Heel Slings

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Heel Slings

Postby Psamathe » 8 Jan 2021, 9:24pm

Looking at pedals for recumbent trike.
Subject to feedback and experience of others I'm keen to try alternatives before moving to clipless - and if alternatives work, avoid clipless).

Interested in heel-slings https://hostelshoppe.com/collections/pedals/products/jsrldesign-heel-slings-pair
Do thy work? Negatives?

Strikes me some cheap components from a yacht chandler and I could DIY them cheap and easy, even if only for a trial. Am I missing something or are they not a good plan, etc.

Reasons for a preference to avoid clipless include getting them set well for my bad knees, cost, need for special shoes which are not great for walking which means carrying an extra pair of shoes on tour, ... If clipless really is the only solution then I'll get some but I'd like to explore alternatives first.


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Re: Heel Slings

Postby UpWrong » 8 Jan 2021, 10:02pm

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Heel Slings

Postby PDQ Mobile » 8 Jan 2021, 11:54pm

I understand your points about two pairs of shoes to some extent.
I came to clipless through recumbents, though not trikes.
I see that not needing to get afoot down fast and accurately is not an issue on a trike and changes things a bit.

But clipless are wonderful things on a recumbent. They were "made" for them, so to speak.

The ability to deliver a pulling force to vary muscle groups is a big plus especially on long hard ascents.

Recumbents can be hard on the knees irrespective of pedal type because the back is braced and high loads are easily generated. High cadence is important here.
Being able to pull is also a help to get lubricant into the joints I think.

Obviously adjustment need to be correct at the cleat pedal interface but there is quite a bit of side to side movement in many types. A judicious filing can make it even more so, though wear can fulfill the same function.
A secondhand pair to try? And a pair of cheap Aldi cleat compatible shoes?

It can be dangerous to get a foot down under a moving recumbent,
Being able to sit (and pedal) without holding up the feet is a must and I guess your wanting to try heel straps is for that reason.

Clipless (SPD) do it so well though, and escape (and entry) is so simple with correctly set bindings.
SPD sandals are great summer touring footwear. And can be quite comfortable for walking some distance.

I could not now imagine recumbent cycling without clipless.
Single sided ones often hang at just the right for easy fast entry. Recommend them.

It's just my two penneth though.
Sauce for the goose may not be for the gander.

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Re: Heel Slings

Postby OldBloke » 9 Jan 2021, 12:28am

Power Grip straps are another alternative to consider.

You can DIY some heel slings from an old tube and some bolts or rivets to test out whether you like heel slings.


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Re: Heel Slings

Postby UpWrong » 9 Jan 2021, 6:26am

Recemt thread here, https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=135673

A strong case was made for using Time ATACS pedals.

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Re: Heel Slings

Postby nobrakes » 9 Jan 2021, 6:54am

Haven’t tried heel slings but I run either SPD or Keo on all my bikes apart from the trike. I got fed up having to change shoes and wanted something that would allow me to use every day boots etc especially in winter. I have gone back to Power Grips on the trike which is what I started with on my first bent. They are not perfect as your feet move around a little but being able to wear my big clunky goretex boots when it’s -5 outside is most welcome.

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Re: Heel Slings

Postby squeaker » 9 Jan 2021, 11:40am

I'm with PDQ on this. Back when I could run (ie pre-hip replacement) I could happily jog in my MTB style SPD shoes. Sure you can get stiff / light road bike style shoes, but IMO the latest Shimano SPD sandals are too flexible and I just use my latest pair as sandals...

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Re: Heel Slings

Postby [XAP]Bob » 12 Jan 2021, 1:08pm

I put heel straps on the KMX for my kids, certainly not buying child sized SPD shoes!
They did exactly the job they were designed to do... Metal brackets which attached to the pedal and held a heel strap in the right place, so no fiddling with it when they got on.

I know of two other "obvious" alternative to cleats if you really want to avoid them.

- a diagonal strap as suggested above. Because they tighten by virtue of rotating your foot into them they are unlikely to "work loose" as you ride.
However, beware that if you are thrown from your trike for any reason then it's basically guaranteed that one of them won't release quickly.

- Pyro platforms. These are a marketed as a gimmick for time trials, a nylon sole with cleat attachments and straps to hold a "normal" shoe. Their theory is that it can save you time in transition.
For me they were invaluable for a while, since I cannot walk in even normal shoes, let alone cycling shoes. I use shoes which are branded as `barefoot`, and they allow me to feel what the ground is doing and keep myself "head up" much more easily than shoes.
Given the current cycling I do, I have gone back to my cycling shoes much of the time, but I hobble from the door to the garage, leaning on the wall all the way. but it's then easier once on the trike to have proper shoes.
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