Urban Velo

Hold Fast FRS Review

holdfast-2 Great products don’t need change to maintain greatness — updates aren’t needed for things that aren’t broken. Hold Fast foot retention straps remain much the same as ever, identical in construction to the versions I first reviewed back in 2009. In that first review, after but a month of riding, I wrote “…I must say I’m thoroughly impressed, and possibly completely converted to this style of pedal retention.” Since then I have in fact completely converted to Hold Fast straps for any of my not-clipless riding — I’ve not used a toe-clip and strap system since the fall of ’09 and have at least three sets of Hold Fast straps in service, including that first baby blue review pair.

I’ve been riding clipless pedals on my mountain bike since the mid-’90s and am sold on their superior control and efficiency when it matters, but even with the latest in casual clipless shoes in hand I still prefer flat pedals and Hold Fast straps for some rides. It’s hard to beat a traditional sneaker or soccer shoe for off the bike, or a good waterproof boot for the commute through the winter. On multi-day tours I prefer a setup as shown over clipless, minimizing my shoes and making it possible to pedal in sandals if I really feel like it. It’s nice to be able to ride no matter what shoes you have on. Unlike toe-clips, Hold Fast straps don’t hurt my toes and in my experience cause far less wear on your shoes at the contact points over the long term.

Over the years I’ve used these straps on a variety of pedals and feel they work best with slim profile pedals that the straps can pass through completely flat, like the Fyxation pedals shown. Installation is especially easy with these pedals, with plastic bodied pedals seeming to cause less wear to the straps themselves over time, though my original pair is still going on the same metal bodied VP pedals since day one. I’ve gotten used to the decreased cornering clearance of platform pedals as compared to traditional flat road or track pedals, but it is still worth mentioning to new converts.

Hold Fast straps are available for $57 per pair, and are completely made in the USA. Highly recommended, if you had told me five or six years ago that there was a better system than toe-clips and double straps I would bet against you. Today I’m a convert, it’s either clipless or Hold Fast. See currently available colors and order direct at www.holdfastordie.com


  1. holdfasthaterMay 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    HoldFasts are overpriced pos’s, they use cheap hardware that rusts/corrode over time, and they eventually become all tattered due to scraps on the pavement, and as you pointed out pedals used with HoldFasts typically have decreased cornering clearance. I finally found an alternative that blows HoldFasts away. Check out Patebury’s Leather straps that can be used with road/track pedals.

  2. TpennyMay 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I have had the same pair of hold fasts on my bike since 2009 and all that has happened is purely cosmetic wear. I see a lot of those leather straps that mimic the hold fast design, where as the product you mentioned (that isnt linked) is just leather straps for gates and pedals. So you can’t even compare because its a different style of foot retention. And just like Brad I am over anything thats a gate with a strap. I own three pairs of holdfasts as well. Two I have had since 09 and I have had no need to take the other ones out of the package because they other two pairs are still working fine. If you like the leather straps, just get some toshis and call it a day.

  3. ososxeJune 4, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I’m thinking of purchasing some holdfast or similar strap, for my 30km conmutes (is the only foot retention system my pedals can take), but friend at local bike shop told me that he would not recommend them for my city conmute, my feet would hurt for using them for 1 hour+…
    what’s your experience with straps for long conmutes?

  4. mahOctober 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I use holdfast’s FRS on my cyclcross since 2.5 years now. I use it for commuting, racing, and some long trips on the road+trail ( 50+ miles).
    I have NEVER EVER felt bad with them. Zero “feet hurt”. I don’t see how that’s possible, in fact. It’s like people who want to ban carbon frames. They’re blinded by bs.

    Now, I would put the FRS between toe clips and clipless pedals.
    You’ll get a better connection to the bike with clipless,and thus be slightly more efficient. For me that’s an adequate tradeof. The FRS is close enough, entry/exit of the pedals is extremely easy and natural, can use any shoes.

    toeclip sucks tho. Hard to get in/out, bad retention, etc.

    So yeah. Competition where you don’t need to unmount all the time? Clipless for sure. Even if you need to unmount and you’re comfy with clipless.. well, keep clipless.

    But if you wanna use any kind of shoes and retain decent/close to clipless performance, FRS is a very good alternative in my opinion.

    Also, i ride 1H a day for commute on top of the weekend rides, my pedals have not rusted and are not damaged in any way after these 2.5 years.. so yeah, they’re worth their $60.

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