Re: [CR]Toe-clip overlap - even on "Good" bikes?

Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 17:53:32 -0500
From: "Edward Albert" <>
To: <>, <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Toe-clip overlap - even on "Good" bikes?

I tend to Agree with Dale. In the bad old days (late 70's and 80's) when Criteriums dominated American racing, everyone seemed to want what we called responsive -- read twitchy -- bikes (right or wrong). For me, riding a 51 or 52 c to c that meant y I always had significant overlap. I remember having a Tom Kellog custom, built when I turned masters at 35. It was for criteriums and was essentially a track bike built for the road. The bike had EXTENSIVE overlap. When I talked to Tom about it he said it would never be a problem over 5 miles an hour. It wasn't. Of course track standing at lights could be dicey but that wasn't what the bike was built for and I never was very good at that anyway. Edward Albert Chappaqua, NY, USA

Edward Albert, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Sociology
>>> <> 10/30/06 4:22 PM >>> <<... he still had serious issues with toe-clips hitting against his fenders - a real annoyance, especially at slow speeds intown, when he most may need to make sharp swerves around obstacles ....>>

Hi Bob:

I wonder, is this really that much of a problem?

In my shop, over these many years I have observed that a lot of bikes do not have "toe clip clearance". But it is never a problem until someone accidentally discovers it while standing around static, or attempting a track stand or similar. Up until then, in actual use, it's darn near impossible, while underway, to turn the bike's front end enough to actually contact the toe or clip. At faster than a very slow walking speed, it is almost impossible to turn the front fork more than a very few degrees...

But, once the bike owner discovers this "potentiality", they get upset and nervous about the "toe clip overlap". In real life situations, it has a very slight chance of really occurring.

But maybe I am wrong? Any of you have actual experiences that indicate this toe clip clearance thing is a big problem?

Dale Brown Greensboro, North Carolina USA -----Original Message----- From: To: Sent: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 3:25 PM Subject: [CR]Toe-clip overlap - even on "Good" bikes?

I'm sure this subject has been covered excessively already, but I was just reminded by another rider what a common problem the issue of toe-clip / Fender overlap is today - even on "Good" modern bikes.

I was riding beside another cyclist today who was mounted on a lovely Rivendell built for him (i.e. their 'custom' frameset) several years ago. I commented appreciatively on his bike, and he just grumbled that he should have just waited and looked for an older bike - like mine.

His problem was that even after having shelled out a lot of money for a frameset, fitted to him, and made with the understanding that he'd often be using fenders, he still had serious issues with toe-clips hitting against his fenders - a real annoyance, especially at slow speeds in town, when he most may need to make sharp swerves around obstacles or people, etc.

Maybe this was a thing of the past for Rivendell; Grant Petersen is certainly a major proponent of fenders. So what was the problem with designing a bike with adequate front clearance... and especially on a more expensive made to measure frameset of basically common dimensions (maybe 56-58cm).

I have several modest production bikes built from the 1950s to mid '70s, all currently mounted with full fenders, and yet there is adequate room for both my big ol' feet and some serious fenders. They all handle extremely well and would be among my favorites to ride even without fenders. And, by the way, half of my fender clad bikes have Honjo or similar French-style fenders which feature wrap-around hoops for the stays closest my pedals (which would tend to present even more of a potential problem).

I have a Motobecane Le Champion (c.1971) and mid-70s Grand Record, a mid-70s Raleigh Gran Sport and a 1971 International, on which fenders present no problems. And also, a couple British road bikes from the late 50s... although, admittedly, on those earlier bikes a gentler head tube angle was probably far more commonly accepted than even on most bikes from 30 years ago.

I can accept that basically all of the modern production "road" bikes (i.e. "pseudo-wannabe-racers") are purchases I would never even consider. And, in my opinion, Rivendell bikes really cannot be considered "Custom" bikes anyway - since so many restrictions are stipulated concerning what you can and cannot ask them to do for "your" frameset. But, they are certainly more expensive than most readily available bikes and definitely a major investment.

On such bikes, with a reputation for more careful design, lugged steel construction, and a suitably high price tag, this sort of problem or oversight seems absolutely unacceptable and shameful.

So, have some designers just gotten Stupid over the years and forgotten what a bike should do?

Are attempts to make an "all-around" sort of bike just accepting a multitude of compromises which really creates minor problems... all around.

Or, is there now actually a new trend in how a bike "should" handle which makes steeper head tube angles and shallow rake suddenly considered necessary or even desirable?

I'm simply baffled, appalled by what I've seen, and even more appreciative of my own preferred bikes.

Bob Hanson, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA