If you can recall I have been using a pair of Bontrager RL shoes for a couple years, I wrote a review about them a couple months ago. After using and abusing my RL’s for a couple years I have taken a step up to the RXL shoes. Hopefully the carbon isn’t too stiff and I’ll be able to rock the gold and black.
What Bontrager has to say
Updated for 2011 with Bontrager’s new proprietary Micro-Fit buckle, the RXL MTB WSD gives hardcore cross country racers a distinct performance advantage. Using top-notch materials to cradle the foot in comfort and an efficient Silver-series carbon outsole to transfer power to the pedals, the lightweight and durable RXL WSD stands ready for all-out efforts on the most rugged World Cup circuits.
Details: Silver Series Carbon, Micro-fit buckle, women’s specific fit, eSoles insole system.
Initial Thoughts of the RXL Shoes
A few key things (other than the price) of the RXL to the RL that were quickly apparent to me.
#1 The buckle upgrade from 2010
#2 The insole was a lower arch support than the one that came in the 2010 RL
#3 the shoes were the same size (42 euro) but feel smaller than the RL. This could because my RL’s are so worn out they have “flattened” and “stretched.”
#4 The RXL and my 2010 RL shoes are within 3 grams of each other
Details that Matter
The bottom lugs of the soles are much softer and gummier than the RL.
Micro-fit buckle clicks at 1.5 increments
The shoes have decent airflow but the “anti slip” fabric on the back of the shoe can rub when you don’t have socks on.
After Two Months Review of the RXL Shoes
These shoes are everything I wanted them to be. Stiff, breathable outer, amazing colors and can do well on the road and longer distance mtb rides. I’m not convinced these will be my goto cyclocross shoes because they are so stiff but I can certainly tell my power to the pedals with these shoes.
After a couple more months I’ll check in with these shoes, give you feedback about cyclocross and how the outer of the shoes last.
This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing. I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
Long Term Bontrager RL Mountain WSD Cycling Shoe Review
Sizes: 36-43 euro (including half sizes between 37.5-41.5)
Details: eSole insole, durable heal cup and toe box, two straps and a third ratchet with buckle
Shoes and saddles have always been the two most sensitive areas with me. I’ve owned several brands over the years, previous to owning the Bontrager shoes my feet were found in pink Sidi Dominator’s for 3 years. When I was looking at the Bontrager cycling shoes they were for back up, for rain or during endurance races when you may need an extra pair of shoes. Quickly, the e-soles inside and the fit of the Bontrager RL WSD shoes won me over. I went from a pair of $280 cycling shoes, to $140 shoes and they made my feet happy enough I would have paid $300 for them!
Initial Feelings of the Bontrager RL Mountain Shoe
Part of me wished the shoe came in a couple color variations. Coming from my pink and red Sidi Dominators I wanted something with character and funk! The black and blue design grew on me, having some feminine flair but not a ton. The moment I put the shoes on I felt like Cinderella as the shoe fit like a glove. I was able to take out shims beneath my cleats during my first fitting with the shoes. This is due to the eSole insole system that had variable arch support, keeping my foot from rolling in towards my crank which had been causing me knee pain for the past 6 years. Yes, a proper fitting, arch support, shoe helped me with the knee pain I had been dealing with forever (including over 18 bike fittings!)
Main Features of the RL WSD Shoe
The key selling features to me were the following
- neutral yet fun color
- toe box protection
- toe spikes for cyclocross or mud
Overall Review of the Bontrager Shoes
If the shoe fits, wear it. I have gone through so many different pairs of cycling shoes to find on my first long ride that they make my feet go to sleep. While I may receive product for review on Bike Shop Girl, and they may end up being shoes, I will continue to purchase Bontrager shoes for my personal shoes. Shoes, much like any piece of clothing, is based on fit and your needs. The shoes have lasted me almost two seasons as I purchased them two years ago while an employee at a shop. Now that I pay retail for most things, I will still be happily paying the $140 for these shoes, I’m actually weighing the option of purchasing the RXL version mainly due to the patent leather and gold look (plus much lighter/stiffer.) I wear these shoes DAILY, for commuting, road riding, mountain biking and everything in between. My family lives mostly on a shoe string budget and even with that I will still be happily paying for these shoes. There are some things in your life you shouldn’t skimp on, for me it is my cycling shoes.
I feel that I should add one last thing to this review. To some people $140 is a lot for cycling shoes, for others compared to Sidi or other more boutique shoes this is half of what they normally would pay. Products to me shouldn’t be weighed by cost. If something is going to help you be a better and happier person it should be worth you saving your pennies, OR in the case of these shoes be open minded to something cheaper than I normally would have purchased. Also, my shoes are worn out. The have become flexy and the back heal has started to peal apart. They still ride wonderfully but are slowly finding their way to becoming my “rain shoes.”
These shoes were purchased with money out of my own pocket. I was not paid nor bribed for this review, though it would be nice to make money on this one day.