29er Issue: Front Wheel Touches Shoe

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29er Issue: Front Wheel Touches Shoe

Postby wa_desert_rat » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:50 am

Riders transitioning from 26ers to 29ers sometimes have an interference problem between the toe of their shoe touching the back of their front wheel. This happens particularly during tight turns.

The basic reason for this is that the 29er wheel is a larger diameter than the 26er and since the geometry of a bicycle is more dependent upon the way a human body is shaped than the size of the front wheel, it protrudes farther back than a 26er and into the space your toe uses when the pedal is forward.

A secondary reason is that your "feet's too big" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUCpG32tPVM). But there is probably not much you can do about that. :)

The third reason for this is riding style. You are standing on the pedals with one foot in front of the other (crank arms are parallel with the ground). This can be changed.

The fourth reason for this is foot placement on the pedals. And that leads to a bunch of possible solutions; most of which will cost you money.

The simplest solution is to keep the ball of your foot (the big part just back of the big toe) as the major pressure point on the pedal. In other words, move your foot back... and keep it back. But even on a road bike this is difficult to do what with bumps and all... and on a mountain bike it's really difficult.

Some riders move to toe clips (the little devices that keep your toe from moving forward on the pedal) and some move to "clipless" (meaning "not toe clips") pedals which, despite their name, actually CLIP your foot into the pedals using a special device fastened to the bottom of your riding shoe.

Toe clips are pretty cheap. They fasten to the front of the pedal with screws and feature a curved metal (or plastic, nowadays) piece that is held in place with a leather strap (or plastic... or a piece of string sometimes) that goes around your foot and through the pedals at the back. You insert your foot through the strap and then kinda tighten it and this keeps you foot in a good place on the pedal. Remember to slide your foot back when you stop.... oh well... you'll figure it out.

Clipless requires that you have a pedal and a shoe-clip that work together plus a special shoe that allows you to install the device. You "clip in" by twisting your foot slightly to the side when it's directly over the correct spot on the pedal. Now your foot is, for all intents and purposes, part of the pedal. When you go OTB your bike will follow. You may not be surprised to learn that these pedals, the shoes and the clips can all cost you a bundle of cash.

However, there is a solution for those of us who have both big feet and platform pedals and don't intend to change either of them. That is to re-arrange your bicycle riding style. Instead of riding downhill with your feet at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock (in other words, one foot - and pedal - in front of the other) move them so that one is up and the other down depending on which way you're turning. (This also helps you weight the outside of your bike in a fast, tight turn... more about this in a different tech tip.)

Again, as in so many things in bicycling, your local elementary school playground has markings that can help you. Use the 4-square game marks to practice turning your bike in a short radius and keeping your feet on the pedals properly.

By the way, putting the ball of your foot on the pedal (instead of the arch or the heel) gives you MUCH more power because you can use your calf muscles along with that long lever arm (uh... your foot) to greatly increase the power delivered to the pedal.

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Re: 29er Issue: Front Wheel Touches Shoe

Postby tigris99 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:33 pm

I find keeping my feet back is easy till the terrain gets decently rough. I use the techinique alot for smooth trail/pavement riding to maintain higher speeds with less effort, or when climbing a hill obviously. I found the move your pedals to 12 and 6 (6 pedal being on outside of turn as you said) works perfect for those of us with big feet. Hell I have ran into issues on a 26" with my foot being too far foward by mistake and tire hitting it or toe hitting ground when inside pedal too low. I always thought the 12 and 6 approach was kinda a standard for turning where you are leaning over...I still got plenty to learn yet obviously lol.
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