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Tested! – Pedal Bondage – Pedal and Strap Combos

Thanks to our contributor from Rockford, Craig Smith for this test report on a couple of pedals and retentions systems! Here goes:

Flat pedals are numero uno in the Fat-Bike pedal scene. Mostly because you can wear your warmest Winter boots, (or sandals for beach riding) and they make it easy to put your foot down at a moments notice.

However, I love clipless pedals, because they are much more efficient, and make pedaling a lot easier.

The main problem with SPD type (Shimano, Egg Beaters, Time etc…) pedals and Winter cycling shoes is the metal cleat and pedal which transfer cold directly to your feet.

They are also susceptible to clogging with ice, sand, and mud, making escape, and sometimes entry, difficult.

I’ve had some success with my Gaerne Eskimo shoes and SPD pedals, but even after trying countless combinations of socks and different sole inserts, I can usually only ride for a hour to one and a half hours in temperatures in the low 20’s F before my feet are cold. So, I’m ready to give flat pedals a try.

Here are two options for flat pedal systems with straps.

The Power Grip pedal system has been around a long time. In fact, the model I’m testing is one I’ve had since before I switched to Shimano SPD in the mid 90’s. I’m using the $44.50 Sport Pedal Kit. There is also a High Performance Pedal Kit for $76.95 (+$14.30 for XL straps if you need them) If you need the longer straps, be sure to order them with the Kit, otherwise the XL Straps alone will cost you $39.95.

The Power Grip is very simple and works very well. It is designed so put your foot in at an angle, then turn your foot to its natural pedaling position to tighten the strap.

For use with my size 8.5 Keen Summit Country boots, I had to order the Extra Long strap kit.

Inserting your shoe into the Power Strap is easy, and with a little practice, you can get strapped in while barely losing a pedal stoke. However, the smoother the tread is on your shoe/boot the easier it is to get in. Boots/shoes with big knobby tread will not be as easy.

The Fyxation Gates Pedal Strap Kit… This is the first time I’ve ever tried a big BMX style platform pedal, and I must say I am very impressed with the solid feel a large pedal provides. After strapping the 2″ wide Velcro straps tight, this pedal setup felt almost as solid as my SPD setup.

This system may not be the best for technical riding where you’re more likely to dab a few times. But you could always use the flat “bottom side” of the pedal until you get to a place where it’s easier to tighten the straps back up. If you want supreme comfort for long non-technical rides, this is the hot setup. And they cost $59.95.

The Final Scoop… Both of these pedal/strap combos are worthy of your beloved Fat-Bike. Here are the differences…

The Power Grip would be a better choice for more technical riding because of their easy in and out design. Though may not be quite as comfortable on long rides. The pedal is metal and may transfer a small amount of coldness to your footwear.

The Gates Pedal Strap Kit has a solid, big platform that is very comfortable. The straps secure you tight, and you become one with the bike. The pedal is made of high impact nylon that will not conduct the cold like a metal pedal. Easy to exit, but not quite as easy as the Power Grips. And the pedals are available in 7 colors and Black or White straps.

7 Responses to Tested! – Pedal Bondage – Pedal and Strap Combos

  1. Sic Olsen January 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    Thanx for the Test. I have the same Problem with my SPD’s and thought about an alternative. Now I’m a step closer!

  2. Craig Smith January 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Thanks guys!
    Due to a (undiagnosed as of 1/6/2012) muscle disease (mostly in my legs), I am not able to ride flat pedals properly, and being connected to my bike makes riding much easier. This is just another option to clipless, who doesn’t like options?

  3. Ward Whitmire January 7, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Love to see more folks using alternatives to SPD’s. I’ve been modifying my own for several years. I cut off the traditional mounting flange of traditional toe clips, remove the required traction pins from DH/SL platform peddles and screw/bolt the toeclip “cage” directly into the platform. This allows me to place the front of the toeclip accurately and the strap as well. Also, to make plastic toeclips fit your light hiking boots, dip them into boiling water for a couple minutes to make the malable and you can reform them (mount them on the peddles first so you can use the peddle for a handle). also, some traction pins use the same threads as some derailleur adjustment screws so (sometimes) you can use them to bolt down your clips. When I want to ride w/o them, I tie them upside down or remove them completely.

    • marc July 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

      have a picture of this setup?
      sounds like a solution for my needs!

  4. Tony B. January 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Great Review! I’ve got three or four sets of PowerGrips including the vintage Craig shows above. The newer ones are nice but they have a slot that the strap mounts through that hangs a little low for my likes. I hit it when cornering hard.

    Glad to see a review for the Gates. I think I will have to get a set, they sound great too. I don’t SPD, I’m Polish and well…..

  5. marc July 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    just want to mention that there are many more options out in the fixed gear world for straps to use on platform pedals,

    two notable brands being YNOT (ynotcycle.com) made in Canada

    and my personal favorite Burro (burrobags.com) made in Florida

    also most pedal straps can be set up to work in the ‘twist-foot-to-tighten’ way

    I ride mine fairly loose and just shift my feet around a bit on the pedals when I want the extra foot retention

  6. Martin Neville March 3, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Great tips, thanks.

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