I have a bike I've owned for 15 years. The bike came with a quill stem, but now that I'm riding it more and more I want to buy a stem adapter.

  1. I'd like to raise the handle bar (presumably so I can be in the drops more). Length is another factor. I'm on the fence about length right now. Anything so that I can get the right fit to the bike.
  2. and if possible lose some weight on the bike at the same time.

What are the major things I should look out for when shifting to a stem adapter? Is it worth the expense?

I'm not looking to buy a new bike if I can avoid it. Thanks.

  • It would be very helpful if you could explain what you want to change to get a better fit. (i.e. higher bars, shorter reach or ???) Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 18:50
  • @FredtheMagicWonderDog I'm looking to be more comfortable in the drops, I suspect raising the bars will help. thank you. See edits. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


Quill stems are in general better for adjustment -- you have far more height adjustment than using a quill to threadless adapter like this:

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You'll probably end up combining the threadless adapter with an adjustable stem like this:

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in order to tweak the adjustment.

They do make adjustable quill stems:

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which will give you more adjustability for height and position.

The weight of your stem is negligible compared to the rest of the bike (and you), so the weight savings are inconsequential unless you're some top end racer (in which case, you probably want a new bike). So its pointless to do this for weight savings.

Things you need to look for in either option (threadless adapter + adjustable threadless stem or adjustable quill stem) are the clamp diameter (where the bar is gripped by the stem) and the diameter of the adapter or quill stem (i.e. the part which goes into the bike). If the diameter of the adapter or quill is different, the stem or adapter obviously won't fit in the bike and won't work. If the clamp diameter is different, you'll need to buy new handlebars.

Note that a stem only provides a bit of adjustment -- you may find that neither of them can make the bike fit for you in which case you need a different bike. I'd probably opt for the adjustable quill, since you can adjust the height more and in net it will probably be a bit cheaper if not about the same as the threadless adapter + adjustable threadless stem.

EDIT: In the comments, Fred the Magic Wonder Dog has pointed out Soma makes a super long threadless adapter (nearly a foot in length!). This would give you a good deal of height adjustment to which you can use an adjustable threadless stem. All in all though, I think both options will end up costing about the same.

  • 2
    My experience with adjustable stems is that they age quite badly. If you adjust them several times they tend to creaking and developing a certain amount of play. They are fine for finding a position but then it's better to switch to a fixed angle.
    – Carel
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 7:50
  • 2
    You can get very long adapters that will give you as much vertical range as the biggest quill stems. store.somafab.com/sohiristad.html Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 18:52
  • @FredtheMagicWonderDog - Wow, did not know about that product -- most of the ones i've seen have been relatively short.
    – Batman
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 21:23

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