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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am seeing a lot of people here that use a shorter stem on their RFX as compared to the more XC bikes. I currently have a 90mm stem on the RFX, (which came off the Spot), which is pretty comfortable both climbing and descending.

What should I expect from a little shorter stem, e.g. 70mm (set up to place the handlebar at the same height as before)? Should I expect a significant improvement in descending?. A significant degradation in climbing? Nothing significant and not worth the effort?
 

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Natl. Champ DH Poser/Hack
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more like the 1st and 2nd senarios. yer weight will be more up n back, right? so that weight transfer will make ya more stable as you desend and/or speed up. ya might find cornerin and climbin to be more difficult but many times this can be countered with a revised body position. just suck the bar up into yer chest and keep the body mass low. does this fix the change? no, but it will help. its all a compromise.

now its the same way on the other end of the spectrum. where i live its reletively shortish but massively steep climbs so i go long in the stem. 100mm on a med '07 rfx, 120's on my traditional xc rigs. great for climbs but kinda sketchy if it gets super fast or super stepp on the downs as a rule. alas i have adapted so it doesnt bug me as much as it might the next guy.
 

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go

with a 80mm sunline v1stem it's stiff and lite and not as drastic in size as a 70 to 90:thumbsup:
 

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70mm here

I am running an FSA FR200 70mm with a 6 degree rise here on a large '07 RFX but I have a 115mm - 160mm Lyrik 2-Step air, so the shorter stem is not a problem for the climbs.

I fit just right in the cockpit; i.e., I am cockpit back for the descents as well as cockpit forward for the climbs. If I had a fixed travel fork, that might make me look at a 90mm stem instead.
 

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I have been riding my 06 RFX w/TALUS 36 and 50mm stem w/hi rise bar here in SW Utah for a week now. I've found it to be the perfect set-up for the trails I've been on. Gooseberry, Little Creek, Guacamole, Broken Mesa, and Church Rocks. Lots of short steep climbs and descents and the short stem hasn't hindered the climbing one bit. I am probably shifting my weight forward more but not consciously. Descending has of course been better but handling in the tight single-track has been good too. The short stem quickens the steering but the bike remains stable with the 68 degree head angle.

http://www.leelikesbikes.com/stem-lengthrise-for-a-trail-bike.html#more-326
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info. I'm going to find out. I got myself a cheapo 75mm stem, which places me 15mm rearward of my original position when I add spacers to place it in the same height as before. Let the games begin... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well... exactly as CC stated, the 75mm as compared to the 90mm stem makes for a pretty different ride. It hinders climbing a little, makes the technical descents a little more fun, and as Steve stated I now need to use my TALAS much more to enjoy climbing.
Nothing really new here.

Strange thing is though, that I am not really that sure yet that the switch was worth it. The 90mm seemed to have a nicer balanced overall feel...
 

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Natl. Champ DH Poser/Hack
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be sure to give it some time to allow ya to adapt. if yer not happy by ride #5, its time to rethink. maybe less.
 

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tald said:
Thanks for the info. I'm going to find out. I got myself a cheapo 75mm stem, which places me 15mm rearward of my original position when I add spacers to place it in the same height as before. Let the games begin... :)
tald- food for thought- you might try running the shorter stem, but lowering your bars by removing spacers if you can....lower bars will help balance your weight for climbing, and are better suited to pumping the bike through rough terrain & off things.
 

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tald said:
What should I expect?
better handling....



Tal, i have a 55 mm stem on my med 5 spot (down from 90) and climbing is pretty much the same somehow - go figure. of course all things decending and jumping are way more fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Thanks guys.
FM's point is interestng - that I can get better rough terrain handling, as I am currently running the saddle [edited] at the same height as the bars.
Anyone willing to tell me how you setup your handlebar height vs the seat with these short stems? thanks!
 

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tald said:
Anyone willing to tell me how you setup your handlebar height vs the seat with these short stems? thanks!
How high is your bar (grip) relative to your seat? Bars level with seat or slightly higher (1/2 inch or so) would be a good starting point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hmmm... typo... I meant I am currently riding the saddle at the same height as the handlebars. FM points that I can gain a better ride from a lower bar setup - and I'm wondering what you guys are running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A little searching shows superstock has his bar 3" under the saddle, since "Having the bars lower makes for better cornering on the descents." I guess I'm in for some more experimenting (although I'll start a little more reserved :))
 

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With my TALUS at 160mm my bars are just a smidge higher than my saddle but when I drop it down to 130mm it is lower. When riding the rear sags more than the front because most of my weight is over the rear shock so the bar is probably higher than it looks. The ability to drop the fork travel gets me pretty close to 5 Spot geometry with a 69.5 HA, and 73.5 SA. I use this for twisty single track, sustained climbing, and any roads.
 

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tald said:
A little searching shows superstock has his bar 3" under the saddle, since "Having the bars lower makes for better cornering on the descents." I guess I'm in for some more experimenting (although I'll start a little more reserved :))
I was running my bars at about 1" above the saddle height on my RFX to follow the conventional wisdom of higher bars=better control. When I went to the skills clinic in November, it was suggested that I lower the bars to get my weight lower in the corners (this assumes that my saddle is also dropped). I made the change and the bike just seemed to [cliche]come alive[/cliche]. Much more balance and control.
 

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tald said:
A little searching shows superstock has his bar 3" under the saddle, since "Having the bars lower makes for better cornering on the descents." I guess I'm in for some more experimenting (although I'll start a little more reserved :))

id say that i have my saddle about handlebar height with the GD at the lower position, but thats a derivative of the higher position being at ideal pedaling height. its good for 99%of all technical/downwards riding conditions (4" GD), although if occasionally I'm doing a new element ill open the qr and push 'er all the way down.
 
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