Tuesday, May 18, 2010


ACCESSORY 33: Cycling shoes $153 @ Chain Reaction Bicycles
Returning these so I can get them from Lomardi Sports for $107.

Although I've come across this brand before, I didn't really pay much attention to it until I saw it at Summit Bicycles. Every shop I stepped foot into seemed to be plastered with Shimano which I tried on later, but felt uncomfortable compared to the Bontrager. These Bontragers were in the middle price range way under the $249 pairs and just above the $100 ones.

In my search for cycling shoes, I've come across a number of brands before choosing the Bontrager RL:

The price range for this brand are from $170-$250 before tax. Both way beyond my budget and the quality doesn't seem to be any better than the Bontrager RL MTB shoe.

They have a good price range that goes across the board. Some are as low as $100 and priced even lower during sales. Of the three pairs I've tried on at Performance Bicycle and Chain Reaction Bicycles, they didn't feet that great.

Louis Garneau:
They look attractive and are competitively priced with the Bontrager, but again aren't as comfortable.

They're price ranges start at $275 and go up to over $400 a pair! Enough said. Their cheapest model look a lot like the pricier styles, but don't have a ratchet strap - 3 Velcros and have an ugly gloss black finish.

They're Razor style has a cool strap system that replaces most brand's Velcros, but they were out of my price range.

Bontrager (Model RL): My final choice.
It has the ratchet strap system, carbon fiber sole, high arch and all at $140 before tax. I'm getting it cheaper at Lombardi Sports where my wife gets a discount. They're on special order to arrive in 7-10 days when I get to pick them up! $107 after tax!

I slipped it on at Chain Reaction Bicycle and again it felt great! Being that these shoes are supposed to be super stiff, I figured the worst and expected it to feel like rental skates.

The most important part though is the fit. This is one thing I would never buy online w/o trying at a store first and by then, the store deserves the sale if they have good sales people and the price is decent. Ed from Chain Reaction treated me well when I visited the store, but the price difference of $153-$107 = $46 (30%) savings is too good to pass up.

To my surprise, they felt more like slippers! Not quite, but they felt as good as a new pair of casual shoes! The sales guy, Peter from Summit where I first tried these on said it was a hit or miss. Some people love them, while others can't stand the higher arch in the sole. He recommended the ratchet straps which I confirmed later after trying a few all velcro pairs did make a big difference in fitment.

After rejecting the purchase and heading home to do some research on the features and of course prices, I found it really does have more features than its competitors in the same price range. Very few shoes under $200 have carbon soles. I'm a carbon fiber addict, but I'm told these are stiffer than the rubber soles which I can imagine. I still think the differences would be too marginal to matter.

The sides look a bit funky, but I started to like it after awhile. I'm going for black over white shoes since white would easily get dirty and I've never been able to wear white shoes w/o looking like a clown. Some people can pull off the GAP look, but for reason it doesn't work on me.


  1. Since we are both deep within the "upgrade" phase of our KMX Tornado ownership...

    The Shimano X.4 rear derailleur is a nice upgrade for the SRAM 3.0. It will work nicely with the SRAM grip shifter, it is lighter, the shifts are light-years more crisp and clean than the SRAM, and it is about $40 to $50. After I install the upgraded idlers I ordered, the 11-32t freewheel and the X.4 are next on the list..

    Just FYI

  2. Ooops...I meant an SRAM X4, not a Shimano.

    Must be having riding withdrawls from all the rain :)