Launched in 2018, Ride Concepts are the new kids on the MTB shoe block, but can their kicks take on the establishment?
Had you asked me just a few years ago which flat shoe I would recommend, I would probably tell you to look at a Five Ten, and I probably wouldn’t be on my own.
With its sticky Stealth rubber soles and range of styles, Five Ten has sat at the top of the flat pedal tree for a long time now, but over the past couple of years, we’ve started to see their dominance dwindle.
Big biking names have started to chip away at the market, and so far we’ve been impressed with the flat shoes on offer from Bontrager, Ion, Giro and Northwave to name just a few. So now with so many great options available, is there space in the market for a new mountain bike shoe brand?
Back at the end of 2018, Ride Concepts was announced, a new mountain bike shoe brand that hoped to take on the giants of the mountain bike world with a range of flat and SPD shoes with skate shoe styling.
What was impressive at launch was the comprehensive range of shoes that Ride Concepts offered, the various sole compounds and the big name mountain bike stars the company was supporting. Names like Rachel Atherton, Sam Pilgrim, Kyle Strait, Mille Johnset, and many many others.
To kick off a shoe brand that wants to take on Adidas, and have the stars to back them up, Ride Concepts had some backing but is their product any good?
Ride Concepts Hellion
The Hellion lives in the middle of the Ride Concepts all-mountain and enduro range and cost £119.95. Below the Hellion is the more affordable Live Wire at £99.95 and above that, there is the £134.95 Powerline. There’s also the Transition shoe at £154.95, but they’re for the clipped in-crowd.
At £119.95 you get a Rubber Kinetics DST 6.0 High Grip Rubber Outsole. It’s the same rubber compound that the more affordable Live Wire uses, but the upper on the Hellion is designed to offer better water-resistance and durability.
While being more water-resistant, the Hellion is also the lightest shoe of the three. Weighing in at a claimed 421g for a size 10 shoe, it’s not a whole lot lighter than the other models, but as they resist water and mud better they tend to feel lighter throughout the ride while other shoes absorb water and get heavier.
In an effort to keep the Hellion looking good for longer, the upper has anti-abrasion protection over the toe and heel areas, and the synthetic material used for the upper uses an anti-peel coating.
Other features include a gusseted tongue to help prevent dirt and stones getting in the shoe, an elastic lace tidy and a D30 high impact insole. D30 is the same material that is used in a few different knee and elbow pads and has great shock absorbing properities. In the midsole of the Hellion, the idea is to protect against trail shock and absorb big hits.
Fit and support are very good and once on the Ride Concepts Hellion are comfortable and give you a feeling of protection that you’ll appreciate when you hit something solid on the trail.
The Rubber Kinetics DST 6.0 High Grip Rubber Outsole doesn’t offer the same sticky grip as a Stealth sole might, but depending on your pedal they do bite well. I found the Hellion to work well on Shimano Saint, Nukeproof Horizon pedals and Burgtec pedals, but I think if was to purchase a pair of Ride Concepts for myself then I would opt for the DST 4.0 MAX GRIP found on the Powerline shoe.
The flip side of opting for the firmer compound is the sole lasts well, and even after all these months it still looks good, whereas a Stealth sole would see significant wear.
Overall durability has been good, keep in mind that these shoes are 9 months old and I don’t tend to be the most careful of riders. There are a few abrasion marks and cuts, but thankfully I don’t know when any of this damage happened and my feet have been perfectly protected inside.
You will notice that my left foot has significant damage to it, but this is due to my riding stance and the fact that I spent most of the year on a Commencal Meta with a very wide rear end. Heel rub on Commencals is common and it can lead to shoe damage if you ride enough. The damage here looks bad, but it probably wouldn’t be like that if I also untied my laces properly and took the shoe off correctly after each ride, rather than standing on the back of it and peeling my foot out.
So can a new-comer make its mark on the mountain bike shoe market? I think so, yes! The Ride Concept Hellion might not be as sticky as a Five Ten, but the comfort and protection they have offered have been phenomenal.
Overall a solid entry to the mountain bike shoe market, and good for most weather conditions. If your only aim is ultimate grip though, you might want to take a look at the more expensive Ride Concepts Powerline.Add block
|by Andi Sykes for 9 months