Types of bicycle handlebar stems, their pros and cons
For a comfortable ride on the bike, you should correctly adjust all the elements. An example is the height of the seat and stem.
The element that secures the handlebars at the desired height is called the steering bracket. The detail is represented by a tube with clamps on both sides, due to which reliable fastening is ensured.
What is stem?
The stem is represented by the distance the handlebars are in relation to the frame.
Among the features of this indicator, we note the following:
- The more the takeaway, the further you will have to stretch your arms.
- The indicator is individual for everyone, so adjustment is carried out after purchase.
Types of bicycle handlebars, their pros and cons
Handlebar design can vary significantly.
The following types are distinguished:
- Extension with one fastener.
- Double bolt bracket.
- Steering stem secured by four bolts.
Almost all bikes today come with an adjustable stem.
This is due to the following advantages:
- It is possible to provide the most favorable conditions for riding a bike.
- In some cases, the same bike model is used by several people with their own preferences. That is why it is possible to carry out quick adjustments.
- Often, the element responsible for adjusting the position of the steering wheel allows it to be dismantled during transportation of the vehicle in question.
Non-adjustable option provides for fastening the steering wheel when applying the rigid method.
Among the features of this method, we note the following points:
- In most cases, fastening is carried out using bolts.
- The resulting structure is rigid, it can serve for a long period.
Varieties of unregulated stems
There is practically no non-adjustable offset. This is due to the fact that there is practically no universal indicator.
The mounting types are as follows:
- Bolts are most commonly used. They allow you to dismantle the steering wheel if necessary. The main part of the structure has holes for fixing.
- Old bicycles are created using welding technology. It allows you to get a high-quality and reliable connection.
Stem material and manufacturing technologies
The main part of the structure is represented by a bracket.
It can be manufactured using the following materials:
- Carbon steel. It is cheap and durable, but prone to corrosion.
- Modern bicycles are made using aluminum. The material does not react to high humidity.
Various technologies can be used in the manufacture of the bracket.
The most widespread are the following:
- Forging. This technology makes it possible to obtain lightweight and durable products that have a long service life. However, the production technology itself determines the high cost of the product.
- Welding. Such a product has a lot of weight in comparison with forged ones. Weld seams can wear out quickly. The weld seam is easy to obtain, which significantly reduces the cost of the product and determines its distribution.
- Milled are considered a versatile option, since they are more reliable than welded, but heavier than forged. Produced by milling cast blanks from various alloys.
- Mixed. In such a case, the fork clamp is located in the body of the bracket, the steering element by welding. This part is characterized by a relatively low price, as well as good quality and reliability.
The most important parameter is the stem length. For the correct choice of the indicator, the length must be measured correctly. The procedure is carried out using a conventional measuring device or vernier caliper.
The stem length features include the following:
- The short stem makes the bike easy to handle. They are often used on models designed to travel over rough terrain. Manufacturers make short stems massive and reliable.
- When traveling at high speed, models with a large offset should be used. Manufacturers are trying to make the design more streamlined to reduce the degree of drag when driving.
Dependence of the height of the rudder on the type of ride and landing
The height of the position is selected depending on how the seat is located.
Among the main recommendations, we note:
- Low location is chosen for cross-country movement.
- If the travel speed is high, the optimal position is chosen for the low position of the athlete above the frame.
In general, we can say that the parameter in question is selected depending on the scope of the bicycle and other points.
How to choose a stem?
When choosing a stem, a fairly large number of different points are taken into account.
The main ones are:
- The type of material used in the manufacture. Easy stem is selected when the bracket is manufactured using the forging method. In this case, there is confidence in the resistance of the connection to vibration and other loads.
- When choosing inexpensive bicycles, the most attention should be paid to the quality of the weld. Even minor defects can lead to reduced strength and reliability.
- Adjustable stem is matched to fit the rider’s preferences in a particular case.
After choosing the most suitable bike, you can proceed with the direct adjustment.
The instruction looks like this:
- To begin with, it is recommended to adjust the seat height.
- The elbow is pressed against the tip of the saddle.
- The tip of your finger should be touching the steering wheel. In this case, the deviation can be only a few centimeters.
- For long journeys, it is recommended to place the handlebars further away. This position provides conditions for a more horizontal position of the spine.
Features of dismantling and replacing the stem
The steering wheel should be replaced if various defects appear on the parts. If the stem is welded to the stem, then they change together. When fastening with bolts, it is enough to unscrew them, which requires a small set of keys.
Disassembly instructions are as follows:
- The pin is removed from the fork tube. Fastening is carried out by means of a fastening element in the central part.
- You can adjust the position of the holder using a special bolt that is loosened.
It is often necessary to adjust several times to find the most suitable position. Many cyclists change the position of the handlebars based on their own preference.
The stem is one of the key mountings, the correct installation and setting of which directly affects the degree of cyclist fatigue and the efficiency directly. Comfortable cycling requires not only choosing the right frame, setting the bike seat height, but also correctly adjusting the stem of the bicycle handlebar.
The angle of elevation of the handlebar, as well as its distance from the cyclist’s body, are regulated by means of the handlebar stem. The removal of the steering wheel is:
- unregulated. a type of steering wheel fastening, in which the fastening occurs by rigid welding or screwing with bolts;
- adjustable stem. a complex mechanical device that is screwed onto the steering pin and allows you to adjust both the stem length and the angle of the rudder.
Stem length is one of the most important parameters when choosing a stem. In order to choose the right stem, you need to learn how to correctly measure its length. To do this, use a micrometer to measure the distance between the middle of the center point of the fork and the middle of the steering clamp. This distance is the length of the stem.
The stem length parameters are selected exclusively individually, in view of the physical characteristics of each person. The average length is 35-100 millimeters, however, in the design of bicycles you can find stems with a length of 0 to 140 millimeters.
The shorter the stem, the easier the bike is to handle. Shorter stems are used more in mountain bikes, where increased reliability is needed when overcoming obstacles in rough terrain. That is why short stems are made massive and reliable to prevent breakage under load.
When traveling on highways, it is recommended to use longer stem models; this design is designed to reduce air resistance by changing the angle of inclination of the cyclist. But at the same time, it is necessary to observe the correct angle of inclination of 90 ° to prevent increased stress on the spine, which, if improperly seated, lead to chronic back diseases.
If while driving you get the feeling that the existing stem is significantly short, then this nuance is the first reason for an incorrectly selected bike frame, and in such cases you need to replace your bike.
How to choose the right stem
When choosing a stem, the following points should be followed:
- pay attention to the material from which one of the important elements of the bicycle is made. When choosing a light stem, the best option would be a forged one-piece stem, which gives confidence in the durability of all mating parts in extreme situations. This design can be made in a hybrid version when the steering clamp is attached to the steering column through the bracket. In this design, it becomes possible to adjust the angle of inclination of the steering wheel while maintaining all the technical characteristics of a fully forged stem;
- when buying cheaper options, special attention should be paid to checking the quality of the seam, since such steering stems are made in one piece, and the elements are fixed motionlessly by welding. This design has a number of disadvantages, including an increased specific gravity of the element, as well as the likelihood of cracking at the seams;
- for a better ride, try to select an adjustable stem, the parameters of which can always be adjusted to the individual characteristics of each cyclist.
Stems for major bike brands
Consider the types of stems on the main bike brands:
There are both adjustable and non-adjustable stems from 60 to 100 millimeters in length, which, thanks to the material, are lightweight. from 100 grams. Average price. 10 to 25.
The stems have a wide range of distribution, and therefore their length varies from 25 to 180 millimeters, the average cost is 12-27 US dollars.
Therefore, it is best to use milled aluminum stems with four 50 mm long mounting bolts. The cost of such bicycle elements ranges from 60 to 70.
Stem all terra. This extension is made in a forged version, which provides increased element reliability. Stem weight is only 145 grams, length is 90 millimeters and angle of rise is 5 °.
This part of the bike is not adjustable, so when buying a handlebar, you need to initially know the necessary parameters for the stem.
Cross Country stem. For cross-country competitions, handlebars with a length of more than 100 millimeters are used, the detailed selection of parameters depends on the height of the rider.
At the same time, a reduction in the stem weight is achieved due to the use of a one-piece unregulated mechanism, which does not provide for the use of additional nodes.
Handlebar height adjustment
The height of the bicycle handlebars is adjusted by adding rings under the handlebar stem. To do this, unscrew the steering column bolt and remove the steering wheel stem. After that, select the required number of rings, which will be the height adjusters. Next, reinstall the stem and tighten the steering column bolt securely. This completes the adjustment.
In the normal position, the handlebar height is less than 25 millimeters from the seat height, this combination ensures the quality of the aerodynamic functions of the bike. But this scheme has one drawback. the lower back is always curved and therefore the cyclist’s breathing can be difficult. This means that for a quality ride, you should correctly select the height of the steering wheel and seat. The seat height is adjusted with an adjusting bolt and should provide a comfortable riding position for the cyclist on different sections of the road.
Bicycle handlebar removal: what is it for and how to choose?
The stem is a vital part of the bike. It connects the handlebar itself and the fork stem, essentially representing a steering bracket. Accordingly, selection becomes a very important task.
This element is present on almost all types of bikes. But its characteristics may vary depending on the species. These are indicators such as material of manufacture, production technology, size, adjustment and inclination.
To select the stem, you should also take into account the diameter of the mounts: on regular bikes and mountain models, it can differ by more than 60 mm. In this regard, the choice becomes much more difficult. Short carriers are most commonly used on street bikes and stunt bikes.
If the binding is small, handling will improve and the rider will sit as straight as possible. In this case, the deflection of the frame is ensured even in the case when the steering wheel is turned slightly. This is very important in urban road conditions, as well as in the case when it is planned to overcome obstacles.
When it comes to road bikes, owners should opt for a long stem. This is due to the fact that driving on the highway requires significant speed and excellent aerodynamic performance. The design of the bike, as well as the position of the rider, affects the air resistance, reducing it. In this case, the extended stem provides a correct fit. The angle can be adjusted, accordingly, the fit is adjusted according to the height.
When it comes to mountain bikes, the medium-sized handlebar holders should be considered. And while long stems reduce airflow resistance, shorter stems can improve the bike’s maneuverability. When it comes to brackets of medium length, they successfully combine the main advantages of both types. With their use, you can adapt to the conditions of the territory where the movement takes place, respectively, the ride will be safer and more dynamic. If the bike does not have a special purpose, a universal stem should be installed on it.
This element is divided into types depending on the method of attachment. It can be fixed with 1, 2 or 4 fixing bolts.
The stems are divided into short, medium and long stems. There are also universal models. Some are fixed, while others can change both the steering angle and the distance to it. This is a very important point, since changing the angle allows you to make the position of the handles more convenient, respectively, the cyclist will be more comfortable and safe behind the wheel.
As for the size of the steering rack, it can be between 5mm and 140mm. Products with a length of up to 40-60 mm are called short and are mostly installed on city bikes. Universal holders are available in sizes from 60 to 100 mm. The size of the middle steering brackets is between 100 and 120 mm. The long handlebar bracket is most often used on trail bikes, its length can be from 120 to 140 mm.
And also the difference in diameter should be noted. The 25.4 mm holder fits on bikes designed for city travel. For mountain bikes, parts are 31.8 mm. And, finally, for trails. the indicator is 35 mm.
How to set the length of the bracket?
Ease of control of the bike, its maneuverability and the position of the rider most often depend on the height and angle of the steering wheel. Stem length refers to the distance from the center of the handlebar to the center of the headset. And the more significant this indicator, the more the person will sit at a greater inclination. It should be noted that when driving on uneven roads, a large stem is very inconvenient, but cyclists who have been driving for a long time feel comfortable with it.
The stem length is measured as follows:
- for a start, the saddle is installed in the most comfortable way for the bike owner;
- after that, an elbow is applied to the edge of his nose. with an ideal distance, the rider should reach the steering wheel with his fingers.
If you are planning mainly walks on city roads, the steering wheel should be slightly closer to the axis, and with long movements, on the contrary, a little further from it, which will allow the human body to be as horizontal as possible. In this situation, you can allow your fingers to touch the middle of the mount.
It should be noted that it is most convenient in most cases when the steering wheel is at a distance of 100-120 mm from the steering axle. If the cyclist feels uncomfortable with different mounting options, this may mean that the frame is too small. In this case, it makes sense to look for other options.
In addition, there are a few more nuances to consider. If a person is going to choose a long bicycle stem, he should be aware that the body will move in this case. Accordingly, the load on the front wheel will be increased. This can create certain difficulties when descending the mountain. However, on the climbs, on the contrary, it is very convenient.
With a short steering rack, the center of gravity moves back. This is useful when demonstrating bike tricks, as the front wheel can be easily lifted. In addition, the steering wheel twists more conveniently, respectively, it is easier to maintain balance, since the bike does not tilt to the side.
The cost of the part also depends on the choice of material of manufacture. The most affordable options are steel and iron. They are mainly used in domestic production. Among the minuses, first of all, one can name the serious weight of the products. This leads to the expenditure of unnecessary effort on the part of the cyclist, and also burdens the structure in general.
Better and more expensive parts are made on the basis of aluminum alloys, processed by cold forging. The optimal solution is carbon fiber. Products made from it are often used by athletes as they help reduce the weight of the bike.
How to choose the right stem for your bike?
A bicycle stem is a structural element that secures the steering tube to the steering column. The majority of Soviet bicycles did without this modification. Stems of various configurations and functionality are provided for modern bikes.
Outreach brackets differ mainly according to assembly features and material of manufacture. Let’s see what a bicycle stem is, how to choose a given structural element?
What are the takeaways?
When the main load falls on the front of the structure, a short bicycle stem is most often used. Long attachments are used for two-wheeled vehicles intended for long-term driving over diverse terrain. In general, the optimal stem length in most cases is about 120 mm. If a longer element is required, this can only mean that the bike frame is incorrectly matched to the rider’s height.
- Adjustable bicycle stem with one mounting element at the base.
- Products fixed with two bolts.
- With fastening in the form of four connections.
High quality products are made using cold forged aluminum alloys. A fairly common option is a bicycle stem, milled from cast aluminum. Steel and iron structures are also not uncommon. However, the latter refer to the budget option.
When it is necessary to reduce the total weight of a two-wheeled vehicle, lightweight, but at the same time extremely durable carbon fiber products are used.
Bicycle stem dimensions
Adjustable structures allow changing the distance. Unlike standard welded fasteners, such products fold and slide apart, increasing or, conversely, reducing the distance between the handlebars and the cyclist’s body.
Adjusting the stem of the bicycle in the vertical plane allows you to set the optimal position of the handles, which determines the maneuverability of the two-wheeled vehicle and ease of control.
How to choose a stem?
- Length. it is convenient to determine the parameter using the so-called “elbow method”. When the saddle position is adjusted, the elbow joint of the hand is applied to its end. The extended fingers must touch the steering wheel. For long distance riding, it is best to set the stem to a position where the fingertips end in the middle of the bracket.
- Materials. One-piece forged construction is the optimal solution for most cyclists. This option gives additional confidence in the resistance of the element to increased shock loads.
- Quality of connections. often the elements of the stem are connected by welding. This design has obvious disadvantages. The first place here is the increased likelihood of cracks and chips on the seams.
If a cyclist has just changed from an old Soviet model to a modern mountain or road version, it makes sense to install an adjustable steering column bracket first. Such a solution will allow you to select the optimal stowage position during long-term operation of two-wheeled vehicles.
In other situations, it makes little sense to install an adjustable system, since products with an abundance of moving joints cannot be called a model of reliability. In the event of aggressive driving, the presence of such a design increases the likelihood of injury and therefore unsafe.
When buying, you need to take a closer look at the appearance of the steering stem. The structure should not contain cracks, abrasions, and other defects. It is recommended to avoid single bolt attachments. A more reliable solution is a connection with several stable fasteners.
Replacing the stem
On columns with a threaded character, the pin is pulled out by releasing the central retaining nut. The task is accomplished using a special hex key. Installing a new part is easy enough. It is only necessary to select the correct size of the bracket, having decided on its type, and then assemble it in the reverse order.