Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Toe overlap

Is it a disaster if you have toe overlap?
Obviously, wearing winkle-pickers on a small bike with mudguards does not help! But usually, a bit of overlap is not a disaster, because for general riding, steering inputs are small. However, toe overlap can be very irritating, especially at slow speeds where handlebars are turned more. For me, the worst situation is climbing a twisty road. I'm out of the saddle, putting the watts down, going round a hairpin bend, when whack! At worst, I could fall off.

Over the years, I've developed a sense of the front centres measurement that allows my toes to clear the front wheel. Front centres (FC) is the distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre of the front wheel axles - measured very simply with a tape measure. For me when FC~595mm, then I know that in normal cycling shoes and tyres up to 28mm, toe overlap may be marginal. That is, it may be present, or it may not! I also know that when FC~600mm, clearance is more likely.

If you have a bit of toe overlap and want to get rid of it, you could try changing a few things, for example:
  • move your cleats forward a bit, but of course, this may affect comfort
  • use narrower tyres
  • change cranks to shorter ones - not an ideal solution for a few mm gain
  • more radical would be the change the front fork to one with more forward rake
So, toe overlap is not a disaster, but it can be irritating and possibly dangerous. Personally, I don't like it. I try to ensure that there is no toe overlap on any of my bikes. 

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