How To Measure A Bike Stem

As we all know, you can have a good or bad experience while using a bike. If you ignore some essential parts of your cycle, of course, the result won’t be sweet. We will discuss more on how to measure a bike stem for your comfort and everything that has to do with the stem. The length, width, handlebars and so on.

Before we talk about the measurements, lets us understand some basics first. Why is the stem’s length so important? When you are riding, your body weight must be well distributed. This is because if your body hangs over and over as you ride, you will strain the shoulders, neck, and back. It is not a good sign because it can lead to health complications.

What is a bike stem?

It is a component on the bike that joins the handlebar into the bicycle fork’s steerer tube. Another name of the bike stem is goose neckline. The stem length of the stem can significantly influence the performance of your bike. If the stem is short, the speed is good. But if it is long, the speed is a bit slow. But you can alter your bike’s stem to fit your preferences.

Forms of bike stem

There are two forms; Quill and threadless stem.  The Quill is the oldest form of the stem that is either made from aluminum or steel. It is known to walk hand in hand with a threaded fork that goes up to the headset. When the Quill is inserted well, the fork steerer tube’s length must not go over the headset.

Threadless stem being the baby in town, it doesn’t fit in the fork steerer tube. The fact that it goes above makes it suitable for people who love changing their stalks regularly. It also comes in different colors, configurations, and angles. Most people prefer this form of stem.

Now that we understand the basics let’s focus on how to measure a bike stem. We will focus on the length, width, and rise of a bike. 

Before we start, the bike’s stem length is measured in millimeters. While doing your measurements, be careful because a slight difference can mess you big time. It can lead to a long, short, or stem that doesn’t fit at all. Always round off to the nearest zero in case the measurement doesn’t add to tens. The reason being, you might not have appropriately measured.

The sitting position should also determine how your bike’s length will be. A person with long arms will differ from that of a person with short arms.  So when doing the measurement, first consider your comfort while riding to avoid fatigue.

How to measure the length

What you will need;

  • Tape measure
  • Calculator
  • Pencil
  • A piece of paper for recording

Identify the center points of the bike frame and handlebars and mark them. The center points should be where the stem attaches to the frame and the handlebar. When you do that, you will realize your stem length is longer than the length between the two parts. That is why it is essential to mark properly to avoid buying the wrong size of the stem.

Let your bike lean on a frame or wall to make it stable. Make sure that it is stable enough so that the measuring can be more manageable. It doesn’t make a lot of difference whether it moves or not, but ensure it is stable for your comfort.

From there, use your tape measure and take measurements from the two markings. As we noted earlier, the measurements should be taken in millimeters. So if you are using centimeters or meters, you can always covert.

How to measure the width of the stem

Modern bikes will differ a little from the older bikes when it comes to the stem’s width. You will realize that the older ones might have an inch difference, but not to worry. When it comes to such, you can always find connectors to help you solve that hitch.

When it comes to measuring the width, always know that we use inches. You may not be able to round to the nearest zero simply because you have to be very precise with this—no room for errors when it comes to the width.

To take the measurements, use your tape measure, and place it perpendicularly to the stem. That will give you the correct measurement.

How to measure the rise

It is equally important to know how to measure the rise because it will determine your bike stems accurate size. To measure this, you don’t need the millimeters and inches, but it is done in degrees.

In order to take the correct measurements use a protractor and a pencil. Use the vertical line of the stem to give you correct figures. Place your protractor at the center of the vertical line. They should be in the same line.

You will get a degree that is above 0. For example, the degree may be between 5 to 7 degrees or even 0. So when you place your protractor correctly, you will get the correct figure, which is the rise of your stem.

The handlebar is equally essential when it comes to stems measurements. Let’s take a look at how to measure its diameter and determine the width.

Diameter

Measuring the diameter of a handlebar, you can use the two most known methods. One is by use of calipers and the other one a measuring tape.

Adjust the calipers to your handlebar to get a tight grip. Until you feel the grip is tight enough, that’s when you know the measurements will be correct. It is as simple as that.

In case you need to use the tape measure, it’s okay too. Take your tape measure and measure around your handlebar. Record your measurement and then divide by pi. It should give you the correct measurement.

Width

The width of the handlebar varies from one user to another. Some riders prefer it to be the same as the handlebar, whereas others prefer it to be wider. Whichever a person chooses, it fits their comfort preferences. So how do you determine the width?

The one with the same size as the shoulder focuses on the distance between the two joints. Look out for the bump on top of your shoulders and measure it. That will help you get the right size that you need on your handlebars. Those who love it to be wider adjust the measurements slightly, and you will have the correct width.

Conclusion

The size of the stem on your bike can make you love or hate riding. Most people complain of neck and shoulder discomfort while riding. The problem is that they don’t know how to take the correct measurements for the stem. But once you take some time to understand the whole process, you will always have a smooth ride. It doesn’t take much time to do it in the right way, but it can take time to heal your sore shoulders, back, and neck. Through the steps we have stated above, you will measure your bike’s stem and adjust it to your comfort.

 

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