Is there a Best Stem Length?

What is the best stem length for you? Does stem length affect a bike’s steering and handling?

This article by Matt Wikstrom does a great job of explaining how stem length impacts bike handling.  Article excerpts below. Visit the site for the full article.

Need help with bike stem length and fitting? Visit us at BikeSport. We will help make the best choice for you.

There are any number of stem length options on the market these days and it can be confusing knowing which one to choose. So what impact does stem length have on a bike’s steering and handling? And is there such thing as an ideal stem length?   CTech editor Matt Wikstrom asked some bike builders and put this piece together. 


Custom framebuilders are perhaps the best source of information on the matter of stem length. After all, they are in the business of building bikes that provide an ideal fit for their clients, and part of that process involves determining the best stem length for each frame they build.


To simplify matters, let’s consider a bike that has an adjustable front end that allows the overall reach to the handlebars to be kept constant as different stem lengths are fitted. In this circumstance, stem length dictates how much weight is placed on the front wheel. “The longer the stem,” explains Tom Kellogg, “the more the rider’s weight pushing forward on the bars tends to keep the front wheel pointing forward.” As a consequence, the bike becomes more stable, especially at high speeds, which accounts to some extent why pro riders normally opt for a shorter frame and a longer stem. The extra stability also helps with the control of high profile race wheels in windy conditions. Another important consideration is where the weight is placed, as shown in the figure below:

Correct Stem Size for YOU - BikeSport


Article by Matt Wikstrom
March 30, 2015
Photography by by Matt Wikstrom

BIG THANKS TO MATT FOR SHARING THIS KNOWLEDGE. Visit BikeSport and let us help you get the best fit for YOU.