The Giro Cylinder II is a Boa-equipped, lighter alternative to the brand's lace-up Privateer shoe. It may not be built for the toughest conditions, but we warmed to its cheerful versatility. Its looks were even understated enough for commuting, though they're a worthy consideration for those browsing options listed in the best mountain bike shoes segment.
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If you think the Giro Cylinder II looks light and airy, you’d be right. Its light mesh panels are similar to those on running shoes, and the rest of the upper is soft and supple. It tips the scales at 336g for a size 43, which is 24g lighter than the more race-oriented Shimano XC7.
The Cylinder II shares the same design and outsole as the similarly-priced Privateer lace-up, though it uses cheaper rubber than the more expensive Rincon and Sector shoes. The tread pattern is not hugely aggressive, but traction is decent on wet ground and the good news for cyclocross riders and lovers of winter slop is that there are threads for screw-in toe spikes to help with slippy hills. You can buy specific spikes like Giro’s own, or go budget with football/soccer studs.
The Cylinder II is very similar to its mark I namesake. The nylon/fibre composite in the outsole has been updated, as have some of the upper materials, but the overall design is unchanged.
Fit adjustment comes from an L6 Boa and lower Velcro strap. It’s the kind of Boa that clicks to tighten but can only be loosened via one full release.
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When I looked over my notes for the Cylinder, the phrase ‘pretty good’ came up more than once – pretty good weight, pretty good stiffness, pretty good comfort, pretty good price. Even the outsole grip was pretty good.
I’m relatively wide-footed so I was apprehensive about the slender looks, but although they feel relatively slim at first, they’re quite compliant and there’s good vertical space in the toe box, so there’s surprisingly decent wiggle room for your toes.
You do notice that one of the reasons the Cylinder II is fairly light is its less substantial upper. On the plus side, it’s breathable and will be good in summer; the downsides are that it soaks through quickly, and possibly won’t be so resistant to snags and abrasions.
As well as being a comfortable all-rounder, it’s quite an appealing mid-range shoe for cyclo-cross because of its weight and its toe stud compatibility. It doesn't have such a racy feel as a shoe like the XC7, and that's because of the roomier upper, the slightly more flexible sole and the higher stack height. However if we’re being honest, for most of us it’s not going to make any difference to our race result.
Other downsides are few. The heel cup isn’t the snuggest even when the Boa is tight – not annoyingly so, but you might notice it for long hikes, and definitely when you’re up on your toes on a CX run. The insole is thin and flat, so your midfoot doesn’t feel quite as cocooned as it could do – but that’s a cheap fix if it bothers you.
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There are more race-oriented shoes and there are more protective shoes, but the Cylinder is a pleasingly light all-rounder for XC, cyclo-cross and gravel – or even commuting… just don’t rely on it to keep the water out.
Tech Specs: Giro Cylinder II shoes
- Price: $150.00 / £119.99 / €129.95
- Weight: 336g (size 43)
- Sizes: 36-42 (w); 40-48 (m)
- Retention: Boa L6
- Colours: 2 (w); 3 (m)
- Pedal system: Clipless, SPD 2-bolt
- Sole: Co-molded nylon and rubber lugged outsole