Bringing back the Cycling Cap one Domestique at a time

Showing posts with label Cycling Shoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cycling Shoes. Show all posts

Review: Fizik R1 Uomo

By Joachim Rayos

 I bought a pair of the 2012 Fizik R1 Uomo early November. After about a dozen plus rides on them, I would like to share my impressions. Please note that these are the outgoing R1 Uomos. For 2013, Fizik has revised their shoe line so this does not apply to the new ones as seen on their website now. Thus, you may be able to find the outgoing R1 and R3 shoes at a discount (like I did at an LBS).

Out-of-the-box, the shoes present themselves to be a really premium item. Even the box itself looks posh. Highlights are the kangaroo leather outer material, sailcloth straps, multi-material composite sole, and SIDAS flash-fit moldable insoles. The SIDAS insoles themselves cost around $90 and it is a bonus to have them included with the shoes, so consider that when comparing prices with other shoes.


Fit

The shoe's fit is can be tuned in two ways. First is via the moldable SIDAS insoles and secondly, by removing a foam insert on the tongue. Sizing was true to my Sidis, I picked the same 40.5 size for my Fiziks - but this may be slightly different from other shoe brands. Toe box room is very roomy compared to Sidi and was my main reason for trying out the Fiziks.  The contentious part is the arch/foot volume. On my first ride I encountered unbearable hot spots on the tops of my feet. Stopped mid-ride and removed the tongue foam insert - problem solved instantly. 

Over the next few rides I did get various hot spots on the ball of my feet, after a few rides and moving the cleat around slightly to find the sweet spot this has cleared up. The shoes will also take a while to break in as they are real leather. I did notice a bit more arch support and less heel cup support with the R1 Uomos.  An added bonus is that the SIDAS insoles can be flash-fitted more than once, and I may return to the LBS to get these re-flashed now that the shoes have been broken in.

Aesthetics

The R1 Uomo looks killer in white, very fashionable in that Italian sense. I get compliments almost every ride. The downside is that they are, well, white and are a bit of a dirt magnet. Another guy I know has the black version, which I wouldn't really recommend from an aesthetic point of view. With black socks on, he looks like he is riding in dress shoes. I do prefer the aesthetics of the R3 better, white but with a black toe area.

On-the-bike

Stack height is a bit higher, so raise your seatpost ~5mm to compensate. I still placed my wedges in between the cleats and the shoes. Once you nail the cleat position and saddle height, there is not much to say. I can't tell if it is the shoes or the insoles but they seem to damp more vibration coming through your feet. Standing up, they feel stiff and have a nice rebound. I was told the muti-material sole is designed to be stiff in some areas and compliant in others; maybe it is that but I do like the road feel.


Verdict

I do recommend them but test them out before you buy, preferably with an LBS with a good return policy. The fit takes a while to dial in.

Positives: Premium materials and construction throughout, premium moldable insoles, excellent toe room. Discounted now that they are being replaced by redesigned 2013 models.

Negatives: Fit can be finicky, high stack height. These are the same feedback points Fizik has addressed with the 2013 redesign.


Notes: 

  • Compared to the R1, the R3s use Microtex instead of kangaroo leather and do not have the SIDAS insoles. Both models use the same sole though, so the feedback on fit would apply to both.
  • Potential buyers should try both the 2012 and 2013 models side-by-side to see if one fits better than the other. 


~ Thanks for sharing this excellent review, Joachim! - RoadieManila








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Sidi Wire Vent Carbon - First Impressions

So yesterday I got a much anticipated SMS from my suking cargo forwarder Johnny Air Cargo which started with a plea:

"Pls bear with us, pick up your package as soon as possible, need more space for our next shipment..."


Being December, things have already heated up as far as shipping and deliveries are concerned. I would have happily obliged Johnny Air's request for immediate pick-up but had to let a few hours pass dotting T's and crossing I's. 


The fuss was all bout these.... 




A fruit of Black Friday were these fine pieces of Italian Cycling art from the fine folks at SiDi. These, Ladies and Gents,  are a pair of SiDi Wire Vent Carbons.   These shoes sit at the top of the Sidi food chain which, in my opinion, effectively makes them the top road shoe in all of bikedom.

The first thing anyone would notice about these is the color. Taken straight off the Stabilo Boss palette, these Fluorescent Yellow boots are so bright they almost scream RADIATION! Seriously, these pictures don't do the shoes justice. In bright sunlight, it seems that light is actually emanating from the SiDi's. They're that bright.    


Once your pupils get the hang of the brightness, you'll immediately notice the quality and all the fine details of these shoes. 

These boots are just class.

The Vernice outer is shiny our of the box and promises to be easier to clean than my Genius 5 Pro's Lorica finish. The stitches are done just as how you'd expect from an Italian Craftsman.

Aside from being 62g (claimed) lighter than the Ergo 3, the ex-king of the SiDi range, the Wire carries over most of the features of its predecessor. Most noteworthy of these are the Vent Carbon Sole, Heel Security System (more on this later) and user replaceable wear and tear parts.  


But what makes the Wire a Wire is the use of SiDi's Techno 3 closure system. This replaces the ratcheting strap system used by the Ergo 3 and roughly 90% of Cycling shoes out there. It is important to note that previous Ergos have used a similar system, dubbed Techno 2, to secure the front and mid parts of the shoe, but only now has the Techno system been used to secure the shoe all throughout.

This system was actually bannered by Specialized, and then Scott sporting a similar closure system from a company called Boa. Sidi counters this (in the manual at least) by stating that they had a similar system in place since the 80's/90's. Why they dropped this system and brought it back just now still remains unexplained. :) 

According to SiDi, using strings instead of straps applies even pressure on your foot when tightening up the shoe, something which I would totally corroborate. The Techno 3 system is a joy to tighten; just flip up the switch on the circular knob and twist away. However, if you're used to one handed loosening of the top strap, you'd better practice and relearn this as I found that loosing the Tecno 3 is a bit of a two hand affair. 

That said, I still believe that shifting to Techno 3 is a good move in terms of performance and aesthetics. The top of the shoe looks clean, devoid of the familiar three straps of the typical road shoe. This also allows for better upper foot ventilation via the mesh and perforations in the tongue.  


On the underside, you'll find SiDi's Vent Carbon sole finished in traditional carbon weave. Don't be surprised if one day we'll have a version using unidirectional carbon, the current finish of choice/fad. Here we find the replaceable toe and heel pads, metered cleat holes and of course, the closeable vents. 


Thread lock applied to the vent closure screw. Good Job, Sidi! 


I admit to skepticism on the effectiveness of these vents. But inspecting the shoe from the inside gives evidence that air channels do exist inside the sole. I'm not about to wreck my shoe to find out! The insole's holes align perfectly to those inside the shoe, but whether or not they actually work needs an actual ride to find out.  





The wire looks black when viewed from the rear. The yellow oval accents are actually safety reflectors. The plastic SiDi heel cup is where you actually anchor your foot in and where you should base your fit.  

On top of the heel cup is SiDi's Heel Security System or HSS. It's job: eliminate power robbing heel lift. I must say, this does an excellent job at that. HSS works like a vise; your heel basically gets squeezed in by HSS so the rear of the shoe clings to your foot throughout the 360 degrees of pedal cycle.  Heel lift is still there, but is greatly reduced to the point of being almost unnoticeable. 

Tightened HSS

As expected of a Carbon soled shoe, the stiffness screams out almost as loud as the Fluo Yellow Vernice although SiDi claims to have engineered in a bit of flex in the name of comfort. Performance aside, walking around on top of a slippery bit of Carbon Fiber may be unnerving. To help protect the sole, Sidi provides a small bit of 3M Safety-Walk slip resistant tread. This is the exact same material you'll see on the stairsteps of the conscientious.  

Ignoring SiDi's instructions to put the sticker on the pedal, I put mine where I'll likely need it... behind the cleats. This gives me some peace of mind while I rest my unclipped foot on the pedal before coming to a complete stop.

Black Look cleats - Not for the Faint of Knees



 With Look zero-float cleats installed, a single shoe weighs in at 350 grams. This is inclusive of a 1 gram bolt used to affix Look's memory position plug (weight weenie alert! haha). 





All in all, there's a lot to like about the Wires. I mean, A LOT. 

If you can't stand the sheer audacity of these boots, sidi offers them in tamer colorways of black, white and boring :) 


A Speedplay specific model is also available, saving you a few grams by ditching 4 to 3 hole adapters. 


An intriguing variant is the Wire Carbon Air model. As you can see, the whole surface is perforated which promises supreme ventilation. Unfortunately, this model is only available in select regions. 





I'm so pumped about my pumped up kicks! The only worry I have right now is that I'll scratch these too pretty shoes when I ride! 


But RIDE THEM I WILL!



[UPDATE 22 DEC 2012] We survived the Mayan Apocalypse and reviewed the Wires on the Road! Please click the link to read the review ->  Review Sidi Wire Vent Carbon - On the Road



Verdict

Comfortable closure mech, good ventilation, flashy color and style, functional heel retention. Expensive but worth the asking price. 


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