Anyone tried the new Bontrager shoes yet?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Anyone tried the new Bontrager shoes yet?

    I'm curious if anyone has tried the new bontrager shoes yet? I'm looking for new shoes for next season and lots of people i know are all about sidi but they are so expensive. It looks like the Mountain RL is a decent shoe at a good price. Might be worth a try.

  2. #2
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    i didn't like the design of the bontrager, i own a pair of Sidi Bullets and they are great. comfortable to and not too pricey..

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...2.aspx?sc=FRGL

    also take a look at the shimano ones...

  3. #3
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    Unlike many (many) other shoes out there, the Bontragers actually have a reasonably-sized toe box, and they don't cram your toes together.

  4. #4
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    got a pair of the rl's last week. they're okay, but i'll only be wearing them when the sidis are super wet and nasty. very stiff, fairly comfy, but don't feel as quality as the sidis. how about these terms considering the forum- sidis are oclv, bontis are alpha red aluminum.

  5. #5
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    My .02

    I bought a pair a few weeks back, here is my take. They are fairly comfortable. In spite of the fact that it feels like your heel would pull out it does not. They have a pretty stiff platform for riding and are pretty good for hike-a-bike should the need arise. They are probably best suited to the consumer who wants a comfortable, all around shoe that is okay at everything and great at nothing. The jury is still out on durability.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by YZF571
    I bought a pair a few weeks back, here is my take. They are fairly comfortable. In spite of the fact that it feels like your heel would pull out it does not. They have a pretty stiff platform for riding and are pretty good for hike-a-bike should the need arise. They are probably best suited to the consumer who wants a comfortable, all around shoe that is okay at everything and great at nothing. The jury is still out on durability.
    I agree with this completely. the only other thing i would add is that they run kind of small, but a size up fits me perfectly. on the issue of durability, i'm already seeing a bit of wear on the ratcheting strap. but i don't know how it'll pan out over a longer period of time.

  7. #7
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    I have a pair of RXL's and they are phenomenal! I had a pair of Sidis and decided to try out the bonty's. When you first try them on, the arch feels too high, but as you start cranking everything just sorta fits into place and the shoes are great. They are comfortable and not bad for hike-a-bike. Plus, I think they look sweet.
    There is an art, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotfeat1227
    I have a pair of RXL's and they are phenomenal! I had a pair of Sidis and decided to try out the bonty's. When you first try them on, the arch feels too high, but as you start cranking everything just sorta fits into place and the shoes are great. They are comfortable and not bad for hike-a-bike. Plus, I think they look sweet.
    Curious - how did you get a pair of RXL's? Trek says March on their website and dealers say the same thing. And not an out of stock thing, but not available situation.

  9. #9
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    Have them in stock.... they're very similar to shimano's offerings price point to price point, however they come with some very nice insoles vs shimano's ... Try them on, if they fit your foot shape they're a steal compared to some noted Italian shoes (that are significantly overpriced).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdcd
    Curious - how did you get a pair of RXL's? Trek says March on their website and dealers say the same thing. And not an out of stock thing, but not available situation.
    they are RL's, my mistake.
    There is an art, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

  11. #11

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    I've been using the RLs for a few weeks and I really like them. It feels like I could wear them all day. Very stiff and I don't mind them when I have to walk - feels like the arched insole should get the credit for that. The toebox is the big seller for me. Heel stays in place and all but it's all about the toebox. I've owned Lakes and Louis Garneaus and my toes never felt right. I've always thought shoes were a very individual thing, though.

    There's just one issue I want to mention. The ratchet mechanism feels kinda cheap. It works well-enough and I assume it just needs to be broken in to feel as smooth as I expect it to feel. I took a spill the other day and got up to find that the metal plate which holds the ratchet had bent out roughly 90deg. I managed to bend it back enough to get the ratchet to work and finished my ride. It amounted to cosmetic damage - certainly noticeable, but harmless. I'm very pleased that the initial bend and the subsequent repair didn't snap the plate. I was worried that the alloy would have a one-bend quota before failure. As it is, there is no visible clue that the metal has been weakened.

    On further inspection, the plate came out of a groove and bent near the screw which keeps it attached to the shoe. To repair, I just unscrewed the plate and used some pliers to get it back to proper shape and screwed it back it. Maybe not as easy as pie, but damn close. Anyway, I looked at some other shoes and they seem to use the same groove-shape on the shoe. I doubt that many other shoes would have held up any better than the Bontys. Just wanted to record my positive, if slightly blemished, experiences.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thirdrawn

    There's just one issue I want to mention. The ratchet mechanism feels kinda cheap. It works well-enough and I assume it just needs to be broken in to feel as smooth as I expect it to feel. I took a spill the other day and got up to find that the metal plate which holds the ratchet had bent out roughly 90deg. I managed to bend it back enough to get the ratchet to work and finished my ride. It amounted to cosmetic damage - certainly noticeable, but harmless. I'm very pleased that the initial bend and the subsequent repair didn't snap the plate. I was worried that the alloy would have a one-bend quota before failure. As it is, there is no visible clue that the metal has been weakened.
    The Ratchet mechanism and strap are replaceable... spare parts will be available for them just like any other decently constructed shoe. .... the eSoles insoles are pretty nice... Just like you said... shoes are very personal, but these are really nice... similar in price point/features to shimano with a slightly different feel... definitely worth trying on.

  13. #13
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    I have been using the RXL road shoes now for about 3 weeks and LOVE them....they are very comfortable and stiff, no heal lift and my toes have a bit of room the breath, I had to go with the smaller strap.........my 2 year old Sidi's in like new condition have been tossed in the old shoe box..

    NOTE: they do run small, I went up a 1/2 size with both road & mountain.

    I am waiting on my RXL mountain shoes (back ordered) can't wait, my sidi mountain shoes will most likely join the sidi road shoes in the old shoe box.

    The insoles are a huge bonus with the Bonty shoes, If you can get several arch support pieces through your Bonty dealer....do it, you will want to experiment with different sizes..........They Rock
    Last edited by Ride2Suffer; 02-17-2009 at 11:12 AM.
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  14. #14
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    Thinking about picking up the Bontrager Race Lite, on sale at LBS for $120, MSRP $140, the ratchet setup seemed kind of flimsy, but if they are replaceable that shouldn't be a big deal. I'm a super noob, just got my bike yesterday and was going to go back next weekend to get clipless shoes, but I found some time wednesday after noon to take my bike on her maiden voyage, so now i'm in a hurry to find the right shoe, i didn't want to spend $25 on bmx pedals that I may use a few times. Tried on 2 pairs of Bontrager today, the really light ones are awesome but around $240, the RL are on sale, ugly brown and red color but felt pretty good, and I tried some shimano that had 3 velcro straps and were $100. I didn't want to regret my purchase by not doing my research here before purchasing. They did feel quite slippery walking around in the shop, so my councern is slipping on rocks or other surfaces while off the bike. I think if I have time tomorrow to get them properly fitted I'll probably buy them after reading a few posts on them here. If I get them I'll give my initial impression later.

  15. #15
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    Just bought the RXL's XC today. My initial impressions are positive. The over construction quality is excellent. They are very stiff with the carbon fiber base and seem to fit very well for my foot. I'm going to give them a more thorough evaluation this weekend

  16. #16
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    Bought a pair of the Race Mountain shoes a few weeks ago, these puppies.


    One of the most comfortable shoes i've worn.
    Seems to fit my feet shape exceptionally well.

    Only downside with regards to cycling is that you just can't seem to get the fastening anywhere near sa good with just velcro.
    The rachet system is far better on the shoes higher up in the range.

    I really wanted the RL but it seems that everywhere is sold out in my size.


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  17. #17
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    RXL mountain shoe

    I've got a couple hundred miles on my RXL mountain shoe. Just like every body has been saying, they are stiff. Fit is similar to the old Nike mountain shoes but better arch support, a roomier toe box, and better carbon protection on the sole. (carbon bottom plate it probably made from the same mold)

    So far pretty durable. The ratchet strap felt really cheep and I though I would break it in the first couple of weeks but it's still going strong.

    They are my favorite shoes I've ever owned.

    (I think there is a pic of me with them on in the fuel ex action thread.)

  18. #18
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    No good

    I've got a pair of the RL's and haven't been happy with them, despite being a comfortable fit in the shop. When walking on smooth surfaces, like rocks or even concrete, the super hard bottom tends to slide around a lot. After one ride I busted both of the buckles on them because I actually used the ratcheting mechanism to tighten them down. The local shop gave me two new buckles and I've been more careful with them since and they seem to be holding up when I baby them into place. The outside toe portion quickly began wearing away when I was walking over larger rocks or scuffed them on boulders as I rode past. The toe is made from a soft synthetic leather that quickly wears away and looks like it will separate from the sole if not tended to soon. After taking them into the shop to see about warranty, I've smeared shoe goo all over the front to stop this from happening more. If it continues to wear, I'll grab some toe pro (used on hockey skates) to stiffen it up more. On top of all this, when I'm not clipped in and am briefly riding with my foot on the pedal, the pedal has been scraping away the bottom portion of the sole where the carbon appears. Overall, I wouldn't recommend these to anyone. Maybe next year they'll have sorted out all these issues and I'll look at them again. Till then, stick with a shoe company that's been around for a while and knows what they're doing.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwishiwasriding
    I've got a pair of the RL's and haven't been happy with them, despite being a comfortable fit in the shop. When walking on smooth surfaces, like rocks or even concrete, the super hard bottom tends to slide around a lot. After one ride I busted both of the buckles on them because I actually used the ratcheting mechanism to tighten them down. The local shop gave me two new buckles and I've been more careful with them since and they seem to be holding up when I baby them into place. The outside toe portion quickly began wearing away when I was walking over larger rocks or scuffed them on boulders as I rode past. The toe is made from a soft synthetic leather that quickly wears away and looks like it will separate from the sole if not tended to soon. After taking them into the shop to see about warranty, I've smeared shoe goo all over the front to stop this from happening more. If it continues to wear, I'll grab some toe pro (used on hockey skates) to stiffen it up more. On top of all this, when I'm not clipped in and am briefly riding with my foot on the pedal, the pedal has been scraping away the bottom portion of the sole where the carbon appears. Overall, I wouldn't recommend these to anyone. Maybe next year they'll have sorted out all these issues and I'll look at them again. Till then, stick with a shoe company that's been around for a while and knows what they're doing.
    Wow, I'm not trying to be condiscending but are you new to clipless? I have never owned a pair of high end mtn bike shoes that have good traction for hiking or pedaling while not clipped in (including Sidi's). These super stiff mtn bike shoes are designed for efficient clipped in pedaling. As for breaking the buckles, I'm pretty rough on my Bontrager RL's and have never had issues with the buckles, I'm thinking you may have tighten them down too much. They don't need to be tight on your feet just snug. If you're looking for shoes that are easy to walk/hike in then maybe you should have picked up some Shimano Mountain Touring shoes. They are designed to be more comfortable for walking/hiking and less efficient while pedaling...

    http://bike.shimano.com/publish/cont...60.-type-.html

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by arashi
    Wow, I'm not trying to be condiscending but are you new to clipless? I have never owned a pair of high end mtn bike shoes that have good traction for hiking or pedaling while not clipped in (including Sidi's). These super stiff mtn bike shoes are designed for efficient clipped in pedaling. As for breaking the buckles, I'm pretty rough on my Bontrager RL's and have never had issues with the buckles, I'm thinking you may have tighten them down too much. They don't need to be tight on your feet just snug. If you're looking for shoes that are easy to walk/hike in then maybe you should have picked up some Shimano Mountain Touring shoes. They are designed to be more comfortable for walking/hiking and less efficient while pedaling...

    http://bike.shimano.com/publish/cont...60.-type-.html
    Hi Arashi,

    Thanks for your post. I wouldn't say that I'm new to cycling, having worn out about a half dozen pairs of cycling shoes over the 14 years that I've been cycling (racing, commuting, touring, etc), but that might just be my own perception of my experience. Every other pair of shoes that I've worn out has been as a result of pretty hard cycling and they tend to last more than the two rides that I took the RLs on before they started to give way. Admittedly, the second time I wore them I was on a 8hr ride through some pretty rocky terrain, but my specialized comps, sports, and sidi's all held up to that style of riding without any problems, or at least for more than two rides.

    I took the shoes into the bike shop after the first ride when the buckle had broken. It broke on both sides right where the pin is held in place by a very light alloy. I asked the store owner about the issue and he said that he's seen this problem a few times already and that he has ordered a bunch of spare buckles in order to address the issue (instead of pulling the buckles off of new shoes). I tightened them down to the point where they weren't slipping off my feet when I was hike-a-biking. Even though they were tightened at the beginning of the ride, a recently 115k ride had them slipping off when climbing/sliding over rocks. I had to retighten them a couple of times on the ride.

    As for the stiffness of the sole, I do expect an incredibly stiff sole, especially on longer rides, but I do not expect the material of the bottom of the shoe to be made of such a hard plastic that it doesn't grip the surfaces that one is walking on, whether they be asphalt or rocks. Admittedly, I was walking on some pretty mossy rocks when the worst of the slippage happened, but it also happened when walking on concrete.

    I hope this clears up some of the confusion of my previous post.

  21. #21
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    Wow 14yrs is way more time than I have. I just don't recall doing that much hiking but I guess you're going to places that are more technical than me. (shrugs) I just figure mtn bike clipless shoes are designed for pedaling efficiency first and then for some hiking if needed.

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