Straights for me as well, I like to be able to get a pipe cleaner in them if necessary during the smoke and a straight is just easier to do that. I have bought a few 1/4 bent in the last month or so, but I think the straights are where it's at for me.
Personally, I'm fond of the look of bents. But I'm thinking my next briar may well be a straight, just to mix it up a little. Most of my cobs turned out to be straights, so I've kind of gotten used to them. :fpipe:
Both bent and straight pipes have their merits.
I personally tend to like the look of straight pipes and quarter-bents the best (i.e. Dublins and Rhodesians).
Straight pipes tend to smoke a little cooler and drier, if only because you're forced to keep it in your palm most of the time, and they're easier to clean. Bent pipes are better for smoking while your hands are busy, since the leverage works more in your favor while it's hanging in your mouth.
I have straights. I have bents. It really has more to do with the overall style of the pipe and the occassion.
Actually, I in the middle. Most of my 35 pipes are half bents. I find this configuration to be the most comfortable shape since I have to smoke on the patio and I read 98% of the time. Half bents have all the benefits of full bent pipes and are easier to clean.
When I first began smoking pipes in college, I could only afford "basket" pipes, which were mostly billiards. As my income and small collection began to grow, I added pots, Dublins, Canadians, Rhodesians. I later added some Pete bent billiards.
I find that now that I am a geezer pipe smoker, I do like the bents, full and quarter, since they hang easily from the jaw, no pressure on aging teeth. But, I would not trade some of my old billiards and other straights for anything. They are old friends.
As others have said, though, straights are much easier to run a pipecleaner through.
I like neither straight or full bent but will accept everything else full bent always seemed to gurgle for me and straight hurt my teeth, all this probably had more to do with pipe quality or just psychological. I don't care I stick with 1/8 and 1/4 bend and I'm happy.
I like and use both, but my preference is bent. I find them more comfortable to have in my mouth and I like to leave the pipe in my mouth for a while and its a lot easier on the teeth. I like the 'looks' of most straights more, and I use them anyway, but if I had to classify myself, I'd say I'm a bent pipe user primarily at this point.
I have plenty of both (I think 6 straight and 8 bent), and my "top five" are a combination as well. I like my straight billiards for carrying and walking around. I actually prefer the way a good billiard clenches. Used to lean towards bent for a cooler smoke, but I've found that has more to do with proper drying and packing of tobacco and an easy smoking pace than anything else. The most recent additions are all straights, billiards only.
Of my 65 pipes, I only own three full bents. An Ashton, a Comoy Blue Riband and an old Shoenfeild. I much prefer straights. Just easier to smoke and easier to clean. Also, with my full bents, I get smoke in my eyes indoors, so I use them outdoors mostly.
I have been partial to straight pipes since I started smoking. I don't know that one smokes better than the other, but I can only assume that good engineering is easier to accomplish with a straight pipe. I also just never liked the aesthetic of the full bent pipe. I like 1/4 or 1/2 bent pipes, but full bents just don't appeal to me.
As my name suggests I am a fan of bent pipes. The Peterson System is my favorite bent. Passing a cleaner is never a problem with a system as the stem can be removed at any point and the shank and stem swabbed clean. Not to mention the dry smoke that the system gives.
But no one style is no better than the other. I love my lovats and Canadians just as well. A straight stem pipe smoked slow and steady will yield just as good and dry a smoke as my best System. I love them all and grab a style based on the mood i'm in at the time.