Toe overlap a thing?

Hi all,

So I recently became the owner of a brand new Tarmac. It’s a size 54 which, apparently, is supposed to be a size smaller than I should be riding. But it felt perfect when I test rode it, it was the first bike I’ve ever ridden where I felt part of the bike and not just riding on top of it. I don’t know how to explain it other than that.

In any case, I have some pretty bad toe overlap with this bike and I’m assuming it’s because of the frame size. The wheel comes into contact with my shoe about 3" from the top of the shoe. My previous bike had toe overlap as well but not nearly as bad. How much of a concern is toe overlap when it comes to road bikes?

Not a concern since you will basically never be turning the bars that much at speed, and pedalling…just need to be careful at low speed manuevering. Bikes with shorter wheelbases tend to have this problem, but make up for it with snappier handling. I don’t get overlap on a 54cm Domane, but I do get overlap on my 54cm Emonda…never been a problem for me in the 10,000mi ive put on my bike

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I’ve heard that getting into the habit of pointing your toes down can help with toe overlap, and I’ve heard that you “just” have coordinate your steering and pedaling. Personally, I had enough scary overlap moments with my bike (always in low-speed maneuvering scenarios, because that’s the only time it’s a problem) that I was afraid to ride it. I kept getting my foot stuck between the frame and the wheel while weaving up steep hills or navigating around pedestrians on the bike path. I eventually replaced the bike, and it sits on my trainer now.

I’m generally uncoordinated, unbalanced, and lacking in basic bike handling skills. YMMV.

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I ride a Small Giant TCR Advanced Pro and I have exactly what you describe. I always thought this was normal and it’s only a issue at slow speed maneuvering. So in that case just be aware of it and don’t let it become a problem. I love my bikes small and responsive, so I don’t have a problem living with it.

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I’ve got overlap since switching to a mid-sole cleat position. I’ve got plenty of practice carried over from my single speed commuter bike so it’s not really an issue most of the time. Just takes some getting used to.

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I get the same with my Aeroad. Just be careful when doing manoeuvres at low speeds!

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I think everyone has already covered the basics… but one way I learned to deal with it, was racing CX last season on a bike that was too small for me. That forced me to get the footposition and turning dialed in ASAP.

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You could try using a shorter crank

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I’m actually getting a 165 crankset shortly.

That will not eliminate the toe overlap.

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Yeah I guess in this extreme case it wouldn’t. Could try shorter feet :wink:

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I experience the exact samt thing on my S-Works Tarmac SL6 Disc, whereas there is no overlap on my Cannondale CAAD10 - both size 56. The only time this is of any practical annoyance is when standing still, which isn’t all that often. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Sorry - made a mistake. Thanks for pointing it out, should coffee before thinking.

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During switchbacks and other tight corners this might become a problem, though.

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Yeh, I would be most worried about switchbacks, parking lot maneuvers, etc.

I have an 15year old cross bike that I use now as a road training/gravel bike. It fits 40c tires, but I get toe overlap when I go that big. I almost took a number of spills because of it. It is definitely not a problem I’d tolerate on a fancy new bike.

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That change in saddle position will have nearly no effect on toe overlap.

TO is all about the front center distance on the bike coupled with the crank length, and finally the shoe size and position on the pedal. It is totally common on race bikes with shorter wheelbase (and associated front center).

It is even more common on smaller frame sizes as the goal of proper weight distribution and trail are goals for handling. TO is not ideal, but a side effect of other factors that make the bike work properly in the desired conditions.

Saddle position will at most lead to a slight change in foot angle at the forward position of the crank (roughly level). Even a max rearward or forward saddle position won’t create or eliminate TO. It’s simply not relevant to the issue.

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I was trying hard to figure how moving the saddle would change the distance between the pedal at 3 o’clock and the front wheel.

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Thanks for the correction guys! You’re right now that I think about it…

Still said, wouldn’t suffer such a thing on a new bike.

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Count yourself lucky then, that you are large enough and/or ride bikes designed with longer front centers. I’m 5’10" riding a 56cm Trek Emonda with 172.5mm cranks, size 42 shoes with a rearward cleat position. All this leads to toe overlap because the bike is short wheelbase (and therefore front center too) bike that is meant for quick cornering.

Alternately, my 56cm Specialized Roubaix with all the same gear has no TO issue, because it is an “endurance” bike with a longer wheelbase ( and the FC). I am in the middle of the typical size range and can still experience the TO problem. Point being that it is largely about the bike and those with smaller frame sizes have even more likelihood of getting a TO issue.

For smaller riders on road race bikes in particular, it’s impossible to avoid TO without changing the handling. And for race purposes, no TO would lead to a longer front center that will be lighter and more resistant to direction changes.

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I also have an aeroad and toe overlap is only a minor annoyance when turning around in a parking lot before rides.

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