I was wondering what the steering/handling differences would be (if any) between the two combinations below? Assume rider's hands are on bar hoods. Combo 1 = 90 stem and bar with 80mm reach. Combo 2 = 90 stem and new bar with 70mm reach.

My current setup is Combo 1 but I feel I am slightly stretched out. I would also consider a Combo 3 of new 80 stem and bar with 80mm reach (would be cheaper than #2).

I have had a Retul fit done for my older bike. The new bike I got (2 weeks ago) was fitted by the sales person. I am having a painful adaptation to the new bike fit.

I roughly measured the difference in diagonal reach from mid-saddle to the bar (center) near the hoods. The old bike is 11mm less reach than the new bike. But the old bike is also 17mm lower than the new bike ... this is the saddle to bar drop.

In terms of handling ... isn't a 100 stem with a 70 reach bar roughly the same as a 90 stem with a 80 reach bar?

I understand how a shorter stem can affect the steering but ... I usually steer when my hands are near the hoods, not when my hands are on the top of the bars. So when my hands are near the hoods, then the stem length PLUS the bar reach must be considered together. Or am I missing something?


1 Answer 1


The exact difference can't be easily quantified in terms of how short is too short. The closer in you get, the more amplified an effect your steering inputs will have, creating a feeling of touchiness. It's not optimal, but it's a pretty subtle downside and well worth it if it's what it takes to get comfortable.

Comparing bars with different amounts of reach (and drop, especially since most bars with smaller reach numbers will also be shallow drop), a major consideration is that the smaller the number, the less variance is created between the different hand/body positions. That's why it makes sense for the size of the reach/drop numbers to scale with the size of the person.

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