Doug's Warrior Plan Questions 2 - Pedals

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Jun 7, 2021
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I am working on the pieces of the frame for my Warrior trike project. I have questions about the frame height and pedals.

I plan on letting my wife use the trike and I don't want her to get hurt. I am concerned about leg suck. Therefore, I was going to put an old set of my toe clips on the pedals but it sounds like the toe clips may make the situation worse. Please look over my math below and let me know what I am missing.

Frame height above the floor is 11"
Frame is 1.5" square tubing.
Bottom bracket RADIUS is 3/4"
Crank arms are about 7" (center to center)
My toe clips position the heel of my shoes 9" below the pedal axle (in the down position).

That means...
11" + 1.5" +3/4" = 13.25" from the ground to the centerline of the bottom bracket.
Subtract 7" for the crank arm in its bottom position = 13.25" - 7" = 6.25" from the crank arm pedal tap to the ground.
Now consider the 9" overhang of my shoe off the pedal centerline and my heel should be 3" below the ground.

What am I missing? I've seen pictures of other trikes with toe clips and I didn't notice interference. I am clearly not thinking this through correctly.
 
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I put heel straps on mine, not toe clips. I read about these and thought they were sort of stupid, but I've done more stupid things before, so I ordered a set. About 1 minute into my first ride was very glad I had them. They were fairly cheap ones to test with. I saw more professional made versions out there, so I might try a different set next, but they're supposed to help with leg drop/stuck.


Watch the frame height, the plans I think show 11" but that wasn't high enough for me or Jon who has a warrior thread on here. It might have to do with the 20" tires brad used being ISO451 and now days 406 is the standard, but I had to raise up the bottom of my frame to 12.5 or 13" if I recall so the control arms wouldn't hit the frame. The best place to validate it seems to be if you can run an axle between the front wheel's hub, and it passes under the frame, then you're good.
 
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Wheel suck is dangerous of once the foot hits the floor the frame cross beam can pass over it and the leg.

So on a delta wheel suck is less dangerous than on a tadpole.

Toe clips are of little help as on a recumbent your feet are at a different angle to an ordinary bike.

You feet will not be pointing straight down , probably more like 45' which effectively shortens them a bit.

Work back from acceptable heal clearance to required BB height , don't forget shorter cranks can save an inch or two ?

The most danger comes from free wheeling over a bumpy surface , as you are not pedaling there is little to hold your feet on to the pedals.

Obviously clipped pedals/shoes are the safest option.

regards Paul
 
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Thanks for everyone's comments. I will move forward slowly with the frame and check the bottom bracket height as suggested. I'll also pay attention to the angles my feet are at. I had not considered they would be at something other than perpendicular to the ground.

Thom, just to set my mind at ease could you check your trike to confirm the final frame height you settled on?

The heel slings sound like a great safety feature. As Maddox said, I could make a homemade set to try.
 
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Looking at page 32, diagram 2:
It shows 5" from the lowest point of the frame to the ground, mine is 6".
It shows 11" where the peddles mount, mine is just over 12"

I wouldn't get to hung up on the numbers though, I might have bigger or smaller 20" tires than you, yes that's a thing, know your tire's ISO numbers, the plans never say what ISO is used and could be the difference. I'm making a tomahawk now and it's using the iso 451 20" tires, but all i can find for rims now days is 406, so I'll have to work out different numbers than what the plans show.

If you look at the control arms, they are mounted to the steering arms you shorten and point toward the back of the bike, while the frame of the bike is running downhill. If you really want to be careful, measure back the length of where the control arm/tab will be and check the height there also to make sure it misses the frame, or that it's close enough you can put a spacer or bolt the control arm under the tab and not on top etc.
 
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" If you look at the control arms, they are mounted to the steering arms you shorten and point toward the back of the bike, while the frame of the bike is running downhill. If you really want to be careful, measure back the length of where the control arm/tab will be and check the height there also to make sure it misses the frame, or that it's close enough you can put a spacer or bolt the control arm under the tab and not on top etc. "

Sorry Thom, I am not that far into the build to understand what you meant by the paragraph above.

My immediate question about your change from frame low points of 5" and 11" to 6" and 12" is "how was that achieved?"
Did you shorten the length of the seat tube from 19" to something a little less than 18"?
 
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The steering arm comment is talking about what starts with diagram 7 on page 131 and figure 153, it's a good guide or gauge. It's what connects the wheels together. If you make a jig that will allow you to prop up most of the frame pieces you can see where the steering control arms will be and if the arm will hit the frame, then you can adjust the height as needed.

The seat tube is still 19". I just propped it all up in a jig until i had the clearance I needed, then cut and welded where lined up. If anything is different, it would probably be the angle of the tube you sit on.
 
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I use clipless. Mtb shoes and that works for me.
Something to hangypur feet in, will also work.
It is just what you prefer.
 
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I didn't start out with clips or slings or whatever else may be used. I was aware of the potential for leg suck and a broken bone at worst but, strangely, it never initially worried me. After a couple of years of relatively short rides, I discovered on a longer and quite tiring ride that I was constantly repositioning my feet on the pedals as gravity fought to drag my feet downwards. This not only wastes energy and compromises pedaling output but I eventually found it quite annoying. Changing to clipless pedals, the type that you clip into, completely eradicated the problem and it no longer enters my thoughts. Well worth considering supporting those hard working feet.
 
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Sometimes I ride without my clipless shoes.
It is no problem, but I have the same as vk3ckc.
Clipless is what I prefer. Never tried anything elsento hold my feet on the pedals, but I think most systems will work fine.
 
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When I started with a M5 two-wheel recumbent bike I discovered I was always repositioning my feet after every bump (and in between as well). So I went clipless with mountainbike shoes. After building my warrior trike I had some test rides with a set of normal pedals installed and sometimes found my feet were slipping. Also read about legsuck, so I installed clipless pedals that are dual sided. This way I can choose to use "normal" shoes on one side but also my mountainbike shoes on the other side. I have looked after heel slings, they can be very comfortable, I think, if you make them yourself.
 
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My shoes are 5E wide so there is no way I'm buying cycling shoes. I made my own heel straps using 1" wide by about 1/16" thick aluminum. Gave each piece two bends, the inside leg is about 3" long and the outside leg around 2". Drilled four holes through the aluminum, 2 of those go through the pedals so the strap can be bolted to the pedal. The other 2 holes are for pop rivets used to fasten a piece of webbing which wraps around the heel. A little creative bending of the 2 legs makes sure the webbing grips the heels high enough so my feet won't slip off the pedal. For webbing I just cut a piece of an old ratchet strap. That was a bit floppy so I "painted" it with a bit of resin. You just made the heel strap wide enough to fit your intended footwear, it doesn't need to be a tight fit, you want to be able to get your feet in and out fairly easily. I prefer to have my feet positioned on the pedals with the balls of my feet over the center of the pedal. One unexpected benefit was the weight of the heel strap means the pedal is always ready for you to put your shoe in it.
 
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