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Do I need any spacers?

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Do I need any spacers?

Old 12-30-06, 08:12 PM
  #1  
munkyv22
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Do I need any spacers?

Already did a search...

I want to get my handlebars lower. My question is should I stick with my current 7 degree stem and remove all of the headset spacers and then cut the excess off the steerer (alu) tube. Do I need to have any spacers? It's a cane creek non-integrated headset.

Or.

Remove all but one 5mm spacer and get a 17 degree stem and install it flipped down and cut the excess off the steerer tube?

Just to save any arguments, I am not doing this for any OCP reasons, I just want my handlebars lower and I think that my current setup has way too many spacers (a hair over an inch).
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Old 12-30-06, 08:16 PM
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Leave one spacer but put it on top. Extra adjust ability will come in handy if you ever decide to sell.
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Old 12-30-06, 08:19 PM
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Do a lot of experimenting and riding before you cut your steer tube. Pretty tough gluing that steel tube back together after you cut it.
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Old 12-30-06, 08:22 PM
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i jut did what dial tone suggested works fine
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Old 12-30-06, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Frunkin
i jut did what dial tone suggested works fine
I'm considering it, but I am not crazy about having a lump above the stem. I guess that is kinda an OCP thing...

As for JimBud, I plan to do a lot of experimenting before I cut anything. I still have the old 17degree stem from my 1000 that I can play with too. I guess the question really boils down to:

Do I NEED any spacers between the stem and the headset? Other than resale and future adjustments, is there any reason - that is not occuring to me - to leave one or two there?
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Old 12-30-06, 08:42 PM
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Let's do some math. I assume the 7 degree stem is already in the lower (neg.) position. You say there are over 1 inch of spacers below it, so maybe 3cm. If you were to replace the stem with a -17 degree stem with no spacers, it would lower the bars just over 5cm. It would also lengthen the reach about 10.5mm. Assuming a 120 stem in both cases. Do you really want the bar 5cm lower? Why don't you just lower the stem you have 3cm by removing the spacers? Is that not enough?

Last edited by BikeWNC; 12-30-06 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 12-30-06, 08:59 PM
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You need to take this one small step at a time. You can always cut the steer tube shorter but you can never cut it longer.

I think you will always need at least one small spacer between the stem and the headset. Without a spacer you would have a metal to metal contact. The spacer(s) act a a bushing between the headset and the rotating stem.

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Old 12-30-06, 09:10 PM
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Trek Madone's have a shorter headset than most so spacers are not unusual.

I would use a flipped steeper stem and cut less of the headset.
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Old 12-30-06, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by rollin
Trek Madone's have a shorter headset than most so spacers are not unusual.

I would use a flipped steeper stem and cut less of the headset.
I just went thru a bunch of pics at cyclingnews.com from last year's TdF and most of the pros were running just a single spacer between stem and topcap. most of them had the tall conical shaped topcaps that are common on integrated headsets.


the Madones had Chris King headsets with more spacers


excpet McEwen's.... can't see any spacers here

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Old 12-30-06, 09:42 PM
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The Madone in the pic still doesn't look like it has as much of as drop as I am looking for...

I suppose I will have to ride it in various configurations and see what feels right.
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Old 12-30-06, 10:37 PM
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First go with a horizontal (-17) stem. Then move same stem lower in 1 or 2 stages until you have 1 tiny spacer between headset and stem. If that position is good(test over 500 miles) cut the excess steerer.
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Old 12-30-06, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by munkyv22
Do I NEED any spacers between the stem and the headset? Other than resale and future adjustments, is there any reason - that is not occuring to me - to leave one or two there?
No, but there is a good case for leaving one on top with carbon steerer tubes. If you leave space on top you can avoid pinching the tip of the steerer tube and reduce the risk of over tightening/cracking it. With some headset caps (mine) you HAVE to leave a spacer on top.
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Old 12-30-06, 10:47 PM
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terry b
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Originally Posted by munkyv22
Do I need to have any spacers? It's a cane creek non-integrated headset.
The advice about experimentation is spot on.

The answer to this simple question is "no" you do not have to have any spacers between the stem and the top cap. If it works for you, zero is fine. It's the way I build all my bikes.
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Old 12-31-06, 12:32 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Dial_tone
No, but there is a good case for leaving one on top with carbon steerer tubes. If you leave space on top you can avoid pinching the tip of the steerer tube and reduce the risk of over tightening/cracking it. With some headset caps (mine) you HAVE to leave a spacer on top.
I agree with dial tone, even with alum. steerertubes, its a good idea to put a spacer on top to keep the stress down.
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