Power Grips pedal straps are a durable and effective way to mimic most of the positive effect of having special bike shoes that click into your pedals without the expense and added complexity.
Cheap and easy to install, Power Grips Pedal Straps can help increase your pulling power on the upstroke and yet are easy to get into and out of in a flash - not nearly the topple problem as bike shoes that attach to the pedals.
In short, they aren't exactly the same as using a shoe/pedal combo of course, but with the price and ease of use, they're a darn good alternative for many cyclists.
Easy to Install, Easy to Use
Power Grips pedal straps run diagonally across your pedal, from the inside back corner to the outside front corner. You use them simply by sticking your feet slightly pigeon-toed into them as they arch over the pedal. When you twist your foot straight, the effect is to cinch the strap down onto your foot.
Power Grips are sold either as straps alone, which you install using supplied hardware -- basically two screws, a couple of washers and a bracket -- or as a strap/pedal combo, where you simply remove your old pedals and put in your new ones. While installation is not super complex, it will take you probably 30 or 40 minutes. It's not complicated, but a bit harder than you might think.
Good for Most Riders
Power Grip pedal straps are ideal for several types of riders. The first group who will find Power Grips attractive are cyclists who don't have experience with bike shoes that hold their feet to the pedals. Power Strips can effectively mimic the feeling and give the sense to a cyclist if this is something that will be of benefit to them or not.
The second group of riders who will be interested in Power Grips are commuter type cyclists who ride with a variety of shoe types over the course of a week and who for whatever reason don't need or want bike shoes and special pedals. Also, Power Grips work well for riders who are frequently in and out of their pedals. Though most people who have bike shoes get along fine with clicking in and out of the pedals at stops, using Power Grips can take away some of the uneasiness for riders who still have that little bit of hesitation and concern that the frequent stops can give them if clicking in and out has ever been a problem.
Things to Be Aware Of
While the regular size Power Grips are going to fit most riders just fine, be aware that if you are either wearing extra bulky boots or have big honkin' feet (size 12 US/46 Eur or greater) you should order the extra long version of the straps. Otherwise, if you get a strap that is too small, they may not rest exactly right across the broad part of your foot. You'll still be able to fit the tips of your feet in the straps, but they will rest more across the front by your toes rather than in the most ideal spot.
And while Power Grips work fine in city riding and most low key off road riding, I found that Power Grips are not ideal for true mountain biking. In that setting, when you're actively riding, going down a trail, you're jumping over rocks and logs and dodging holes, if you have to take your foot out, it is not really as easy to get your feet back in the pedals with the Power Grips and going forward again as if you were wearing bike shoes that clip when all you have to do is stomp on the pedals. But that's a pretty limited setting, and most riders who are going to go like that are going to be wearing either platform pedals or bike shoes. In most other circumstances -- the other 95% of the time when you're not going down a 20% grade -- when you're just having a good time instead going around town or on more easy-riding trails, Power Grips are going to be great.
The Details and Product Specifications
Price: $25-$30 for regular straps only; $35 bucks approximately for the XL. If you get the strap/pedal combo, you'll probably pay in the range of $50-$80 depending on the quality of the pedal you go for and the length of the strap.
Material: Similar to nylon, but not quite. Power Grips manufacturer doesn't disclose the specifics, but describes it as a "tight woven blend of non-elastic materials with a urethane coating."
Weight: Full pedal/strap kits will weigh between 350-500 grams per pair. Straps and hardware only are about 115 grams.