HEEL SLINGS GET MY VOTE


Heel Slings With Heel Pads

Anyone who reads the postings on Recumbent Trikes Group on Facebook have probably already seen my recent posting there about heel slings. For some time now I have considered buying them to try. I finally did about a week ago and have been using them. At first I didn’t care much for them, but I figured out that part of my problem with them was simply getting them “tweaked in”. The pedals I am using probably are not ideal for use with them. I simply used a pair of pedals I had on hand. After studying the pedals and the routing of the cables thru the pedals I decided to reroute the cable. That made a big difference and helped a lot. Now as I ride with my feet in the heel slings I really like them … so much better than using the SPD shoes and pedals. Yes, heel slings get my vote! As for the pedals I will probably buy some other ones which are better suited for mounting these heel slings to.

I understand the danger of “leg suck” while riding a tadpole trike even though I personally have never had an issue of my feet going down onto the ground if and when they come off of the pedals. That being said I know it ‘could happen‘ so it is best to do something to prevent it. I know most people turn to SPD shoes and pedals and really like them. I am not a fan of them myself as I don’t like having my feet locked to the pedals. So that rules out SPD, rat traps, and straps. I find SPD shoes to be uncomfortable to begin with. I need to wear shoes/sandals I am comfortable in. I also need to be able to move my feet around on the pedals a little bit as I ride. With the use of heel slings I can do all this.

Heel Slings rear view

Although it is claimed that heel slings can be used to pull back on the pedal much the same as can be done with SPD pedals I would argue that doing so is not as easy nor practical. The main reason for this is because the foot is not attached to the pedal like it is with the SPD system so when you pull back against the heel sling with the back of the foot the foot lifts off of the pedal. At least that is what happened when I tried it. Supposedly one is to point their toes downward as they pull back on the heel sling with their foot. That seems ridiculous to me. Going thru all that isn’t worth it. For me it is a non issue thankfully since I don’t pull back on the pedal using SPD pedals.

Here is how the cables and hardware are installed:

heel sling pedal installation

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heel sling on pedal

The cables are adjustable for different size shoes and it really is important to get the adjustment right. Since cables are flexible and sag down under their own weight the further they are extended the more they will sag down. This makes it more difficult to get one’s feet into them. I personally think they need some means of preventing them from sagging down as it would make it so much easier to get into them. My shoe size is small enough that the sagging is not as much of an issue as it would be if I wore larger shoes.

At first I found it a bit difficult to get my shoes/sandals positioned properly into the heel slings. However, with the tweaking I did and with a little practice now I can get in and out of them fairly quick and easily. And getting out of them is so much quicker and easier than it is with the SPD system. I no longer have to concern myself with my feet being fastened to the pedals should an accident occur or a roll over take place. That is something I think about as it could happen. And if it did happen I might not be able to get my feet loose from the pedals. Also someone coming upon the scene of an accident is not likely to know how the SPD system releases. Lastly, it could be very painful and even dangerous to move the feet and legs to release them from the pedals. Yes, heel slings get my vote!

heel sling pedal rotated down

The one thing I think would greatly improve this product would be for the pedals to be counter weighted so that they would be positioned in the ready position for use instead of rotating way around due to the weight of the heel slings hanging off of them. This would take considerable weight however … unless it was hung way out in mid air on the opposite side of the pedals. Even with this problem I still found them fairly easy to use once I got the hang of it. In the picture above the cable is adjusted most of the way out …. must be for the BigFoot Monster … so the weight is considerable and the pedal is rotated way around to where it is upside down. My pedals are not rotated nearly this much.

John Lawrence sells his heel slings thru his website, JSRLDesigns, LLC. Here is the basic kit he sells. Heel pads are optional and recommended if you wear sandals. John seems to be a nice guy to deal with and genuinely sincere about helping his customers and giving them total satisfaction.

heel sling parts

With the use of my heel slings I will be able to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

(without concern of leg suck)

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About Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, and truthtoponder) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at stevenewbauer at outlook.com

Posted on September 29, 2015, in safety, tadpole trikes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Well you have just answered a question I had pondered for quite some time.. As I am waiting on the delivery of my new ride, I had been thinking about this very issue, and how to handle it, and in which direction to go… At first I started like any novice and thought : I Don’t Need No Stinking Foot Straps or Clip on’s…! Well as I had gotten more familiar with this type of riding, I started to look at a lot of different pedals, and as a novice would do, I became trans like fixed to colorful pedals, pedals with colorful lighting, and pedals, of different but interesting forms, and interesting shapes, then coming across the strap belted pedals, I thought that to be very amateure like, so I had pondered the interesting pedals, and had finally decided on a pair of straped pedals after watching a neighbor who had been riding his recumbent trike past the house one day and asked him the question of questions which would he prefer to have, the pedals he has been using when I asked the question, or did he prefer the snap in pedals that we see a lot of bikers use today… His gaze had shifted, and with a large grin on his face, he looked up at me and said I would never wear anything that would be hard to get out of in case of an emergency, and that he thanks his lucky stars that he had spoken to an employee at the local bike shop who had said Strapon…! My neighbor, and new found friend, had said that at first he thought that employee to be mocking him, and was ready to give him a thrashing, like he had never dreamed.. But he did go on to chose, and buy the strapped pedals, and has been using them for some time now and is very happy he did…! So long story short I will buy the strapped pedals, myself and hope that I have the same great experiences that my neighbor has had using the STRAPONS…! lMFAO…!
    Thanks for sharing your version of strapped pedals, and as in your own words Keep on Triking…!
    Armadillozack

    • You stated “your version of strapped pedals”. I am not talking about pedals with straps on them. In my opinion they would be the worst type to use as far as what is involved getting in and out of them. I think they are a royal pain to use. I have a friend who uses them and I watch him strapping and unstrapping his shoes. I think it is ridiculous what he goes thru each time.

  2. Brian Wisneski

    I just ordered a set and they were delivered today. Looks like a great product, but the installation instructions are just awful. Thinking about returning them and going with clipless shoes/pedals. The chance of a bad installation has me thinking these could be dangerous.