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

In-Reply-To: <>
References: <103120060036.8153.45469A870005376000001FD92200760180020E000A9C9D0A08@comc>
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 22:14:53 -0800
From: Jan Heine <>
Subject: RE: [CR]Toe-clip overlap - even on "Good" bikes?

>Classic example is some old Trek bikes with slack headangles and
>short fork rakes that are very dangerous at high speed.

Hmm, that sounds like too much trail, which usually results in too stable handling at speed, and hard to change line in mid-curve. In any case, that should be easy to rectify by more fork rake (and even less toeclip overlap).

However, some 1980s Trek touring bikes have very French-like geometries with moderate trail (low by today's standards). They ride great. However, the geometries varied from year to year, so check before you buy.

Rene Herse bikes with fenders don't have toeclip overlap, no matter which frame size. I haven't ridden the small ones (they don't fit me), but those who have seem to like them a lot. Jean-Pierre Praderes, the photographer of our book "The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles," loves his 1950 Rene Herse... So I am not sure that you need toeclip overlap on a well-designed bike. (Of course, those Herse bikes are helped by wide tires that allow a low-trail geometry).

Perhaps on very small skinny-tired racing bikes, toeclip overlap is unavoidable if you want good handling. But just because some bikes without toeclip overlap handle poorly, that does not mean that one goes with the other. In our testing, I have found no correlation between good handling and toeclip overlap. Some bikes have it, others don't, some bikes handle great, others don't, but there seems to be no relationship between these traits.

Of course, toeclip overlap can be avoided by slackening the head angle (increasing trail) or by increasing the fork offset/rake (decreasing trail), or a combination of both (keeping trail roughly the same). So you can have very different outcomes. -- Jan Heine Editor Bicycle Quarterly 140 Lakeside Ave #C Seattle WA 98122