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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm looking into getting back to some road cycling. I'm a mountain biker :blush2: at heart and want to add more cardio/aerobic training to my regimen. I'm not going to race, not get into any hill climb events, just ride for fun to keep up with my more experienced roadie buddies.

I had a Colnago about 10 yrs ago, can't remember the model, but it was the best riding road bike I had. It fit well and didn't hit my foot when I turned the wheel.

I test rode a couple bikes, one 52cm, one 49cm (Lemond Vitoirie). On both of those, when my foot was in the 3 'o clock position on the crank and the front wheel was turned, it would hit my foot. Not good. The owner of the Lemond, his foot with a size 7 shoe barely clears the front wheel. The sales guys of the 52cm bike were quick to say, "Oh, you rarely turn your wheel that sharp. Its something that happens on small frames sometimes." I'm thinking, fine, but not for me. I want the wheel to clear my foot.

Some info:
5' 4 3/4" tall
28" inseam
Size 43 shoe (Size 9-9.5 US)
Yes, my foot is properly aligned on the pedal/cleat.
No, I'm not buying a smaller shoe.

Those bikes that hit had straight forks. My Colnago had a curved fork. I'm assuming that's what I'm going to have to look for again?

Any help appreciated.
 

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Unfortunately it's not quite as simple as all that.

Greater fork rake necessitates a slacker head tube (in order to maintain the same steering properties aka 'trail'). These are the primary factors to used compensate for the very common problem with toe overlap.
It's not just the head tube angles that are more severe it's also the seat tube angles. Typically quite steep to avoid clearance issues with the rear tire.
To some extent the shop guy was right that toe overlap is largely unavoidable in smaller frames.
One thing that can be done is the use of 650c wheels. This allows bikes to be built with more typical angles and is often used in smaller women's specific designs. They're usually found on bikes 48cm or below so you probably won't find many at your size but if you're really strict about toe clearance this is one option to consider.

Smaller cranks (170mm) will gain you half a cm. Not a huge factor there but perhaps a good idea regardless of clearance issues.

I don't really have experience buying frames at that size so can't comment on any specific options. I'm sure someone who does will chime in soon.
 

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Lambretta
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I am a mtb`er, and have toe tap on my road bike.

The only time I noticed it was during the first week during slow sharp turns when I was riding into my garage. Its not a problem on the road.
 

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30 minutes of skill training.

If you want to ride a small modern racing-style ("road") frame, the only option you have is to re-learn how to make tight turns at very low speeds. There are several ways to keep your toe from contacting the front wheel. The first one listed is by far the best.

- Carry enough speed into the turn so you can coast through it with the inside foot pointing forward,
- Ratchet your way through the turn,
- Try either dropping or lifting the heel of the outside foot as much as you can. In many overlap situations, that allows the toe to clear the wheel while pedaling through a tight turn.

Most road riders have automated one or all of these simple skills and don't need to think about them any more—see Dave's post.
 

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Absolutely fine, I have tow overlap on all my road frames as well as both my cyclocross frames. Once you dial in your low speed pedaling tech and steering you will never notice it. With a 28 inseam and a 43 size shoe you will run into this every time.
 

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As a mountain biker, you misjudge the 'problem.' Any bike ridden above walking speed will not be anywhere near your toes. If you are going to ride that slowly, you don't need a road bike. If you are going to ride quickly, that amount of wheel turn will put you on the pavement.

For the record, it's not a problem of frame size. I'm 6'1", ride bikes (depending on type/manufacturer/purpose) from 57 to 62, and every road bike I've ever owned has had some overlap. I'm confident that my current 'main' bike has considerably more than you are experiencing.

If you really find it important, look into touring bikes. Because they are designed for slower movements and heavy loads, their geometry tends not to have overlap. Fairly like driving a truck, but if that's a compromise you are willing to make to 'solve' a nonexistant problem, there you have it.
 

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Yes, I have a large frame and large feet so, I have the same problem. I actually don't even notice it excect if im stopped and sitting on the bike.
 

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Meow!
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I'll echo what's already been said. Both of my bikes have some toe overlap. Every once in a while, I'll trip myself up making a tight turn from a stopped position, but most of the time it's a non-issue. Short of getting 650c wheels, you likely won't be able to avoid it, and I'd be wary of any bike small enough to fit you with 700c wheels that has somehow managed to eliminate the issue. There's a good chance the geometry is kind of funky.
 

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big toe overlapper here. every time i build up a bike and take it for its first shake down ride around the block i get freaked out. but thats usually when i just leave the driveway. once you are going faster than 5 mph, you wont need to worry about it. problems arise when you trackstand, though.

in fact, yesterday i took my new build out. scuffed my new white shoes. grr....wont do that again.
 

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duh...
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ewitz said:
Move the cleats forward on the shoe.


do NOT screw w/ your cleats to adjust for toe overlap... better off getting 150mm cranks, which isn't a good idea either
 

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Yeah, it's no big deal. I have a 49cm Bianchi and a 51cm Look, both had toe overlap issues at the beginning but now I can even crawl along really slowly without rubbing against the front wheel. You just need to get used to it.
 

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*echo*

I'm 5'; every bike I own has toe overlap to some degree. That includes the mountain bikes. It's yet to cause me to crash. I avoid the ones that are so bad my arch hits the tire not just my toe, but I've yet to turn a roadbike that sharply outside of a test ride (where I was testing toe overlap). Even if I did it wouldn't be a problem since I've yet to eat it on the mountain bike either. You learn to ratchet pedal or turn with your feet at 12 and 6 (better for bike control anyway) and then you don't think about it.
 

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info...

Colnagos use a slack head tube angel that increases the front-center and reduces the chance of toe overlap. It has nothing to do with straight or curved forks. Both types have the same offset on a Colnago frame.

Someone with your very short inseam will usually ride the smallest size that most brands sell and those push the limits of what's practical with 700C wheels.

If the brand that you are looking at does not list the front center, then at least look for a head tube angle in the 71-71.5 degree range.

The smallest Colnagos have a front center of 585-587mm.
 

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Alright; you're short. And the bike shop guy is right; toe overlap is not an issue at any speed above walking speed.

However, since it IS an important issue to you, there's nothing wrong with trying to address it. Some custom framebuilders will consider it a valid point when designing a frame.

In your case, due to your height, you could fit on a small frame, but the geometries of most small frames might result in toe overlap.

Your best choice would be to find a bike built around 650c wheels instead of 700c. It may require you to have a custom frame built. Other than the non-standard wheel size, the only drawbacks to 650c wheels are a smaller selection of tires. A custom frame could EASILY be built around 650c wheels with no compromises in fit or handling, and you'd have no toe overlap issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Peter P. said:
Alright; you're short. And the bike shop guy is right; toe overlap is not an issue at any speed above walking speed.

However, since it IS an important issue to you, there's nothing wrong with trying to address it. Some custom framebuilders will consider it a valid point when designing a frame.

In your case, due to your height, you could fit on a small frame, but the geometries of most small frames might result in toe overlap.

Your best choice would be to find a bike built around 650c wheels instead of 700c. It may require you to have a custom frame built. Other than the non-standard wheel size, the only drawbacks to 650c wheels are a smaller selection of tires. A custom frame could EASILY be built around 650c wheels with no compromises in fit or handling, and you'd have no toe overlap issues.
You hit it right on! While many here think it not to be an issue, it is for me. Just something I'd rather not have to worry about if possible. I did try a 50 mile ride on a bike that had toe overlap and well, it was just not fun. Just not something that instilled confidence. I actually did have problems with the foot hitting while pedaling at speed through turns. Kinda scary actually.

C-40.
So that's why my 15 y/o Colnago cleared okay. I might just have to keep looking for a Colie than. Again, that was the best riding roadie I ever had. I just had to sell it due to rust. Hawaii does that to steel bikes. Or maybe a Ti Colnago. Do they make ti? It's prolly uber expensive and way out of my price range.
 
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