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feet hit the backof the front wheel

Old 04-14-09, 01:46 PM
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feet hit the backof the front wheel

Is this solely due to the shorter wheelbase of a road bike? It's my wifes new bike, She says when she goes slow (and wobbly, I guess) her toes hit the front wheel. And she's only a size 7 (women's). I'm on an MTB frame, so I don't have that. I have not ridden with her yet, nor have I seen her "riding slow"- but I'm not doubting her. It's happened to me on a friends road bike. She's about 5' 7", riding a 54.5 Specialized Sirrus, carbon fork with a 43° rake, 175mm cranks. Hmmm , cranks too long?
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Old 04-14-09, 01:47 PM
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Toe overlap happens on smaller frames.

I get toe overlap.

It's not a big deal, since during normal riding you never turn your front wheel that much.

175mm cranks for someone 5'7" is probably too long.
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Old 04-14-09, 01:48 PM
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Happens to me with 172.5 mm cranks.

I almost fell over when standing still once when I was clipped in and went to straighten the wheel and it got stuck on my foot. d'oh!
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Old 04-14-09, 01:52 PM
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What they said. It's really only an issue at very low speeds. Tell her to ride faster.
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Old 04-14-09, 01:59 PM
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yeah i think the cranks may be too long; but will 2.5 or 5mm make a big difference? i suppose it depends on how much overlap there is.

one solution would be to convert the bike to 650b/c, but that's a big undertaking.
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Old 04-14-09, 02:00 PM
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I actually saw a guy walk into a bike shop and ask why his feet were hitting the front wheel when he turned it, he brought out his bike and the fork was on BACKWARDS. I doubt this is your case though.
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Old 04-14-09, 02:03 PM
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You learn to position your feet so that they're not aimed forward and back at low-speed. I usually have one up and one down. I've got about 50mm of overlap, so no amount of adjusting parts will fix that.
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Old 04-14-09, 02:12 PM
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Holy long crank arms, Batman! I'm 5'11", with 175's, and mine are just about too big for me. I'm just waiting to fit a new set into the budget!!
Anyhow, I get toe overlap, and so does my wife. I just have to be careful during track stands. Also, if I've only unclipped one foot while we stop at a stopsign or something to discuss directions, or grab something out of the bag, I have to make sure my still-clipped-in toes are on the correct side of the wheel before starting out again.
It's turning the toes of her shoes black, isn't it?
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Old 04-14-09, 02:36 PM
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Sometimes if I start out with my left foot at a 60 degree angle to the front of the bike and turn the wheel just right, to the left, my toe might hit the front tire. I just assumed it is a fluke and it most likely will never happen during normal riding. It will only occur when going slow and turning the wheel back an forth to avoid falling.
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Old 04-14-09, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by 50 tooth Cannon
Is this solely due to the shorter wheelbase of a road bike? It's my wifes new bike, She says when she goes slow (and wobbly, I guess) her toes hit the front wheel. And she's only a size 7 (women's). I'm on an MTB frame, so I don't have that. I have not ridden with her yet, nor have I seen her "riding slow"- but I'm not doubting her. It's happened to me on a friends road bike. She's about 5' 7", riding a 54.5 Specialized Sirrus, carbon fork with a 43° rake, 175mm cranks. Hmmm , cranks too long?
Yes, cranks are probably way too long. 170's would be better.

I have a bunch of toe overlap too. I'm the same height as your wife. Can't be helped. After a while, you learn to deal with it.
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Old 04-14-09, 03:17 PM
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Se should probably be on 170mm cranks.
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Old 04-14-09, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by MONGO!
Se should probably be on 170mm cranks.
My wife is. No troubles.
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Old 04-14-09, 03:24 PM
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58cm frame with toe overlap. Just be careful while trackstanding, as mentioned already.
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Old 04-14-09, 03:40 PM
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5'7 should be using anywhere around 160~170mm cranks.

not that it always solves the toe overlap problem, but still 175mm for a 5'7 is way too long.
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Old 04-14-09, 03:54 PM
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Nothing to add except I'm glad the question was asked. I have been having the same issue on occaision when stopped at lights or when starting from a full stop.

Sometimes, BF does actually give you the answers you seek. Actually, the number of times a new thread has started addressing an issue I have shortly after I have it is astounding. I am starting to think you all read my mind.

Hijack over...
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Old 04-14-09, 04:18 PM
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It was always my understanding that if you truly had pedal overlap (wheel touching toes) that you were on too small a frame. I have never experienced this on any of my bikes but I use 2/3 of cycling inseam for my road bikes and deduct 15" off my cycling inseam for mountain bikes.
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Old 04-14-09, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by island rider
Actually, the number of times a new thread has started addressing an issue I have shortly after I have it is astounding. I am starting to think you all read my mind.
I find the opposite to be true...I never have these problems until I read about them on BF...
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Old 04-14-09, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by mongo!
she should probably be on crank.
Originally Posted by sushijoe
my wife is. No troubles.
8-o
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Old 04-14-09, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by G_C
It was always my understanding that if you truly had pedal overlap (wheel touching toes) that you were on too small a frame. I have never experienced this on any of my bikes but I use 2/3 of cycling inseam for my road bikes and deduct 15" off my cycling inseam for mountain bikes.
Well, it also has to do with the geometry of the bikes. Smaller bikes tend to have shorter wheelbases and you'd throw off the balance by quite a bit if you stretch out the front end so that there's no toe-overlap (the bike will have too much weight on rear-wheel). Also on race-bikes, wheelbases are kept tight for quick handling, regardless of the size. I know guys riding 62cm bikes with over 3" of toe-overlap.

It's one of those trade-offs you make for performance and actually safety. Small bikes designed for no toe-overlap would have dangerous handling.
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Old 04-14-09, 05:34 PM
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Tell her not to go slow.
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Old 04-14-09, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
Well, it also has to do with the geometry of the bikes. Smaller bikes tend to have shorter wheelbases and you'd throw off the balance by quite a bit if you stretch out the front end so that there's no toe-overlap (the bike will have too much weight on rear-wheel). Also on race-bikes, wheelbases are kept tight for quick handling, regardless of the size. I know guys riding 62cm bikes with over 3" of toe-overlap.

It's one of those trade-offs you make for performance and actually safety. Small bikes designed for no toe-overlap would have dangerous handling.
I just checked my 60cm CAAD8 and have 1" clearance from the toe to the tire. I am 6' 2" with a 35" cycling inseam and a size 12 US shoe. I also ride an SWorks hardtail and have had many Stumpjumpers set to race on and never experienced pedal overlap. Smaller riders have smaller feet. Bikes are built proportionate. I realize a rider can size down and experience this but I don't believe this is the norm. I am riding a 19" SWorks right now. Going to check it on the way to get a beer.
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Old 04-14-09, 06:00 PM
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Is she using clipless? With platform pedals, I normally keep the arch of my foot over the pedal- that would aggrevate the problem.
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Old 04-17-09, 12:39 PM
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Thanks everybody. 170's, and go fast. That should fix it. I think she
can dig it, knowing how common it is. Y'all rule
and I appreciate your help.
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Old 04-17-09, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 50 tooth Cannon
Is this solely due to the shorter wheelbase of a road bike? It's my wifes new bike, She says when she goes slow (and wobbly, I guess) her toes hit the front wheel. And she's only a size 7 (women's). I'm on an MTB frame, so I don't have that. I have not ridden with her yet, nor have I seen her "riding slow"- but I'm not doubting her. It's happened to me on a friends road bike. She's about 5' 7", riding a 54.5 Specialized Sirrus, carbon fork with a 43° rake, 175mm cranks. Hmmm , cranks too long?
This issue you've described drives me bonkers. It isn't a problem with your bike. In my opinion, it is a flawed bike design philosophy.

The reasons why bike makers pack the front wheel closer to the frame are: reduction of wind resistance, a shorter fork which reduces weight slightly, and more nimble handling via a shorter wheelbase and the relative position of the handlebars to the front axle. All good arguments if your racing crits or want to sprint, but for recreational riding or touring, it's bogus. The argument that you usually only clip the tire when you're going slow is true but is inconsequential. You're often the least stable when going slow up a hill or at a stoplight. If you clip the front tire in that situation and lose your balance--it's a bad time to worry about that.

There are a couple ways around it. None are particularly easy.

If you only need an extra cm of clearance or so, you can get a shorter crank and put a smaller tire on the front wheel. Bike companies sometimes ship 48-52 cm bikes with 170 mm cranks, which doesn't make much sense to me. Usually people in that height range want shorter cranks anyway.

You can also replace the fork with one designed more for touring. It will curve forward a bit more, putting the wheel farther away.

I had an old KHS Flite that my toes overlapped the front wheel by about 3 cm. I couldn't pedal around corners. Everytime I had to make a sharp turn I had to be sure to keep the pedals vertical and coast. I sold that bike pretty quickly.
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Old 04-17-09, 01:35 PM
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I have toe overlap on my 57cm frame. But then again I wear size 51 bike shoes.
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