We're reasonably familiar with pedals on conventional bikes.

  • Flats are convenient for normal shoes
  • Clips and Clipless provide foot retention and option of pulling up

A recumbent has additional considerations

  • No way to "rest" the foot on a pedal because your foot pushes from behind nor down from on-top.
  • Heel strike - just the same as toe overlap for smaller DF bikes, heel strike is where your front wheel/s touch your foot while turning.
  • Getting started from stopped - pedals are a lot further from the ground so raising your foot in time for the second push stroke while maintaining low speed balance.
  • Danger of "leg suck" should your foot fall off the pedal and hit the road while rolling.

What other considerations are there for choosing a pedal for a recumbent bike or trike?

Cropped and shrunk from   Wikipedia page

  • Related bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/5912
    – Criggie
    Apr 16 '18 at 21:30
  • 1
    In my experience (25.000 km on a 2-wheel recumbent) it is not true that you can't rest your foot on a pedal. My pedals have a clip-mechanism on one side only, the other side can be used with regular shoes. This side has a serrated metal edge instead of a rubber surface. It usually suffices to tilt the foot forward a bit (instead of holding the sole vertically), to keep the foot from sliding down, and you can comfortable rest your foot. Apr 20 '18 at 10:25

You can add "heel slings" as a choice too. They hold under your foot's heel.

They fit flat pedals and do not provide any cliplike retention. Instead they are a hammoch for the back of your foot (heel) to rest in.


These wire ones look uncomfortable, but shoe choice comes into it. Prolly not good for flipflops or sandales!

enter image description here

http://www.jsrldesignllc.com/ and https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/jsrl-design-vs-terratrikes-new-heel-slings/

Terratrike sell some that are more strap and less like a garrotte-wire.

  • 1
    I have serious doubts about the safety of this design. The steel cable and the size adjustment fittings could cause deep cuts if foot or leg get caught in an accident. I'd rather have MTB style clipless pedals where the clips fit shoes with soles suitable for walking. There are also MTB pedals that clip-in on four sides.
    – Carel
    Apr 16 '18 at 12:40

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