Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Home made bicycle toe straps

I know it's a good day when I find exactly what I'm looking for on the side of the road.  So far this has happened 4 times.  In this case the item is a seat belt. I've always been skeptical of toe straps as well as clip-less pedals due to the possibility of crashing and landing face first, but the guy at the bike shop recommended I make some because I can get maximum efficiency and put in 200 miles/ day fully loaded (we'll see if that ever happens)


Anyways, here are the pedals I'll be using.  I made them in class last year, they originally had diamond plate steel bolted on them, but I took it off because it didn't make much of a difference for grip.  The straps will be bolted into the #10-32 (also known as M5 x 0.8) holes that were for the diamond plate.  For modifying other pedals, it may be as simple as drilling and tapping a couple holes to mount the straps if there aren't any already.

Cutting the belt with aviation snips was interesting, it seemed to only want to cut one thread at a time.  There is a special tool for cutting seat belts in an emergency, but that isn't necessary for this.

 I pierced the holes with a spade drill tip starting with a smaller one and moving up to 1". 

Testing the size
I experimented with bolting to the top and the bottom to see which worked best, I didn't like either of these because the belt was too wide to get a foot in easily. 

 I then sliced the belt in half and tried the same thing,

Bolting it to the top worked the best, all I had to do was re size it so it wasn't so loose.  The whole point of bolting it on diagonally it so you put a foot in at an angle and twist it straight to lock it in place.  I wish I could've made them adjustable so I could use different shoes.

An important step was to burn the edges to stop it from fraying.  I learned this from my friend who used parachute cord for shoe laces.  Make sure it doesn't catch fire because it smells really bad.
The melted part stops the fraying
Using a candle to melt the edges

To ensure the strap doesn't slump down, I held the corner at a sharp angle and lightly melted it with the candle.  This gives it a spring back effect.

I put the diamond plate back on the opposite size to act as a counterweight ensuring the strap side will face up.
The verdict
Yes it works, it does force you to use more of your leg muscles.  It does improve speed, especially acceleration.  After using these and flipping over to the diamond plate size, I feel like I am wasting a whole bunch of energy on each up stroke.  I've noticed that the left one feels looser, but I can't tell if it is my shoe or the strap, this could've been fixed if they were adjustable.
Sometimes, my photos accidentally look good
update 2-27-13
After less than 2 weeks and a mere 200 miles one of the straps failed.  A new design will be in the works.  Leather? grommets? whatever I can find.

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