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The stem on my bike is at roughly negative five degrees. If I were to flip it upside down, thus making it positive five degrees, might I be putting pressure on parts of it that were not designed for pressure?

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Almost all stems (aside from a few very expensive carbon ones!) are designed to be mounted either way around. The pressures are in the same direction regardless of which way up it is. (they're just reversed)

They are designed to be used either way up, otherwise manufacturers would need to produce double the number of stems to create positive and negatively angled setups.

Out of curiosity I've just looked through a range of carbon stems online, and the vast majority of them are of an identical construction to their less exotic counterparts (complete with writing on both sides) There were a couple of stems that integral mounts for computers that didn't seem to be reversible. But by and large, they all appear to be designed to be used either way around.

  • I wonder if this is true for carbon stems as well. For aluminium it certainly is. – Michael Aug 19 '15 at 12:09
  • @Michael that was actually why I went back and added the possibly all - but if you're going out and buying carbon stems, you're probably up on what you're doing enough to know what's possible – Michael B Aug 19 '15 at 12:11
  • One more thing: Aluminium stems usually have “±X°” written somewhere, so it’s even manufacturer-approved. – Michael Aug 19 '15 at 12:15
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    Another sign that it's ok would be lettering on the stem. Most that I've seen have logos and the like printed so that they will read right side up regardless of how you mount the stem. – dlu Aug 19 '15 at 13:59
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    Carl it is one of those things that is often just taken as presumed knowledge so the '±' is implied (just to make us feel stupid at times!) but if the lettering is the same on the other side, its a safe bet... – Michael B Aug 19 '15 at 20:44

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