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Ride Concepts Transition Clipless Shoe

Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
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Ride Concepts Transition (black)
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Vital Tested: Ride Concepts Transition Clipless Shoe

Developed with input from Atherton racing, Ride Concepts' clipless shoe promises top performance with key design features.

Rating: Vital Review
Vital Tested: Ride Concepts Transition Clipless Shoe

Since their arrival, we have been fans of the flat pedal shoes from the Truckee, California, brand, Ride Concepts. Now with a chance to test their Transition clipless shoe, we were anxious to see how it would stack up to its highly performing flat-pedal sibling. The Transition is the only clipless shoe in the Ride Concepts product line, and as the old saying goes, "Do one thing, and do it well." Ride Concepts could be cited as putting all their stock in this one shoe, but how would it fair? We spent the past few months dragging the Transitions through muck and rocks to find out.

Strengths

  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Wide range of cleat adjustment
  • Keeps out the debris
  • Not a disco slipper

Weaknesses

  • Laces are a hard sell


Highlights

  • DST Rating: 8 - Mid grip (4 is max grip)
  • D3O padding in heel and toe
  • Asymmetrical medial collar with D3O impact protection
  • Welded microfiber upper
  • RC PowerDrive nylon shank
  • 40mm wide cleat box
  • Longer range cleat adjustability
  • Custom-molded rubber toecap and heel protection
  • Medial high-rise EVA midsole
  • Fully gusseted tongue
  • Lace closure with Velcro powerstrap
  • $160 USD

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Initial Impressions

Unboxing the Transition shoes revealed a low-key design without being short on features. While traditional laces on riding shoes offer plenty of street cred, they are not as functional as BOA or ratchet-style closures, which have fallen out of favor among most mountain bike shoes these days. Ride Concepts does a nice job balancing this casual feature by adding a fully gusseted tongue, taller interior ankle protection, a lace strap on the tongue, and their powerstrap over the top of the shoe. Putting the Transition on our foot revealed a shoe upper that was incredibly stiff (in a good way) offering substantial support. After lacing them up and getting the power strap secured, the salty old man inside was sent packing. It would seem laces, in this case, would do just fine. At least there is an elastic strap on the tongue to tether down those floppy strings.

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Getting your foot into the Transition isn't like tossing on your Vans or typical flat pedal shoe, nor should it be. The stiff uppers take both hands to get into, but once your foot is in there is plenty of comfortable room (even for our tad wide and tall feet). Ride Concepts shoes tend to fit true to size and the Transition carry on with the tradition. The bottom of our tootsies were greeted by a comfortable foot bed, highlighted by D3O cushioning throughout that hardens for protection during a big impact.

The sole of the Transition uses Ride Concepts's DST rating of 8, which is considered mid-grip. For reference, the Powerline flat pedal shoe has a rating of 4 for max-grip. The lug patterns are familiar and were greatly appreciated during our testing. Ride Concepts gave the Transition a longer track for cleats, allowing them to be mounted further back on the foot for the gravity oriented rider. The cleat box on the whole is a tad wider at 40mm to ensure compatibility with every pedal.

We reached out to Ride Concepts to get the rundown on how the Transition was developed. Here is Rick Reed discussing the features as well as some feedback from Rachel Atherton:

With our cleats mounted, we laced our laces, strapped our strap, and hit the trail.

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On The Trail

Winter in Northern Nevada is a crap-shoot for conditions. Riders will face sun-baked dust, chocolate cake soil, muck, and snow. Early on, we got to test just how walkable the Transition shoe was. Wanting to access an awesome trail with a north-facing approach lead to some questionable decision making and nearly two hours trudging through snow, which turned to mud and crud once we got to the southern facing descent. Our soggy shoes never stretched or became bothersome during the course of this otherwise foolhardy adventure.

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When it came to the more routine habits of riding bikes, we found our Ride Concepts to be everything promised. The uppers feel like you are wearing a regular shoe, just more supportive as the synthetic uppers cradle the foot. Supportive is the key word here as the Transitions never felt overly stiff in any particular area, especially when walking or hiking in various terrain. Among the qualities we appreciated most was the lack of debris collection in our shoes. Desert life often has grains of sand and tiny rock that find their way into your shoes, and the Transitions did a remarkable job of keeping unwelcome objects away.

Something our shoes did let in however, was air. The toe box of the Transitions is quite breathable. In cool weather, one can feel the air pouring into the shoe. This does mean that cold weather rides should be coupled with warmer socks. We did not ride the Transitions in temperatures any warmer than the low 70°F range, but don't anticipate them being problematic in the angry heat of late July.

The mounting zone for cleats is generous. We had plenty of room to move and adjust cleats for ideal alignment with Shimano XT pedals. Riders will be happy with how far back cleats can be mounted. Perhaps we can thank Rachel Atherton for her input here, but downhillers will most likely skip the Dremel treatment to get enough rearward positioning.

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Things That Could Be Improved

Shoes, helmets, and equipment that goes on the body in general can be tough to call out due to a subjectivity with different body types and shapes. As a person with a somewhat wide foot, the Transition can be a bit difficult to get on. Making that process easier would mean forgoing the gusseted tongue and snug heel fit, neither of which are things we'd trade for another few seconds of convenience.

There are also lighter shoes in this price range, though the tradeoff is less protection at the ankle and more svelte construction. The Transition is aimed at the more aggressive end of riding where grams on your feet tend not to be considered very heavily.

From the downhill track to the deep backcountry, riders all over should find something to love about these shoes.

Long Term Durability

Aside from tap-dancing on raw granite, we put the Ride Concepts Transition shoe through the full gamut of conditions and abuse. We left them mud and clay caked, using only puddles and snow to clean them along the way. A scrub and a hose at the end of the test revealed shoes that looked fresh and trail-ready.

Typically, when metal and plastic meet repeatedly, the metal will win. The plastic of the cleat box is a bit chewed up as a result. The degree of wear we observed was typical of any clip shoe, with no actual breakage or damage. In all, there was nothing about our shoes that lead us to believe they wouldn't hold strong into next winter.

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What's The Bottom Line?

Ride Concepts have an excellent shoe on their hands. With feedback from the world's top racers and a company run by enthusiastic mountain bikers, it comes as no surprise that the Transition is filled with real-world features that address the needs of real-world mountain bikers. From the downhill track to the deep backcountry, riders all over should find something to love about these shoes.

Head to rideconcepts.com for the full product line and color options.

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About The Reviewer

Brad Howell - Age: 40 // Years Riding: 25 // Height: 5'9" (1.75m) // Weight: 170-pounds (77.1kg)

Brad started mountain biking when a 2.25-inch tire was "large," and despite having threads, bottom brackets sucked. Riding in the woods with friends eventually lead way to racing, trying to send it at the local gravel pits, and working in bike shops as a wrench to fix those bikes. Fortunate enough to have dug at six Rampages and become friends with some of the sport’s biggest talents, Brad has a broad perspective of what bikes can do and what it means to be a good rider. The past few years Brad worked in the bike industry and got to see the man behind the curtain. These days, though, he just likes riding his bike in the woods with friends.

Specifications

Product Ride Concepts Transition Clipless Shoe
Riding Type Downhill, Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park
Rider Unisex
Construction Rubber Kinetics | DST 8.0 MID GRIP rubber outsole, medial high-rise EVA midsole, D3O protection, RC PowerDrive full-length molded nylon shank, lace-up closure with velcro strap, molded rubber toe cap and heel protection
Pedal Type SPD
Sizes 7-13, 7.5-11.5
Colors Lime/black, black/charcoal, charcoal/red
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous - D3O High Impact Zone Insole technology
- D3O asymmetrical medial collar protection
- Fully gusseted tongue prohibits the intake of dirt and debris
- Tech fit
Price $160
More Info

​​www.rideconcepts.com

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