• Happy Discovery of the Rosetta Stone (1799)! 𓋹𓂀𓀮𓀛𓀾𓁀 𝞹βδΔ

Foot Brace Location/ Proper Leg Extension

Joined
May 1, 2023
Messages
91
Reaction score
83
Location
UP of Michigan
Hi,
I’ve been searching for an answer, but haven‘t located one. Please bear with me, as I am a newbie.

I just purchased a new Northstar NW Solo, and ordered the foot brace with carbon brackets to install myself. It all seems straightforward, based on what the Northstar guy told me via email. However, when I placed it where he said to, my legs are completely stretched out - no knee bend at all - with the bar in the center location. Yes, I can adjust it to 4 separate locations both fore and aft, in 1” increments. But I want to have it centered near where I think I will want it, and adjust from there, rather than be maxed out one direction or the other. No, it isn’t glued in yet.

Oh - pertinent info: I am female, 57 years old, 5’-6”, with short legs/long torso. My inseam is 29” max, probably less. I plan to use a single blade, sitting ( I know - debated about kneeling, but my knees and ankles would refuse, and I’d have to fall out of the boat to get out each time). I realize a foot brace is probably more important with a double blade, but I really like having my feet against something, and being able to push. And eventually I may want to add a double blade to the quiver.

I guess this got me thinking about proper leg extension / knee bend/position, and I can’t really find many clues on that. I know how I have my legs in my kayaks, but a canoe is a different animal, and I don’t want make too many assumptions before making this permanent. I need to figure out whether I need to move this thing back 1” or 8” 😜

Interesting factoid: I’m 5’-6”, husband is 6’-5”. When sized for paddles at the dealer, we both measured for the same size. Like I said - I have short legs - he is ALL legs.
 
I have installed many a Wenonah footbar and can relate. My inseam is 28 inches and the tendency is to mount in a location that provides some adjustment for oneself. It would be fine if you could guarantee that the boat would never be sold or paddled by anyone else. I usually mount so that I have slight bend at the knee with one or two positions available toward me (in the unlikely event there may be someone with shorter legs).
 
I do kneel, just can’t do it all the time and so I had Northstar install a footbrace in my Phoenix. I’m 6’ 3” with a 34/35” inseam, all legs like your husband. My bar is only about 2” from the end of the track in my boat.

The center position of my footbrace would be ~30” from the front edge of my webbed seat (which is set on short drops for kneeling). Hope that helps!

My Wenonah Prism has a footbrace too, but it also has the sliding tractor seat so I’m not sure any measurement off that boat would help much.
 
Thank you!

M. Clemens: So, it sounds like a slight knee bend, with a couple of holes left for adjustment would be good? I tried moving it back 3-1/2” & 2-1/2“ from the standard position, with the bar centered, and was thinking 3” would be good. So perhaps moving it as little as 1” would work. I will move the bar back a couple of holes and test it out more tomorrow. That knee bend amount was what had me scratching my head.

Woodpuppy: so your brace is installed in the standard position? It would be good if my husband could paddle this too, if he felt like it, if only to try it out. His 36” inseam has always been a problem - cars used to be a huge problem (he practically had to sit in the back seat - that was test #1 in the elimination process whenever we were car shopping). I tried riding his road bike from the house to the garage once years ago (it was maybe 75 yds, slight downhill, on grass). Had to stand on the pedals and have them at 3&9 positions, and kind of jump off before hitting the garage.
 
I have my foot brace at what I would call more than just a slight bend in the knees. I would do a fair amount of paddling with a dry bag or something to put your feet against and determine what works best for you before installation. You could have your hsuband do the same since you seem to be on the opposite end of the spectrum, then mount it in the middle assuming there's enough overlap between you.

Mark
 
I realize a foot brace is probably more important with a double blade, but I really like having my feet against something, and being able to push.

A foot bar is certainly valuable for a seated single blader. All flatwater canoe racers use them. It also helps to have some resistance against your lower back/butt. Tractor seats supply this by virtue of their concave seat pans. If you have a bench seat, you might consider adding a back band to your seat, as kayaks have.

And eventually I may want to add a double blade to the quiver.

It cannot be gainsaid that some canoeists use a double blade some or even all of the time. (See, e.g., THIS POLL.) As a single blade purist, I would instead advise investing in a lightweight bent shaft paddle and practicing sit & switch technique for speed, upstream and wind paddling. Sit & switch single blading is helped by a foot brace and back band even more so than correction stroke single blading is.

As to placement, different paddlers prefer different amounts of knee bend. Some prefer to be almost straight-legged. You might position the center of your foot apparatus so the middle position puts you in an almost straight-legged posture. You could then move it aft to give you more of a bent leg posture, while moving it forward might accommodate your husband.

Finally, some seated canoeists also like to have thigh machines in narrow solo canoes, as kayaks have, to control longitudinal heeling of the hull. To accomplish this, some outfit canoes with foam thigh bumpers glued under the gunwales; others contrive thigh straps. I haven't found thigh machines to be worth the hassle for my recreational sit & switch paddling style on flatwater. As primarily a kneeling paddler, I do use thigh straps in wind waves on flatwater in my Hemlock SRT.
 
Glenn makes a good point; without something to maintain your butt in a fixed position on a standard hung seat, your knees will eventually straighten no matter where you place the bar, as you slide rearward. Canting the seat for kneeling sometimes helps. Got this backband from McCrea a few years ago, wish they still made it.SAM_1147 (2).JPG
 
I see your point about a backband. I figure I’ll be toodling around, getting the hang of it (i.e. Trying to go straight) for a while. Down the road I’ll probably add one.
 
Woodpuppy: so your brace is installed in the standard position? It would be good if my husband could paddle this too, if he felt like it, if only to try it out. His 36” inseam has always been a problem - cars used to be a huge problem (he practically had to sit in the back seat - that was test #1 in the elimination process whenever we were car shopping). I tried riding his road bike from the house to the garage once years ago (it was maybe 75 yds, slight downhill, on grass). Had to stand on the pedals and have them at 3&9 positions, and kind of jump off before hitting the garage.

As far as I know, I’m not the first owner. But in this boat the rails are a riveted to foam ribs so there’re really no other choices.
 
I see your point about a backband. I figure I’ll be toodling around, getting the hang of it (i.e. Trying to go straight) for a while. Down the road I’ll probably add one.
Using a backband maximizes the power you can get from the footbar. Your whole body can become involved in the stroke.

It is easier to install than the foot bar. Here’s a picture of mine.
IMG_0537.jpeg

IMG_0536.jpeg
Northstar installed the carbon footbar on my Polaris. The carbon supports are 13 inches long, with 9 bar positions, each 1 1/2 inches apart. It is 25 inches from the front edge of the seat to the beginning of the carbon support. I have a 30 inch inseam and with a slight bend in my legs use the 6th position, 3 more positions in front of me.
 
Is the seat adjustable? If not then I'd install the foot brace so it was in a comfortable position (some knee bend) when it was nearly all the way back. This would allow the foot brace to be moved forward to a comfortable position for someone taller who might paddle/buy your boat in the future.

If the seat is adjustable you need to find a happy medium. For me personally that means finding my ideal seat position for an empty canoe and then making sure there is enough adjustment in the foot brace for me to slide the seat back. For me I know I'm much more likely to slide the seat back rather than forward when making adjustments on the water.

Alan
 
I installed it a few days ago - I think it will be good. Plenty of knee bend with 2 positions left, and plenty to extend it. Both the instructions and Dan at Northstar said 26.5” from the front of the seat to the edge of the brackets was standard, but I moved it to 25.5“ (or was it 25”? I’ve already forgotten - I played with so many positions!). Thanks for the input, everyone!

I guess my real question was “how much knee bend is correct”. It sounds like it varies from person to person.

While I was at it, I replaced all the nuts and bolts to make the bar easier to move. No tools required now! The bolts that came in the kit from Northstar were way too long flat heads, with a nylock nut. Which meant screwdriver AND wrench were required, plus lots and lots of turning to get the nut off. I found some nylon wing caps for socket head capscrews, and threaded knobs. The capscrews were still a bit long, and the next length down was too short, so I added some nylon spacers.
 
Back
Top