How To Measure The Stem of a Mountain Bike

Last Updated on July 20, 2020

This guide has been written by cycling review expert Alex Bristol

Last Updated on July 20, 2020

In case you have been experiencing some discomfort when riding your mountain bike, chances are that your stem is either too long or too short. The stem is that part that connects the bike’s handlebars with the steerer tube.

Before you think of adjusting the size of the bike stem, you need to take the measurements first. In this guide, we shall take you through the steps you should follow when measuring the stem.

Required items

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Tape measure
  • Calculator

Even before you start measuring the stem of your mountain bike, you should consider your preferred riding position. Doing this will allow you to set the handlebars on the most comfortable position Again, it will help you to determine the type of stem you should consider. For example, those with short torsos and arms should look for a short stem while those with long torsos and arms should consider longer stems. The length of mountain bike stem is calculated in millimeters.


Step 1– Stand on a flat surface and ensure that your feet are two feet apart. Measure your inseam by measuring the distance from your groin to the ground. Remember to record the measurements on a paper.

Step 2– Measure the length of your body from the notch below the throat to the ground.

Step 3- Subtract the length of the inseam from that of your body to determine the actual length of your torso.

Step 4– Measure the length of the inseam when holding your arm out. Stretch your elbow straight at 45 degrees angle. Take the measurement from the big bone located at the exterior of the wrist to that area where the shoulder joint starts.

Step 5 – Add the torso length and the arm length to determine the total sum of the arm and the torso.

Step 6– At this point, you should determine your riding style or how you use the bike. This will help you to determine the correct length of the stem since you already know your measurements.

Step 7– When determining the correct length of the stem, you should multiply the arm length and the torso length by the factor that matches your riding style.

Step 8– Multiply your length by 100 to convert from centimeters to millimeters. If you want to take accurate measurements, it is good to involve a friend. You may also seek advice from a bike shop in case you are not sure of how to take the measurements, 


A bike stem is one of the most important parts that contribute to your comfort when cycling. Using the wrong size can cause back pains, shoulder pains and neck pains. Knowing the actual size of your mountain bike is the first thing you should do before you make adjustments. The good thing is that we have already outlined the steps you should follow since it may not be a very simple process for most cyclists. In case you need to adjust the measurements, you can visit the nearest bike shop and they will adjust it for you if you are not sure how it is done.

Related Post: Best Mountain Bike Stems [Review]

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