's a light Azonic ORC stem with a wide clamp. Now it's back on the bike again. Pays to be a bike parts pack rat sometimes...
 

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Not retro, but ...

There's nothing retro about this bike, but I ride it with a 130mm Thomson stem. It works great for me.

 

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occupation : Foole
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DeeEight said:
remember 'em? I own lots still. Should see my stem drawers...filled with 130 to 150mm threaded and threadless stems.

Hell, I just bought six NOS girvin flexstems (threaded) and 4 of them are 130 or better.
LOL !!! I still have a well used 135mm FlexStem laying around in the garage somewhere, along with several never been used elastomers.....it's funny - once upon a time (oh, ...ummm, .... 12 ?? 13 years ago ???...something like that) races were won on FlexStems (of course, they would've won with whatever stem, but looking back, it's pretty amusing) Now, D8...just what're ya gonna do with 6 NOS FlexStems ??? LOL !!!
 
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