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Stem/Bar conundrum


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So, this may of course be premature as I haven't taken the bike for a fit yet, but I've got everything spot on so far - except the bars and stem.


I am 1.8m, riding a large 2013 giant anthem, and have been troubled.


I have Lyne 760mm flat bars, and had a 90mm stem on there. The reach felt a bit much, but really not too bad at the end of the day.


I figured I should try a 60mm stem, and did so at great expense thanks to giants genius OD2 system. It felt immediately more comfy and upright, but I've struggled with a wandering front wheel on climbs and generally the bike feels a bit twitchy and nervous. I certainly am on it. It's maybe a tad cramped.


So, without being able to afford the experimentation, would you recommend the longer stem, possibly with a bar trim, or the shorter one to stay? I ride mostly dirt roadie style trails and events, am no gravity goon unfortunately.

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The 60mm will be slightly more twitchy I will agree with that but I would not go wider on the bars, 760mm is already plenty. 


My bike is also a little twitchy but I have grown accustomed to it. I no longer feel it, I now actually enjoy the quick responsive time. Have you had a look at your saddle position? Is it not too far forward, hence the cramped feeling? 


Just as a first point (more out of interest than anything else) but ave you tried this calculator yet? https://www.competitivecyclist.com/Store/catalog/fitCalculatorBike.jsp - it won't be 100% but it is worth the shot  :thumbup:  

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id say a bike from 2013 is most likely not going to be as long in the reach department (frame geo) as  a bike from 2020....so it might be pre-short stem fad geometry....which in itself means that yes...it will work but it will wander/be more twitchy than a current anthem with a 60mm stem


your hands would most likely be close to in the same spot on a 2020 anthem with a 60mm stem than on a 2013 anthem with a 90mm stem imo.

Edited by morneS555
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I cant seem to find the one I read last week, but......


The general rule of thumb is to maintain a 2:1 ratio of handlebar width to stem length: for every 20mm increase in handlebar length you should reduce your stem length by 10mm. So if you’re running 660mm bars with a 100mm stem and want to try a handlebar that is 700mm wide you will need to pair that 700mm handlebar with an 80mm stem to maintain a relatively consistent position on the bike.

Like most rules of thumb, this is 2:1 ratio is by no means absolute. And, as Post points out, it is only useful if you’re starting from a comfortable fit position. “If you’re already unhappy where you are all bets are off.”



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Also useful






With the trend nowadays leaning towards longer and slacker bikes, for a lot of people using a traditionally shorter stem makes sense. For those aggressive trail bikes out there, we recommend using a stem in the 50-60mm length range. Of course, this may not work for everyone. In some cases, sizing up a frame size and using a 35mm length stem may give you a more comfortable fit. It is important to consider both the fit and function of different length stems. 


  • Cross Country Bikes: A cross-country race stem is usually anywhere from 80-120mm length and may use anywhere up to 30° drop. Using such a long stem puts the rider more over the front of the bike and allows for more efficient power transfer even on steep climbs.
  • Trail/Enduro Bikes: For today's modern trail bikes and big mountain capable enduro machines, most of the stems you will find are 50-70mm in length and will use either a 0° or 6° rise. As the bikes get more aggressive, the fit and handling characteristics become more important than a more efficient pedaling position.


  • Downhill Bikes: Most downhill bikes will be seen using a 40-50mm direct mount stem. A direct mount stem bolts "directly" to the top crown of the fork and not to the steerer tube. Some rise options are also available but a 0° rise is a safe bet.
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You are riding the "Old" geometry frame so a longer stem will be a normal set up for that bike.

I've never liked flat bars and have always changed to a 20mm riser bar. Its a little more forgiving and less twitchy I find. Obviously personal preference but maybe worth a try.

Go back to your normal 90mm stem and try a riser bar.


I ride a 2019 Anthem XL (I am 1.87m) and run a 60mm stem with a 20mm riser bar and am very happy, but the 2019 frame has the new geometry, unlike yours.

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I had 100mm stem and always seemed to understeer through corners - changed to 50mm stem and at first i was now oversteering - after a few rides i got used to it and now i got it dialed. So it takes some practice when you change

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I run a 90mm negative stem on my 2017 XC bike with 780mm, 20mm riser bars and a 120mm fork.


I tried various other widths, flat, stem lengths and settled on that as a sweet spot for comfort and feeling.


Having run a 60mm or shorter stem on all my various MTB's religiously since 2011ish, I was really surprised how awesome a longer stem made the bike when climbing.


I do run a dropper which allows me to get back easier, so that sort of nullifies getting stuck 'in' the bike when riding XCO or Picket-bo-berg trails where the gradient is constantly changing and you need to be over the front and over the back all the time as opposed to more sustainable jeep track efforts.


Don't be too tempted to follow the 'trends'. Riding a bike is all about confidence, which comes from comfort.


Much like my wardrobe, I will choose comfort over fashion every day of the week. 

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