The Bontrager RXL Hilo
Written by: Jeroen van Geelen
Date: Mon Jul 26 2010
The shoe closes using 2 Velcro straps that seem to be a bit short, but truth be told, I tested the womenís version due to the lack of stock on the menís version in my size. Iím lucky to have rather small feet (menís US size 7), so itís pretty easy to test the womenís model. Maybe the menís model has longer Velcro. In any case, while a tad short, on my feet the Velcro did close the shoe satisfactorily.
The sizing seems on the short side because I had to go up 1 full size to get the right one (even correcting for womenís sizing). I expected to see a lot of the old Nike features and fit since Trek used to be the distributor of Nike cycling, but that was not the case.
The fit of the forefoot is roomy, but not extremely wide. Some of you who read my previous cycle shoe reviews know I donít like shoes that close high around your foot and this shoe is closing much lower in comparison to the Specialized TriVent and the Northwave Tribute.
For me, this is great.
These shoes do have a great rubber heel loop which is not really a loop, but more a device to grab, so you can pull the shoes on. As a long distance triathlete I really donít care if it takes just a bit more time to slip onto the shoes, but when you are a short courser and you ride out of T1 with your shoes already attached to the pedals make sure they work for you.
When you develop a shoe with a lower closure system around the ankle you need to produce a heel counter that fits very securely. I would use a thermoplastic heel counter, so that the customer can mold this to the heel. The Bontrager RXL Hilo does have a plastic heel counter molded at the outside of the shoe but itís a bit wide and flexibleótoo flexible and not moldable. The fit of the shoe is just a bit insecure on the backside of the pedal stroke, and itís the only aspect of this shoe Iím not happy about.
The RXL Hilo is made on a carbon reinforced platform which offers more than enough stiffness. Itís made with the 3 hole cleat pattern. It retails for $169, which I think is great value.
Sidi's carbon-soled T2 Silver Snake. You can debate about the silver snakeskin upper on this wider-than-average Sidi, but I kind of liked it. It makes a statement. 4.04.11
This is one hell of a shoe, created with passion for the sport, and it will definitely be my shoe for the coming season. Still, distribution and customer service will be this shoe company's challenge. 4.16.12
Bont's moldable, monocoque cycling shoes bring something new to the tri shoe category: a shoe so form fitting the single-strap closure method isn't the liability it once was. 7.02.10
Specialized really went after the tri-specific crowd with its TriVent BG shoe. Notwithstanding a couple of minor peeves, this shoe is the cash register leader and deserves to be. 6.22.10
Best bang for the buck
Reviewed by: Rocco, Jul 29 2010 6:29AM
i really like the cosy material inside the shoe, which makes sockless riding very comfortable.
At first I was sceptical about the heel strap, contemplating folding it and making a loop out of it (2 stitches - done!), but after two seasons of racing I can say that attaching rubber bands works well even without a loop. the straps offer plenty of grip
Reviewed by: Bryan, Jul 27 2010 10:57AM
All in all, a good shoe, but not perfect.
Reviewed by: Ed Gross, Jul 27 2010 4:23AM