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Other than not having to buy special biking shoes, is there any clear advantage to using pedal straps over clipless (aka clip-in or step-in) pedals?

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You don't have to bring and change shoes when you get to class, work, breach , ect. – Ben Oct 15 '10 at 21:44
@Ben - This is quite correct, but the special-shoes element of this was specifically excluded from the question. – Neil Fein Oct 17 '10 at 3:58
I disagree. There is a difference between not having to buy them and not having to change them. The question might be asked by someone who has access to both and is looking for a reason to choose one. – LanceH Oct 19 '10 at 23:32

The biggest benefit I see is convenience. You can just hop onto a bike with whatever you're wearing at the time and go. Not a big deal if you're planning a 15 mile ride, but a real big deal if you're riding around the neighborhood, hopping off to run into a few stores, etc...

It's also possible to pedal on the flip side of the pedal and get moving without the cumbersome and slow start up that is required to get into clipless or straps. In an emergency you can even stomp on the straps and move the bike out of the way. It's rare, but occasionally you find yourself standing there and just want to get out of the way, in any direction.

I've now switched almost entirely to riding clipless though. Between that and riding fixed gear, it makes the bike feel so connected to me.

To compare: Straps are easier to get into. Clipless are easier to get out of (really!). I've never pulled out of my clipless pedals, I have broken a strap (no big deal if you're not in a sprint).

At this point if I'm riding any distance at all, I change shoes. If I'm just going to the store to pick up groceries, I don't even have straps, just old school pedals. The middle ground for straps just evaporated for me.

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You can pedal on the flip side of some clipless pedals too, though ... like the kind I got in preparation for my eventual move to clipless. – Dave DuPlantis May 13 '11 at 18:44

Easier for beginners?

Slightly less of a panic when you come to a stop at a light, pause, look down and realise you forgot to unclip - as you slowly fall over.

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I've noticed that this isn't just a problem with beginners. If you ever have to dismount unexpectedly, you're going over, end of story. Noone can unclip that fast. – Ernie Dec 18 '12 at 16:58

When the straps are done up properly, you are less likely to pull your foot out accidentally. This is why clips & straps are recommended for track racing .

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Is that really still an issue? Modern pedals all have tension adjustments which pretty much solve the unclipping problem. – Vache Oct 15 '10 at 13:36
@domsterr - I'd think that if the straps were that tight, you'd be getting numb toes. Clipless (so I'm told) hold your feet to the pedals more securely than clips and straps can, unless you make the straps unreasonably tight. – Neil Fein Oct 17 '10 at 4:02
I say this as someone who rode with straps for 20 years. I finally bought cleats to ride on the track near my house. The difference is amazing. It's more like being connected to the bike than merely standing on the pedals. – LanceH Oct 19 '10 at 23:34

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