Ask Pinkbike: What to Upgrade, Short Steerer Tube

Jun 20, 2016 at 15:50
by Pinkbike Staff  
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Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul-searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand-picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.


Question: Pinkbike user CooperMTB asked this question in the downhill forum: I've recently purchased a 2016 Giant Glory 2 and everything on the bike is stock at the moment, but I'd like to eventually upgrade it. I want to upgrade to a BoXXer and a Cane Creek Double Barrel shock, but want to change some other parts first. What should I upgrade?

bigquotesAh, the old upgrade-itis syndrome can strike at any time, even when our bikes are basically brand new. Much like how some of us own fifteen pairs of colorful running shoes despite not ever running, we mountain bikers aren't shy about purchasing components that we probably don't need yet, and some that we might never actually need. But at least bike stuff is a lot more interesting than shoes, right? Your new Glory 2 is a capable rig in stock form, and it even sports the same geometry as the much pricier, carbon fiber Glory Advanced.

The question we need to ask ourselves is: what about my bike is holding me back, be it from going faster or having more fun? It's not your Glory's 9-speed drivetrain or portly Truvativ Ruktion cranks, so I wouldn't change that stuff until you need to. And while it might not be sexy, Giant's Contact house brand cockpit does the job as well as anything else will. Same goes for the Kage R shock that, while not as adjustable as others, performs quite well so long as your sag and rebound are setup correctly.

I'd consider three things. The first would be to make sure that your bike's tires match the terrain that you're riding. The Schwalbe Magic Mary rubber on your bike is great, but look at what fellow riders are using, especially the fast guys, and ask around to see what people prefer. Next up, are the SRAM DB5 two-piston brakes powerful enough? They might be if your trails aren't overly steep, but you may want to look at something with four-piston calipers if your hands are getting tired or sore. Lastly, I know you said that you want to leave the fork until later, but swapping out the Domain RC, with its steel stanchions and Motion Control damper, to the lighter BoXXer Team (and its much more advanced Charger damper) a will make a massive difference in how your bike performs.
- Mike Levy

2016 Giant Glory 2

Steerer Tube Too Short?

Question: unhip-crayon asks in the Mechanic's Lounge forum: Bought a used fork off eBay, Argyle 302's and the steer tube's too short. With my FSA Pig Headset, I'm only getting 15mm of tube for the stem to grip. Any headsets out there with a low enough stack height that could help me out? Maybe a new stem? Worst case scenario, I sell the fork.

bigquotesThe lowest stack stems out there measure around 33mm, which would mean your steerer would still be around 15mm too short. There's a slim chance a lower profile headset could give you those millimeters, but that will depend on the frame's head tube dimensions. The best case scenario would be if your bike has a 1.5" head tube and you're running a fork with a 1 1/8" steerer - you'd be able to run a zero-stack headset and free up some steerer tube real estate. I have a feeling that's probably not the case, but Cane Creek's headset fit finder is a good place to start - it'll walk you through the possible headset options once you put in the measurements of your frame.

If a lower profile headset isn't going to work, it is possible to purchase the crown steerer and stanchion assembly for that fork, but unless you can find a used one, that can run upwards of $250, which would probably negate any cost savings that you received by purchasing it from eBay.

What about welding some sort of extension on? Absolutely not - don't even think about it. The last thing you want is for your steerer tube to snap when you land a jump because a weld failed. No matter how good your buddy claims to be with a torch, it's simply not worth the risk. - Mike Kazimer

Tech Tuesday
Measure twice, cut once.

Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.

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Member since Jul 22, 2013
3,465 articles

  • 70 0
 Uhhh...swap the domain and the brakes on the giant ASAP....will be night and day.
  • 14 3
 this^^^... and use those german sites, chase good deals....
  • 15 1
 Also changinger those tyes should be up there too. Magics are amazing but not the single ply, hard as nails performance compound which come on those bikes. The dual ply, vert star version on the other hand! That grip like crap to a blanket.
  • 4 0
 @spudlord: couldn't agree are one of the most noticable and affordable upgrades for new and veteran riders alike
  • 34 1
 Translation: unhip, you're screwed.
  • 49 1
 Not screwed! Maybe...
Take a look at these unhip.
  • 4 1
 I've got a 28mm stack height stem for sale, and you can lose almost 5mm from the FSA switching to s lower profile one ... ask me how I know
  • 5 1
 @thook: thanks for that.
  • 1 0
 @schofell84: yep, seen a few chaps with steerer issues who hadn't considered the massive stack height of the actual stem. Low stack headset and stem you might just scrape by. But you won't be able to raise the bars so the bike'll prolly handle like a bag of poop but maybe you won't even know since you have no other option!
  • 6 1
 @thook: ps those direct mounts for single crowns look interesting!
  • 3 1

KORE did a wicked forged stem (B1B) a while back designed for short steerer tubes. You did have to run a 25.4mm bar though. 25.4mm always worked good on DJ bikes when using quality bars (Easton, etc.) so still a possibility

There's a European engineer going under the name of blueliquidlabs who does special work including pressing steerer tubes and custom machining.

Though its going to be prudent to sell the Argyle off, get another fork with a longer steerer and cut to length once your bike is dialled.
  • 3 1
 Spank do stems with a low stack height, I also skipped the top cover on my headset to make it lower again.
  • 5 16
flag fecalmaster (Jun 29, 2016 at 0:02) (Below Threshold)
 Please tell me what to upgrade!!!?!!!! I havd been feenin to buy some fivilous shit and really need it bad. Not sure if I will be able to ride until I buy some neon ano underwear or something.
  • 2 1
 Another thing to bear in mind is if the Argyle is a 1 1/8 steerer I believe that the crown/stanchion assembly is the same as RS Tora (and probably xc32 as well) and u could pick up a pair of them or even the spare fairly cheaply. As it happens I have a pair of hydro-locked toras sitting around waiting for me to be arsed to fix them...are you in the UK? Make me an offer! ;-)
  • 4 0
 No @unhip-crayon, worse case scenario is not that you sell the fork, sounds like worse case scenario is you try to use the fork.
  • 2 4
 @thook: Sweet Jesus I wouldnt go near those with a 40ft barge pole. Hit n Run sounds about right, cos that monstrosity is gonna leave you lying bleeding on the side of the trail. Steer clear if you value your face. There is a reason no reputable brand in the world markets a stem with that low a stack height. Do yourself a favour. Avoid like the plague.

I hope that was clear enough for you...
  • 3 1
 @gabriel-mission9: I've got a few hit-n-run bits and they work flawlessly. Thanks for the opinion though.
  • 1 0
 @thook: Nice find! Be cool to see a test/review...

  • 1 0
 Well I welded once extension on steerer tube and it worked great the only problem was that it wasnt ass smooth and i had to push stem with force.... This is why I just bought new steerer tube and pressed it with industrial pres in fork.
  • 3 0
 @HITNRUN are you able to offer any info on how the stiffness stacks Razz up against traditional single crown stems? I really like the idea but I have to admit my first thought was how strong is it? And why haven't I seen this before?
  • 1 0
 How do you like the AXIS so far?
  • 4 1
 @gabriel-mission9: You again? Still hating on this concept I see...oh well! Guess what? So far according to you from a 2012 post on Bike Rumor "a jagged torn off steerer implanted directly into their face", I'm happy to report that has not happened and this design has been well abused for over 6 years now through in house blunt forced trauma, field crash tests, ghost rides, donkey kicks and though I do not recommend DH or FR for this application, I clearly state that. There is such a thing as intended uses in this industry.

The only issue I've had is some know it all who knows nothing about what they're talking about, has even yet to give it a try or who's accusations carry any proof... Intelligent! I offered you a free AXIS in 2012 to give a try and if you didn't like it, you could keep it anyway for a "paper weight". I have sold many of these, not a single one has come back to me or a even a bad review, all of my customers are happy with the AXIS. Ask Ben Cruz if you would like a real professional riders opinion.

I guess there will always be haters no matter how other see a different light. So in the mean time, I'll continue to make quality parts here in the USA, continue to be successful in my designs, give back to a sport I love, make some money and continue to grow despite the ignorant depravity of others... you feed my creative monster!
  • 1 3
Why exactly is it not intended for DH/FR?

What would be the advantages of a higher stack stem over this thing?

I see it is recommended for XC. Would you recommend it for use on carbon steerers?

If it is designed to counter "steerer cut too short syndrome" what would you recommend as a minimum steerer insertion for this "design"?

Is Ben Cruz currently running this product? I cant find a single picture suggesting he is.

"Depravity" Ha, the irony is strong here.

Yes you did offer me a free one. No I didnt take you up on that offer. See my previous post for reasons why...
  • 2 1

Simple truth... I have not tested these for FR/DH disciplines/applications yet... they very well could stand up to that abuse as well, but my intentions are geared more towards the populated XC-AM riders, not everyone rides FR/DH at the same level. My FR/DH could be much more aggressive and punchy than yours or the other guy, or vise versa. Maybe I'll design a FR/DH version just for you...

Sure a taller stack of stem supports longer steer tubes better, especially for riders who like to have higher bar set ups trying to use less stack spacers underneath (I don't like more than 10mm of stack spacer under a stem) also taller stack stems are also meant to support longer reach stems 60mm plus better and maybe less bar twist on impact of a crash. The AXIS is slammed on top of the headset for maximum rigidity, dm stems are short, 50mm or less.

Who the hell uses a carbon steer? No, carbon is not meant to be clamped, even with a plug.

This is a mere substitute for short steer tube syndrome, helping riders save time and money from buying a new fork, or new uppers that cost hundreds of dollars. The minimum insertion I would suggest it 25mm from the top of a headset. If there's more than 30mm of steer beyond the top of the headset, then this Cane Creek headset is a great way to use a taller stack stem. Much like a lot of the vast array of adapters in the bike industry for this that and the other.

Ben is not currently using this, he was intrigued by this design when I first made it public in 2010, he requested one, so I sent him a set up and he liked it. It was an honor to have Ben test my products, this was on a personal basis.
  • 1 2
 @HITNRUN: you haven't tested it for dh/fr yet? So you intend to. How long has it been on the market again? 5years? I wont hold my breath to see the "not intended for dh" disclaimer removed from your page then...

Taller stack stems support longer steerers better? They are better for people who want their bars higher without spacers? What are you on about? Do you even know what stack height means?

Who the hell runs a carbon steerer. Erm....xc riders. The rockshox Sid has a carbon steerer for example. How do you not know this? I thought they were your target market?

You clearly don't understand what minimum insertion means either. 25mm insertion from the top of the headset? Wtf? Your stem isn't even 25 mm tall. Your answer makes literally no sense.
  • 1 1
"Carbon isnt meant to be clamped, even with a plug?" Then how do carbon bars work? Or seatubes? Or steerers for that matter, seeing as they are all quite common....
  • 25 0
 I went from the Domain to a Boxxer on my DH bike. Number one upgrade.
  • 6 2
 Too bad the super monster T was never made with a tapered steer tube!
  • 1 5
flag hampsteadbandit (Jun 28, 2016 at 23:23) (Below Threshold)

I had a Domain 318 as a "back up" fork for my Banshee Wildcard during the era that the Lyric 2-step were 'having issues', my Lyric spent more time being fixed than ridden Frown

Domain was a solid performer and good on big hits, but suffered on high speed repeated hits.

Lyric was night and day different in terms of damper when riding fast on bad terrain

Steel stanchions on Domain were noticeably stiffer than same diameter alloy stanchions on Lyric, but obviously heavier - probably worth the weight penalty for abusive riding and heavy riders.

Different internal leg diameter due to the materials wall thickness meant we couldn't figure out how to drop Lyric guts into Domain chassis.
  • 17 4
 Measure twice cut once, phhh. It's like don't put a knife into a toaster. Well I'm an adult now -I did it and it was amazing!
  • 10 0
 Have you ever slept with a man with breasts?
  • 7 4
 @Mrstamper: I have quite nice man boobs. Keeps me motivated to watch what I eat, as they grow exponentially with the weight gain. Will make for some fun times when I'll be old and masturbation will be the only form of enjoying my sex organs. I'll spread this anesthetic cream on them so they don't feel like mine. Jesus... Who am I kidding... I am married with two small kids, I'll bulk up starting from right now...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: i too am married with 2 young children and have definitely mastered the technique of lying on my hand/arm until it goes numb so it feels like someone else is "helping me out"! ;-)
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Never mix Valium and wine bro.
  • 10 0
 @CooperMTB -- or you could just do what my seven-year-old did on Monday. He's been saving for a "really cool" Lego set, saved up $11 so far, so he was going to the store and I told him to pick out which set he wanted so he'd know how much he had still to save, so he went and bought a toy football for eight bucks and change. Apparently it was really cool but I wouldn't know since he lost it already. "I thought you were saving for a really cool Lego set."

"I am, but spending money is just so much fun." That sums it up right there.

Anyway, if you want I can ask him what kind of football it was...
  • 1 0
 What are you on about?
  • 1 0
 @CooperMTB: retrospect that was a bit harsh. My apologies.
  • 10 2
 I'm sure that most product managers are wonderful people, but make no mistake, they'd sell their grandmother to ISIS if it allowed them to save $.75 per bike.

Get rid of those DB5s yesterday. Great brake, but not for me this application.
  • 5 2
 Did you just say DB5 was a great brake? For what, a grandmother occasionally riding a beach cruiser?
  • 8 1
 ISIS, now I understand who invented those bottom bracket and crank standards
  • 11 4
 On the Glory upgrades
Brakes definitely. Those SRAMdb5 really have no place on a dh bike! The shimano ZEE brakes work awsome and can be had online for very cheap. Can use your existing rotors to save some coin too. Contact points on any bike are important. Grips especially can be a big improvement for very little $$. Leave the rear shock, its capable. Going to a cane creek on the rear could be a case of be careful what you wish for. Whilst awsome if set up well they do have a very large margin for getting it wrong with all that adjustment. I had a db inline and it took a while to get it nice and I'd like to think im relatively experienced in such matters. Unless your like a giraffe on roller skates run those tyres until their dead then pick some new ones. Theyre good tyres period as long as the conditions your riding in are appropriate. Now forks are a big outlay. But are going to improve things alot. Do some research on upgrading cartridge first. Avalanche, push etc. Im not sure if its possible but could a charger cartridge be dropped straight in?? Leave the forks until last though and get the more cost effective upgrades done first. Do one upgrade at a time so you can feel the difference and make a subjective evaluation! !
  • 22 0
 Leave the fork for last? Are you kidding?
  • 8 0
 @nvranka: hey mate i did say that the forks would improve things alot and to leave them until after the smaller more cost effective upgrades ( brakes grips etc ). While he upgrades those smaller things do some research on all his possibilities as far as forks go because they're going to be the most expensive upgrade he makes.
  • 5 0
 I disagree on the brakes. My usual bike is Knolly chilcotin with 180 fox van up front, Cane Creek Double barrel shock and XT brakes. On a recent trip to Angel Fire I messed my bike up real good and had to rent a glory 2 for the day. The only thing I didn't hate about that bike was the brakes, I'd go so far as to say they work as well as my XTs. This isn't a negative review of the glory btw, it was just a significantly lower parts spec than what I was used to. If you want upgrade your bike go tubeless. Nothing is worse than not being able to run low tire pressure.
  • 9 1
 I'm sorry but xts on a dh bike are a joke...the difference in stopping power at speed on steep terrain is massive. They have their place, but it certainly isn't on a dh bike.
  • 6 0
 @LukeBurgie: ive got xt and zee brakes and xt are a fantastic trail/light enduro brake and an ok dh brake for lighter riders but zees are a dh brake and are much more powerful. Just depends on the rider and riding conditions. Agree on the tubeless thi!!
  • 1 3
 @nvranka: far from it. I switched from code to xts and the xts are way easier to bleed and performance wise on par at least for me. I'm not fat but I rode them a season in the alps in places like PDS which are the ultimate brake nightmare and they never felt too weak. You also have to consider that two -piston brakes tend to be more reliable. So the xt should work for most riders not heavier than 85kg (Peaty actually did run a xt caliper at ft. William this year)
  • 1 0
 @tabletop84: If Peaty ran an xt caliper it was for weight savings, nothing more.
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: Frame build always starts with fork first.
  • 7 0
 The 1st thing i changed on my Giant was the stem. The giant stem does not allow the steer tube to pass through meaning that mine came with 40mm of spacers between frame and upper crown rising my handlebar too high and making me loose all traction on the front tire.
  • 9 0
 Hit n run make a super low stack stem (in combo with dm stem) salvage dem short steerers.
  • 7 0
 What is that last bike? Sexy head tube on it
  • 9 0
 Older Trek Remedy.
  • 2 0
 2011 Trek Remedy 9.9
  • 2 0
 The stack height on FSA's the Pig is 29mm. The lowest stack height FSA headset in that size is 23.8mm (TH-88Cool .

The shortest FSA stem has a 28mm steerer clamp stack height (SL-K Drop).

Does your headtube have 8mm of extra length?
  • 4 0
 idk, the fast guys around here just run whatever tires came on their bike or that they got a deal on two years ago and still whup you with them
  • 1 0
 I had a similar steer tube dilemma but the super short stack height on the Deity Cavity Stem saved me...maybe give it a try, I think besides the stock stem off of a P3 or P-Slope, the Deity has the shortest stack height out there.
  • 4 0
 Change that fork!!! Don't bother with a different shock and use the money for brakes.
  • 1 0
 short steerer tube guy
get a double crown steerer from buy/sell or from older fork with a long enough steerer, take it to your local machining shop to pull it out of crown. and press fit it to yours after pulling yours too out. machine it if necessary to fit properly.
  • 3 0
 The DMR sect stem has a 27mm stack height, the lowest I could find when I had a short steerer
  • 3 0
 IMHO the best way to upgrde the glory would be to use the money for the soft squidgy bit on it to go on some skills courses.
  • 2 2
 Don't know if it will work on a tappered but I've pressed in a few steer tubes into forks that came with shortys.
  • 1 0
 The poor steerer tube guy may check out Syntace FlatForce
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