Can I add headset spacers below an adjustable stem, specifically the Promax A-headset stem on the Cannondale Adventure 1? I want to change the stock handlebar to something with more sweep, but most options I've looked at have significantly lower rise than the stock handlebar. I was hoping that headset spacers could compensate for the lower rise. I know I could adjust the stem, but I worry that this would mess with the reach too much.

In particular, I'm looking at the Velo Orange Seine (40mm rise) and Dimension Urban Cruiser (50mm) which have less rise than the 60mm on the stock handlebar. I've tried the Velo Orange Tourist bar, but I found that they are too narrow (570mm wide), and I want something with less sweep than the 53 degrees of the Tourist. The Velo Orange Klunker (76mm rise) bars are also an option, but I would prefer to have handlebars without a secondary bar like on Klunker. Another good option is the Fairdale Archer v2 Cruiser bar (50mm rise). I consulted my local bike shop, and after measuring my hand position, and they recommended I get handlebars about 610mm wide.

Picture of the stem in question

  • Where does the steerer tube end, relative to the upper pinch bolt?
    – Criggie
    Sep 28, 2023 at 3:09
  • According to Suntour, most Suntour steerer tubes are 255mm, and Cannondale says the head tube length is 222mm. So I would assume this leaves 33mm of exposed steerer tube. I'm guessing that this is the Promax MA-595 stem, which 40mm to the the rotating part. I'll measure the distance to the upper pinch bolt as soon as I get my bike back from the shop
    – Peachy
    Sep 28, 2023 at 4:43

1 Answer 1


I would say that from a mechanical point of view, the top pinch bolt has to tighten around the steerer tube.

So you can raise the stem up by adding spacers until the top of the steerer tube is in-line with the top edge of the bolt's head.

enter image description here

It may be tempting to push it higher by using some kind of extender, but instead you could replace the stem with something that has the right reach and angle already. Just take measurements and angles based on your current preferred setup. The main advantage here is it removes the adjustable mechanism, some of which can be a safety concern over time.

enter image description here

  • 1
    I think I understand what you're saying. I believe it should be enough to measure the distance from the bottom of the stem to the upper pinch bolt and compare that the exposed steerer tube length to know exactly how much I can raise the stem?
    – Peachy
    Sep 28, 2023 at 4:48
  • 1
    +1 I will (nearly) always advocate that people replace adjustable stems with fixed ones.
    – Paul H
    Sep 28, 2023 at 18:00

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