Thursday, March 4, 2010

Flats Straps

Seems like everyone with a sewing machine and a pair of scissors is selling pedal straps these days. Hey! I've got a pair of scissors.... Plus one of the como polo players asked me to make him some. Here're my first two efforts:
If you're not familiar with this kind of pedal strap setup, it's pretty simple: it's like you'd find on an exercise bike. Ha. No...straps kinda like this have been used for a while by bmx riders (in the 90s, I think), but with the explosion of fixie "trick" riders and bike polo players looking for something other than your standard track cage (which can get broken pretty easily), the flat (bmx) pedal strap has experienced a renaissance of sorts.
I won't go into all the different kinds out there right now--there're about a million (you can see them on Prolly's blog, or Pedal Consumption)--but they either bolt onto the pedal or thread through the two side holes (sometimes you have to enlarge those), and then usually have some sort of adjuster...or you twist your foot to tighten 'em.
I like the adjustable ones...

This is my first try. It's a design you see a lot.
It has two 1" straps that thread through the pedal and are attached to a 2" piece of webbing that goes over your foot, which has a loop-loc on it that allows you to cinch it down and Velcro it in place. The 1" webbing is attached to the other side of the 2" webbing with tri-glides.
I found that the 2" webbing had some slop in it around the loop-loc and would stick out and hit the crank. This would make it difficult to flip onto your foot without having to use your hand (boo). I sewed some more Velcro on there to stiffen it up, which fixed the problem...but you can still adjust it fairly easily.

I've been using this right one for the last week and it feels pretty good. I forgot how much I like being strapped in. These should be compatible with a wider variety of shoe styles than regular clips.
How long till these buckles break?

And I just made this one today:
This is a lot simpler than the other one. It's just a piece of plastic-reinforced fabric that the two 1" straps feed through. I don't know if I need a ladder-loc buckle on there. I think two tri-glides might be good enough.
I've only used this a little bit today, but it seems to work okay. It's a little wider than the other one, so I can't feel the pressure of the strap on my foot when I pull up as much as on the first one...which I kinda like (feeling the pressure). Though, it's also a bit lighter than the first one, which makes it easier to flip onto your foot. And the straps'll be easy to replace when they wear out. Sounds good to me.
So simple...I hope this performs as well as the first one, or better. We'll see.
Now I just need a mildly lewd name for these things. "Strap-ons" is already taken. Curse you, Archie's! Maybe Death Shackles. I dunno...


Tim D. said...

I need some of these for my commuter bike. I like to be able to wear any shoes with it, including boots, so I'm just riding BMX pedals, but I also like the extra leverage charging up big hills that you get with clips/straps.

I've seen these type of straps abound on the web, but never felt compelled to order any. If you're going to make a few here in town, however, I would buy some.


cory said...

Hey Tim,
Drew's gonna be testing some for me. If they're any good, I'll be makin' some more.
Talk to ya later.