Riding a stem with a "negative" angle.


Active Member
So I'm slowly piecing together my new road monster and have just come across a question....does anyone actually ride with a stem giving them a drop (negative rise)? I like the look reminds of the retro quill type stem, but it's crazy low on an already short top tube so it'll never ever work for me. I seem to remember seeing a lot of those fancy pants SS folk riding around on bikes that looked like they had the stem "upside down" but what do I know :p


Bike fit

You need to base your stem length and rise based on achieving a comfortable and efficient position on your bike. Don't let some one tell you "you have to put a 7 degree 100mm stem on". Each rider is different based on physiology, flexibility and experience.

Some shops will have a "fit" stem that can be adjusted for length and rise to help determine what stem you might like. Most shops have some one who will help you with fit but remember to listen to your body, if it dosent feel right try some thing else. Good luck with your search.


Endurance Guy: Tolerates most of us.

Like Gregg said, it's based on fit. A more flexible guy like myself will run their stems in the negative position but that doesn't mean it works for everyone. I'd get a fit done and see what your hip flexors will allow for.



Active Member
Yeah I know that it's based on my fit I was just wondering who actually uses a negative rise because it seemed like a super funky position but I guess Jim does :)


Unapologetic Lifer for Rock and Roll
Negative rise has become more visible lately because of 29ers and the fit issues the big wheels present, though I know Jim also ran one on his 26" bike.

They are still common on road bikes, though recent movements in road fit have led to more positive rise stems showing up, particularly because it's not too smart to run a negative rise stem and a couple inches of spacers to put your bars in the right place.

As Gregg and Jim both note, getting a pro fit is key.

FWIW, I run a negative stem on my mtb (29er) and positive stems on the road bikes.


Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
I ride a neg 5 degree Stem with a Salsa Flat bar on my Cannondale. This would seem really low but based on my saddle height it only produces a minimal drop from the saddle. Most of this comes from the long steerer tube needed for the lefty standard.

My bars on my road bike are actually lower as compared to the saddle on the mt bike yet that bike has a riser stem.

I happen to ride a 110 length on the Road and a 120 on the Mt.

As your original question asks about a road bike..

Look online for a saddle height formula. Once you have that dialed, set the bars up such that you can reach the drops and ride in them fairly easily. This might call for a very upright stem or a drop. Only your body shape and flexibility can determine this. I would forgo popular fashion and work twards a setup that allows good comfort in all bar positions.

Also not that on a road bar you can setup the hoods higher or lower based on comfort.
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Ian F

Well-Known Member
My Colnago is running a std negative-rise quil stem. I think the switch to threadless headsets on road bikes have made neg-rise stems less common as a threadless setup often doesn't require one to achieve the same bar position.

And like Jason, my old '92 Cannondale (1st gen Headshock) had a negative rise stem due to the tall headtube.
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