Review: Restrap diagonal and horizontal straps
Made using recycled car seatbelt webbing, Restrap pedal straps are a sort of halfway house between plain flat pedals and the secure shoe location when cycling offered by toe clips and straps – or even clipless pedals.
There are two versions: horizontal and diagonal. Both feature a wide, thick wad of fabric and Velcro that sits on top of the shoe, while the straps themselves complete a loop around the shoe. The idea in both cases is to keep the shoe more securely located on its pedal and, ideally, enhance pedalling effectiveness without the need for cycling-specific footwear.
The horizontal version’s twin straps per side are designed to pass through channels or slots in the pedal body. Each strap has a buckle, but fine tensioning once the strap is secure is best done using the double-layer Velcro in the top rather than trying to fiddle around with the buckle on the move.
When adjusted snugly, the strap does a surprisingly (to a first-time user) good job of keeping the shoe in place on the pedal downstroke, although it’s less effective if you try to pull up on the upstroke.
On the downside, getting the shoe into the strap isn’t the simplest of tasks. The weight of the strap inevitably makes the pedal hang upside down and, as with toe clips and straps, there’s a knack to flipping the pedal the right way up.
Whereas toe clips hold their straps away from the pedal to facilitate shoe entry, Restraps simply slump on the pedal, offering a challenge to even the deftest of toe punts. Once in place, the straps offer much the same rider comfort as plain pedals, with no constraints on foot angle or fore and aft positioning.
Angled across the top of the pedal and secured using screws and plates supplied with them, diagonal straps offer a slightly different and possibly superior experience. They share the horizontal straps’ slumped resistance to ready entry, but require in addition that the foot be angled toe inwards as the shoe is initially slid into position on the pedal.
Once in place, the foot is pulled back into line. This effectively twists the strap further, which tightens it, gripping the shoe securely. It’s important to get the loop the right size for comfort using the Velcro on the top, but once in place, the diagonal straps are the more effective setup.
Both designs offer rapid, safe foot exit with none of the problems some users find with clipless systems, and both should last well, albeit while acquiring an ingrained coating of road muck in most riding conditions.
Restrap Diagonal and Horizontal Straps, £29.99 each
Pros and Cons
+ Effective with ordinary footwear
– Chunky looks
Power Grips Strap Set, £29.99
Leather-covered steel toe clips without straps, designed for cyclists who don’t want to scuff their smart shoes. Would suit commuters.