How to Measure Stem Length – 8 Easy Steps to Follow


Are you not comfortable riding your bike? Perhaps you need to adjust the stem length of your bike. Read this article on how to measure stem length easily and properly. 

How to Measure Stem Length – 8 Easy Steps to Follow


In this article, we will discuss the proper steps on how to measure stem length for you to have a comfortable biking experience. You will have a comfortable ride if your bicycle stem that connects your handlebars to the bike fork on your frame, is of the proper length for your riding technique and size.

The stem length is crucial because it aids put you in a riding position wherein the body weight is more properly distributed, therefore avoiding tightness and soreness in your shoulders, hands, back, and neck.

What is a Stem?

First, let us know what a stem is. As mentioned above, a bike stem is a part of the bicycle, which links the handlebars into the steerer tube of a bicycle fork. Further, the length of a stem determines how far forward your handlebars are from the tube. Its design could be either threadless or quill. The stem on a bike must enable the bike rider to sit at an angle facing forward.

In case you didn’t know yet, a threadless system contains a bike stem, which clamps about the steerer tube. This kind of system spreads above the headset. On the other hand, the quill system is attached to the steerer tube that is threaded and not higher than the headset.

Normally, bike stems would come in different materials, lengths, and angles. Adjusting the stem to suit the biker could make the bike comfier and a great fit. You need to consider different factors once picking the proper length of a stem. These consist of function and type of the bike as well as the build of the bike rider.

Bike stems are normally made of carbon, aluminum or alloys; but they are also made of magnesium, titanium, and steel. Even though the material plays a crucial role in the performance and utility of the parts, manufacturing, and engineering also affect strength and weight. 

How to Measure Stem Length: A Guide to Follow

Items Needed

  • Pen or pencil.
  • Paper.
  • Flexible tape measure in centimeters.
  • Calculator (if needed).

The perfect way on how to measure stem length is by forming which sitting position is the most comfortable for the biker. This differs between individual tastes, riding styles and bicycle types. Each handlebars position isn’t comfortable for an individual of the same build: bikers with short arms and torsos might benefit from short stems, while bikers with longer than normal torsos or arms might require longer stems.

a road bike stem

A road bike stem - Via

The length of the bike stem is measured in millimeters. Quill stem is being measured with the section of a stem, which goes to the handlebars, starting from the center of the section, which goes up the middle of a handlebars clamp. Moreover, the threadless stem can be measured from the midpoint of the opening of the steerer tube to the midpoint of the opening of the handlebars.

Step 1

Stand on a solid floor, with your feet two inches apart. This is the first step on how to measure stem length of your bike. Measure your inseam by slowly taking the tape measure directly down from your groin to the surface. Record this number on the paper.

Step 2

Measure the length of your body by measuring straight from the notch only below your throat to the ground. In case your belly bulges enough to interrupt a straight line, you can hold a pen horizontal to the sternal notch and record straight down to the ground. Make sure to write the number.

Step 3

Subtract the inseam length from the length of your body. This amount is the length of your torso. Record it as well.

Step 4

Measure the length of your inseam through holding your arm out, and elbow straight at a forty-five-degree angle from your side. Record starting from the big bone at the exterior of your wrist to the area where your shoulder joint starts.

Step 5

Sum your arm length to your torso length in order to acquire the arm-plus-torso-length. Record it.

Step 6

Ask yourself about your riding style. If you utilize your bike to commute to work and wish to take it easy while cycling, you can consider yourself as a casual bike rider. Meanwhile, if you prefer to do race or sprints your bike, then you’re an aggressive bike rider. However, if you are somewhere in the middle, you are a mid-ranger biker.

Step 7

To identify your perfect stem length in centimeters, multiply the arm-plus-torso-length by the factor for your riding style.

Step 8

Multiply your perfect length by 100 to convert centimeters to millimeters.

For better accuracy on how to measure stem length, it should be better that you ask assistance with a friend. Bear in mind that road bike measurements are in metric; therefore, all the measurements of your body must be in centimeters.

Further, if your measuring tape is only in inches, then you can simply convert it to centimeters by dividing the number of inches by 2.54. The process is very easy.

Apart from that, you can also ask help from your local bike shop if you are not sure about your skills. They may also provide you some bike-fitting services, which make a few adjustments to your bicycle to make it fit the size of your body, fitness level, and riding style as well.

You can watch this video on YouTube to help you when it comes to performing a bike fit:


Riding a bicycle offers a lot of benefits. One of it is that it lessens emission of carbon dioxide. However, if you have been avoiding getting on your bike due to neck and shoulder discomfort, you might have a stem, which is not fit properly to your body.

With these steps on how to measure stem length, you will understand what size stem you need in order to make your bike riding experience more efficient and comfortable.

For stem length check, watch this video on YouTube:

Do you find this article helpful? Send us your thoughts by writing your comments below! Feel free to share this article with others so we can achieve a hassle-free biking experience for every biker.

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