Empowering The Bicycle Traveler

Quill Stems

Quill stemsinsert into the threaded steer tube on a bicycle fork and are held in place by means of a bolt which tightens a wedge inside the tube. The other type of stem commonly used is a so-called threadless stem which clamps to a threadless steer tube. Quill stems and threaded steer tubes are less common nowadays, but the Nitto company in Japan still makes a wide range. Here is a side by side photo of most of the stems they make. Each stem in the photo is placed so that the minimum insertion mark on the stem aligns with the top of the ruler. This gives a basic visual cue as to how high the various stems can extend above the top of the tube. Notice that the stems are placed at an angle meant to replicate the 70 some degree angle of the head tube on most bikes.
NEWS FLASH! 09/26/2012
We now stock the 225 Technomic Deluxe stems. These have a long quill like the Technomic but are cold forged and have the same finish as the Deluxe. 25.4 or 26.0 clamp sizes.

Photo of 4 models of quill stem

From Left to right: Nitto Dirt Drop 100, Nitto Dirt Drop 80, Nitto Technomic, Nitto Technomic Deluxe and Nitto Dynamic

The Dynamic stems only come with a 26.0 mm clamp size, and the Dirt Drop,  Technomic and Deluxe stems come with either 25.4mm or 26.0 mm clamps. A 25.4 stem will not work with a handlebar that has a diameter at the center clamping point of 26.0. However a 26.0 stem will work with a 25.4 handlebar as long as a shim, specially made for this purpose is used between the stem and the bar. The Dirt Drop stems are only made in 80 mm and 100mm versions (the extension from the vertical-ish riser part or quill part of the stem). The other models come with extensions generally from 80 mm to 100mm in 10 mm increments. Got it?

Hopefully, this is a useful comparison for the bicycle traveler who might be thinking about changing the position of their handlebars or about getting different handlebars.

12 comments… add one
  • Sky King June 20, 2011, 11:34 am

    As one of the people who gets to reap the benefits of the Bike Hermits knowledge, I will share that changing quill stems made a huge difference in the comfort of my riding. If you are experiencing an unhappy riding position don’t hesitate to ask the Bike Hermit for some suggestions.

    • Doug June 28, 2011, 6:41 pm

      This is a great comparison photo – good work! I’ve been studying up on bikes for over 40 years and this is the best illustration of stem options I’ve ever seen. Is the Technomic “Deluxe” another name for the “Pearl”? I have had a very difficult time figureing out what stems will give me the position I want on my several different bikes. Because I have a long torso and short legs (so I buy lower bikes and then need to get the bars up and forward) this is extra difficult. I end up with trial and error and it is a long process. I keep trying to use those new stems where you can unbolt the front and change stems without disturbing the wrap (and everything else) but most of them don’t have much verticle adjustment and it is hard to figure out what the combination of rise and reach ends up with. The Nitto “Deluxe” would solve most of my problems – if only I knew what length(s) I need.

      • Bike Hermit June 29, 2011, 8:27 am

        The Pearl and the Dynamic are two different stems. The Pearl has a silver anodized finish and a horizontal clamp bolt and it is approved by the N.J.S., the governing body for track racing in Japan. The Dynamic has a vertical bolt and a polished aluminum finish. Both are cold forged and both can be had in lengths up to 120mm. A friend of mine told me he wished Nitto made a quill stem with a removable face plate….that would be the best of both worlds. A Google search for “stem calculator” results in a number of tools to calculate handlebar position given certain rise and extension numbers, but I find them sort of confusing to use and usually resort to trial and error. Maybe a bike like the Rivendell Hillborne which has an “expanded geometry” i.e. a low standover and a relatively long top tube would work for you.

  • Jack March 8, 2012, 11:29 am

    I’m looking for a stem that has zero drop, and I can’t tell from the photos what the angle of technomic is. I don’t want a positive angle like the dirt drop, nor do I want a negative drop like the one I have currently. I’m looking for a stem that once installed would be parallel with the top bar of my frame. Does such a thing exist?

    • Reland June 13, 2012, 7:28 am

      Jack, most quill stems are designed to be roughly horizontal (parallel to the ground) when installed on the bike. Whether that coincides with the angle of your particular top tube may depend on the geometry of your frame and your tire choice.


    • Ron L August 7, 2013, 8:44 am

      You could get a quill stem threadless adapter. Then get a threadless style stem adapters and turn them upside down to get your negative drop.

      • Kahoonamatata February 2, 2016, 12:24 pm

        What are the benefits of doing this instead of just lowering a quill down inside the steerer?

        I need to extend my reach it seems and I was considering going with the adapter for the angling options with different stems while at it, but now I’m just not sure.
        I might just get the longer 100mm quill instead.

  • Matthew Madan February 16, 2013, 6:43 pm

    I just had a 2002 Serotta frame built up and used a technomic stem because I wanted my bars a little higher. My mechanic liked my build-up (Sram Force compnents, Rol wheels) but he mentioned that the technomic was a real honker and added a lot of extra weight. I went with a 90mm stem and was wondering what the weight savings would be to go to a deluxe, or if other lighter options were available. It looks like I need 11 or 12 cm rise after the minimum insert to accommodate my bar height relative to seat height. Thanks for any advice

    • Bike Hermit February 27, 2013, 10:18 am

      According to my scale the Technomic stem with a 90mm reach weighs 365 grams. The Technomic Deluxe with a 225mm quill (the same length as the Technomic) and a 90mm reach weighs exactly the same…365 grams. The Technomic Deluxe with a 190mm quill which gives between 11 and 12 cm rise after the minimum insert weighs 330 grams. So you could go with the Deluxe and save a little over an ounce. The Deluxe stems have a little nicer finish so there’s that.

  • GE November 9, 2013, 6:30 am

    Exactly what angle of stem should we be looking for to get it parallel with the top tube?

  • John Hawrylak January 2, 2014, 2:35 pm

    What is the Minimum Insertion Length for the Nitto Technomic Deluxe 190mm quill stem? It should be 65mm or possibly 70mm if it has an alloy wedge. However, you seem to imply it is 80mm!!
    I have a 100mm Technomic Standard (225mm quill), but it bottoms out in the steerer with Bars 16mm above saddle (71cm saddle height) & 133 mm of quill expoused. A Deluxe would have 125mm expoused at a 65mm MIL and the bars would be about 10mm above saddle.

    • Bike Hermit™ January 3, 2014, 3:51 pm

      The 190 length does not include the wedge, so the effective overall length is more like 195mm. And the min. insertion is about 80mm from the bottom of the wedge. You’ll have about 115mm exposed at min. insertion.


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