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toe overlap

Old 09-05-05, 03:46 PM
  #1  
trish123
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toe overlap

Ok, I'm new to this forum, so please pardon if I have the wrong terms. I bought a new bike 3 months ago, a Look 555 size 49 frame. Love it, was professionally fitted & it really does feel great (compared to my old bike which had way to much reach).

My problem? Toe overlap. Never had it before. I'm on 172.5 cranks. They are thinking of putting me on 160's and changing the chain length (this part I didn't get correct) so I'm not spinning with no power. I have about a 31 inch inseam, I'm 5'6.6", long legs with shorter torso.

Does this sound right?
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Old 09-05-05, 03:54 PM
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Toe overlap is not uncommon on small frames with 700c wheels...live with it....The 160 cranks don't sound right either.
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Old 09-05-05, 04:48 PM
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I can't live with it. I have fallen 4 times making turns. Hence, my question as to what other options there are.
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Old 09-05-05, 04:53 PM
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Should have considerd a bike with 650 wheels. But as said,it's not uncommon even on bigger bikes. I have some. Never been a problem. Trying to solve it with cranks that are too short is a lame solution.
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Old 09-05-05, 05:01 PM
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Sydney-

You are clearly not offering solutions. I never heard of toe overlap before I got this bike, so why would I ask for 650 wheels??? Maybe someone else can offer a solution. You are cleary a much better cyclist than I. I need a remedy.
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Old 09-05-05, 05:08 PM
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I am sorry I agree with Sydney. The only thing you can do is change the way you ride and decrease your turning radius.

I am the same height as you. However my torso is longer than my inseam. My first bike had 700c wheels. Subsequently, I have bought a bike with 26" wheels and it has made a big difference.

Most people on this forum give you helpful answers. They would not take the time to reply in order to simply disappoint you.
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Old 09-05-05, 05:08 PM
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Small frame + 700c wheel does often lead to toe overlap. Changing crank lengths should not be done *just* to eliminate overlap, but since you are 5'6", your cranks are probably longer than they need to be anyway. Read https://www.myra-simon.com/bike/cranks.html and the pages linked there for more info. However, changing crank lengths is non trivial, since there aren't that many makers of 160 cranks (165 is more common), so you may end up also having to swap out bottom bracket and maybe even other drivetrain components.

A good bike designer should consider putting 26" or 650 wheels on a smaller-framed bike, it would sure save us shorties a lot of trouble. I know Terry cycles and Rivendell at least do try to use smaller wheels on smaller frames.

To be honest, though sydney is curt, the best solution if toe overlap is really unacceptable for you, really would be to get a frame with smaller wheels.
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Old 09-05-05, 05:16 PM
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thank you for the input. According to the crank calculator, I would be 162.5. So would getting a shorter crank make that much of a difference? I live in NYC. I can't always make sure my feet are in the proper position when I'm dodging a cab.
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Old 09-05-05, 05:28 PM
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I agree with the others, toe overlap is no big deal at all. The only time your foot can contact the wheel is when you are riding very very slowly and turning. It is very common for riders to have some overlap, just remember it's there. I doubt that you'll have any more problems with falling, it's rare that you'll be riding that slowly, on the road it's not going to happen. You won't be able to turn the bar that much with any kind of speed.
People your size usually ride 165 or 170mm cranks. The 170's are a lot more common and the selection is better.
At your height and with your relatively long legs I think a 700 wheel bike may fit OK as long as the top tube isn't too long and as long as the drop from saddle to handlebar isn't too much. A bike with 650 wheels does have an advantage of allowing a shorter top tube and less toe overlap. But I think the top tube length is the bigger issue, and you've already said you like the fit.

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Last edited by Al1943; 09-05-05 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 09-05-05, 05:38 PM
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Look is definitely a nice frame. Enjoy your bike.

Moving down to a 160 crank length may be a disappointment. You may find yourself spinning too much to acheive the same speed. Might want to consider the 170 length and deal with the overlap as best you can.
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Old 09-05-05, 06:37 PM
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It's hard to say without seeing you on the bike but someone 5'6" typically rides a frame larger than a 49cm. According to the listed specs the top tube length is 51cm, a top tube this short has a very short front center (thus the overlap). Sounds like a 51 would have been a better fit.

At any rate, the only things you can do at this point is try shorter cranks and/or possibly install a fork with more offset. The cranks are the obvious choice; I wouldn't mess around with anything shorter than 165's as the others have stated. The fork is an expensive undertaking and may not be worth the expense. The 555 comes with a 43mm offset fork, which you could change over to 45mm without messing up the handling.

Shorter cranks = 7.5mm extra clearance
45mm rake fork = 2mm extra clearance (not much difference)

Sorry, there is no other solutions I can think of.

Good luck.

Ed

Last edited by Nessism; 09-05-05 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 09-05-05, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Nessism
It's hard to say but someone 5'6" typically rides a larger frame than a 49cm. According to the listed specs the top tube length is 51cm which leads to a very short front center (thus the overlap). Sounds like a 51 would have been a better fit....
i agree. i know you said you were professionally fitted, but a 49 seems small for you, especially if you have long legs. do you have particularly large feet?

just out of curiosity, what size stem are you using? how much standover do you have?
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Old 09-05-05, 06:51 PM
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FWIW, my fiance is 5'5 and has a 53cm womens geometry frame. She rode a 50cm standard geometry frame, and it was a bit too small.

As far as the toe overlap, I'm afraid I don't have many suggestions either. The common solution is a smaller front wheel (like on Terry bikes) but the bike has to be made for that - it's not something you can just add later.

I'm sorry you're having problems with your new ride.
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Old 09-05-05, 07:13 PM
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If you are 5'6", a 49 cm frame does sound too small.

BTW, toe overlap isn't limited to small frames. I'm 5'9" and have a 55 cm Litespeed and a 56 cm Co-Motion single bike and wear size 43 riding shoes with the cleats conventionally mounted fore-and-aft. All very middle size measurments and both bikes "suffer" from toe overlap. However, the only time it's apparent is during tight U-turns. I've never had any problems during normal riding or dodging traffic.

One way to compensate while making tight turns is to have the cranks nearly horizontal with the outside foot back and ratchet the cranks 90 or so as needed to maintain forward motion while you turn.
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Old 09-05-05, 07:22 PM
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I would definitely recommend shorter cranks. Peter White has also done some writing about it. My 155's are half for my shorty legs, half for my ex-runner destroyed knees.
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Old 09-05-05, 08:42 PM
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Toe overlap for a commuter bike is a huge problem. If you have to dodge taxicabs you can't 'live with it'. Sure you can get smart about crank position when dodging traffic, like you need to when cornering, but you can't afford to keep falling while picking up that skill.

Hopefully you're OK from the 4 falls you had. Hope the bike's OK too so you can wipe it clean and take it back to the store. You need to try out as many bikes as you can in the store - you can get a sense of the overlap even without fitting toe clips on them. Some bikes with fork shocks are raked enough to get over this problem even with smaller frames. My inexpensive Fuji cross that works wonderfully as a commuter has a front wheel miles ahead of my toes. And it's a small 20.5 frame. I have a 140mm stem on it but you'd probably be happy with a 50mm.

More important than the bike brand and gadgetry is the application. Hope you described this to the store, I'll assume they asked exactly what you wanted to do with the bike along with your budget before sizing you. I don't believe 160 cranks are the solution. What will 160 do if you have a good two inches of overlap? Unless they want you to first upgrade to a Campy record carbon 160, then a bora 650 TT front wheel

Take the bike back, explain your predicament, be very nice to them and get another bike. Good Luck!
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Old 09-06-05, 03:46 AM
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5'6" is within the acceptable height range for 700c wheels. The boundary is probably around 5'3" when you need to switch to a 650c designed frame.
The 555 is, I believe, a compact geometry style, designed to be ridden with a lot of seatpost extension, so you select a smaller size than for a traditional style of frame. How much seatpost do you have showing (not that is matters much, but it is an indicator of appropriate size frame)?
172.5 cranks are very long for a person of your size and much too long for a small bike. The value you calculated, between a 160 and a 165mm crank sounds about right for you. Does this solve the overlap problem?
Either of those sizes would be appropriate. You may find yourself spinning faster in a lower gear ratio but that is not a bad thing. I doubt that you will find the effect "dissapointing". 160mm are too small for a big guy but not for you.
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Old 09-06-05, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW
5'6" is within the acceptable height range for 700c wheels. The boundary is probably around 5'3" when you need to switch to a 650c designed frame.
The 555 is, I believe, a compact geometry style, designed to be ridden with a lot of seatpost extension, so you select a smaller size than for a traditional style of frame.
Well yeah, but when a 5'6" person goes with a 49 to get a shorter TT,ya still have the problem with the 700c wheels on the smaller frame. Even tho the Look is a sloping geometery, the 49 is a virtual measurement.
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Old 09-06-05, 11:19 AM
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Best bet is to practice at low speeds. Turn the handlebars left, put your left foot forwards. Turn right, put right foot forward. Typically when coming to lights or slow turns, you stop pedaling and coast. So you stop pedalling well before you turn the bars and you just make sure the proper foot is forward. Even easier to hold the cranks vertical, then it will clear regardless of which direction your bars are turning.

With a 5'6" person, 160mm cranks are way too short. About 170 is the most common length.

Like everything else in life, practice is key. You don't give up playing the piano because you hit a couple of bad notes, then turn the whole thing in for a player piano. You don't give up cooking because you burned a pot of pasta once or twice. The first couple times you brushed your teeth, you probably slobbered and dripped all over the place. Imagine if you had stopped brushing your teeth as a kid...
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Old 09-10-05, 03:28 PM
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Trish, I agree with Sydney's last post. You probably have a bike that is too small, and hence too short, which makes overlap worse. If you can't get the dealer to get you a larger frame, you'll need to live with overlap, because I think 160 cranks is an extreme solution.

I have overlap on two of my bikes, but only when turning at low speeds. Over the years I've learned to position my crank so it does not get in the way. I certainly appreciate how hard it can be in traffic, when you need to think about everything other than your feet. But the alternatives are pretty extreme. Especially going for a fork with more offset: that will have a major effect on how the bike steers, and move it toward a twitchy feel that will require all your focus.

So to learn this new skill, you will need to practice.

Ken
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Old 09-10-05, 05:01 PM
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170 mm may be the common length of crank, but i fail to see why that makes it the optimal length for someone who is 5' 6". There are many theories about optimal crank length, but find me one that calculates 170mm for someone on the shorter end of the height spectrum. What do 6 footers then use? 190's?
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Old 09-11-05, 04:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Sadaharu
170 mm may be the common length of crank, but i fail to see why that makes it the optimal length for someone who is 5' 6". There are many theories about optimal crank length, but find me one that calculates 170mm for someone on the shorter end of the height spectrum. What do 6 footers then use? 190's?
Crank-arm length is similar to RPMs. The longer the crank, the lower the pedal force needs to be for a certain power-output. With 160mm crank-arms, you have to push 5.8% harder for the same power-output as 170mm crank-arms. Or the converse would be -5.8% power-output in going from 170mm to 160mm cranks for the same maximum leg-strengh. It's really based upon the length of your leg and foot bones (femur, etc.). The idea is to have a certain angular change in your legs as you go around the pedal-circle to bring the various muscles through their contraction ranges. Without full muscle contractions, you're not getting full power out of them as well. See this article and references quoted in biblio. Also check out the Old Wives Tales on crankarm lengths. The imperical data of experience also has more people who've gone to longer cranks reported it as an improvement vs. much fewer people going to shorter cranks finding it favorable.

Here's various crank-length ideologies:

Zinn Cycles recommends crankarm = 0.21*inseam to 0.216* inseam
(5'6" person riding 170mm crankarms would correspond with 6'0" person riding 185mm crank arms, assuming same leg-length to height ratio)

Endurance World: Calculators and Conversion Chart Summary of various fitness calculators - crankarm is a table, not really calculation here.

Peter White - "How to Fit" article recommends 18.5% of distance from top of femur to floor. Author noticed immediate improvement in power and endurance when going to longer cranks.

Crank-Length Factor uses between 19.2-21.6% of inseam for top cyclists.

Kirby Palm's crank-length formulae is L(mm) = 5.48 x I(in) or L(mm) = 2.16 x I(cm)

Also check out these articles:

Burke, Edmund (1986). Effects of Saddle Height and Pedaling Cadence on Power Output and Efficiency. Science of Cycling. Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign IL.
Burke, Edmund ed. (1996). High-Tech Cycling Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign IL.

-----------------------------

Note that crank-arm length deals with a biomechanical optimization, you select crank-arm length to give you the most optimal power-output possible. Front-wheel overlap has nothing to do with power-output. Modifying power-output to adjust for some non-related factor is not really the best solution. If a car is leaking oil, do you remove all the oil from the engine so that it doesn't leak any more? Sure it solves one problem, but introduces a lot of other compromises as well.

You have to deal with each area separately. Trish's 172.5mm crank-arms may be a little long for a road-bike, that would be a better length for her on a MTB. Her more optimal road-bike crank would be 165-167.5mm; certainly not 160mm. Then dealing with the front-wheel overlap is practice and training. She's certainly not the first person to have this occur, and I bet there's very, very few people that have had this issue and not learned to deal with it through pedal/crank positioning within a few months.

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Old 09-11-05, 01:23 PM
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Trish, how much overlap do you have; have you measured it? 12.5mm is 1/2 inch; will that even help?

The posters who have said that overlap is not unheard-of are correct, but that doesn't make it any easier for you to ride, especially if it makes you uncomfortable. I suggest you talk further with the folks who fitted you and see if they can come up with a more acceptable (to you) answer.
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Old 09-12-05, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by trish123
Ok, I'm new to this forum, so please pardon if I have the wrong terms. I bought a new bike 3 months ago, a Look 555 size 49 frame. Love it, was professionally fitted & it really does feel great (compared to my old bike which had way to much reach).

My problem? Toe overlap. Never had it before. I'm on 172.5 cranks. They are thinking of putting me on 160's and changing the chain length (this part I didn't get correct) so I'm not spinning with no power. I have about a 31 inch inseam, I'm 5'6.6", long legs with shorter torso.

Does this sound right?
I've had overlap in the past, but it was rarely a problem. I never thought about it. On the other hand, it's very reassuring not to have it. My new bike has gobs of toe room.

Yours is likely severe due to your short upper body length. There is also a slight possibility that you are focusing on the overlap and that is exacerbating the problem, but I don't think so. Based on your inseam, I'd go no shorter than 170 mm cranks, but crank fitting is more art than science and is a very personal thing. For me with a 32.5" inseam, 170 feels too constraining.

A touring frame will have a shallower head tube angle (71 to 72 degrees) and therefore will have the front wheel further forward of the seat/crank than a standard road bike which sometimes are as steep as 74 degrees. The bike will steer more slowly (at 71), but I've never found that to be a problem or that noticeable when you get used to it. It's also more stable on those fast downhills.

A steeper seat tube angle, like 74 deg vice 71 deg, will also move the wheel forward. My wife has a very short upper body, is 5' 7" and uses a small Trek 520 touring frame. Her seat tube angle is 74 deg which is typical for small frames to provide toe-room with the front wheel.

I learned that, by the way, by calling a famous touring frame builder (I can't remember which one) and touched a nerve with the questions: why my wife is so far forward on the bike that pedaling is uncomfortable and, if I bought a custom-fitted bike from him, would that solve the problem. I got a detailed description of a frame builder's challenges and trade-offs in designing a small frame, especially for women.

The 74 deg. seat tube moved her way too far forward of the crank and had her in very forward time-trail position which is not all that comfortable. We solved that by using a seat post with 2" of set back and her saddle all the way back on the rails. According to the frame builder, that was our only option. At least I didn't have to buy a new frame, but it was tough finding a 2" set back seat post. Small frames require extreme measures; the key point of the frame builder.

For either a touring frame or a cyclocross frame, the V-brake pivots can often be moved (resolder and repaint) to use the smaller wheels. I had to do that once to use an old frame with 700c wheels. The fork can be changed for more rake if the handling doesn't become dangerous. Lastly, you might have to live with a slightly longer top tube with a very short stem to compensate. Shorter stems make the bike steer more quickly.

I'd say it's very likely that "they" did a poor job of fitting you and you may need a different bike than they were trying to sell you or you were trying to buy.

Al

Last edited by Al.canoe; 09-12-05 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 09-15-05, 12:44 AM
  #25  
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It appears the OP logged in to BF on Sept 5 and never came back.
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