When I got my bike built, I chose a 60mm-long stem. It's a single-speed bike with front and rear cantilever break (cyclocross model.) After riding on the bike for a couple of months, I have decided the stem is too short and I want to replace it with a stem that's 100mm long.

Is it likely that I can easily swap the two stems, or will I have to mount longer cables for the brakes?

Here is a picture of the cockpit

  • 2
    Is what is shown in the image a pretty good indication of how much cable is left over? To me it looks like it could be close, do you think you have an additional 40mm of cable? If it were me i think i would order the cables as well, try the install and if their to tight install new cables. Otherwise just save em for later when you need to replace them anyway.
    – Nate W
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 22:50
  • 4
    Measure out how far 40mm more will put your bar, undo the faceplate clamps on the stem and pull the bar 40mm out and observe the cables at this distance, you should be able to guess at that point. You don't want them so tight you can't turn lol
    – Nate W
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 22:51
  • Theres a decent chance you'll have to put longer cables. In any case, if you have the stem, the stem swap is a 5 minute job, then you can check if the cables are long enough. If they're too short, replace them.
    – Batman
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 2:59
  • 3
    The front will be fine, it's a lateral move for that one. For the rear brake...rotate the bars to their max, is the cable about to bind or does it have a lot of room left? That should start to answer your question.
    – kellbell
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 21:34
  • 3
    I suspect if you go into a bike shop and say "I have a new stem, but now I need new cables and bar tape" they will be happy to oblige. They make money out of selling the mechanic's time, and that's a reasonable amount of time to sell :) Or you could take this chance to learn a bunch more about bike maintenance and do the work yourself. A tip: buy some really cheap bar tap to use the first time. You will almost certainly stuff it up, so having a "practice roll" is worth while.
    – Móż
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 0:28

1 Answer 1


I went from a 60mm to a 100mm stem and there was no need to re-route the cables. As pointed out in the comments (thank you all for the comments!), this is not general and it really depends on how much cable there is. Fortunately in my case, there was enough.

On a related note, I had to add a spacer on top of the stem, because the new stem is lower than the one I had beforehand.


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