Bike stems will come in a range of different sizes to suit different riders and different riding disciplines. Things consider when looking to upgrade or replace your stem are your budget, materials, compatibility and how it’ll alter the fit of your bike.
Bike Stems for Sale
While it may seem that a stem’s only job is to connect your handlebars to your fork, it actually plays a big role in the setup and feel of your bike.
Each discipline will have it’s own requirements on the functionality of the stem and this will often change the length, diameter and shape. For instance, a road or track bike stem will typically be 90mm or longer to improve stability at speed but slow handling, whereas BMX and Mountain Bike stems will generally be short and stubby to allow for a quicker change of direction and a more rearward weight bias.
When buying a stem, there are many compatibility issues to consider. First, you need to work out whether you’re after a threadless stem or a more traditional quill stem (for use with a threaded headset). If you’re on a modern bike, it’s highly likely you’ll need a threadless stem. Ensure the diameter matches that of your fork’s steerer tube. From there, pay close attention to the handlebar clamp diameter, popular sizes include 25.4mm, 26mm, 31.8Mm (modern day standard) and 35mm.
Bike stems are required to be somewhat stiff to allow for direct. They’re commonly manufactured from different grades of steel (cheap versions) or aluminium, with more expensive options sometimes made of carbon fibre.
It is worth noting that a change in stem dimensions will typically alter the fit, feel and handling characteristics of your bike due to the differences in stem angle (rise) and length. We recommend incremental changes to your bike’s fit.
For more information, check out the BikeExchange blog for a guide on [how to understand bike geometry] or have a word with your local bike shop about getting a bike fit done.