July 10, 2014
Enduro-specific shoes? An enduro-specific rucksack? Seems Shimano is keen to be seen up the front of the scramble to make all things enduro-friendly. Luckily for the other 98% of us that don’t race enduro, these products will probably also be very handy for ‘just riding around on a bike’, so without further ado, let’s get on with it!
Shimano is launching a new £149.99 M200 shoe that looks like it sits somewhere between a race/trail shoe and it’s well-regarded ‘stormtrooper’ DX SPD shoe popular with a speed lace system with a Velcro cover and a single ratchet strap (not too dissimilar to Mavic’s Crossmax shoe too). There’s a raised inner wall to protect ankles from cranks and a chunky sole for off-bike excursions. Here’s what Shimano has to say about it:
SHIMANO INTRODUCES THE M200, A DEDICATED ENDURO SHOE
The new SH-M200 is Shimano’s premier Enduro shoe. A blend of pedaling efficiency and the security of added protection. With these shoes riders can confidently attack the climbs and maintain control on gnarly descents.
Enduro events require a rider to efficiently and quickly cover a variety of terrain. The same flexibility is demanded from Enduro gear. Shimano’s new M200 is designed as a specific Enduro shoe to provide confidence for the more aggressive rider. Utilizing the new TORBAL technology, optimal pedaling efficiency is achieved while providing a comfortable and controlled ride. The special ‘dual density extra-cushion’ insole offers stability through the pedal stroke yet provides enhanced shock absorption and cushioning for the foot. Heel and toes are protected from impacts with the combination of the low-profile, armored upper and molded, raised rubber sole.
A low-profile, micro-adjust buckle holds the foot securely and the adaptable speed-lacing closure system allows for a wide range of foot shapes, ensuring a quick and secure fit. Further protection is provided by an armoured lace-shield for a clean shoe upper and provides an added barrier to debris during aggressive trail riding. The heel is protected from lateral knocks by an asymmetrical collar design with a higher inside section.
TORBAL (Torsional Balance) ensures maximal contact between rider and pedal while maintaining comfort and flexibility through all ranges of rider motion. TORBAL: faster with greater control.
TORBAL is used in 3 models: SH-M089 (MTB / Trail), SH-M163 (Trail / Enduro – which will be £109.99 and effectively replaces the current M162) and £149.99 SH-M200 (Enduro / Competition). Promoting a natural flow to the rider with a laterally flexible sole in the heel section, TORBAL improves balance and control on the trails and provides necessary stiffness where the shoe and pedal meet. Following Shimano’s Rider-Tuned concept, the mid-soles of these three models provide an expanded cleat-adjustment (up to 9mm) range to provide every rider the ideal cleat position for the shoe-to-pedal interface. The SH-M163 and SH-M200 feature stiff pedal interface blocks, promoting stability and pedaling efficiency, while the extremely durable rubber outer-soles on all three models ensure excellent traction on a wide variety of terrain.
DEDICATED ENDURO BACKPACK U4E
OK, we’re back again. Now let’s look at the enduro rucksack, the U4E (for enduro, natch). It shares many of the features of the more racy Shimano Unzen packs like the tiny U2. This U4E – is entirely more enduro than that of course – it has clips for armour and full, or trail helmets, as well as room for a tube, tools and your EnduroSnax™. It’ll retail for £69.99, but doesn’t come with a bladder as apparently that’s not enduro – and you might want to run a water bottle in it instead. (The Dan Atherton approved, smaller U2 is £49.99 with a bladder by the way). The pack also has room for glasses and straps for armour – it also features the rather Marmite cross-strap, which works well if you’re a strapping young enduro lad, but which seems incompatible with boobs and moobs…
Shimano’s new race backpack, the Unzen 4 Enduro (U4E) is created in response to the rigorous needs of Enduro athletes. Enduro events require a rider to efficiently and quickly cover a variety of terrain and the same flexibility is demanded from Enduro gear. Developed in conjunction with our professional athletes, the U4E features numerous details to ensure ultimate comfort and efficiency while riding.
All of Shimano’s ergonomic and lightweight backpacks have a variety of clever features such as a tool and pump organizer, eyewear holder, zippered fleece pocket, reflective details and a loop for light attachment. The U4E adds special storage areas for a full-face helmet and armour as well as a goggle / helmet clip to keep them safe. The hydration pack reservoir features a compression cord to improve stability and deter pack shifting while riding. There is an additional pocket for a water bottle or jacket storage on the outside of the pack and a removable waist-belt to be used on those intense trails requiring extra stability.
Crafted for comfort, the Unzen’s body-hugging fit stays molded to the back but still lets you move freely. The entire pack is engineered around a lightweight structure that offers enough space for protective gear without adding excess bulk or weight. The key interface between rider and pack is the intelligently engineered X-Harness. The combination of an anatomically fitting 3D back panel and the custom fitting X-Harness lets the U4E hug the body for optimal placement in any riding position. The unique design of the X-Harness straps allows unrestricted body movement and does not impede breathing. Fine-tuning while riding can be achieved though the side adjustment flaps and multi-adjustable harness hook.
Unzen 4 Enduro ensures a pack that functions superbly in all conditions while enhancing rider comfort and security. U4E is engineered by Shimano and tested by the pro’s.