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After a couple of rides on his new TdF my father is finding the stem reach a tad much. He is a pensioner so not as flexible as he once was.

The stem is a 105mm. So would an 80mm stem mess the handling up too much? Ideally that would suit, or is he better with a 90mm?

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dave atkinson [6251 posts] 6 years ago
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It shouldn't do. I've swapped stems on plenty of bikes in my time with few ill effects. It might affect the handling a bit (it'll quicken the steering a touch) but it's not going make a huge difference. One other possible side effect is that he'll start to touch the bars with his knees if he's climbing out of the saddle, depending on his style and the length of the top tube. Maybe try a 90mm and if it's still too long go for an 80?

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 6 years ago
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Thanks Dave. Good advice. Not sure if he tried that or not tbh. I'll get him to check.

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TheHatter [770 posts] 6 years ago
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I guess he's tried flipping the stem upside down so its higher and therefore a little nearer?
Also I've gone down to a 90 with no noticeable affect on handling

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Fish_n_Chips [486 posts] 6 years ago
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Sit him on the bike and view him from the side-check his posture. Is the bike too big? How tall is he compared to the top tube etc.

Short stems make the ride twitchy and while we can adapt to it you will find older people may take longer as the first things in ageing brains is the balance control and we lose flexibility.

I would try him on 90mm stem with a 10 degrees angle rise and it will take him 2-4 weeks of riding to get used to it. Maybe with a few months of riding he could try a 100mm so don't spend loads on a flashy stem.

Make sure he has some bend in elbows and not locking them out by being overstretched out.

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 6 years ago
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The stem is in flipped position so that one is ruled out. I don't live local enough to have seen him on the bike yet tbh. I met up with him one lunchtime to do the deal (a deal I was pretty proud of really - if you haven't read it in another thread we got it for £255.)

Sizewise the bike is spot on IMHO. I am just under 6' and ride a 56cm frame after my bikefit. My Dad is 5'9" and the bike is a 54cm.

It is more down to his lack of flexibilty at his age but mtbing has got too muich for him really so wants the road to keep cycling and isn't a hybrid type of guy. (I have to get it from somewhere!)

I am trying to push him towards the 90mm as I feel it will be a better move and have spotted some good deals on stems that length lol!

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dave atkinson [6251 posts] 6 years ago
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you want to get him watching some of the yoga vids in the fitness section, that'll get him moving  1

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 6 years ago
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I would go for a stem with more rise - a bigger angle. You want to reduce the saddle to handlebar top drop.

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 6 years ago
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I don't think, from what he explained to me, the issue is the height of the bar but more getting to the brake levers! It's just that touch of a stretch.

Thanks for all the advice and comments though - another reason why I am really impressed with this site.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 6 years ago
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To reach the bars you bend down (which is harder when you are less flexible) as much as reaching forwards. A stem with a bigger angle both reduces straight line distance from the saddle (for the same length stem), and means you don't need to bend down as far, reducing the apparent distance to the bars.

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dave atkinson [6251 posts] 6 years ago
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maybe an adjustable stem?

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 6 years ago
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Good points raised. Thanks guys.

I had a dig round my spares box and did find a shorter stem with higher rise, sadly it was 25.6 not 31.8 diameter. Typical!

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 6 years ago
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On what!  4 Like he has the internet!!  13

I did lend him a 'setting up road bikes' dvd which was free with mag years ago (Cycling+ possibly?)

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Fish_n_Chips [486 posts] 6 years ago
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Tie some money or beer on to the drops?  19

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 6 years ago
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You know him then? lol

Actually found an 80mm stem from Prolight on sale at CRC and that is now fitted and he is happy. Had to add a thin metal washer to take up a gap to stop any headset rocking but other than that job done. Huge weight difference between old and new stem too.