After riding around 500km with the test ride pedals and a pair of old trainers, my feet were hurting and the power transfer just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
I decided on the Shimano PD-R540 SPD SL pedals after very little debate. For under £22.28 (Best Price – Wiggle) they are surprisingly good, and match my bar ends as if they were paired at a really good dating site. After all, it is against rule #34 to have MTB pedals/cleats/shoes on a roadie – so the SPD-SLs were my best option.
So with my pedals and bar ends matched, my shoes needed to be white too. The original plan was to buy the cheapest road shoes I could find – which at the time were the dhb R1.0 Road Cycling Shoe at just shy of £50. This plan was derailed when I caught a glimpse of the best combination of striking value and style I’ve seen in a road shoe to date in my LBS – the Specialized Sport 2013s. I bought them for £75 and they even threw in some free lube – so let’s talk about how they feel.
How They Feel
The morning after buying them, I woke up at 5am and ended up riding my first metric century. Specialized road shoes have a very clever body geometry design, which is meant to keep your leg straight and increase your power output. I think this worked, because after 20km of mild pain where they were moulding to my feet, it was like I was directly attached to my Allez. Like a cheesy car insurance advert – it felt like there was no middle man between my bike and I.
It was after these initial kilometres that I could really concentrate on what it felt to ride with them – and it was great. Fantastic even. The power transfer on a bike that already impressed me just got even more impressive. It was swift and direct, it felt like a finely tuned machine, and I felt like I was being the engine that it deserved. And boy does it go.
These shoes have a stiffness index of 6.0. Admittedly, before a quick search on Bing – just kidding, I used Google – I knew nothing about this number. Now I can inform you that the higher the number, the stiffer the bottoms of the shoes are; this makes your power transfer better. The 6.0 score transfers into, for me, that even on the upstroke on the steepest hill I know, while out of the saddle, I couldn’t feel even a hint of flex.
How They Look
As striking as an albino lion, the Specialized Sports don’t fall down in the aesthetics category either. Rather conveniently, they even match the Specialized Allez Elite – what a fantastic excuse to upgrade your bike.
Strength & Durability
I may or may not have put them through their paces in this department. Well. Okay. I confess. I have taken a couple of tumbles – but the good news is that my worst injuries were minor finger scrapes and the shoes were completely unharmed.
I’m more impressed by the latter – they took the full force of a slow motion timber on a hill and yet there is no damage to be seen. Apart from this, they still feel fantastic many many kilometres later. And the fear of falling off just makes me go up hills faster!
The Bottom Line
So I like them, and I think you will too. For reference, I am size 44 which translates to about 9 1/2. Pick the Specialized Sport 2013s up over at Evans for £75.