Re: [CR] front wheel toe overlap

(Example: Racing:Jean Robic)

In-Reply-To: <>
From: "Jon Spangler" <>
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 20:05:07 -0700
To: <>
Subject: Re: [CR] front wheel toe overlap


I've never owned a bike without toe overlap that fitted me properly. Riding a 52 CM (c-top) road frame, everything has had toeclip overlap since my first UO-8 in 1971. (My Bianchi (ca. 1966?) probably had it too, but I cannot recall.) My Eisentraut has overlap, as does my UO-18 mixte town bike with its 55 CM functional top tube, so even an "overly-long" TT does not resolve the problem in all cases.

As noted by most, the overlap is only a problem at very low speeds and in sharp bar-turning turns, but is never a problem on the road, other than at stop signs and lights when I am trying to stay clipped in. We usually initiate turns with our hips and not the handlebars in any case.


Jon Spangler Alameda, California, Estados Unidos/EU (USA)

On Mar 10, 2009, at 1:00 PM, <> <> wrote:
> Message: 8
> Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 11:12:19 -0700
> From: Mitch Harris <>
> Subject: Re: [CR] Track bike set up
> To: John Betmanis <>
> Cc: classic Rendezvous <>
> Message-ID:
> <>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"
> On Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 9:57 AM, John Betmanis <>
> wrote:
>> ...I feel that it's quite possible to build small, if not the
>> smallest, frames without toe overlap unless the builder considers
>> a tight,
>> upright frame to be more important. Even with toe overlap, nothing
>> really
>> bad can happen because it would only come into play at extremely slow
>> speeds or standstill.
> Perhaps the important thing is not the tightness or uprightness, but
> how the bike rides. My wife rides a 50cm frame and needs a short top
> tube, and the first time she rode and descended on her on-topic
> Batavus Professional, she raved about how well it went around curves
> at high speed, how right it felt, how responsive, and how good the
> steering felt, how the front wheel felt like it was in the right
> place, not way out in front of her on remote control. I was surprised
> because I didn't know what the difference could be, since these were
> all attributes I expected as a matter of course in my 58cm bikes. But
> it turns out these attributes were new to her because she'd been
> riding bikes with geometry that pushes the front wheel out forward
> with a slacker head angle or fork rake chosen more to avoid toe
> overlap than for steering response. Her Batavus Pro in an ordinary SL
> long point bike, but the 50cm was designed to put the front wheel in
> the same place underneath her, relative to where a good 58cm frame
> puts the front wheel under me. One result is toe overlap, but this is
> only an issue in slow maneuvers in parking lots, or a U-turn in the
> road. She's not crazy about the toe overlap but she wouldn't give up
> how the bike handles just to get rid of it.
> Looking at how builders design small 700c 50cm bikes without toe
> overalap, I usually wouldn't want to ride the bike that results from
> those compromises. Like Marcus said, smaller wheels are the only way
> I or she would consider for a small frame to prevent toe overalap. Not
> that she couldn't ride those other non-overlap 700c bikes fine, but
> why would she want to now that she's ridden a bike with the front
> wheel where it's supposed to be, and knows what a great ride feels
> like. No doubt some builders are able to build a 50cm 700c frame
> without toe overlap that somehow doesn't put the front wheel too far
> out front for good handling, but she hasn't found any yet. One track
> bike I rode for part of a season was a long tall 60cm with a very long
> front center. It felt like I turned the bike, then waited a beat,
> then found myself turning, sort of like driving a long wheelbase
> truck. The front center on that bike was proportional to the long
> front center on her earlier bikes without toe overlap, and so I had
> experienced the kind of ride she'd always had before toe overlap.
> In years of riding track, I had some track bikes with overlap, even in
> my usual 58cm size, and some without. Often older bikes were less
> likely to have overlap (I remember a 60s Holdsworth track bike with
> lots of rake), and larger bikes less likely too, although this was not
> a hard rule. But I don't remember any conversation about toe overlap
> as a problem.
> A rider doing a track stand is aware which foot is going to end up in
> front and knows which way the front wheel will be turned. Riders may
> only able to do the stand with a particular foot forward and the wheel
> turned a particular way, or are much more adept at one orientation
> over the other. This is probably why most riders don't have an issue
> with toe overlap when doing track stands--one instinctively knows to
> put the wheel to the side with the foot to the rear. My favorite 58cm
> track bike has overlap, and as I became more ambidextrous with my
> track stand (wheel either side, either foot forward, standing up or
> sitting down) I wondered whether I'd sometimes forget and put the
> wheel in the way of my foot, but it doesn't happen for some reason.
> There is kind of bike stand where the rider swings the wheel back and
> forth from one side to the other to maintain balance. You see it on
> the street sometimes, and toe overlap would definitely hinder that
> movement. While this maneuver is useful to mtb Trials riders in some
> situations, It's not the way a track rider does a track stand. The
> only time I notice toe overlap as a problem is riding on the street,
> U-turns, slow turns in the parking lot, etc., on my track bike or one
> of my couple of 58cm road bikes with toe overlap.
> There are certainly legitimate reasons for builders to try to avoid
> overlap even in small frames--pleasing the customer's expectations
> being a main one. My wife if given the choice before she rode 50cm
> 700c bikes would haved picked the one without overlap, but after
> riding each kind would always pick the one with overlap, because the
> ride is not compromised from her point of view. A builder who
> believes small 700c bikes handle better with toe overlap would have
> had a difficult time convincing my wife of that before she rode,
> though. I can see why builders wouldn't want to evangelize for
> something like toe overlap unless the rider already knows the ride she
> wanted. Another reason would be personal preference--some people may
> be more put out by overlap than me or my wife, and may consider
> handling differences in a small frame a small price to pay.
> Another reason may be liability concerns, which is too bad.
> Mitch Harris
> Little Rock Canyon, Utah, USA
> ------------------------------

Jon Spangler
Linda Hudson Writing
510-864-0370/FAX 864-2144
MOBILE 510-846-5356