Category Archives: Clothing

Sidi – Cycling Shoes

Following up on my last post on Cycling Shoes, its now several months since I started using Sidi Genius 5 Pro Carbons and they are  still superbly comfortable both for easy rides and long blasts under the kosh.  I opted for white(!) but my intention was always to use these on drier days…

White shoes may look lovely but white is plainly not an ideal colour for cycling shoes on dirty, wet Scottish roads; nice shoes are best kept for brighter days or kept covered behind Belgian booties when run-off or rain is just around the corner.   Sidi over-socksWhite may be easier to keep clean if the material were different and the white Vernici Sidi Ergos  would have my vote for this, though they still use a white heal collar which will go grey unless groomed with something that can shift the dirt.

What then for the commute in our very transient bright spells this summer?

Something not white and easier to cope with some start stop at traffic lights than Look pedals and cleats. I’ve finally opted for SPDs and MTB shoes on the commute after 25 years of commuting using Look pedals. It is way easier and makes perfect sense in the cyclo-cross world so why not for the commute.

Sidi Eagle 5s  – 2012

Sidi Eagle 5 MTB 2012 – Dark to hide the dirt!

These are a very comfortable shoe but are without any heal-cup reinforcing which makes for a more relaxed fit. I opted for exactly the same size as their road shoe counterpart, the Sidi Genius 5 Pro road shoe.  They diverge significantly in feel to  road shoes, leaving a lot more room for thicker socks. When we add this to the aforementioned relaxed fit around the heal-cup they do feel less secure which requires more tension on the ratchet and velco straps to alleviate successfully. However, this extra-room is something that can only be of benefit to cooler days in spring and autumn where chilly mornings and evenings can be covered in comfort with just an extra thick pair of socks and Belgian booties.

Sidi Ergo 2 Vernici

The first thing noticeable about these is that the Vernici fabric is easier to clean,  secondly that in terms of comfort, the Vernici fabric is maybe not the best thing out there as it feels quite stiff and not malleable like the fabric on the Sidi Genius 5 Pro Carbon road shoe which, incidentally, feels like a very secure fitting pair of leather gloves…lovely.

Sidi Ergo 2 Carbon Vernici – 2011

The carbon sole on these is immensely stiff and as has been said elsewhere, can take a bit of time to break in. So, these are not immediately as comfortable as the Sidi ‘5’ range but they are a Pro level road shoe.

In terms of fit, with a like-for-like shoe size, the last and upper is identical in fit to the Sidi Genius 5 Pro Carbon.

The security provided by the ratchet and dial is significant and you can quite easily squeeze the living daylights out of your feet. Making adjustments with the dial or ratchet whilst riding is a breeze compared to     a full velcro strap where you have to look down to see you’ve positioned the strap correctly.  The ease of adjustment is most noticeable when the intention is to go tighter for a prime or sprint; loosening off is a little more tricky but easily done whilst riding.

In terms of deciding on a favourite I’ve not used the Ergo 2’s enough yet but they are getting better with each ride.  The Sidi ‘5’ range is certainly a good quality and comfortable product and the best shoes I’ve used so far….

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Cycling shoes

Cycling shoes are great and when they work and don’t hurt we just don’t think about them.  You can see where this is going; I’ve been getting instep pain for a bit over a year – a common problem – and didn’t do anything about it.  I’ve come to realise that it may or may not be the cycling shoes that started it, but they’ve not helped.

I’ve used my recently retired shoes for too long with regular use over 4 years the carbon sole on my Nike Poggio 3’s had started to lose its stiffness, though not that I’d notice as this is such a small incremental loss.  It was only when I went to my new Sidi shoes that it became clear that they were much stiffer.

My shoes over the years have been:

Adidas Eddie Merckx
A great pair of shoes with a resin sole. 

Vittoria – Stephen Roche
My first pair of shoes that were Look compatible.

Look Carbon
These were extremely well put together with a carbon sole and three wide velcro straps – as good as the Greg Lemond Carnacs of that era and very comfortable.

Time Equipe
A two velcro strap shoe in white. Lemond used these in 1989 with a toe-clip strap to give extra security, this made them look even more cool!

Time Pro Equipe
A very comfortable shoe that was not dissimilar to the Look Carbons but at over double the price.

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Nike Poggio II
After the expense of the Time’s I went with Nike in the Armstrong era.  These were much cheaper and considerably lighter.   The straps were a bit on the weak side and didn’t give such a secure fit.  These may be to blame for the begining of my instep pain as there was so little instep support.  Additionally, they were a signification change of position with the sole of the foot being much closer to the pedal axle compared to the Time shoes.

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Nike Poggio III
These were a much improved iteration, with a firmer, more padded heal cup that really anchored the foot and a much firmer grip offered by the velcro straps.    As with the II’s the instep support is minimal.

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Sidi Genius 5 Pro Carbon
To early to provide a long ranging opinion but they feel stiffer than the Poggios’,  have good instep support and the heel is well secured.  These were the easiest shoes to set-up that I’ve ever owned with very accurate markings on the sole making this possible.   After a bit of trial and error with the shoe plate on the right shoe, I was able to transfer the position to the left shoe and get it set first time with absolutely no adjustment necessary!  The serviceability of these shoes is also a considerable plus factor with spares available for the heal rubber and locking strap.

On the downside, the two velcro straps do not give such a clamped-in secure feeling as the Poggio III, however they are a very comfortable and well ventilated shoe.  Moving up the Sidi range to the Ergo II or Ergo III could alleviate this sense-of-security issue as the middle velcro strap is replaced with a dialed locking mechanism.

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Rapha Bib Shorts vs Assos

Bibshorts, the most important thing next to your saddle, choice, that you can make.   Having never looked at any Rapha clothing before or even been particularly aware of the brand, I’ve  just learned that they are described as a premium product which makes me think to compare them to Assos.

Aside – just the task of doing a quick comparison of the currently priced £145 Rapha Bib Shorts and matching them on looks alone with the £120 Assos T FI.Uno Bibs was a pain in website usability, Rapha’s site was a breeze but the Assos site navigation pushes you toward the Zegho sub- site for their new glasses range and the user experience sucks – complete with a flashing background image!

A looks-alone comparison

The Uno looks like a better product and even in plain old black, looks slicker than the Rapha.  When it comes to purchasing through a website, the product has got to out-shine the competition and although the Rapha imagery is slick, the product looks bland.  On the plus side for Rapha is their 30  day free trial period which is indicative of the challenge of getting established in this high-end market.