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It's the time of year that I start tweaking my bike set-up and starting trying to improve position. This year I'm trying a longggger stem, and so far it seems to be working and I think it's faster. The only thing that scares me is that this is a pretty long stem for 'cross. It's a 130, which is the same as I use on my road bike. Usually I use a 120 for cross. The 130 feels very comfortable for me, and so far, driving the bike hard on grass, dirt, and in sand, the handling seems good - almost better. My long torso, short legs, and my preference for low bars makes going to a larger bike a little problematic - first I end up with very little seat-post showing, and the taller head-tube puts the bars too high. Even on my small bike I have the stem set as low as it can go. I'm even thinking of taking out the hanger and drilling a hole through the stem to get it even lower ... but that's another story.


Anybody use this long of stem on their cross bike? What do you think the down-side in handling is? I think I see stems this long on a lot of the European's bikes, but then maybe that's an optical illusion and of course that their courses are, well, European. Thanks for the input!

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Last year I noticed that I was getting a lot of numbness in my hands on my cross bike, so I went for a fitting with a well known cross guy here in NYC. After throwing me on a trainer the first thing he did was say I needed a longer stem. I've had a 130 on my bike for over a year now, and it definitely works for me. I'm sure it depends a lot on each persons body types, but if it works run with it. I can't see any reason that it would be a problem.
Thanks Michael - very good to know - I appreciate the input. I was just out in the park with two bikes - one with a 120 and one with a 130, and the 130 was much more comfortable. Glad to hear you didn't have any "handling" issues. Right now it feels like I can drive the 130 through the turns harder. Do you do a lot of racing? Did you notice any difference on different courses? surfaces?
I'm actually racing today, starting my season at Specta Cross in NJ. At first I felt a little nervous when there was really nasty slop on the course, because with a long stem I felt like my weight was more forward. After a while though, I realized that was more or less my imagination, and with a little longer reach I'm able to have a few more positioning options and can hit the turns just as hard. Anytime a course has a nice rideable section though, the longer stem really lets me crank on the pedals like I'm on my road bike.
Racing today! Lucky dog. We've got a month before we start 'cross here. It's crit season now and I can't wait to get through it.

Thanks again for the feed-back on the stem. It was just what I was looking for - somebody who had first hand experience with the issue. Everything you've said really validates my experiences so far - it's pretty cool. Hat's off to CX Mag for providing the forum for things like this. Thanks guys!

And good luck racing today Michael!
Sven Nys uses a 120mm stem, and Ryan Trebon uses a 130mm stem.
If it feels right for you, then go for it.

I'm also trying to get my bars lower this year (no spacers), and have had to buy a brake hanger with a much longer drop.
Feels a faster position.
Thanks pow ... the more I ride the130, the better and faster it feels. I'm also just moving up from a 120 which I've always used so it's not a great leap. However the 120 didn't make me ride like Sven, so there's not much hope that the 130 will make me rail like Tree Farm. But it's a nice thought!

I also like the bars as low as I can get them (which still isn't anywhere as near as low as I ride on the road). I've got all the spacers out now so the next step is to drill a hole through the center of the stem and drop it that way sans hanger. And, yeah, right now I use one of the long-drop hangers which is the deal on almost any set-up.


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