Foot hitting wheel when turning --> shorter cranks?

Hey everybody,

i build up a new polo bike for myself with a very narrow wheel base. The problem is that i’m hitting the front wheel with my foot when turning and the crank is at 9-3 o clock position. Is that something you can get used to and avoid automatically? It feels impossible to me to play effective polo this way. I’m running 170mm cranks. I know that the trend today is to use shorter cranks anyways but to effectively combat this problem i would have to run 150mm cranks which feels a bit crazy. I’m tempted to just do that though, as i just don’t see any other option. Does anybody have experience with such short cranks or what is the thing to do here?

replies are greatly appreciated

Did you give it a try while in motion?
Toe overlap might seem like an issue when standing still and turning your handlebars but my experience has been that it isn´t when actually riding the bike.

hey metroid, thanks for your reply.

it is a good point. I have not with this bike as at the moment where i live there’s too much snow for polo. But i had that with other bikes, where the overlap wasn’t even this big, and i know that this is a problem for me. You still have to pedal when turning which just means your foot runs into your front wheel. That’s just not working for me.

if you run 700 wheels ,a narrow wheel base , a 75° headtube with a 10mm rake fork , and you measure 1m70, and have big feet , then you will always struggle with toe overlap.

post your geo and tell me your height !

ypu could try 150 crank length but keep in mind you will raise your seat as much as you reduce the arms length

also it is possible to learn to ride with toe overlap, nothingtheless it is annoying in the beginning :wink:
if you drop your vers when cornering, it should be almost gone.
I have about 6cm overlap and its not too bad

I too hate toe overlap. for my new polo bike (it is in the making) I went for 26’ wheels. The chainstay lenght is going to be a tiny 350mm, mostly thanks to the small wheel size. The fork is 25mm, no need to go lower (like the 10mm mentioned - jokingly mentioned I assume). 170mm cranks for now. We’ll see if this is enough. The next thing to try will be sliding the spd cleats forward. If you run them way back for foot comfort you might want to try creeping them forward too.

all thanks to @Cleftintwain

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Thanks for all the replies. I solved the problem for me and my geo by changing some parts and am really happy with the end result that comes with no toe overlap. I decided that having no toe overlap is a requirement for me personally when it comes to polo.

Can you give details? I’m a chronic toe overlap sufferer

Sure! chances are though, that what i did will not work for a different setup and should not be seen as a general solution. basically i went for a smaller wheel set than what the frame set is made for and in combination with that went for a shorter crank set. The smaller wheel diameter means that the bb is lower than it should be, which works for me with the shorter cranks, but probably not for everyone.

I’m running an enforcer 13, 28", size M which only fits 25mm tires (didn’t actually see that when i bought it). That with 170mm cranks set up for roughly 3 cm toe overlap. I’m now running 26" wheels with 42 mm tires and 160mm cranks, which is my dream setup anyways. That reduced the wheel diameter by 2 cms.

But again, throwing 26" wheels on a 28" frame set will not be a good solution in most cases, but it works for me personally and the Enforcer 13.


I know that the topic is rather “what to do if you’ve suffer a toe overlap” but I don’t want to start a new one called “how to make shortest possible frame without toe overlap” :slight_smile: Maybe it will be helpful for you.

I found it really valuable to check other people’s bikes :slight_smile:

Apps like BikeCAD offer toe-overlap visualisation, but people overestimate it. The fact that the app (and even you in a static position) can find a way to touch a wheel with a shoe doesn’t mean it will happen in the game. I’ve got significant toe overlap in BikeCAD, but I don’t experience it when I play.

Some years ago, I was ordering a custom frame. I wanted it to be perfect. So I wanted it to be as short as possible without toe overlap (who doesn’t want to :)) I was just testing other people’s bikes with the same wheel size, and I’ve finally found one (Thank you, Rudy!) that was short enough to make me touch wheel with a shoe in a static position and long enough to not experience the problem during the games. The measure you want to find is “front-center”. If you are ordering a custom frame, then the frame builder should know how to adjust other dimensions. If you are buying stock one, then just find one that fits you but has at least as big a front centre as you want. If you ride a different tyre size or crank length than the bike you’ve checked, it is not a problem. It is pretty easy to correct the measure.


Just keep in mind that angle headset exist and they’r not very expensive


they dont fit every head tube length tho 🥲

That’s a point.
There are different option for different tube lenght, you can choose while buying. I guess some extreme measure aren’t available. Mostly for 26" with a very long head tube. I didn’t have trouble with mine but i play S/M 700c frame with 100mm tube lenght

but also if you are suggesting to slacker your headtube angle to get less toe overlap , i dont think it will improve the bike agility

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I didn’t make a calculation. But there is a possibility that with our bikes (forks are quite short etc. etc.) the difference can be hard to notice. Probably most of us wouldn’t notice 0.25 or even 0.5 shift in head angle.

At the same time… Polo life taught me important thing - it take a lot of time and money to adjust frame with wrong spec/dimensions to your needs and in many cases… it still doesn’t work :stuck_out_tongue:

My case is peculiar, i crashed my frame into boards and the headangle changed , I’m just getting it back to the original position .

there is a huge difference in handling between 1° angles tho, the angled headsets are usually +2 or -2 ?

so huge tilt

This one is 1 degree , it should do it

I’ve got an alu 700 enforcer 13 and have toe overlap. I’ve found it’s something you just get used to; you get a natural rythm of pedaling and turning. I’ve been on this frame for like 8 months now, and don’t even notice it anymore.

Facts are probably totally opposite to what I’ve wrote before. With short fork the angle change must be huge to put your wheel forward significantly, my bad. :pray:

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