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Powergrips...ripoff?

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Old 02-22-11, 08:04 PM
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chucky
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Powergrips...ripoff?

My cage pedals are shot and I'm thinking about getting some Power Grip pedal combos for a replacement. However, I'm having some difficulty understanding why anyone would spend $20+ on Power Grips when it seems like every cage pedal already includes all the hardware needed to mount any old $1 nylon straps.

The Power Grip fixie straps especially illustrate the apparent superfluousness of the Power Grip system:

See how the mounting bolts go through those holes in the straps? Why not save 50 grams and just use the bolts which already mount the cage to the pedal body?


Seems like a no brainer, but I'm having a hard time believing that Power Grip customers are really that stupid. You'd think people would at least just buy the $12 spare straps. Am I missing something here?

Last edited by chucky; 02-22-11 at 08:14 PM. Reason: smaller images w/ links
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Old 02-22-11, 08:10 PM
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20 bucks for a power grip?

retrogression
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Old 02-22-11, 08:13 PM
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Powergrips are bunk.
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Old 02-22-11, 08:22 PM
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I saw them at REI i laughed, Thought it was a belt extender or some beans.
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Old 02-22-11, 08:28 PM
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If PowerGrips had you use existing pedal hardware they'd get even worse reviews than they currently do.

You'd need to put a washer under that countersink bolt and that would severely reduce the number of threads engaged in the pedal body. Everyone would be stripping out the bolt holes on their pedals.

Of course half the people installing them at home would skip the washers and subsequently pull the straps right off those tiny bolts and wreck the strap.
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Old 02-22-11, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
If PowerGrips had you use existing pedal hardware they'd get even worse reviews than they currently do.

You'd need to put a washer under that countersink bolt and that would severely reduce the number of threads engaged in the pedal body. Everyone would be stripping out the bolt holes on their pedals.

Of course half the people installing them at home would skip the washers and subsequently pull the straps right off those tiny bolts and wreck the strap.
I dunno about that. Most of the negative reviews seem to be from fixed gear riders who broke the standard mounting bracket (which BTW anchors the straps closer to the cage mounting bolts), but a lot of other people seem to like em. So now Power Grips comes out with a special fixie version which just replicates the cage mounting bolts at the reflector holes.

The countersinking around the bolt should pinch the strap even better than a washer would. And if you ditch the Power Grips brand straps themselves (the only remaining selling point now that we've dissected the mounting hardware) you could use something adjustable like an old belt or velcro which would solve the only real complaint from users who didn't break the mounting hardware.

All in all it just seems like Power Grips engineered an inferior solution out of what could have been so simple. I don't get it and I'm almost willing to buy the real ones just to see if it's as easy to improve on as it looks...only because I need new pedals and the pedal/strap combo set is (at 50% off) only about $13 more than buying similar pedals on ebay.

But what I'd really like to hear is from someone who likes Power Grips.

Last edited by chucky; 02-22-11 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 02-22-11, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
The countersinking around the bolt should pinch the strap even better than a washer would.
Bolt would pull right through the hole in the strap first time you stomp on the pedals. I'm not sure how you can see that as an improvement.

There are many parts of the design that lend themselves better to low-impact hybrid and recumbent riders. They were marketed to the MTB scene for quite a while before SPDs took hold. If you ride 'em hard you'll be replacing them on a frequent interval or duct taping the hell out of 'em.
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Old 02-22-11, 09:12 PM
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Power grips are on the majority of my bikes. I don't like walking around with cycling shoes so this is the closest I will get to clipless while wearing regular shoes. The straps themselves wear too fast and it can take a lot of trial and error to get just the right about of tension. But I'm pretty satisfied with them. My feet don't hurt like it did when I rode regular toe clips.

I have the standard(mtb) 500gram one and the high performance 350gram one. The 350gram is really overpriced, but it has sealed bearings and its pretty light at 350gram/pair.

Oh and they make two lengths one for smaller/regular feet and another for bigger ones. Don't know how they determine. I wear a size 8.5 and I get the regular size.

Where are they for $20??? Is this for the mtb, or high performance?

Is there even a fixie version?

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Old 02-22-11, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Bolt would pull right through the hole in the strap first time you stomp on the pedals. I'm not sure how you can see that as an improvement.
Because if the washer can prevent it from pulling through then a cupped washer in the form of the countersunk cage should prevent pull-through even more. Do eyelets for shoelaces pull through? The answer is, no they work better than washers. That's what the countersink will do, it's like a rivet.

Originally Posted by 531phile View Post
Power grips are on the majority of my bikes. I don't like walking around with cycling shoes so this is the closest I will get to clipless while wearing regular shoes. The straps themselves wear too fast and it can take a lot of trial and error to get just the right about of tension. But I'm pretty satisfied with them. My feet don't hurt like it did when I rode regular toe clips.

I have the standard(mtb) 500gram one and the high performance 350gram one. The 350gram is really overpriced, but it has sealed bearings and its pretty light at 350gram/pair.

Oh and they make two lengths one for smaller/regular feet and another for bigger ones. Don't know how they determine. I wear a size 8.5 and I get the regular size.

Where are they for $20??? Is this for the mtb, or high performance?

Is there even a fixie version?
The straps + hardware goes for around $20 at most places. I can get the high performance pedals + straps + hardware for around $40 (since I need some other things and getting the grips will put me over the free shipping threshold). Without straps + hardware, the high performance pedals are pretty much the lightest full cage pedals available with sealed cartridge bearings and are rebranded Dimension Pro MTBs or Wellgo M-20s which go for around $30 shipped on ebay and other discount sources.

There is one version of the straps + hardware for both "Performance" and "Sport" (not MTB) pedals and there is also now another version of the straps for fixies (pictured above) which are not sold together with pedals.

But what I want to know is, as a Power Grip user, do you see any reason why mounting with the cage bolts would be a compromise compared to mounting with the dedicated power grip bolts/hardware? I don't think Lester's washer concerns are founded, but since you're a daily user what do you think?

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Old 02-22-11, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Because if the washer can prevent it from pulling through then a cupped washer in the form of the countersunk cage should prevent pull-through even more.
Dude, the average pedal bolt head is about half the area of (probably less than) the included PowerGrip hardware. What kinda crazy physics are you using to determine that the pedal bolt will hold better.

Please don't mention shoelaces anywhere in your answer.
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Old 02-22-11, 09:53 PM
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Power grips are pretty awesome in my opinion I have them on my leader.
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Old 02-22-11, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Do eyelets for shoelaces pull through?
They have on every pair of Chuck Taylors I've ever owned and one pair of leather Doc Marten boots.
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Old 02-22-11, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Because if the washer can prevent it from pulling through then a cupped washer in the form of the countersunk cage should prevent pull-through even more. Do eyelets for shoelaces pull through? The answer is, no they work better than washers. That's what the countersink will do, it's like a rivet.



The straps + hardware goes for around $20 at most places. I can get the high performance pedals + straps + hardware for around $40 (since I need some other things and getting the grips will put me over the free shipping threshold). Without straps + hardware, the high performance pedals are pretty much the lightest full cage pedals available with sealed cartridge bearings and are rebranded Dimension Pro MTBs or Wellgo M-20s which go for around $30 shipped on ebay and other discount sources.

There is one version of the straps + hardware for both "Performance" and "Sport" (not MTB) pedals and there is also now another version of the straps for fixies (pictured above) which are not sold together with pedals.

But what I want to know is, as a Power Grip user, do you see any reason why mounting with the cage bolts would be a compromise compared to mounting with the dedicated power grip bolts/hardware? I don't think Lester's washer concerns are founded, but since you're a daily user what do you think?
The regular powergrip bolts/hardware work fine. Just don't overtighten the bolts since you can strip the small hex head easily. I wish that they would use a bigger hex size. Where can you get them for $40??? That's a great price for the high perfomrance pedal with strap and hardware. It usually sells for about $60.
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Old 02-22-11, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Dude, the average pedal bolt head is about half the area of (probably less than) the included PowerGrip hardware. What kinda crazy physics are you using to determine that the pedal bolt will hold better.
The 3d kind of physics: countersinking also distributes the pressure all around the circumference of the bolt head. Plus the space under the bolt head is enclosed, so any movement will only tend to further jam up the fabric and keep it from moving. Finally, the fact that the pressure is in multiple directions means that any tugging will also be directly resisted (as opposed to a washer which depends on friction to convert inward pressure to resistance in the radial direction).

Crazy, I know.

Originally Posted by 531phile View Post
The regular powergrip bolts/hardware work fine. Just don't overtighten the bolts since you can strip the small hex head easily. I wish that they would use a bigger hex size. Where can you get them for $40??? That's a great price for the high perfomrance pedal with strap and hardware. It usually sells for about $60.
The price is actually $50 at outsideoutfitters.com, but I need to get $70 worth of other stuff and if I get it all together then the shipping is free. So instead of $70+$10shipping=$80 I'll pay $70+$50=$120 which is only $40 more.
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Old 02-23-11, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
The 3d kind of physics: countersinking also distributes the pressure all around the circumference of the bolt head. Plus the space under the bolt head is enclosed, so any movement will only tend to further jam up the fabric and keep it from moving. Finally, the fact that the pressure is in multiple directions means that any tugging will also be directly resisted (as opposed to a washer which depends on friction to convert inward pressure to resistance in the radial direction).

Crazy, I know.
The hole in the strap is a weak point. Having it jammed into a hole with a tiny cone shaped bolt puts way more stress on the hole. Having the hole and much more strap material squeezed between two flat surfaces (like between PowerGrip bolts and the pedal face) is going to offer great advantages when it comes to hole integrity. In many such applications designers will use bolts (Often tacks in leatherworking and upholstery trades) that have a concave back side. This puts the pressure from the fastener away from the hole which can help in many applications.

BTW, I don't think the PowerGrip hardware is a bolt and washer on the front side. I think it's a bolt with a built-in washer (a big flat head). I could be wrong on that point, but it looks that way to me.

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Old 02-23-11, 07:13 AM
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Of the many subjects that come up around here on a daily basis, a ridiculously in-depth discussion about Power Grips and the physics behind their design isn't something I ever expected.

I had a set of the original ones - with the metal clip attaching them to the front of the pedal - a couple of years ago and really liked them at first. It took me forever to get them dialed in and once I tightened them enough to feel really secure yet still easy to slip in and out of, I realized how the made my feet numb on long rides. Also, the metal clips became pretty mangled after about 3 weeks and the bolts attaching the straps to the rear of the pedals (which work the same way the "new design" of Power Grips does with the strap squeezed between the pedal and a big flat head bolt) began pulling through the strap.

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Old 02-23-11, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
I had a set of the original ones - with the metal clip attaching them to the front of the pedal - a couple of years ago and really liked them at first. It took me forever to get them dialed in and once I tightened them enough to feel really secure yet still easy to slip in and out of, I realized how the made my feet numb on long rides. Also, the metal clips became pretty mangled after about 3 weeks and the bolts attaching the straps to the rear of the pedals (which work the same way the "new design" of Power Grips does with the strap squeezed between the pedal and a big flat head bolt) began pulling through the strap.
There's also another difference with the fixie design. The straps are attached in two locations, presumably to prevent the rotational wear on the strap hole that occurs with the standard design (pictured here):

And once again this improvement could also be implemented by using the cage mounting hardware that's already included with every Power Grip compatible pedal.

Was this on a fixie? If not then you shouldn't really be pulling on the pedals anyway. On freewheel bikes the purpose of foot retention is to keep your feet from slipping off the pedals while spinning and while tossing your weight around. That's why I want to try Power Grips because on the upstroke you really just want to keep your foot from contacting the pedal, which should be easier with a looser retention mechanism. That and the fact that I make heavy use of variable foot positioning on my SS bike and SPDs compromise this technique.

I have to admit I wasn't aware of the Power Grip durability issue, but that also makes me wonder why the hell are people buying them because it should be easy enough to use a more durable strap material.

Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
The hole in the strap is a weak point. Having it jammed into a hole with a tiny cone shaped bolt puts way more stress on the hole. Having the hole and much more strap material squeezed between two flat surfaces (like between PowerGrip bolts and the pedal face) is going to offer great advantages when it comes to hole integrity. In many such applications designers will use bolts (Often tacks in leatherworking and upholstery trades) that have a concave back side. This puts the pressure from the fastener away from the hole which can help in many applications.
Exactly, the countersinking moves the pressure away from the strap hole just like a concave washer, but better because it also makes it more difficult for forces to tug at the hole due to the 3D labyrinth and the jamming effect. Countersinking is to washer what bolt/screw is to peg.

Besides, there's no reason why one couldn't replace the cage mounting hardware with longer bolts, larger flat or concave washers, or whatever you need to make it work better and it'd still be cheaper and lighter than a bona fide Power Grip kit.

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Old 02-23-11, 08:50 AM
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Quick question? How do adjust these straps? Do you perforate them yourself? I see no extra holes in the above pic! What if you have a small shoe size? I am 6.5 (39 europe)
I might make my own out of a seat belt or an old Leather Belt.

How are these compared to clipless?

Sorry for the questions. Good explanation on Countersunk / washer use!
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Old 02-23-11, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Hartigan View Post
Quick question? How do adjust these straps? Do you perforate them yourself? I see no extra holes in the above pic! What if you have a small shoe size? I am 6.5 (39 europe)
I might make my own out of a seat belt or an old Leather Belt.
The new standard design uses special pinching hardware to continuously adjust the straps without perforation. The fixie grips and the old standard grips use perforated adjustment...like a belt.

Originally Posted by Hartigan View Post
How are these compared to clipless?
I can't say how they compare because I haven't tried Power Grips yet, but the reason I'm thinking of switching is because I feel like I'm loosing efficiency with the fixed fore/aft foot positioning of SPDs...plus studies show that "pulling" really only unweights the foot and that should be easier if you can get the foot 1-2mm off the pedal with a looser retention mechanism (b/c you can't have inefficient upstroke pressure if your foot isn't touching and your foot doesn't need to touch if you have some retention to keep it close).

I don't ride a fixed gear, which would obviously be quite different.
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Old 02-23-11, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Hartigan View Post
How are these compared to clipless?


all the pros wear powergrips
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Old 02-23-11, 09:34 AM
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If you don't ride fixed, perhaps you won't have trouble with them because there won't be as much stress placed on the straps where they mount to the pedal. Won't know until you try, I suppose.
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Old 02-23-11, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
...plus studies show that "pulling" really only unweights the foot and that should be easier if you can get the foot 1-2mm off the pedal with a looser retention mechanism (b/c you can't have inefficient upstroke pressure if your foot isn't touching and your foot doesn't need to touch if you have some retention to keep it close).
Sounds like you are buying into the Rivendell mantra, which are hardly "studies" on the subject. Anyways, this is total rubbish.
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Old 02-23-11, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cc700 View Post


all the pros wear powergrips
Excuse my ignorance....so these are Fixed Gear oriented? Cool. I am getting a flip-flop wheel tomorrow, do you think these are good to start with?
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Old 02-23-11, 10:37 AM
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No. If anything, it's more difficult to get used to slipping in and out of Power Grips than it is with clips/straps due to the fact that you need to slide your foot into Power Grips at a slight inward angle and they tighten as you straighten your foot on the pedal.
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Old 02-23-11, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Exactly, the countersinking moves the pressure away from the strap hole just like a concave washer, but better because it also makes it more difficult for forces to tug at the hole due to the 3D labyrinth and the jamming effect. Countersinking is to washer what bolt/screw is to peg.
3D Labyrinth? Never saw that movie.

Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Besides, there's no reason why one couldn't replace the cage mounting hardware with longer bolts, larger flat or concave washers, or whatever you need to make it work better and it'd still be cheaper and lighter than a bona fide Power Grip kit.
This is what I'd do if I were going to use the pedal cage holes, because of the problems I mention in my first post in this thread. Preferably captive washer bolts that are long enough to engage as many threads as possible in the pedal body so you don't strip 'em out.
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