Monday, 6 September 2010

Eurobike Part 4 . . . Canyon and Fi'zi:k Shoes

So this year I had less time for a general wander around the Halls than I'd have liked. This year twelve Halls where in operation plus a Central section in between either side plus additional space taken over by other big brands probably took the overall space used to 14-15 halls. With around 1100 companies showing their products Eurobike is massive and my feet know it today (Sunday), thankfully though they have been firmly rooted in my Birkenstocks which has pampered them all day long.

So Sram Electronic didn't come to light, and in regards to Road groupsets from them I saw nothing new. This is a shame as I think that the Red Group needs some refreshment, if only because the Force group is now so good you'd only really buy Red if you are Brewstered or a bit of a pimp (maybe both!). I'm hoping that the engineers are working on something special for the racing season next year and we can see the Pro's riding it then.

The Canyon bike was nice, but it'll hardly set the world on fire, well my world for sure. I thought it was nice but I can't see myself rushing out to part with some wonga to be on one. I think it's great that more companies are embracing the Aero Road Bike category as it makes more sense for most of the time. I think currently the Scott version looks the most attractive and I can see (when it gets released) that it will be as successful as the models that have gone before it.


One of the products of my show, and I say that as someone who didn't see all Halls or stands was the new Fi'zi:k shoe. My thoughts are thus on it, having spent 20 minutes listening to Steve Delacruz from Fi'zi:k explain it to me. The shoe upon first glance looks like a cross between an Italian dress shoe and a Sidi, for many no bad start. The weight in the hand is impressive with the R3 being the lighter shoe as the R1 is made out of the heavier Kangaroo skin. Having a shoe already (Lake CX401) in the bike closet made from this I can testify that you don't need mouldable uppers to achieve a perfect fit. The outsole of the shoe in many ways doffs it's cap to both Sidi and Lake who have always been at the forefront of multi stiffness in shoes. Sidi came very late to the market with a carbon sole, maybe 5-8 years in some cases because they wanted to control the stiffness and comfort in the key areas of the shoes. Lake have always had the same mindset, stiff around the cleat (read power area) and with some degree of flex (read comfort) around the arch. Both companies have always had shit hot heel support.

The Black R1, the Red R3 and the Womens R1 (the best looking shoe by far)

So the Fi'zi:k shoe uses smart design to acheive some key goals of stiffness, support and comfort. It does this by using three different types of material to create the right mix across the outsole. Carbon and poly urethene will be used. Carbon for stiffness in the sole and anchor points in the heel cup, with the softer material adding both comfort (outsole) and a degree of mouldability (heel cup). All shoes share the same sole so the differences between the R1 -R3 are small, kangaroo leather, carbon injection moulded pieces, and well that's about it.

The straps look funky and while on the black shoe look out of place with the retro air holes on the side of the shoe, in the white and red the straps really work. the white that you can see is a material that has come from sails and so is UV and weather proof, while being light and strong at the same time. It gives the shoe a look, without needing to have a lot of obvious branding on the shoe so it would still stand out in a crowded peloton. The big shame for me is that the R1 isn't (as yet) going to come in a White colour. Not that I'm all about the high end shoe, but having ridden a shoe with kangaroo leather it's super comfy, and I don't wear black road shoes.

From memory stack height is low at 11mm, not crazy low but a good height all the same. They will only come in a three bolt design and currently there are no plans to release a MTB shoe. Although I am sure if sales go through the roof that might change. Construction wise they are about some of the best cycling shoes I have seen, more skin to a quality set of brouges rather than a mass production sports shoe. The stiching is small and neat and the gap between the pieces is super tight. This all makes for a better fitting shoe but more importantly one that will resist small bits of grit working its way into the seams. Fit wise they look to be between the afore mentioned Sidi and Lake, which probably goes back to Delacruz's time as a tester for Lake, and as he's a serious bikey I'd be shocked if he's not had a pair of Sidi on his feet at some point. The prices aren't cheap but they really are a great looking pair of shoes and I hope from the interest created at Eurobike that they ride well. Fi'zi:k might just have a production problem on their hands if they do.

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