Is there anything more nerve-racking for the home cycle mechanic than taking a hacksaw to your pride and joy? You’ve got to get rid of that ugly stack of spacers above the stem somehow though, right? It’s no wonder so many cyclists either leave the chimney stack or leave the job to a professional in a bike shop. With the right tools though, it’s a relatively straightforward, easy and actually very quick job!
Having dialled in the fit on my Canyon Aeroad and made sure I was 100% happy with the aggressive position, it was finally time to slice and dice! Before doing this, you want to be ABSOLUTELY SURE you are happy with your position. There’s no going back!
These days I’m a big believer in using the right tool for the job!
The first time I cut a fork steerer, I used a pipe clamp as a guide. I don’t recommend this slightly “dodgy brothers” approach, but it does work! These days I have a proper steerer cutting tool from Park Tools. It makes lining up a perfectly straight cut a breeze. While not necessary, I also recommend using a brand new hacksaw blade for this job too.
Where you cut will depend on if you want any spacers at all above your stem. You’ll need to figure out the height of the last spacer (or height of the stem if going all out low) then mark a cut line around 2-5mm below this. If it’s a carbon steerer you can easily scratch in a small line using a pocket knife or screwdriver.
Hacksaw at the ready, let’s get ready to cut that sucker up!
You’ll need to remove your stem and any spacers below it, then slide the steerer cutting tool down the tube to match the mark. Some people like to drop the fork out of the frame completely but I’ve never done this. I just wrap some rags around the bike to stop carbon dust falling on everything when cutting. Carbon is pretty soft to cut through with a sharp blade so it’s a job easily completed with the fork still in the frame.
Epic weight savings by chopping a bit of carbon, hahaha!
I didn’t take many photos while I was actually cutting, as it’s a job that requires full concentration. Measure twice, cut once! Once the cut is complete, remove the clamp, clean the tube of any carbon dust and file off any rough edges, then reassemble your cockpit. You should now have a much more aesthetically pleasing front end. It really is as simple as that!
The dog is a big fan of aero!
Many riders love the look of a totally slammed, zero spacer stem, but I prefer to leave a 10mm spacer above the stem. I actually like the look of this better and it also gives you some “wiggle room” in case you need to make a position adjustment or sell the bike. Once you’re done, sit back and admire your handy work. Maybe even celebrate with a nip of single malt, totally optional of course… ;-)