Walk around Bend Velo bike shop and you will notice very long knobs sticking up from the forks. Many customers ask “why is this part so long?” The part they are referring to is the steer tube. The steer tube is part of the fork and dictates how high you can raise the handlebars. The reason it’s important to leave it long is once you cut it, you are limited as to how high the handle bars can be raised. It’s important to be able to raise the bar to achieve a comfortable riding position. With the steer tube uncut, you can move your stem to varying heights easily therefore changing your position in a matter of minutes.
Many bike companies and some shops will cut the steerer tube before a rider even gets fitted for a bike. Cutting a steerer tube is something that can always be done later once the rider has properly fitted, but doing this too early is a mistake. Granted, there are certain frame/fork materials (carbon) that require you not leave too much steerer tube out for safety reasons, but we only sell steel bikes so this isn’t an issue with our bikes. Some bike manufactures cut steerer tubes at the factory, we think this is a BIG mistake and advise that maybe you look at another brand.
It’s all about options, and starting with a long steerer tube gives you options to set-up a bike that is both comfortable and efficient. Don’t let anyone dictate your handlebar height by cutting a steerer tube too short, if they do you will be forced to tweek the fit by adding a strange stem or even worse a steer tube adapter. These options can work, but my advice is buy a bike with a long steerer tube to start. Want to see what this all means in person, come by the shop and we’ll be happy to show you the benefits of long, uncut steerer tubes.