Q&A: Lift Pass

I want to stop my front wheel lifting so much when I’m climbing. Do you think fitting a longer or lower stem would help?

Q: I want to stop my front wheel lifting so much when I’m climbing. Do you think fitting a longer or lower stem would help? 

S Hughes

A: To stop the front wheel coming up, you need to get more weight forward onto it. As you suggest, fitting either a longer or lower stem would do that. However, the big difference is that a longer stem will slow down your steering, whether you’re riding up, down or along — which you don’t want.

Lower stems aside, a handlebar with less rise will also drop the front end position. Pushing your saddle forward on the rails, or using an inline seat post rather than a layback one, will also shift your body weight forward onto the bars to stop them coming up.

If your stem has a zero degree rise, you’ll have to get a new one. However, if your stem has any sort of rise, you could just flip it upside down. It might look a bit odd, but it’ll work and it’s a lot cheaper just to try out a positional change. Otherwise see if your local shop or riding mates have any spare bars or stems that you can try to make sure that when you do buy one, you buy the right one.

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