This 190mm stem is the longest we’ve ever seen

Australian UCI Continental team rider, Leigh Phillips, uses 190mm stem on 61cm Bianchi Oltre XR3

190mm titanium stem on Leigh Phillip's Bianchi Oltre XR3

Whether its insanely narrow handlebars or a ludicrously low stem, just looking at the front end of any pro’s bike is bound to make your back hurt. 

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However, this cockpit, which belongs to Australian Conti team rider Leigh Phillips, may just be the most ridiculous I’ve ever seen. 

First spotted by Darryl Moliere, Canyon’s market manager for Australia and New Zealand, Phillips’s stem measures a monstrous 190mm centre-to-centre. 

At the risk of getting into a stem-waving competition, I’m fairly certain this is the longest cockpit we’ve ever featured on site. 

Only Astana’s Andrey Kashechkin’s 165mm Rotor stem, which we featured way back in 2013 (at the Tour Down Under, oddly enough), comes close.

Not even fellow Australian Adam Hansen, who’s well known for his extreme position on the bike, comes close, opting to run a meagre (?!) 150mm stem on most of his bikes. 

Dying to know what it’s like to use what is best described as a goofy tiller on a bike, I spoke to Phillips to find out more about him, his racing career and his wacky cockpit. 

Can you tell me a little about you, your riding and racing?

To start my name is Leigh Phillips and I’m currently riding for the Australian UCI Continental squad, Nero Continental

I’m from Melbourne, so my training consists mostly of the Dandenong Ranges, Beach Road and the Kew Boulevard. 

My racing for the last season consisted entirely of the National Road Series. That’s been awesome fun having taken me a far way up to North Queensland and through my home state of Victoria. 

This year, I’m looking forward to hopefully lining up at a few UCI races too.

How tall are you and what size bike do you ride?

I’m about 195cm or 6ft 4in, so a bit taller than the average cyclist.

The bike I’m on now is a Bianchi Oltre XR3, which was my team bike from last season. 

I’m riding a 61cm frameset. I believe Bianchi does manufacture a 63cm, but at the time the bike was ordered by the team, they weren’t being shipped to us. 

What is your saddle height?

From the centre of my cranks to the tip of my saddle is about 89cm.

What cockpit were you running prior to getting the super-long stem? Did it have any limitations?  

The cockpit I was running prior was a KCNC 150mm -17 degree stem. To be honest, I really liked the old stem, and it fit me really well. 

In short, the only reason I changed was that I was super comfortable where I was and wanted to try and get a touch bit lower and forward. When I make this large of a hole in the wind, I want to do everything I can to make it easier on myself. 

What led you to order the stem? And who made it?

190mm titanium stem on eBay
The stem is available up to a whopping 200mm long.

The reason I made a jump from a 150mm to 190mm was that it was just too expensive to progressively buy longer and longer stems – I couldn’t justify spending $150 on a 155mm, then $150 on a 160mm, and so on.

Finding the stem was pretty simple. I went on eBay and searched “190mm bicycle stem” scrolled for a little bit and it popped up.

The seller had options to purchase anything from about 100mm to 190mm [I’ve actually found the same seller offering 200mm long stems] in 5mm and 10mm increments. 

How does the bike fit now that you have the new stem?

The bike fits really well. 

The first ride I used the stem was on a 4-hour training ride through some local hills and, I’ll admit, I felt it was a touch long a few hours in.

I used the stem for a couple more training rides and, in no time, it felt normal. 

Leigh Phillips on bike with super-long stem
Phillips actually cuts a relatively standard silhouette on the bike.
Leigh Phillips

A lot of people comment on how long the stem is, but typically follow that with something like “but your position looks fine”, so I supposed that’s a good outcome! 

I think it’s especially important for bigger guys like myself to take the time to play with their positions and find what works for them.

If you had to nickname the stem, what would choose?

Probably something along the lines of the “One-eyed Long John (Holmes) Silver”, which is a mash-up nickname of my favourite pirate from the Disney classic Treasure Planet and another inspiration of mine.

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What do you think of Phillips’s cockpit? Can you think of a more insane cockpit? Can you think of a better nickname for the stem? Come to think of it, do you think Phillips actually has a passing resemblance to the aforementioned John Holmes? Let us know in the comments below.