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Is this norm on TT bike to hit front wheel with your toes?

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Is this norm on TT bike to hit front wheel with your toes?

Old 09-19-21, 12:21 AM
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vane171
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Is this norm on TT bike to hit front wheel with your toes?

Hi, I got this secondhand bike, Trek, TT style handlebars and nice compact frame. This is also first for me to ride with clipless shoes and I screwed SPD style clips on my new shoes and placed them in the mid (back/forward) position to start with.

Today I took it out for a test ride and soon I found I was hitting my front wheel with shoe toes in tighter turns. I was careful and back home, I moved the clips all the way forward, clipped the shoe on pedal and to my dismay, it still hits and not just touching, it can be an inch overlap. What gives? The only other way would be shorter cranks, the bike came with the standard size 172.5 mm but even if I changed to 170 or whatever is smaller next size, it still wouldn't be enough to clear the front tire.

Shoes are size 44 and I could have bought one size smaller when it comes to space in toe area but this 44 size otherwise fit as far as foot width goes. My feet weren't slim even when I was twenty years old and from reading around here, many face this problem of cycling shoes being made for Martians or some ETs.

Is that normal and to be expected on this kind of bike, since it is not meant to go slow and do things on it like make a slow 90 degree turns on city side streets? It is true that at normal riding speeds you mostly never steer the wheel that much to hit your toes on the front wheel tire but you still get into situations where that happens.

I seem not to have any problem with unclipping pedals when stopping, it comes easy, at least I hope I won't forget I am clipped in, but I kind of doubt you also get used to watching your feet pedaling in tight turns, so as not to jam your toes against tire.

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Old 09-19-21, 04:09 AM
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It’s called toe overlap and it’s quite common. It is likely only an issue at very low speed turns, when you are not pedaling anyway.
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Old 09-19-21, 09:49 AM
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Normal. I've had toe overlap on nearly every road bike I've ever had and for sure every track bike. Size 41 shoes as well. Deal with it.
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Old 09-19-21, 09:56 AM
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I suspected as much because looking at the space between the pedal and tire, it doesn't look like it can be avoided, even if one had small feet and tight shoes.
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Old 09-19-21, 10:19 AM
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Just be glad it's not fixed gear where you can't rotate the pedal out of the way.
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Old 09-19-21, 10:56 AM
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Just understand that when you are going at most any speed on a bike with just two wheels, you aren't going to turn the wheel that far to one side.

The only time I've seen it be a problem is when my son started out from a stop with his wheel turned to one side. As he tried to pedal first as he straightened the wheel it was prevented by his toes. So he simply had a false start, fixed the issue by getting his foot out of the way and then started again.

I got a good laugh and opportunity to rib him for a few minutes.
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Old 09-19-21, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
Just be glad it's not fixed gear where you can't rotate the pedal out of the way.
Had a good laugh

I suppose it is OK with bike pros who change to such short wheel base when they arrive to a race or training start someplace on open roads. But if you have to leave from your house or a hotel, it may be an issue, even if you live in a small town. I just hope it will become a second nature in due time to be aware of this pitfall pretty well automatically.

I think most people with these bikes load it in a car and go to some place where they start their bike rides.
In my case, I start my rides from a backyard gate outside of which is some thirty feet of lawn to the road, which is going mild uphill at at right angle. Usually I mount the bike while still on the lawn and at the road I make right ninety degree turn to go uphill from there. That's the first sticking point. Next one comes some hundred feet later when this uphill road comes to a main road running at right angle. Here I turn right or left, depending what ride I choose that day. That's second sticking point. All of that is at low speed and because of uphill, you want to keep pedaling even in turns.

And during my ride circuits that are on small village/town secondary roads (I live in EU even if now I am still stuck in Canada due to virus craziness) sometimes I have to ride on a main road for a mile or so, before I can connect to another secondary road. Getting on this main road is at right angles and many times from stopping position (unless I can see there is no traffic there as I come to it). With bike like this one, I will not be able to take any even remote risk of crossing this main road in case I would fumble with my foot hitting the tire. But otherwise it will be plain sailing, the bike feels like a Ferrari which also has various shortcomings when it comes to driving roads.

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Old 09-19-21, 12:14 PM
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All my bikes have had toe overlap.
If I'm u-turning within a single lane, I need to coast around the bend. (And I'd worry about pedal strike here, too.) Otherwise, it's not a problem. With any reasonable speed, I've never bumped the wheel when taking a sharp, precise turn, like from a road onto a narrow sidewalk intersecting the road.

I can see that having to pedal at very slow speeds through a 90 degree bend would be difficult. And I've bumped my shoe a few times riding slowly uphill on loose gravel, where I needed much bigger steering inputs. That was annoying and a bit dangerous, but I didn't lose control.

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Old 09-19-21, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Normal. I've had toe overlap on nearly every road bike I've ever had and for sure every track bike. Size 41 shoes as well. Deal with it.
Also above post by rm -rf

That is an eye opener, are you saying that even the road bikes have the issue, probably most of them or even all, the modern ones? So far I rode an older bike, classic from late 1970s, something like what Eddy Merckx rode in his racing days. Not that good bike of course but more or less in appearance.

I guess that's what you get with steeper fork angle that gives these modern bikes more responsive handling.
I suppose it doesn't tend to cause some frequent, frightening accidents, otherwise one would hear about this issue more often. I suppose it can lay you on the ground sideways, same as if you didn't unclip when stopping. But probably mostly it is just a 'hit' that you recover from most times and also get used to anticipating it.

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Old 09-19-21, 01:00 PM
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If you are imaging all sorts of frightening accidents from this you probably shouldn't read about how dangerous the old 7 style bike stems are. It use to create quite the hysteria.

Your question about toe interference is as old as that and might date back to times since we quit riding penny farthings. Probably they considered toe interference every now and then preferable to leg interference all the time <grin>

I'd be almost certain that if you get toe interference while riding your bike at any speed more than a walk, then you'll already be well into the process of crashing before the toe interference even occurs.

Last edited by Iride01; 09-19-21 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 09-19-21, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
I guess that's what you get with steeper fork angle that gives these modern bikes more responsive handling.
I suppose it doesn't tend to cause some frequent, frightening accidents, otherwise one would hear about this issue more often. I suppose it can lay you on the ground sideways, same as if you didn't unclip when stopping. But probably mostly it is just a 'hit' that you recover from most times and also get used to anticipating it.
My first real racing bike (Helyett track bike with Reynolds 531 tubing and sew-up tires) had toe overlap, and that was in 1964. Almost every bike I've owned since then has had toe overlap, so it's by no means a modern development.

The reason you don't hear about "frightening accidents" with toe overlap is that you can't hit the front wheel with your foot at anything above walking speed. Above about 5 mph, you turn by leaning, not steering. You couldn't hit the front wheel with your foot even if you tried to.

So don't worry about it. You'll soon get used to ratcheting your pedals back to keep them away from the front wheel during low-speed maneuvers. And those of us who ride track bikes around quickly learn to time low-speed turns so that the pedal stays away from the front wheel.
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Old 09-19-21, 01:30 PM
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There is one place near the end of my rides where I top a hill and there is one small road branching off which creates a decent size paved place where I ride in figure eight pattern for several minutes to get a breather and dry some sweat before taking off downhill back to my hometown. This way I don't arrive foaming at mouth. You can see far and wide on that road crossing and there is almost no traffic most times anyway.

While you almost don't need to pedal during those tight figure eights and the momentum keeps because the turns spring you around somewhat like a gravity assisted acceleration of space probes, still an occasional pedal action is needed and probably these new bikes are not made for such artistry.
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Old 09-19-21, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
...... still an occasional pedal action is needed and probably these new bikes are not made for such artistry.
New being less than eighty years old?

Or are you still under the impression this wasn't a thing on bikes from say maybe the 70's. Because it was a thing on them. Maybe you just didn't have the models it was a thing on.

I turn around on my new Tarmac within the narrow width of our MUP without putting a foot down. Never had the occasion to want to do figure eights.
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Old 09-19-21, 02:34 PM
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It’s definitely a thing on many racing and TT bikes, but because these bikes are ridden at high speed the turning angle is shallow and your tires are narrow so some toe overlap can be acceptable. But on gravel bikes with really wide tires and fenders or if your riding style includes a lot of low speed turns (sounds like it) you may want to find a bike that don’t have this issue. If you’re a guy that needs a small frame toe overlap can be very hard to avoid, but look for bikes with a slack head angle (not TT! LOL), high fork offset, and longer top tube. Bikes with 650Bs can also help.

There is no performance advantage to having a bike with toe overlap and if you forget and stick your foot between the fork and frame while turning a crash is almost always unavoidable in that case.
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Old 09-19-21, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
There is no performance advantage to having a bike with toe overlap and if you forget and stick your foot between the fork and frame while turning a crash is almost always unavoidable in that case.
A 3-or-4-mph crash.
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Old 09-19-21, 03:41 PM
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I use 165mm cranks and I have no toe overlap ever with size 45 shoes.
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Old 09-19-21, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Normal. I've had toe overlap on nearly every road bike I've ever had and for sure every track bike. Size 41 shoes as well. Deal with it.
At 5'7", I also have had toe overlap on virtually every bike that I've ever owned.
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Old 09-19-21, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
A 3-or-4-mph crash.
Usually in full kit with an audience to complete your humiliation…
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Old 09-19-21, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
Usually in full kit with an audience to complete your humiliation…
Touché.
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Old 09-19-21, 05:34 PM
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I put shoe clips all the way forward and went for a ride today and while that toe overlap is still there, it is not that bad. Of course riding in town on side streets and some trails not really made for biking above 16km/h, you have to go slow and make lots of turns all the time, but it is better with the shoe clips moved all the way forward and I am OK with it too.
Those town side streets that are acceptable driving a car are so rough on a bike with narrow 23 tires @90psi, way too many jolting joints and little holes, never mind sewer covers.

BTW my new Shimano SPD pedals don't spin free so that on many occasions I need to flip them right side up before clipping in, maybe in time they will loosen up?

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Old 09-19-21, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
New being less than eighty years old?
The classic fork is splayed forward and maybe classic frames have longer wheel base too, so you have just enough room for your toes, at least on my old bike that is the case. I also can turn almost 'on a dime' but if I had to watch for crank arms constellation, it would be a whole science.
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Old 09-19-21, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
Just be glad it's not fixed gear where you can't rotate the pedal out of the way.
That's one of the reasons why I use 165mm crank arms on my fixed gear bikes.
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Old 09-19-21, 07:13 PM
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Size L Trinity Pro TT with 165’s and no issues.

At low speeds tilt the frame towards the ground body more upright. Outer foot low inner high. No pedaling.

A TT or triathlon will only ever have a u turn done like that.

If this is a parking lot or gates on a multi use path, walk the bike. It isn’t designed to go 2 mph.

Either way….Scandi flick that sucker around tight corners.

Also gotta learn to bunny hop while in the extensions. You’ll forget a speed bump or pot hole one day and regret not knowing.
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Old 09-19-21, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
The classic fork is splayed forward and maybe classic frames have longer wheel base too, so you have just enough room for your toes, at least on my old bike that is the case. I also can turn almost 'on a dime' but if I had to watch for crank arms constellation, it would be a whole science.
The fork blade being 'curved' has nothing to do with where the front axle is. The center of the axle is where the builder determines it needs to be whether the fork blade is curved or straight. Just because they're not straight doesn't mean the wheel is 'further forward' on that particular bike.
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Old 09-19-21, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
The classic fork is splayed forward
Pretty much all road bike forks, vintage and modern, have the front wheel axle offset forward of the steering axis. It's just visually subtler on modern forks because the tubing is a lot wider and they use straight lines rather than bending the blades.



Different eras have somewhat different fashions, but there's a ton of geometric overlap between road bikes from today and road bikes from, say, 1980.

The thing that we're actually interested in is the front-center, which is the fore-aft distance from the bottom bracket shell to the front wheel axle. This depends on the geometry of the fork, but also on how the fork is situated within the frame (how far forward, and what angle the steering axis is at).

Last edited by HTupolev; 09-20-21 at 12:21 PM.
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