Sidi Defender 20 observations- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Sidi Defender 20 observations

    Hoping this helps someone out as I couldnít find much info about the Sidi Defender 20. My observations are based only from trying them on and wearing for an hour indoors. No pedal time.

    I needed new spd shoes. The sidi defender 20 looked interesting so I ordered a pair online... no shops within an hour of me carry them.

    I had some concerns about the stiffness of these since I had read that the SD15 were pretty soft and the Defender20 look very similar. Heard the original Defenders flexed a bit, too. I was also concerned about fit as Iíve heard Sidi run small and Iíve never owned a pair, much less tried some on.

    Anyway, down to the shoes.

    The good:
    They appear very well made. Nice low stack height, lowest spd shoes Iíve seen and significantly lower than my Specialized Comps. If your looking for a shoe with a low center of gravity, theses deserve a look.
    Sidiís version of BOA lacing seems well made, easy to release.
    Stiffness would be a little less than traditional XC shoes but not soft by any means - slight flex up by the toes but the ball-of-foot area back to heel is plenty stiff. If XC soles are a 10, these are about a 7 or 8. Sole is nice and sticky and thereís some padding around the outside ankle.

    The not so good:
    For my taste, the lacing system doesnít come up high enough on the top of the foot. To prevent my heel from slipping I had to dial in the boa very tight. This made the ball and toe box too tight since the lacing comes down near the toe box. If there were a strap at the top, or even at the toe box so you could tighten down different areas of the shoe I might like them better.
    The shoes do run narrow and Iíd think someone with a wide foot, or like me, wider front foot, these probably wonít work. Thereís no Mega version either.
    The thin footbed may be uncomfortable for some so thereís a trade off for that low stack height. An aftermarket insole would most likely solve any comfort issue here.

    In the end, the inability to cinch the shoes down in zones was a no-go as it made sections of the shoe too tight. Ended up returning them for another pair of Speci Comps.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the info, as I am considering these shoes.
    As far as stiffness is concerned, it shouldn't be measured from how they flex upwards, as when walking or kneeling where shoes flex near the toes. It should be measure exactly opposite as where it flexes down, as to flexing the sole downward. This is where the flex occurs while pedaling. Walking in bike shoes to feel for flex is not an accurate measurement.
    EXODUX Jeff

  3. #3
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    I agree Jeff. But a shoe that doesnít flex at all, up or down with my hands is still an indicator for stiffness, no?

    Btw, I did stand on the edge of a cement block to see how stiff these were when downward pressure was applied. Mainly to see how the ball of my foot would feel with pressure on the cleat. Still stand by my assessment that theyíre pretty stiff.

  4. #4
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    I get ya. Most people do measure stiffness from upward flex, which is wrong.
    EXODUX Jeff

  5. #5
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    For sure. My goal was to shed a little more light on these shoes. Like I said, I didnít ride them because theyíre far to narrow in the front half of the shoe. I really wish they had two sections of laces/strap. I love the low stack height. I think most spd shoes feel like Iím standing on stilts. Others are sneaker-like flexy.

  6. #6
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    I have SD15s in 46 that are to big but but I like them, so I have ordered some new all black 2020 asymmetric Defenders in 45.
    I Pity The Fool That Can't Ride A Bike Without A Dropper!!

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