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How Much Toe Overlap is Too Much?(31 posts)

How Much Toe Overlap is Too Much?jtolleson
Oct 22, 2002 12:20 PM
OK, here's the saga.

I got a custom Seven Axiom in May. Sweet ride, but quite a bit of toe overlap. I wasn't used to that; at 5'7" I've never had a bike with toe overlap. Even my 52 cm Bianchi which feels on the small side has no toe overlap.

But I've always heard that toe overlap is one of those things. "Learn to ride with it." "It is only an issue at slow speeds." Etc.

Well, the bike took me down THREE times this summer. I'm not an inexperienced roadie, I mean, sheesh.

So, finally I took the bike into Excel Sports (where I bought it) and showed my sales person the problem. "Wow!" He said, "That's a lot of overlap." We measured. 7 cm of toe overlap. SEVEN CM! That means that unlike other minor toe overlap in which the toe contacts the tire only when horizontal, I can get contact if either foot is much forward of perpendicular.

Seven says that for $1250 it will chop off the front end of my bike and slacken the head tube; for $2200 it will build a new frame. They say that 7 cm of toe overlap is technically "acceptable" and that they will take 1/3 of the responsibility. (My guess is that $2200 is pretty close to their wholesale cost so I don't see how this offer is really an offer).

Who this be acceptable to you?
What's a fair solution?

I'd love others' thoughts.
Pardon the double post; don't know how that happened (nm)jtolleson
Oct 22, 2002 12:22 PM
Don't you think the guys at Seven could have seen that coming?Leroy
Oct 22, 2002 12:44 PM
Maybe they saw you coming. Frankly, for the money they get for those frames, that does not sound good to me: you pay them their wholesale cost for correcting the mistake that they take one-third of the credit for. As Homer Simpson says, "Dooohh!" Man, I'm staying away from Seven. Thanks for the heads up.
re: How Much Toe Overlap is Too Much?brider
Oct 22, 2002 12:39 PM
I guess I'd ask what the situations were that took you down. If I had to speculate, I'd say they were probably all at stopsigns (it happened to me with a 56cm Trek long ago). In most riding situations (race situations any way), it won't occur. You'll learn to keep the front wheel straight when rolling to a stop, or to unclip early to have a "pontoon" for slow speeds.
Most people tend to turn the wheel one direction at stops. Likewise, we tend to keep a dominant foot forward when we level the pedals. Learn to either turn the wheel the other direction or put the other foot forward.

As for what to do with the frame, consider very well what changing the front end geometry will do to the bike's riding characteristics -- even after a large chunk of money is thrown at it, you may not be satisfied.
re: How Much Toe Overlap is Too Much?jtolleson
Oct 22, 2002 1:20 PM
I agree about fixing it via just a front-end change. Not a good solution; we'd be looking at dramatically reduced trail, I think. A full frame is in order.

As for the circumstances. One was, as you suggest, pulling away from a stopped position on the roadside at Red Mtn Pass.

The others, though, are not so easily rectified with different "technique." The bike CANNOT be turned around on a regular two-lane road, period (unless you are coasting so fast that you don't need to pedal at all to complete the u-turn). I learned that the hard way making a u-turn on Ride the Rockies in a regular two-lane road in a Colorado town. The other was a very tight (almost u-turn) in a steep stretch of the Vail Creek bike path. The grade was such that it meant you had to pedal through the turn; I made contact and boom. The only other bikes that couldn't navigate the turn were all tandems. Go figure.

Your advice, as I read it, is to "live with it." I've spent about 3,000 miles trying to live with it, and I've gotta tell you that that isn't my inclination right now. And at 5'7" and spending $3500 for frame and fork, seems to me I shouldn't have to?
re: wowRusty Coggs
Oct 22, 2002 1:58 PM
That bites.I cannot imagine the reason for that much overlap,especially since neither your Litespeed nor Bianchi had it.Certainly your custom specs were not so weird as to have caused it?? I canot imagine a satisfactory fix. A toeectomy is out of the question?
Did you mention that you've crashed because of it three times?amflyer
Oct 22, 2002 1:17 PM
Seems like it might make it more of a problem to them. I think I would keep at them to make the situation more amenable to you...they being an "elite" frame builder company and all. Mention that others on this board (customers = $$) think that it is a lot of overlap, etc.

If they admit that it is a correctable problem, it seems like maybe they should have been able to see it in the works to me. 2 1/2 inches is quite a bit of overlap.

Good luck, and be persistent.

Steve
More of an aggravating flop! : )jtolleson
Oct 22, 2002 1:42 PM
Never high enough speed to injure, but down hard enough to come up cussing.

All the thoughts below are ones I've had: different fork rake, shorter crank arms. Doing that math, those two changes alone will help but not solve. And then I get all crabby and think "If I just want to jury-rig my bike for fit then I could have keep my Litespeed!" (Insert harrumph here).

But the sanity check is a good one.
A different point of view/questionTig
Oct 22, 2002 1:34 PM
At the same height and bike size, I'm used to a little toe overlap. It has been many years since it caused a problem, and I rarely even brush against the tire these days since the overlap is about 1 cm at worst. I'm riding 170 cranks vs 172.5's like I did years ago. What about cleat placement?

My cleats are aligned to place the pedal axis directly under the balls of my feet. My shoes still have the small line from a permanent marker placed right where the ball/bony protrusion is located at. If your cleats are too far back towards your arches, it could make a normal amount of overlap into what you are dealing with. Its worth a look.

Ah, but the Bianchi doesn't have this problem! Same shoes, right? Hmmm, this doesn't look so good. What about fork rake?

Instead of spending so much on the frame fix, maybe Seven could make a deal on a slacker fork. I wonder what the head tube angle really is? Also, since this was a custom (was it?) frame, how long is the top tube? Women tend to need a shorter top tubes, which make for a shorter wheelbase.
re: How Much Toe Overlap is Too Much?Inhighgear
Oct 22, 2002 2:09 PM
I have toe overlap on my Vortex about 2-4 cm. It has never caused a problem while riding ever.

I do find it an annoyance sometimes especially when for some reason after standing (like before a ride) my toe is on the wrong side of the wheel and I have to finaggle to get it on the correct side.

I can't see how it would cuase any problems coming up to a light. If you onclip one foot, you definite won't have the opposing foot in a forward position.
Ouch!MrCelloBoy
Oct 22, 2002 2:36 PM
This is a tough one, but basically taking a "customer is always right" approach deems they shouldn't be charging you for the fix.
I'd bet that "technically acceptable" means basically that they don't want to accept responsibility. I'd agree that unless you have unusually large feet for your height or out of the ordinary cleat placement, they should have been able to forsee this.
It would be good PR for them to bite the bullet and fix this for you to the point of at least reducing the overlap to 1 or 2 cm.
re: How Much Toe Overlap is Too Much?desmo
Oct 22, 2002 2:56 PM
I have no advice or solution but was curious how you were fit for this bike. Was it via a worksheet, or on a "fit-kit" bike? Who did the sizing? And aside from the overlap problem were you happy with the fit?
7cm of overlap .......... HOLY CRAP..........JohnG
Oct 22, 2002 2:56 PM
Sorry to hear about your three 'bifs'. With that much overlap I can see how you're having a tough time. :-(

'Seven' should be ashamed of building a frame like this and IMHO should "fix" the problem free of charge. "Technically acceptable......... bull shit!!!

good luck Julie and don't let those hammerheads bull you into more money to fix their screw-up

JohnG
I'm with JohnG - Holy Crap - nearly 2" overlap!!!! (nm)Kerry
Oct 22, 2002 4:10 PM
Wow, I feel for you. I deal with toe overlap, but not that muchKristin
Oct 22, 2002 3:08 PM
I have about an inch overlap and I have to be careful turning small circles and the like. It seems to me that you wouldn't be able to turn small circles at all with that much overlap. Where would you put your toes? So now you have to change you're whole riding style just to accomidate your new custome frame. Isn't it suposed to be the other way around? Isn't this suposed to be the best bike you ever owned?

I can't remember. Are you a girl or a boy? I know that toe overlap is typically more of a girls problem due to inseam vs. torso measurements. Bummer in either case. I hope they give you a better deal.
re: How Much Toe Overlap is Too Much?jtolleson
Oct 22, 2002 3:51 PM
Thanks all. Yes, I can live with one or two cm if need be and hopefully we'll get it to that... negotiating is under way!

Yep, Kristin I'm female which no down contributed to the error, though pretty normally proportioned (5'7", 82 cm cycling inseam). Shortening the reach was no doubt the biggest factor in creating the overlap; the bike also has a pretty aggressive headtube angle.

At first I was totally embarassed by the first biff... thinking "It is just me; others live with toe overlap" until I started talking to people and letting others take a test spin.

As for how I was fit. I had a Serotta fitting done at one shop, took the specs to Excel to talk Sevens and spent a long time with their fit guy. Then spent a bunch of time on the phone with Seven's custom geometry people who proposed certain tweaks to Wade's specs. Honestly, I don't think we'd ever be able to glean the source of the exact changes that produced the problem. But ultimately the promise is they reduce all the numbers to a CAD illustration to confirm all is okey-dokey. I never saw one, but I assume they did it.

Enough ramble for today!
OK, Serotta took the measurements and built the frame..joekm
Oct 23, 2002 5:15 AM
Sound like it's their screw up to me. I've had bikes that overlap a little (my current one does in fact) but, at about 2.5 cm per inch, you are talking about almost 3 inches. If this is "technically acceptable" to Serotta, I'm not sure if I want them building my frame.

For all the positive word-of-mouth I've heard about Serotta, I'm a little surprised by this. I'd be interested in hearing how you eventually make out with them.
oops, Serrotta took and altered the measurements and...joekm
Oct 23, 2002 5:41 AM
SEVEN built the frame.

....my bad...
re: How Much Toe Overlap is Too Much?Sharkman
Oct 22, 2002 3:51 PM
I'm not an attorney, but in most states there is such a thing as an "implied warranty of fitness" for a product's intended use, which it would seem your steed lacks. You would therefore have a claim against them.

Granted it's too expensive to pursue, but perhaps in your discussions with them you can give them some downside to think about by sabre-rattling a bit. If you are not the only person this has happened to, they might have some class action exposure. They might rather pay you to go away instead.

FWIW
Seems like an awful lot of overlap.djg
Oct 22, 2002 4:53 PM
If you were 4'11", I'd imagine that fairly serious compromises might be in order to get you a good road frame. But at 5'7", I don't get it. Especially with an 82 cm cycling inseam--pretty normal for someone of your height (and within the normal range even for guys, I'd think).

If this is their reaction, I'd be extremely hesitant to do business with them in the future. 1250 bucks to do what? Are they replacing the head tube, down tube, and top tube to give you a different head tube angle? It's hard to believe that that would be all that much easier or cheaper than building a new frame altogether. 2200 bucks to do it right the second time around?

I bought my "dream bike"--a CT1--off the rack. Fits just fine, and I think it's great. But, while I don't believe I have any need for a custom, I've always kind of wondered what the difference might be. I guess one possible answer is: it might be a hassle.

FWIW, I sent your original post to seven with a querry about whether it could possibly be true. It's possible that the spectre of bad publicity will help. Heck, they advertise something like custom perfection, tuned to your exact whim, and you cannot turn around without falling over--that stinks.
One further question.djg
Oct 22, 2002 4:56 PM
What did the shop say, other than "wow"? It sounds as though they were involved in the design (and took your measurements and your money)--are they at least helping you with seven? Are they taking any responsibility?
I'll add mine to the pileAhimsa
Oct 22, 2002 5:04 PM
7cm?

That is too much, and anyone building a good custom frame should have caught it. I should think that they would have made you aware of it before they built the frame. Then, if you okayed it, fine. If not, then propose changes. Is that not what we expect from a custom builder; thus justifying the very high price?

I recommend that you refer them to this thread. The readership is pretty high here and this reflects badly on Seven.

To be honest, if they told you this was fine and that if you want it changed then you must pay for it, then I personally have stricken Seven from my list of bikes to even look at. That's just plain bad business. If they corrected this oversight free of charge with an apology for not catching it then I'd change my mind.

Good luck.

A.
re: How Much Toe Overlap is Too Much?koala
Oct 22, 2002 5:31 PM
I have about 5cm overlap on my custom. While it did not take me down it prevents me from trackstanding and as I live in a city in upstate n.y. it is annoying. My thought is you should debate their percentage of responsibility and see if they will take that frame back for resale and go maybe half on a new one. I love my frame but as a guy who hates to unclip at lights I sure wish I could trackstand for longer periods. Other than the overlap is the frame all you thought it would be?
re: How Much Toe Overlap is Too Much?weiwentg
Oct 22, 2002 10:39 PM
I'm 5'3" and have less overlap than that on my cross bike with cross tires. mind you I can't do a trackstand with the cross tires on, but I am in no danger of crashing my cross bike doing a u-turn. 7cm is nearly THREE inches, not 2 as Kerry said. and I barely have any overlap (2cm?) on my road bike, or with road tires on the cross bike.
re: How Much Toe Overlap is Too Much?bianchi boy
Oct 22, 2002 5:57 PM
I've read this thread with interest because I am considering have a custom frame built. I guess one of the perils of going custom is that once you stray from the tried-and-true frame geometries that have been used for years, you can run into problems like this. However, I think Seven and/or the Serotta fitter should have foreseen the problem. I had a Serotta fitting done last year, and they also recommended a shorter top tube custom frame for me. I couldn't afford a Serotta, so I bought an off-the-rack frame with the closest geometry I could find to their recommendations. I have had no problems with toe overlap, even though my frame (a Gios) has about the shortest top tube of any stock frame. In fact, on the printout from the Serotta fitting I had done, the fitter even noted that their recommended geometry might cause some toe overlap problems.
Review?SteveS
Oct 22, 2002 7:24 PM
Have you written a review of this bike? If you haven't, you should. At the price and reputation of a Seven, a 7 centimeter toe-overlap is completely unacceptable and there should be no cost to you to rectify this design flaw. It would be a disservice for other potential buyers of Seven to be left ignorant of this rather glaring problem. Hope they work it out to your satisfaction.

(speaking of "satisfaction", my favorite budget ti frame has a satisfaction guaranteed to a buyer. You deserve the same)
JT that Sucks!Len J
Oct 23, 2002 3:52 AM
Some Thoughts:

1.) I would echo others comments re, cleat placement, crank length etc. Check these first

2.) If you like the handling of the seven as is, I would delay on slackening the head tube until after I tried a different fork rake. To cover 2 3/4 inches of toe overlap with a head tube change is going to dramatically change the bike handling.

3.) I thought (from memory so I could be wrong) that seven went back and forth with the retailer and the customer until the specs were finaqlized, at which point they had the customer "sign off" on the specs before they built the frame. Did this happen in your case? If not, I think you have a great arguement, if so, you may have an expensive lesson.

4.) I would go back to the serotta fit guy with the #'s he gave you & get an idea about how much overlap he would expect with your measurements. Maybe he would say very little, maybe as much as you got. But at least you would have an independent view of how "appropriate" your final seven spec's were. In addition you may be able to get him to specify exactly which measurement created the error. Worst case, you will be sure to avoid the problem on the next frame.

5.) I'd be heartbroken if I'd invested myself in a custom with these results. You sound resigned to the fact that you screwed up & it's gonna cost you. I wouldn't be so sure. Seven and Excel have some responsibility here. If nothing more, they should have told you of the overlap before you approved the build. Worst case, I think they ought to sell you the new frame at MFG cost, best case they warrenty it. Real world, seven probably can build a steel frame (parts and labor) for under $700.

I'd also use the bad publicity angle as leverage. I'd communicate directly with seven also in order to ensure that your case is being presented appropriatly (as opposed to excel possibly covering their a@@)

Good luck.

Len
I'd be PO'edpmf1
Oct 23, 2002 4:17 AM
Isn't the very high price of these ti master pieces supposed to be partially justified by the unique custom fitting you get? If so, then is 7 cm of toe overlap a property of the ideal frame for you? If it is, then why would Seven offer to "correct" it? If not, then why didn't they get the frame right when you ordered it?

Paying $1250 on top of the already outrageous price of one of these frames really sucks. Then again, it beats buying a new bike. I'd find out exactly how much overlap the corrected frame would have before paying them to fix it.

I rode a bike tour with a racer type from Seattle a few years ago. He was about your size and had an Axiom. I recall he complained about toe overlap on his bike as well.
I feel your pain...scary slow
Oct 23, 2002 10:01 AM
well almost, I didn't spend as much as you did. I purchased a new Specialized Allez compact frame last year. I have had the same difficulty with toe overlap. I am also 5'7". Typically I would ride a 52, but opted for a 53 to compensate for the shortish top tube. I have yet to wreck as result, however; I know my day is coming. I especially notice it when doing a track stand to wait for a light to change. On several occasions I have gotten caught with my wheel behind my foot. Typically I just back pedal to alleviate the problem. When I questioned my LBS about this, I was told that it was the nature of a compact frames geometry and riding a BMX sized frame. I have learned to live with it, but I can assure that the next frame I purchase I will investigate the matter a little further. Good luck in resolving your issue with Seven and thanks for the heads up!
I feel your pain...blm
Oct 23, 2002 11:48 AM
How to start this?

First i toally agree that 7 cm is too much unless you use 185mm cranks,looong feet and have weird cleat placement wich i doubt you do.

I wonder how scary slow's LBS can tell that toe overlap has anything to do with compact frames unless you have three sizes and have the small one. I'm almost your size (5'8" and 83inseam) but a male cyclist: though we might differ in upper body dimensions (and looks!) i think that we might have similar sized bikes. I now ride a semi compact with 54 cm top tube, 41cm stays and even with my size 9 shoes i have NO toe overlap.

It was said in the replies that a custom frame is a way to potential messup a i have to agree. I once had a very bad experience with that and being relatively new to road biking it took me some time to understand what went wrong: the shop employee had his own (somewhat special) version of how a road bike should fit, the fitting machine had the crappiest saddle and it took some time to find the proper(confortable) fit and this led to a disfigured frame with a head tube that was way too long so that even with the stem flipped and no spacers the bars were too high! This company shall remain nameless-it was not Serotta nor Seven.

They finally took the bike back and i got a refund after extensive polite (but cold and viril) negotiating...i feel that the more you pay for a custom the less room for error there should be.

hope this helps
I feel your pain...scary slow
Oct 24, 2002 8:13 AM
First off I am also a male. I don't where you ever got the idea that I wasn't. I hope that in your next post you weren't planning on asking me asking me out...my wife might find that funny, but I sure wouldn't!

I also don't know what would cause a compact frame to differ in this regard from standard frame. It may not have anything to do with the fact that it is compact, but more to the fact that the wheel base is shorter and angles are a bit steeper than previous frames I have owned. Personally I think my lbs was making excuses for a poor design. I have never had this problem with any frames previously and they were all 52's versus the current 53 that I am riding.