Bike Stem Buying Guide

Bike Stem Buying Guide

There are a wide range of stems and many commuters, novice cyclists or hybrid bike riders prefer a more upright riding position which can help take pressure off your hands and the lower back. This creates a more relaxed riding position for some. Although many stems are a fixed height these days there are some stems that are adjustable so you can create your ideal riding position.

There are two main fitting types the first is called "ahead" and will clamp around the fork steerer. The fork steerer for this fixing type is un-threaded and usually 1"1/8 th in diameter. The second is quill stems which will clamp inside the threaded type of fork steerer and often measures 22.2mm or 25.4mm in diameter. These stems will have their size etched on the at the bottom of the stem. The easiest way to understand which type of Stem you have is to remove it from the bicycle and if it's in an "L" shape then you have a quill Stem and if its straight then you have an ahead type. Please call us to discuss your requirements if you are in any doubt and our staff will be able to advise you of the correct fitting for your bike.

Both stems are available in different lengths and qualities. The A-head type is the most commonly used now and stems can be made from steel, alloy, magnesium, carbon and titanium. As the price goes up the stem gets lighter and stiffer. Although these stems are a fixed length most can be flipped over to give either a positive rise or a negative rise. A 6-7-degree difference can account for a 1cm rise or drop at the handlebar clamp.

For more advanced riders, stems are often upgraded to adjust a riding position by being longer or shorter, with a subtly differing angle of rise or both. Higher end stems are made of complex alloys or carbon fibre meaning they are lighter and stiffer offering more direct steering.

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