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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 07-19-04, 11:30 AM   #1
madimeje
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Front tire problem

My wife and I have a rather old tandem bike that we use. When I turn the handlebars to the left or right, my forward foot will hit the front tire. I have to make sure that my feet are aligned up and down, not front and back. It especially happens when I am turning and pedaling at the same time.
Is this normal? Does anyone else have this problem? Or are my front forks bent back or something? They look ok to me.

Thanks,
madimeje
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Old 07-19-04, 11:43 AM   #2
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My bet is that somewhere along the like that tandem was run into something solid and the front fork has been pushed back.
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Old 07-19-04, 11:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madimeje
My wife and I have a rather old tandem bike that we use. When I turn the handlebars to the left or right, my forward foot will hit the front tire. I have to make sure that my feet are aligned up and down, not front and back. It especially happens when I am turning and pedaling at the same time.
Is this normal? Does anyone else have this problem? Or are my front forks bent back or something? They look ok to me.

Thanks,
madimeje
Doesn't sound right...look at a few tandem images on the web and you should see plenty of clearance.
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Old 07-19-04, 11:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
My bet is that somewhere along the like that tandem was run into something solid and the front fork has been pushed back.
I'm with Retro-grouch. Most tandems have generous fork rakes, so I would be surprised if you had pedal/ toe-clip overlap with the fork. Have a shop check it. Because a tandem carries two folks, integrity of the fork is especially important...
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Old 07-19-04, 12:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by madimeje
Is this normal? Does anyone else have this problem? Or are my front forks bent back or something? They look ok to me.
First question: Is it normal....

Yes and no; it depends on the size of the frame. It is not at all unusual for small adult cyclists riding 700c wheeled frames to have a bit of toe overlap. It's a function of the size of the wheel, the length of the top and down tubes, fork geometry, and of course crank length and shoe size/placement.


Second Question: Does anyone else have this problem?

Yes. I'm 5'8", wear a size 8.5 shoe, and ride 52cm - 54cm road frames. Every road bike I've ever owned has an inherent toe overlap problem, including all of my current road bikes and tandems which are all custom-sized. Is it a problem? No, and I'm not exactly sure why but I suspect it's because it's rare that I ever cock the front wheel enough to overlap my foot while riding, excluding the occasional U-turn or other slow-speed manuevers.... and in those situations I've probably subconsciously learned to point my toes down enough to provide the necessary clearance. If you're curious, you can go to our bike gallery and look at the photos and you'll note what is clearly some close-quarters between the crank arms and the front tires. http://home.att.net/~mark.livingood/BikeViewer.html NOTE: The focal point of the lense relative to the center of the bikes is responsible for the slight variation in crank arm to tire distance; the dark colored tandem and Dean single bike are the most representative of what the actual spacing looks like as, in reality, the are all about the same.


Last Question: Or are my front forks bent back or something? They look ok to me...

This is, of course, a distinct possiblility, particularly if it's not a very small sized frame. As others have suggested, it would be worthwhile to have a frame builder or experienced bicycle technician inspect the fork. How a fork looks can be very misleading and in addition to the toe overlap a bent fork can really screw up how your tandem tracks, corners, absorbs impacts, and last but not least, remains intact.

Last edited by livngood; 07-19-04 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 07-19-04, 03:55 PM   #6
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Can you post a pic or two? If indeed the fork and/or head tube are bent, it might be extreme enough to show up on a simple digital photo. Can't hurt to have the experts here have a look.
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Old 07-19-04, 06:43 PM   #7
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Toeclip overlap is not uncommom on smaller frames, tandem or single.
Learn to live with it; just be conscious when making a sharp U-turn/turn that feet are not in level position and you'll not kick the tire.
Also if it is only minor toeclip overlap, running a smaller diameter tire could alleviate the problem.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy & Kay/Zona tandem
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