Friday, November 2, 2012


Still loving the Campeur, but one issue since adding the fenders has become apparent: the small (51cm) frame and large wheels (700c) conspire to create a bit of possible toe overlap. This became much more noticeable since adding the fenders. It is simple enough to avoid, by remaining mindful of pedal position during the rare slow and sharp turns, but this is not really possible during a crisis. It is probably much better to contact a static fender than to kick a spinning tire, but it is all not great.

photo from the Velo Orange blog

For many frames, the smaller sizes will use different wheels; 26" or 650b. I certainly would have preferred this, but it can also upset the handling to the point where the framemaker needs to re-design the smaller sizes to work with these wheels. The Crosscheck that I test rode also had 700c wheels and did not seem to have this issue, but it also lacked fenders.

I am not willing to lose the fenders, and love the handling of this bike enough that I want to work with it. What I am not sure about is how switching to smaller wheels might detract from the ride quality. It could improve it!

Expense aside, I would love to try this. I've asked VO for their thoughts, but welcome any other ideas from those experienced with various wheel sizes on frames not intended for them, as well as other shorter riders.

There are some interesting insights here:

and Sheldon Brown aims to sooth with these words:

"Many, many people ride bicycles with fairly severe overlap with no practical problems, sometimes having to make a slight adjustment to their pedaling habits at very slow speeds.
On smaller-size bikes with full-sized wheels, it is usually impossible to eliminate overlap without causing adverse fit/handling issues."

and, the Velo Orange Blog has an entry about the issue.


  1. I've had luck with using BMX platform-style pedals (no cage to hit the wheel/fender) on one of my fixed gears, where toe overlap can be a BIG deal. I have shorter cranks (165mm) on my Cross Check and have no overlap even with clips (and fenders). The fit adjustments I've had to make because of it haven't been a huge deal but I've only done shorter in-town rides on it thus far. Not sure how severe your case is, but a shorter crank might buy you enough space to clear it.

  2. I am using platform pedals for now (hybrids, actually), so the clips are not the issue. I haven't set up my cleats for these pedals yet, and hope that I can position them such that they are in the correct spot ergonomically but help keep the toe back as much as possible.

    My bike does have 165mm cranks so not much I can do there.

    VO did reply and suggested sticking with stock wheel sizes since the frame is not optimized for smaller wheels. This is how it goes being a smaller than average person... ask me about my superwide size 7 feet sometime.

    1. Rats, thought maybe I had a new and original suggestion.

  3. Fixed gal, much appreciated! I'll update here as I figure it out.