I’ve been riding with Shimano’s SPD system for mountain bikes (as opposed to the more road race-oriented type) because it’s specifically designed to allow for walking in the shoe when off the bike. But for the past year or so, I’ve noticed that the walking has become more tricky — louder grinding of the cleats, and more potential to slip, particularly on the right shoe.
I’d thought this was because the rubber nubs that surround the metal cleat had been wearing down. But when I cleaned the shoes after a recent ride, I noticed that one of the nubs had actually fallen off.
Resolved: it was time for new shoes.
Our agenda today was to visit the Tori-no-Ichi festival in Shinjuku and then have lunch. As it happened, we arrived at the restaurant half an hour before it opened, so I suggested to Nana that we go to the bike shop and look at the shoes. She quickly replied that she wanted to shop for bed sheets at the store just above the bike shop, so we agreed to meet up after our respective shopping.
I looked first at the Shimano RX8, which I’ve had on my Amazon wish list for some time now. The store had it in a dark grey with muted gold accents, looking very sharp. And then I saw this pair, not quite as sharp and slightly heavier, at two-thirds of the price. The RX8s have carbon fibre soles, and these are glass fibre. When I hold one in each hand I can feel the difference. But when I just hold one of these, I’m entirely satisfied.
There are no gold accents on the shoes — they’re just dark grey / black. I’m very happy with that. If I weren’t worried about being seen by drivers, I’d have all my gear in dark grey / black. Easy to coordinate, and matches the bike. As it is, I’m hoping that these shoes have some reflective panels. (I’ve looked at the maker’s page and the one review I could find, and there’s no mention.)
As for the weight, these are 332g per shoe (according to the maker) compared to 268g for the RX8s. The difference of 128g / pair comes to about one-fifth of the water in a single water bottle, so I’m happy on that front.
The salesperson was very helpful in ensuring I had a good fit, and then suggested cleats, pedals, etc. I already had a replacement set of cleats at home, and fitted them shortly after we returned, bellies full from the Italian lunch we enjoyed after the restaurant finally opened.
The inaugural ride may be tomorrow. I’m going to see the weather forecast in the morning before deciding.